Turn Off Your Inner Perfectionist By Looking To The Future

Being a perfectionist is like being Harvey Dent after that crazy face fire in The Dark Knight: Half of you is achieving above and beyond in your projects and your job performance is stellar. The other half sees a dark desire rise up that wants to derail your productivity by making you obsess over every little detail to the detriment of future projects. You are a productivity Two-Face. So how do you turn off that inner perfectionist? Guy Williams, visual effects supervisor on The Avengers, argues the secret is looking to the future.

Picture by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

Guy Williams is a perfectionist who has a grasp on his darker side. He knows that to obsess over past projects is to ignore future opportunities. It's probably a good thing he knows that, too, considering he was the Ma href="http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2012/10/can-video-games-ever-be-as-realistic-as-movies/">visual effects supervisor on The Avengers and a senior member on a film project that may or may not involve halflings with hairy feet.

10 years ago, Guy was working on Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. That film features a fight between Gandalf and the Balrog, an ancient demon with wings and fiery tendencies. Guy and his team constructed and rendered that scene to the best of their ability, but as time and VFX technology evolved, they realised that they could probably do better. They could add more detail to the Balrog and make the scene look more impressive than they had ever dreamed of by using new tools, but Guy knows that that is the wrong way to think:

To be honest, there's not a huge temptation to go back and re-do stuff I've done. You think there would be, but with every day that goes by, a new story is born and a new script comes up.
Before you can even think back to Lord Of The Rings, you're looking forward at something else that can be done. Once I read the script for The Avengers, for example, I was hooked. I didn't spend a moment thinking about previous shows, it was like my favourite band was coming to town.

So to master the inner perfectionist that yearns to obsess and cost you time, try thinking about future projects and how you can do those to the best of your ability. Let's face it, the alternative is turning into George Lucas, and elements of that can become unpleasant.


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