What does doing a good job mean to you? Do you aim to maintain high standards, are you satisfied when you’ve given it your best – or must the fruits of your labour be nothing less than perfect?
High standards are essential in any business – but so is timing. By timing, I mean knowing when to complete one task and move on to the next, understanding when the time is right to let your efforts loose onto the world, come to a conclusion in that report or simply declare a job complete. As a Virtual PA I have to be working well, but also efficiently, and stalling over details can cost me and my clients valuable time.
If you’re stuck on a task – drafting and redrafting, trimming and refining, or, even worse, you’ve been incubating a killer idea for months but somehow you’ve still to put pen to paper, you’re suffering from Perfection Paralysis.
Afraid your work won’t be good enough, you’re simply not going to let it go – but missed deadlines and a string of postponements are not taking you or your business anywhere. And worst of all – it doesn’t work! Striving for improbable standards has been proven to add to a string of health problems such as depression, eating disorders and relationship trouble – not the ideal conditions for successful business!
Perfectionism is time-consuming – can your clients afford to wait? Can you afford to spend the time perfecting something when new projects, clients and products are calling for your attention?
Look at the natural world around you – even the pot plant on your desk – everything is in a permanent cycle of creation, growth, death and rebirth and crucially, nothing stays still. Life is characteristically a little messy and unpredictable. Nature never worries about perfection and neither should you.
It’s time to break the block – and the only way to do this is to MOVE. Brainstorm, build something out of Lego, go for a run (ok, a brisk walk will do), ring a friend, anything to break the paralysis. Then try following these essential steps to be at your BEST.
As Mother Nature knows, it’s all about balance – avoiding the other extreme of cutting corners to save time, get to know when you’re at your best and provide yourself with good conditions whenever possible – whether that’s an early start and a working brunch, long afternoons at your desk or evenly-distributed blocks of work time punctuated with breaks.
Next you need some momentum – put some energy into the project. Focus your mind with meditation or breathing exercises – then… play! A playful attitude guarantees you’ll be at your most relaxed and creative, so never forget to enjoy what you’re doing.
Be satisfied with your efforts – glitches are OK. You will never stop improving so learn when to stop and let go.
At the same time, keep trying. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then try again, and try maybe one more time – then drop it and rest. Give yourself a pat on the back and a glass of wine – you did great!
What experiences do you have of Perfection Paralysis? Drop me a line or post a comment here.