Perfectionists Can Get Things Done

Sometimes you need to choose progress over perfectionism

Perfectionists can get things doneWhen someone is a perfectionist, everything has to be just so, all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed, and whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is a personality trait that can have its downsides. Many perfectionists become leaders in their field of expertise, but often they consider minor mistakes to be a sign of personal failure leading to high levels of stress and anxiety.

Perfectionists also have a tendency to hold both themselves and others accountable to standards that are both unrealistic and unachievable.

Perfectionism will always work against you in the area of time management, and can be a big source of procrastination because nothing is ever quite right, that blog is never quite there, that image is not quite right, that sales page needs more work etc. etc.

Do you suffer from perfectionism, if so the tips below may help?

Even perfectionists can’t do it all.

As a perfectionist, one of your biggest enemies is multitasking. Many people advocate multitasking in the belief that they are getting lots done. In reality all they do is lots of jobs poorly, and for those of a perfectionist persuasion that’s very frustrating.

The antidote to multitasking is focus. Focus on the task you have in front of you and complete that task first, if you can’t finish the task take it as far as you can. For some perfectionists it would be better not to start the task in the first place if you know it can’t be completed. Once that task is completed, you can move on to the next one, and remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you don’t have to accomplish everything in one day.

Set a time limit for everything you need to do.

This is sage advice for anyone looking to improve their time management whether a perfectionist or not, timeframes and deadlines give you a finish lie to work towards.

Deadlines also make the planning of tasks easier, for example If you know you have two weeks to complete a piece of work and it will take 30 hours to complete, you know you have to allocate 15 hours a week or 3 hours per day to that piece of work. Remember to factor in time for interruptions or things going wrong.

Don’t schedule back to back tasks.

Even perfectionists need time to relax, even if it’s only a few minutes. This allows your mind to rest and get away from the constant pressure you put it under. Mental tiredness is often harder to deal with than physical tiredness.

You aren’t a robot, you can’t expect your body and brain to go full speed ahead on everything without needing a timeout. In between tasks consider taking a time out, break away and do something enjoyable, chat with friends, have a coffee, or simply do nothing and take the time to chill.

Schedule Ahead and Give Yourself Time to Be a Perfectionist

Plan and schedule ahead of time to allow yourself the time to prepare and do a job to meet your exacting standards. For example, if you clean the gutters on your home every Autumn, you’ll want to add time for that task to your personal schedule.

If you know that every year, there’s a summer BBQ at work, and you’ll need to take something as well as show up, put that on your calendar, too.

If you’re a blogger plan seasonal blogs ahead of time, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Christmas, Hanukah, Ramadan, they all happen at roughly the same time every year don’t put yourself under pressure to get the perfect result by leaving things to the last minute.

The same goes for the business owner who sells seasonal products. Press releases, seasonally focused email newsletters and other marketing materials all need to be planned ahead of time.

As an aside one of the biggest selling Christmas records of all time, “Merry Christmas” by Slade was recorded in New York in July!!!!

Look over your to-do list, and cut it down.

Most people end up with poor time management because their to-do list has too many items on it. That’s because we all like to achieve things because even the possibility of achieving things makes us feel good.

But people often set up tasks that they can’t accomplish because there’s not enough time. It’s like setting yourself up for failure. Whittle the list down and if there’s time left over, you’ll feel a bonus that you got something “extra” done rather than failed to complete something imperative.

As a final note for the perfectionists reading this blog, remember that sometimes good is good enough, the newsletter, landing page or blog that is published with one spelling mistake will always be read by more people than the one that stays on your computer, because it is not quite right.

And should you find a spelling or grammar error in this article please refer to the above paragraph :-)

If you would like even more hints,tips and techniques to help you manage you time, you may like to consider joining over 650 other members of my free facebook group, The Time Management academy, if so here is the link we would love to see you there “The Time Management Academy” .

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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14 thoughts on “Perfectionists Can Get Things Done

  1. Oh, this was me, and I’m working on it! Good is good enough is something I struggle with, since I’ve been a teacher for 25 years, and I always stressed, “Do your best work!” But, I do set time limits now, and tell myself, “Do the best you can in ____minutes” and then click on Start on the timer on my phone! (Oh, and I AM the Spelling Police, a holdover from my 4 years as an editor in an Educational Publishing Company!!!!)
    Michele TravelwithMrsT recently posted…Instagram and Related Apps: My Honest OpinionMy Profile

  2. A great post, Thankfully I threw most of my perfectionist habits out the window a few months ago, when tasks started to get too much, due to my habits. This has given me time to learn new skills to improve my business, so thank you fro the reminder :)

    Tasleem Khan
    Tasleem Khan recently posted…Have you Backed Up?My Profile

    • Hi Adriana, the best way to start is to just convince yourself that it is getting started that is important rather than completing. There will always be things outside of our control that get in the way of us completing things.

    • Hi Corinne, thanks for your comment, Never been much of a planner!!, Is your calendar colour coded by any chance and do you get frustrated that your To Do lists become a not done list? Let me know

  3. A great article that really identifies the areas perfectionists need to be more conscious of. I’m a perfectionist and there are days when my to do list is so long that I know I won’t complete it, but I feel compelled to make sure my clients are happy and things are done straight away.
    From September, I know I’m going to have to be more conscious of what I am taking on, as I know I can’t do it all in one day.

  4. Hi Mike, I used to be a perfectionist but have learnt to let go more as I’ve got older. My biggest issue , as well as time management, was I would ask a team member to do something but then want to rework it.
    This is now affectionately known as something being Lottie’d and I’m better at only doing it when asked
    lottie recently posted…Hold The Rolling StoneMy Profile

    • A reformed perfectionist, Lottie, well done. We use the term Wendyised in our house, my Wife can spot a missing Comma in any document from 200 yards away, with the cover closed :-)