Trying to be perfect–and expecting those around you to be perfect–creates lots of chaos. Holy Moly! First, consider how much time it “costs” to be perfect. Imagine that getting a task to 90% takes one unit of time (and that unit might be an hour, 6 hours, or 3 days). If you are going to take that task to “perfect,” or 100%, then it will take you another whole “unit” of time. Do the math. It takes twice as long to do something perfectly as it does to do it to a 90% standard.
There are times we need work toward perfection..and other times, we don’t. Here are some Keys to Keeping Chaos at Bay by practicing what I call “selective perfectionism”:
Task that probably need to be as close to perfect as humanly possible include:
- Doing surgery.
- Creating, checking, and rechecking a budget you are submitting for a federal grant.
- Scoring SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, and other high stakes tests and exams.
- Preparing for a major speech, address, or interview. There are ones in any of these categories that don’t need to go all the way to 100%, but then there are the ones that deserve every bit of attention and practice we can possibly do.
I’m sure you have a few others, but here are some that do NOT need to be taken to perfect (and where 90% will probably work fine):
- Writing memos. Just get the information in there, check it for spelling, content, etc. and send that memo on its way.
- Cleaning your house (no matter who is coming over).
- Creating a handout for a class you are teaching.
- Putting on make-up and fixing your hair.
- Organizing almost anything. The idea is to have items where you need them when you need them and to be able to find them, but having your books, files, spices, shoes, etc. referenced and cross-referenced….that’s over the top.
- Putting out your holiday letter (or other greeting cards, etc.) Communicate and send or mail.
Perfectionism is a common reason why people become….seriously and scarily behind. We all get a little behind sometimes – at home, at work, in our classes, in our chores, and in our many projects. But other times, something much worse happens, i.e., you are significantly behind in your projects; clearly in arrears on your promises; unquestionably freaked-out about how far behind you are. I invite you to access this extremely practical and VERY focused just-in-the-nick-of-time teleseminar, *Strategies for When You are Seriously and Scarily Behind*