Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Drive away the 3 Perfection Demons

An amazing number of people describe themselves as perfectionists. But a few, like Clare, insist, "No way! Time slips away from me, but I don’t believe I have to be perfect. In fact, I tend to let things go."

Does your life feel chaotic? Are you constantly playing catch-up? Losing sleep? Your space has probably has been invaded by one of the Three Perfection Demons.

Pure Perfectionism
Crossing invisible t’s. Company’s coming so you dust under the bed (even though there’s no reason for them to be in the bedroom or on the bed, let alone under it). You get writer’s block because you can’t bring yourself to create a bad piece of work (even as a first draft).

Letting errors slip through – and racing to fix them. You dash through your work – a few misspelled words shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Your house looks lived in…well, that’s what you say. A mess in the corner? Blame the dog. You’re always playing catch-up to fix the problems that weren’t supposed to happen and nobody was supposed to notice anyway.

Hidden perfectionism
Last-minute corrections and course changes. You’re all set to give your talk…and then you realize if you just had three more overheads, you could make your point even better. So you dash around and end up arriving late and flustered. You’re all ready to call on your friend – and then you decide to bring her the CD you just finished, which she’ll really like…if you could only find it.

These demons seem different, but all have one goal: to keep you from taking charge of your time. And all can be driven way with this five-step plan.

(1) Let go of judgments – your own and everybody else’s.

(2) Become aware of your choices in real time. Will you end up with more freedom – or a bigger mess to fix later?

(3) Set a cut-off time and stop working and worrying.

(4) Research what’s realistic so you won't aim too high or too low.

(5) Write leisure activities into your calendar. When you’re looking forward to a break, it’s easier to be efficient and clean up loose ends. A balanced life tends to drive the Perfection Demons into a distant corner.

We’ll discuss Perfectionism during the Time Makeover teleclass. And I offer consultations to confront your own Perfectionism Demon.


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