Last week I shared 7 signs you’re a perfectionist and why it’s holding you back. So now you might be thinking, great. I have a problem. Thanks for that. Well, don’t worry. I won’t leave you hanging any longer. Today I’m sharing 4 ways to beat perfectionism and procrastination so that you can actually get stuff done.
The thing about perfectionism is that it’s easy to justify. It’s easy to say to yourself, I just want the best. Or I just have really high standards. But actually, those are just excuses. Excuses for things not getting done or procrastination. The constant quest for perfect leaves you coming up empty. I’m giving it to you straight here. Perfectionism is maladaptive. Expecting quality or excellence is fine. Expecting perfection is not. I said it in the last post and I’ll say it again. Done is better than perfect.
4 ways to beat perfectionism and procrastination so that you can actually get stuff done.
Take stock of your goals.
Seriously. Do this right now. Look at your to-do list for today. Is it realistic? Did you overestimate what you could accomplish today? Or next week? Or next year? A little self-disclosure here: I still do this almost every day. I mentioned in the last post that I’m a recovering perfectionist and this is something I still struggle with. Overloading yourself is common for perfectionists. And at the end of the day, you still feel like you failed, no matter how much you accomplished because you shot yourself in the foot at the outset.
This one is a bitch and I’ll tell you why: As a perfectionist, you want to accomplish a million things all at once. But the kicker is, when you’re a perfectionist, things take longer because they have to be perfect. Which leads me to my next point.
Assign tasks a time-limit
This one has been a game-changer for me! No exaggeration. This is my favorite tip I’m sharing with you today and I used it while writing this blog post. These posts used to take me half a day to complete. Now, I give myself an hour and 15 minutes to finish. I set a timer and when it goes off, it’s pencils down…or hands off the keyboard, I guess. I generally write the post the day before I publish. The day of publishing, I give myself 30 more minutes to proofread, create graphics, post that baby, and tell y’all about it.
Here’s the thing. Often we give ourselves too much time to complete a task. So we sit around researching and thinking, maybe brainstorming, or purchasing things that will make things just right. And we waste hours thinking about doing something, rather than just doing it. Don’t work on something; produce something. I must give credit where credit is due. I told you this is a problem for me. I heard this on a podcast and Brooke Castillo was the guest with this nugget and it really spoke to me. And I hope me sharing it today helps you too.
Stop the comparison
I wrote a post on the curse of comparison, but I need to reiterate the importance of this. Comparing yourself to the next person…a better teacher, nurse, accountant, entrepreneur, mom, woman, relationship, whatever is a recipe for disaster. You’re going to feel inadequate. Why? Because people tend to only share the good. People are quick to tell you about the awesome vacation they just took. They’re not so quick to share that they cried every day leading up to it because they could find a bathing suit they felt good in. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself. If you need more help here, check out my blog post all about comparison and how to avoid it.
Get professional help
(Notice, I didn’t say seek help. Get help. Do some research, but not for hours. Set a timer, remember?)
Often these issues are deep-seated and there ain’t no shame in getting some help. Not to get too therapist-y on you here, but there may not be a quick fix for your perfectionism. Often the reasons you strive for perfection have to do with the way you received praise as a child or are a result of feeling like you had to walk on eggshells in your own home. I could go on and on. These tips might help, but if this is something that’s rooted deeply within you, you might want to talk to a professional. I’m good at this kind of thing and offer online counseling to adults in Texas. There are also lots of other ways to find a good therapist.
If you know someone else who could use these tips, share this post!
Erika Ames is a Licenced Clinical Social Worker and owner of Texas online therapy practice, Tailwinds Counseling. Her specialties include anxiety, young adult issues, and coping with cancer as a patient or caregiver. To schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with her, click here or call (713) 936-4909.