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When Trying to Be Perfect Leads to Procrastination
I’ve had readers tell me that perfectionism is often a struggle for them. Personally, I find this less of a problem than overwhelm (the next section), but I do have some tips for you.
Try to understand why you are aiming to be “perfect”. Perhaps you’re competing with someone, or you feel pressure from a boss, co-worker, or colleague. Maybe you are simply determined to reach a specific goal you’ve set for yourself.
Follow these 3 steps to keep your quest for perfection in check.
1. Redefine “Perfect”
Do you really need it to be perfect? Instead, decide on key characteristics or features of your project that do need to be done meticulously. For example, there are parts of my data analysis that have to be absolutely correct to avoid problems in the future. Sometimes you need to be detail-oriented.
Other times, you may be wasting a lot of time nit-picking over something, rather than getting the main project finished.
Make a list of what really needs to be done in a meticulous, perfectionist way – and then leave the rest alone!
2. Set Milestones
Milestones are my favourite way to set deadlines! What are the big accomplishments you’ll hit before you reach your overall goal? Make a list, and check them off as you get them done.
Before writing this post, I knew little about Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, but I’ve learned a bit more about her. She seems to have taken terrible events in her life and turned them into a positive force to help others. She helps others handle grief according to this Time article, and inspires many with her quotes.
3. Track Your Progress
What to Do When Overwhelm Leads To Procrastination
1. Remember Why You Started
Sometimes it’s easy to lose focus of why we started a project when we get completely snowed under. I constantly remind myself that the outcome of my PhD and its implication for language learning students are really the important issues here. The details, the struggle through analysis, the complex process – those are details. What matters is how I can use what I find to help my language students, and perhaps even run a successful language school, or study abroad exchange program one day.
I write a lot about using Google Calendar effectively. It’s simply because I really love it. When I’m overwhelmed, planning really helps me. Of course, the tricky part is getting everything done. So I’d suggest saving space to write that down, too. Checklists, post-it-notes, whiteboards – whatever works best for you.
3. Get Close to Perfect
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