Have you ever found yourself doing the least important things on your to-do list, while procrastinating on the very things that matter most? It’s easy to understand why we procrastinate on things that are unpleasant, expensive, or time consuming. (That’s why there’s a line at the post office on April 15th at midnight.) But why do we procrastinate on doing the things that will yield truly beneficial results in areas we feel passionate about? I read an interesting comment recently that said, “Inside every procrastinator lives a perfectionist.”
Have you ever delayed starting a project because you were waiting for conditions to be “just right,” so you could complete it? If so, you might be a perfectionist. But have you ever put it off so long that you had to submit work you were unhappy with, or worse–actually missed the deadline? Then you may very well be a “procrastinating perfectionist.” This is the double bind: by setting up an unreasonable standard of perfection, the procrastinating perfectionist has sabotaged themselves so that work conditions and subsequent results end up being below average.
So what does one who is stuck in this self-defeating pattern do? The long-term solution is to do a little deep-digging to see what your relationship is to perfection, control, and self-sabotage. Ok, so there’s a life-time worth of work! What about right now? Sometimes it’s easier to work with a perceived problem rather than try to eradicate it. Can your inner-perfectionist be mobilized to overcome your inner-procrastinator?
Here are 4 tips to psyche yourself out of a pefectionist slow down:
Tip #1: Your Top Priority Should Be Meeting the Deadline
No self-respecting perfectionist can stand the shame of missing a deadline, so use this to your advantage. Give yourself extra credit for timeliness. Deduct points for procrastination.
Tip #2: Ready or Not, Just Get Started
If you are a true dyed-in-the-wool perfectionist, you don’t need conditions to be as perfect as you would like. Once you get going, your natural excellence will kick in.
Tip #3: Build the Foundation First
Remember, that your perfectionism is largely subjective. Don’t complicate your projects with unnecessary details. Focus on accomplishing the “must do’s” first. Then add the extras that you love so much.
Tip #4: Have an Accountability Partner
And lastly, give up the idea that you must do everything on your own. If you don’t want to give up control by delegating some of the work, that’s fine. But do get an accountability partner that you report your progress to on a regular basis.
Perfectionism is a double-edge sword. It has a pay-off in that your work is probably highly regarded and rewarded. But if every project becomes an act of laborious effort and self-torture, the pay-offs cease to be worth it. Learn to lighten up and move your projects forward. When you do, not only will you get more things finished, you might actually start enjoying your work again.
Jaya Savannah - Chief Inspiration Officer. Strategy Coach for Holistic Businesses. Trainer, speaker, and writer. Spiritually aware, yet street smart. Elephant lover.