Do you ever find yourself working on a project for tooo long? Do you start a bunch of things, but rarely finish anything? Do you spend a lot of time thinking about something you want to do, but never start? Do you ever think of Monday as a fresh start, only to abandon a new healthy habit if you miss one day?
You, lovely, might be a perfectionist. From one to another, you're not alone. In fact, many creative and ambitious people are perfectionists. We can't seem to tell when we're finished. Because, perfection. We want to do everything to the n-th degree, because otherwise - what's the point?
The challenge is, you might be proud of being a perfectionist. For a very long time, I was too. This meant I had attention to detail, delivered quality, and had pride in everything I did.
But it also got me stuck.
Stuck in my own head, afraid to try new things because I feared not executing well enough. Stuck in project, unable to say "I'm done". Just stuck. Perfectionism is the biggest enemy to productivity.
But the good news are, you can keep the good in perfectionism and throw out the bad. Keep striving for amazing quality, flawless execution, and relentless dedication. Just use it responsibly.
Here are three of my favourite ways to beat perfectionism (at least the bad parts).
If you ever find yourself working on a project for way to long, you need to project manage yourself a bit better. By setting firm deadlines on things, you force yourself out of the 'mindless flow' that perfectionism can bring.
Truth is, if you allow yourself 2 months to write that eBook, it'll take you 2 months. If you don't set a timeframe, it might take you 2 years. Or worse, you might NEVER finish.
Sit down with your goals and priorities right now and assign some deadlines. Stick to them, and you'll achieve so much more.
You might, like me, think too big sometimes. If you're thinking about launching a new website for your business, you might go hunting for all the bells and whistles. Or, if you're going to clear out your closet, you start pulling everything out, repainting the inside doors, buying new storage drawers... You get the picture.
If you make every little project gigantic, you'll soon be overwhelmed and find it hard to get to the end point. I've struggled with this a lot. I'm terrified of releasing anything into the world that isn't just right.
Challenge yourself to think MVP = Minimum Viable Product. This is a term a lot of companies use during a design process. They release just enough of a product to test its viability and attractiveness in the market. They can then add features and tweak the design.
Whatever you're pursuing, challenge yourself to ask "what is the minimum I can do?" And start with that. You can always add sparkles later.
Sometimes, I live inside my head too much. I have such high expectations of myself that I talk myself out of doing something before I've even begun.
If you struggle with this, you can think in terms of steps. Don't focus on that big, amazing thing you want to achieve. Instead, focus on taking just one step. Ask yourself; "what's the first step in the right direction?" And then, "what's the next step?"
When you abandon a week of exercising because you missed one workout, this really helps. For some reason, I used to think that there's no point in continuing if I miss a little bit. Because, I'll get to the end of the week and feel unfinished. But the truth is, progress is better than perfection. Four workouts are better than none.
Finally, please hear me when I say: you don't have to be perfect. No one is perfect, and no one is expecting you to be. You CAN put your heart and soul into achieving amazing thing to flawless standards, but don't let it get you stuck. Don't get paralysed by your own barriers.
Something is better than nothing. And done is better than perfect.
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What do you do, when working hard is defined by the number of hours you work? Do you care about perception?