Perfectionism is the second culprit on my list of Top 5 Obstacles to Productivity.
Often, we don’t recognize our perfectionism. We laugh and say there is no way we could be perfectionists, because we know how imperfectly we operate. Just because we acknowledge that we aren’t perfect doesn’t mean we recognize when perfectionism becomes an obstacle.
Any of this sound familiar?
I must have perfect conditions before I can get started. I need the perfect supplies, information, environment and most importantly, the perfect mood, before I can get started.
I’m not sure I can do this perfectly, so I won’t do it. Others might be critical. I might let myself down.
I don’t have time to do it perfectly, so I won’t do it. I can’t tidy up the kitchen, because I don’t have time to mop the floor.
I’m not getting this done quickly enough. This is taking too long. I must be doing something wrong. I’m not capable of doing this.
Someone else can do this better, so I won’t try. I can’t apply for that job because other candidates are probably more qualified.
Where did the time go? I spent all my time trying to find the perfect image for my blog post, and now I don’t have time to work on my business plan.
Do you see how perfectionism creeps into the choices we make and the actions we take, despite our notion that we couldn’t possibly be perfectionists?
Getting Past Perfectionism
Let me challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and embrace good enough. Aside from things like brain surgery and rocket launches, perfectionism just isn’t necessary. The vast majority of the time, just getting something done is sufficient.
It takes some practice to get used to accepting less than perfect. Start small, if you have to.
Here are some questions to ask:
For simple tasks and short communications:
- What’s the primary purpose of doing this task, and what is the bare minimum to fulfill that need?
- Can I make do with this?
- Will others understand what I mean?
- Is this legible?
For long-term goals:
- Will this be an improvement over the current situation?
- Will this be a step in the right direction?
- Do I have anything to lose by trying?
- Will I learn something, even if I’m not successful?
So try taking a few deep breaths, and just hit “send.” It gets easier with practice! Develop a mantra, like “Done is better than perfect,” or “Neatness doesn’t count.” Remind yourself of all the imperfect people and things in your life, that are still abundantly good enough.
What has helped you get past perfectionism?
Image by stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net