“It has to be perfect!”
Do you ever find yourself saying that?
Overcoming perfectionism is essential if you want to know how to manage your time and your life. It’s about adopting an attitude and forming a habit that will serve rather than control you.
Perfectionism is a learned mindset that causes stress.
It’s easy to get caught up trying to make something better than it really needs to be, but it takes it’s toll. Time, effort and energy are spent that could, and probably should, be deployed elsewhere.
One of the first principles of effective time management is to know when it’s time to stop.
Whether it’s a project, task or even (especially) something that distracts you, improve your ability to know when enough is enough and you’re on the way to overcoming perfectionism.
Apart from being a helpful mindset for overcoming procrastination, ‘ready-fire-aim’ means plan it, do it, then adjust it.
Don’t wait for everything to be just right before you release it to the world. Adequate planning is important, but actually producing something is what matters.
Get it out there, then refine it. Tweak it, polish it and make it better, but remember that, in this context, the most effective use of your time is to know when to stop planning and actually do something.
So, how do you know when you should stop planning and start producing?
There’s no hard and fast rule, other than to make it a habit to always think and plan before acting. With practice, your ability to limit excessive thinking/planning will improve.
|“The man who never made a mistake never made anything.” |
- Albert Einstein
Overcoming perfectionism means embracing mistakes, taking criticism and accepting ‘failure’ will inevitably sometimes be the result. In short, we’re all human, and we all get things wrong.
Mistakes, criticism and not achieving what we want are always hard. They can be frustrating and demoralizing, but they can also be some of the most valuable lessons. If you’re prepared to learn from them, you’ll get better at whatever matters to you.
Next time you find yourself hampered by ‘perfection paralysis’, remind yourself that it’s better to do and say sorry than to do and say nothing.
Instead of striving for perfection in whatever you do, concentrate on getting better at estimating how much time and effort to put into anything and everything you produce.
Aim to be perfect, not at what you do, but how you do it. This sounds contradictory, but it’s actually about fitting your role, goal or task to the time, situation and circumstances you’re in.
The better you get at that, the more effectively you use your time in relation to what you choose to do.
If something deserves several hours of concentrated energy and, on reflection, you didn’t put the time in, ask yourself why, and learn from it.
Similarly, if you spent too long on something that didn’t really need that much attention, accept it as a lesson, learn from your experience and give it the attention it deserves next time.
Dealing with perfectionism starts with small steps. Gradually shift your mindset from ‘producing perfect’ to ‘producing perfectly’ and you’ll start to work the Pareto Principle to your advantage.