“I’m Julie Kay and I’m a recovering perfectionist,” I also know from my work as a coach that I am not alone in that. I work with many committed, hard-working people who are driven by providing the best service or the best product possible for their clients, colleagues or customers. At the same time, a large number fail to meet their own and their customers’ expectations because they miss deadlines, run out of time and deliver something of poor quality or don’t deliver at all because they don’t get past the planning stage and therefore deny their customers access to themselves and the outcomes they can potentially deliver.
The poet Rabindranth Tagore describes this beautifully:
“I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.”
Procrastination and perfectionism often go hand in hand. Perfectionists hold themselves back, telling themselves they need more time, more skills, more information, or more certainty, before they can produce high quality results.
Not all procrastination is down to being a perfectionist though. Sometimes it is related to feeling overwhelmed, getting caught up in the detail, being fearful or just plain bored. For example, when I find myself doing the housework it’s a strong signal that I am avoiding something even more unappealing!
Whatever the reason, these suggestions may be helpful in getting you un-stuck and into action.
- Remember that a perfect product that never materialises is doing your customers a dis-service. Find the balance between quality and timeliness.
- Accept there will never be certainty. Adopt the attitude of building the plane while you are flying it. If you take action, get feedback and then make tweaks as you go along you will reach your destination
- When you are procrastinating, re-connect with why you are doing it. As the saying goes, “when the why is big enough the how will take care of itself.”
- When you are feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the project, break it down into the smallest possible steps that you can take easily every day.
- Celebrate your successes and make sure you acknowledge actions taken as well as outcomes.
- Build in accountability. Find ways to hold yourself accountable, find an accountability partner or a whole learning community that will check in with you, challenge you and be interested in your progress and results.
I would love to hear what you do to stop procrastinating and start producing the goods.