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Is Perfectionism Slowing You Down?

By Jaya Schillinger

Have you ever found yourself doing the least important things on your to-do list, while procrastinating on the very things that matter most? It's easy to understand why we procrastinate on things that are unpleasant, expensive, or time consuming. (That's why there's a line at the post office on April 15th at midnight.) But why do we procrastinate on doing the things that will yield truly beneficial results in areas we feel passionate about? I read an interesting comment recently that said, "Inside every procrastinator lives a perfectionist."

Have you ever delayed starting a project because you were waiting for conditions to be "just right," so you could complete it? If so, you might be a perfectionist. But have you ever put it off so long that you had to submit work you were unhappy with, or worse yet -actually missed the deadline altogether? Then you may very well be a "procrastinating perfectionist." This is the double bind: by setting up the unreasonable standard of perfection, the procrastinating perfectionist has sabotaged themselves so that work conditions and subsequent results end up being below average.

So what does one who is stuck in this self-defeating pattern do? The long-term solution is to do a little deep-digging to see what your relationship is to perfection, control, and self-sabotage. Ok, so there's a life-time worth of work! What about right now? Sometimes it's easier to work with a perceived problem rather than try to eradicate it. Can your inner-perfectionist be mobilized to overcome your inner-procrastinator? Here are a few tips to psyche yourself out of a perfectionist slow down.

First, consider that no self-respecting perfectionist can stand the shame of missing a deadline and use this to your advantage. Give yourself extra credit for timeliness. Deduct points for procrastination.

Just start! If you are a true dyed-in-the-wool perfectionist, you don't need conditions to be as perfect as you would like. Once you get going, your natural excellence will kick in.

Remember, that your perfectionism is largely subjective. Don't complicate your projects with unnecessary details. Focus on accomplishing the "must do's" first. Then add the extras that you love so much.

And lastly, give up the idea that you must do everything on your own. If you don't want to give up control by delegating some of the work, that's fine. But do get an accountability partner that you report your progress to on a regular basis.

About The Author
Jaya Schillinger "The Turnaround Queen" at is a certified life coach & small business consultant with over 20 years of business ownership & management experience in the fields of personal development, health, and beauty.

©2006 Jaya Schillinger, Inspiration Inc.

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