Procrastination and Perfectionism

Overcoming Blocks to Action

In his book The Now Habit, Neil Fiore outlines the six step process below for facing fears and creating safety. His book also contains a very good explanation of the link between perfectionism and procrastination. For these two sections alone I highly recommend his book.

Meanwhile, when you find yourself worrying about failing on a project or losing a job, ask yourself:

1. What is the worst that could happen?

Choose the most dreaded scenario and how likely it is to happen. What would you do if it did?

2. What would I do if the worst really happened?

Where would you get help? What would you do to cope with getting upset and losing control? Then what? After that? And then what? Question yourself until you know there is no event so bad that it can stop you.

3. How would I lessen the pain and get on with as much happiness as possible if the worse did occur?

If the worst happens, focus on shortening the depression and self-criticism by forgiving yourself for being human, vulnerable and imperfect? How would you get back on track with improving your life regardless of how bad things get? What strengths have got you through in the past? What can you learn from your past achievements about coping with adversity?

4. What alternatives would I have?

Consider if you have limited your options by being too rigid. How can you increase your alternatives? There are many ways to be happy and successful.

5. What can I do now to lessen the probability of this dreaded event occurring?

What have you been putting off that once you face, will lessen the worry, make you feel safe and get you into action? Once you have considered the worst that could happen and prepared yourself to cope with that, you are ready to tackle the tasks that are likely to increase your chance of success.

6. Is there anything I can do now to increase my chances of achieving my goal?

Now you have considered the worst case scenario, made plans for how to deal with it if it happens, and discovered you have alternatives, you can ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do now to increase my chances of achieving my goal?”

According to Neil Fiore, true confidence comes from knowing that, having prepared for the worst you can focus on the work that will lead to the best.

How do you overcome blocks to action?

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

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

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