It’s easy to rationalise this attitude as a desire to do things properly, but really it’s the desire to do them perfectly – with the result that you either never get round to them, or you do, but then feel bad, because you’re constantly falling short of your unmeetable standards.

To adapt an analogy from the Austrian philosopher Otto Neurath, we’re like sailors on a ship that long ago left port and now urgently needs repair. We’d love to return to dock and get it kitted out perfectly – setting up our lives so they’re just as we’d like them – then start the journey again. Instead we have to patch things up mid-voyage as best we can, adapting incrementally towards the people we’d like to be.

Oliver Burkeman