There’s nothing more useless than ideas and unfinished projects that never see the light of day because of our inability to overcome perfectionism.
But it’s easy to watch them stack up, isn’t it?
Rather than take action, we get distracted and move onto something else that we think is more exciting.
Unfinished tasks can make us procrastinate.
We can feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious.
What actions can we take to overcome perfectionism?
How can we ensure the right projects get finished, so you can feel more confident and capable?
What causes perfectionism?
I’ve been hearing a lot about unfinished projects and procrastination through conversations with coaching clients and hearing issues of perfectionism from my wider network.
For some people, the commitment and time required to finish tasks can be a problem.
With others, the project has to be perfect before they can be fully happy with it.
There are a few specific reasons perfectionism happens.
I’ve been in business for over 20 years and I’ve seen so many instances of ideas not coming to fruition and projects not being completed because people create a perfect ideal in their mind of what the finished project must look like.
Signs you may be a perfectionist
When you sit on something until it’s “perfect,” you can miss a lot of opportunities.
Perfectionism is one of the most paralysing traps that stop entrepreneurs in their tracks.
It is a mental habit that stops progress and can seriously impact your happiness, confidence and ability to get anything of importance done.
Unfinished work can also lead to guilt and feelings of dissatisfaction with everything around you.
Perfectionism makes entrepreneurs refuse to decide and commit to anything.
When teamed up with procrastination it can create a double dose of avoidance and self-doubt.
But why do we worry so much that everything has to be perfect?
The downsides of perfectionism
Much of it has to do with this future ideal we’ve created in our own mind about the importance of the project or idea.
If we have made up a story of how important something is we can strive and strive until is absolutely perfect.
The thing is, nothing is ever perfect.
One other reasons for perfectionism is that we build up a mindset that nothing is ever good enough.
We feel things could always be a little bit better.
This causes us to be self-critical.
Don’t let perfection be the enemy of productivity
But, this is a self-created obstacle that can waste our talents, take a huge amount of time and reduce our energy and confidence.
When you start giving yourself some slack and decide that 80% right is good enough your mindset will shift completely.
Start thinking along those lines and you will be freed up to finish.
Your projects don’t have to be perfect. They just have to be good and useful today. You can always update it tomorrow.
The big energy drainer is not to take action and finish that project.
I recently put together a Productivity Planner to help people take control of their time and actually get more done during the day.
Was it perfect, no. But people were asking me for this tool, so I put it together.
I can always make amends based on feedback in the future.
How to overcome perfectionism
Here are 4 ways you can defeat perfectionism and procrastination and get into focused action.
1. Create an abundance mindset
We need to reframe the way we approach our projects and goals.
Rather than creating an ideal picture focus instead on the value your idea or project can provide.
Start leading and being in motion.
Focus on abundance and not scarcity.
Get clarity on what the project is, how important it is, what action steps needs to be taken and get to work on completing it.
You don’t build a great reputation by talking about what you’re going to do.
Instead, take the time to think about the project, work on it and get it out there.
When you’re committed to completion and in motion you can start creating what really matters to you.
Think if all the value you can create in the world simply by finishing the project you started.
2. Narrow your focus
You must be fully committed and emotionally engaged in the project you’re working on.
If you are not committed and have too many things on your mind and too many smaller projects to complete, your focus will be off.
Being perfect is the enemy of the good, but so is being distracted.
If you have too many other things to worry about, you’ll get stressed and burned out.
It’s better to focus on that one project that matters now and see it through to completion.
Then you can turn to the next important project or idea.
Manage your perfectionism
A lot of the time when something’s not perfect, not exactly how we want it, we put it aside and work on something else that may be more fascinating.
But we lose focus, and when we try to do too much we magnify the things that aren’t working, become self-critical and fail to follow through.
Your project may not be grammatically perfect, but good enough can be better than perfect, especially if you have too many other things to worry about.
3. Don’t confuse being perfect with excellence
Anyone that knows me and works with me knows that I’m all about high performance and value creation.
But excellence and high performance are not the same as perfection.
Perfection is simply an unattainable goal, an ideal made up in our minds.
It’s much better and more satisfying to complete a project simply by doing great work.
If you have the mindset that it can’t be good enough and you can never be satisfied you miss out on really contributing to people’s lives, instead of locked in your own mind.
4. Change your mindset from should do to want to
If you live in a world of ‘Should Do’ you may never really be sold on the project and be emotionally engaged enough to complete it in the first place.
However, if you come from a place of ‘Want To’ you have chosen to make this project an area of focus for you.
You will then be far more emotionally engaged to take committed, focused action to complete the project.
Before you start anything, ask yourself “Do I really want to work on this project?”
We need to stop asking ourselves is it perfect? and ask instead is this important?
If the answer is yes, commit yourself to finishing the project.
If perfectionism is stopping you from achieving your goals, use these 4 tips to overcome perfectionism and get into focused action.
A coach can help give you the clarity you need to get clear on where you’re headed and the focus needed to achieve your goals.
To overcome perfectionism focus on progress not perfection.
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