Perfectionism comes in many colors and faces and even though we might be aware that we are a perfectionist sometimes we don’t catch ourselves ‘in action’, we don’t recognize it as ‘wanting to be perfect’.
One of the traits of perfectionism is when we try to do too much too fast and then crash and burn.
Learning a new habit for example or implementing a new task into our busy schedule doesn’t happen over night. But we tend to forget this and put too much on our plate, we want it all ‘yesterday’ (and I am no exception). Not without surprise, that’s when things go sideways. Then, when we realize what we’ve done, we become overwhelmed and frustration and resistance kick in.
Resistance is a result of perfectionism and a trigger for a negative domino effect.
The negative domino effect usually results in procrastination or worse that we drop the ball altogether.
It is also an interesting facet of this process that the longer we don’t get back on the wagon after such a crash, the further we get lost and let perfectionism rule our (business) life again.
So catch your Perfectionism. Every time you notice you fell off the wagon on a habit you really wanted to learn, or you crashed and burned with a project or task, ask yourself: “is perfectionism tripping me up? Do I want too much too fast?”
We perfectionist need to keep in mind that It’s better to take imperfect action than no action at all. If we are not careful, perfectionism runs our life and because nothing is ever perfect (in our eyes) nothing ever gets finished.
So how do we get out of this rut?
I teach my clients to take baby steps when dealing with clutter, files, and finances for that exact reason. If you put too much on your plate too fast you overwhelm yourself and end up doing nothing but sticking your head in the sand.
- don’t overwhelm yourself with several changes at the same time
- break big changes or goals into small tasks and implement one task at a time
- wait until one task has become a routine before adding something new
- when you fall off the wagon try to get back on as quick as possible
- Remove the all-or-nothing record that plays in your head
- Aim for the 80/20 principle, i.e. 80% of the result comes from 20% time invested
- Celebrate every little victory, pat yourself on the back for getting where you are
Done is better than perfect.
Two more articles on the topic: