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Posts tagged ‘perfectionism’

How to Beat Procrastination

 

How to Beat Procrastination 

Procrastination is the leisure time we build into our day when we don’t have enough leisure time.

Is that true for you?

Let’s look at some of the reasons we procrastinate:

1. Lack of How To

When we don’t know how to do a task or don’t know how to get started, and don’t have someone to ask, we tend to put the task off.

2. Overwhelm

The task is so big we don’t know where to get started and there is no end in sight, there is so much to do.

3. Stress

Stress can be a trigger for procrastination. We procrastinate when we can least afford it.

4. Lack of time management

Spending time on non-essential tasks can be a form of ongoing procrastination, until we are face to face with a deadline.

5. Perfectionism

It is easy to procrastinate when we know that the end result of our work is never good enough.

6. Lack of Goals

Very few people live their life on purpose. Most people go through the motions of what needs to be done day in and day out.

 

What can you do in each of these situations?

1. Lack of How To

First of all decide if there is a resource that can help you get started. It could be a book, a person whom you can ask for help, or searching for answers on the internet. Other times the best course of action is to get started. Set aside 30 minutes and try to figure out something to get you started. Get started with breaking the job into bite-size tasks and then tackling these one at a time.

2. Overwhelm

If a task is too big, the first thing is to break it down into smaller chunks. If there is just too much to do, write down all that needs to be done. Cross out the tasks that you can do without. Delegate tasks that someone else can do. Prioritize the most important tasks, knowing that some lower priority tasks may not get done. Sometimes you can negotiate for extra time.

3. Stress

When you feel the stress getting to you, take a relaxation break. Take some deep breaths; meditate for 3-5 minutes; get up and take a short 5 minute walk; listen to a piece of music. Rather than letting the stress get to you and pushing forward, a short break may be the answer.

4. Time Management

One way to manage time is to manage priorities. Eliminate non-essential tasks. Work on the most important tasks first. Another form of time management is to break large tasks into blocks and spread them over time. For example taxes need to be filed every year. Instead of waiting until April to get the taxes done, spend time every month to organize your tax receipts and bank statements, so that the task is small when the taxes need to be filed.

Write down all your tasks and divide them into 4 categories:

  •      Important and urgent
  •      Important and not urgent
  •      Not important and urgent
  •      Not important and not urgent

Then eliminate as many of the not important and not urgent tasks as possible.

Regularly work on important tasks while they are not yet urgent. This eliminates a great deal of stress in your life by preventing urgent tasks in your life.

5. Perfectionism

This is a tough one to overcome. Often this trait was encouraged from early on – like getting all A’s on your report card. One way to tackle this is to allow yourself trial runs or in case of a document – a first draft – or even just the first few paragraphs. With practice you can loosen the grip of perfectionism.

6. Lack of Goals

Goals give your life direction. Take time out to dream about your life 1, 5, 10 or even 20 years into the future. Think about where you’d like to live, who you’d like to be sharing your life with, and what you’d like to have. Then build tasks into your schedule that will get you closer to your dreams. Those tasks are important motivators to keep you going with everything you need to get done.

 

Next Steps

Recognizing how you spend your day and what needs to change can be a real challenge to do alone.

Consider keeping a time log for a couple of weeks and reach out for help to implement changes to the way you live your life. Remember to build regular leisure activities into your days and weeks. It replenishes your energy to keep going.

 

Contact me:

To determine if coaching can help you achieve your goals, schedule a free coaching consultation. Call Edith at 847.913.3900. 

Perfectionism – Does it have to be a “Life Sentence”?

Perfectionism – Does it have to be a “Life Sentence”?

Are you a perfectionist? Does everything have to be “just so”? Are you afraid of making mistakes, of being wrong, of being blamed? Are you your own harshest critic?

One of Webster’s definitions for perfectionism is: “a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable”.

If this feels like you, then you might feel
• fear of making a mistake
• fear of making decisions
• prefer procrastination and inaction to “wrong” action
• fear of being wrong
• fear of being found out or admitting a mistake
• fear of being punished for making a mistake
• fear of self judgment and harsh self criticism
• fear of seeing mistakes in others, especially people you care about
• condemnation of others’ mistakes and a sense of self righteousness

What’s the source of that? Let’s look into where we learned criticism, judgment and to condemn —- and how much it hurt. Maybe as children we just wanted to be loved. So we had to be perfect – as often as possible – or so we thought.

Do you feel guilty; that “it” is your fault? IF you had just been more perfect, then things would be different? Children often blame themselves for something they had no influence or responsibility for. Have you?

Story – My uncle died. I was sure it was my fault

When I was young – may be in first or second grade, my uncle died in a car crash. Technically he was my Mom’s uncle. He was one of the most important people in my young life. I loved him and felt loved and cared about by him. So how was his death my fault? It wasn’t, but I didn’t know that.

See – he had a laundry business and he picked up dirty laundry and delivered clean laundry in our little village. Sometimes he happened to catch me walking to my Mom’s work after school and gave me a ride up that steep hill to where she worked. That was really special. It didn’t matter that it was only a few minutes walk. He cared about me and showed it. Unfortunately I didn’t feel that from anyone else. So it mattered even more. When he died, I was sure it was my fault.

It was winter and he died in a car crash on that icy slope – I believe. And I believed that if he hadn’t driven there at that time, then of course he’d still be safe. And he must have been on that road because he was looking to give me a ride. It was the main road through town and I suspect now that he drove it often.

Then for a while I had the fantasy, that if I had just been there the way he was there for me, then he’d still be alive. I had heard that people get incredibly strong when there is an emergency like that. So I fantasized, that if I had been there, then I could have lifted the big delivery van off him and saved him. I was probably six or seven years old when it happened. It’s unlikely that he was under the car since he was the driver. But I didn’t think about that – until just now while writing this down.

How did I first realize that maybe it wasn’t my fault that he died? I was visiting my mother about 30 years after the accident and somehow the topic veered to our uncle. Well, she talked about how it was her fault that he died. I was incredulous! We both had the same idea and when we explored it, neither one of us realistically could have had any blame for his death.

Ask yourself: Do you have something in your life that you have blamed yourself for or been blamed for? Was it really your fault?

Call to Action and Why This Matters

If you are a perfectionist, you might have a HABIT of accepting blame – whether it is your fault or not. People around you will blame you. Or you will feel blamed. You may believe it, you expect it and accept it. So the cycle continues.
As a result you may avoid making decisions and procrastinate about taking action. You may avoid trying anything new. You may shy away from things like public speaking or anything else where people might be watching “for your next mistake”. You avoid and fear change. And because it feels terrible enough to make a mistake and blame yourself, it might be almost impossible to admit one when you really should say, “I am sorry. I made a mistake.”

This week, I encourage you to observe your patterns of behavior:
• why and when you procrastinate
• your willingness to try new things
• your ability to make decisions easily and decisively
• your ability to take reasonable risks

Taking it Farther

If perfectionism stalls your ability to move forward, you may want to look deeper. In what area of your life do you get stalled? Is there a clue in your past? Was there a traumatic event that caused you to become that way, or did you have an important person in your life early on whose lack of approval and constant criticism caused you to become shy and reticent to take any risks or make any mistakes?

Some people can heal this through journal writing or other self-help techniques; others may choose a trusted friend, a support group, therapist or coach to release this pattern over time. Others can change their HABIT of perfectionism with sheer effort of will. Whatever works for you – do it. I’m not saying to get sloppy, just to ease any stranglehold that perfectionism may hold over you.

You deserve to be free from constant self-doubt and harsh criticism by yourself or others. You deserve to be free to try new things, learn from your mistakes and “get messy”. Perfectionism doesn’t have to be a “life sentence”.

Contact me

Want more help? I’m here for you. Tired of holding yourself back? Get relief! Call to schedule some coaching sessions. Have questions? Call to get answers. Edith at 847.913.3900


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