Getting Unstuck

“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.
  • 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 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.

Julie Kay helps you improve individual and team performance by building the strong trusting relationships you rely on for your success. If you are genuinely interested in boosting performance, productivity and profits the answer is just a click away. For more information, just click here

14 Responses to Getting Unstuck

  • Julie, I was once a serial procrastinator of the very worst kind, so can totally understand and agree with what you are saying. I am glad to say that I am no longer a serial procrastinator. I have found that if I focus on where I currently am in my life, and then focus on where I want to go, then I imagine not taking the actions required, then imagine my life remaining exactly as it is, this gives me the motivation to take the required actions that I must complete to take me from my current situation to my desired situation.

    I don’t know if this process will work for everybody, but it m

  • Julie, great post and one I will share. Your third point on larger projects resonated with me. I am an executive coach and frequently come across this same challenge with my clients. Sometimes I ask them “How do you eat an elephant?”

    Answer: One bite at a time.

    Many thanks,


  • I’m a writer and a number of my writing friend seem fixated on writing the perfect novel. I was too, until I realized that writing the perfect novel was an impossible goal. Now my goal is to write something that others enjoy and make a living doing it.

    When I get stuck, I pull out a yellow legal pad, a funky colored gel pen and start writing. It usually does the trick.

  • I center myself and listen to my intuition and only focus my energies on the things that really matter and I not only get results but get unstuck! Smiles:)

  • I’m a novelist and so I must keep writing to make a living. So, when writer’s block strikes and I find myself scrubbing floors and cleaning toilets to avoid staring at the infamous white computer screen, my cure all tool is a simple timer. I set it for 10 minutes and I MUST sit down and type whatever comes to mind for those 10 minutes. No stopping allowed! Anyone can do most anything for 10 minutes. Well, here’s what happens: the timer goes off and I get upset with it for interrupting my productive writing;)

  • Well, I seem to be rapidly getting over my tendency towards both perfectionism and procrastination. The evidence? I wrote a new blog post yesterday called “Are you stuck?” Then, in haste and in error, I uploaded this post which I had written some time ago. Watch out for the intended post, in a couple of week’s time.

  • Very helpful
    I tend to procrastinate, even though I know my life will improve if I achieve my goals. Work in .. progress!
    Thanks Julie

    • Is it a work in progress or are you just putting it off! 🙂 Only joking Dawna. I think it is a case of keeping tapping in to how it feels when you take action, move towards your goals and what it will be like when you achieve them. Thanks for your contribution.

  • Plausible.

  • Solid and informative as usual. Thanks a lot Julie.

  • There is not much to add. It’s good, concise as it is. Introspection: one can do one w/o the other and the two (perfectionism & procrastination) could have a disynergic effect. It’s fairly often that they both work simultaneously.

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