PERFECTIONISM is killing your PRODUCTIVITY
I am a recovering type-A.
I will ALWAYS be a recovering type-A, and for me, it is a daily practice for me to stick to my new, flowy, ease-filled work days. (Because it gets to be easy, right?)
Getting work done was excruciating for me – as an artist, it was always super stressful to complete a project, because well… I was never totally happy with them. There were always THINGS I wasn’t completely happy with, and so I was never truly, mentally done.
For me, it was a productivity killer. I’d find myself procrastinating the last steps of a project just because I didn’t want to agonize over the details. Usually, these were projects for ME. When it came to client projects, I was all over getting things done, because delivery of a final product is always so fulfilling. But when it came to MY brand and MY website and MY content… oof. I was literally never finished.
It is exceptionally tempting to continue work on content until it is perfect. Pout over every word, every phrase, make sure it feels PERFECT.
It will never be perfect.
But here’s the thing: it will never be perfect. Perfect is unattainable. Perfect is something you made up for yourself.
Which means, you are (and on some level you know this already) chasing an impossible ending. Because whatever it is that you’re building… it won’t ever be perfect.
It took me AGES to integrate this into my thinking, but there are 5 basic lessons I learned that have helped me work through getting things “DONE” in my OWN business, instead of waiting until I had everything “PERFECT” 100% of the time.
Things to remember when PERFECTION is your goal:
- You are your worst critic
- Have you ever had a spot on your face (okay follow me here, I promise this will make sense) and you saw it, and it was TINY. And you were like “I will defeat this beast” so… you poke it. And you quickly realize, this was a mistake. You pick the spot, that NO ONE WOULD HAVE NOTICED, and now it’s a hole in your face. That EVERYone will DEFINITELY see. Like, you can’t even cover it with makeup. It’s BAD.
- The “imperfect” things in your content? Unless they’re GLARINGLY bad, which I highly doubt, no one will notice them. If you are following content design guidelines, using your brand guide, aligning your components (like, your centered items are centered, your right justified are right justified, etc), and using tones that are consistent with your brand… No one is going to notice that one thing that feels “off” to you. Wanna know why it feels off? YOU designed it. That is the only reason. You designed it, and you are your own worst critic, so YOU see it and it bothers you.
- Now, I am not saying that you should leave things in your content that bother you – but do not AGONIZE over perfection, because you will end up picking spots that no one would have ever seen. I promise.
- People don’t actually want perfection
- Yup. And you already know this. It’s been said a million times, by a million people, and I won’t belabor the point – but… no one wants you to be perfect. Perfect doesn’t even sell. YOU do. Being YOU sells your content. Being unapologetically, uniquely, who you are. And who you are? It’s not without flaws. So be you, because people want YOU, not a shiny statue version of you that you present to them. That’s gross. People aren’t perfect; your business shouldn’t be either.
- If you never finish anything, you will never sell anything
- Okay guys, this one is pretty straightforward here too, but I’m gonna elaborate a bit. I spent YEARS thinking that my own presence wasn’t something I needed to put effort into, because I could sell using my portfolio of client work. And for a while… that worked. That was fine. However, that was a bandaid that allowed me to avoid doing things that were uncomfortable, and basically let me procrastinate when I should not have been procrastinating. You feel me?
- So here’s the thing. I have no control over my flow of clients, if I am only relying on referrals. I LOVE referrals, I get many of them, and I am grateful, endlessly, every time one comes through. But referrals alone cannot support a business. You HAVE to have other means of bringing in leads, and that does, unfortunately, require having a finished presence, and getting things done.
- If you’re preventing yourself from finishing your content because of perfectionism procrastination… you’re preventing yourself from getting new clients. Not cool, right?
- Being Organized and being a Perfectionist are DIFFERENT THINGS
- For ages, and ages, and ages, I told myself that my perfectionism was my biggest strength as an entrepreneur. That was a lie.
- My level of organization is my biggest strength as an entrepreneur. The two are different, though sometimes they definitely feel the same.
- My level of organization is what helps me maintain and work through to-do lists, perfectionism kept me from actively completing tasks on it, because I agonized over the planning stages. Once I shifted my focus from perfectionism to organization, SO many things changed for me. I started prepping content, getting things out there, and actually implementing all of the plans I made. And, I was able to start considering self-care in my process, so that I could avoid burn-out!
- I am enough without creating perfect stuff all the time
- Here’s the thing – and this is a big one, that deserves it’s own post entirely, but we’re going with it. Though running a business as an independent entrepreneur is undeniably personal – your success in your business means nothing about you as a person. When you fail? It does not make you a failure. When you succeed? Equally, it does not make you a success. And if you make the performance of your business mean things about you as a person, you will remain trapped in perfectionist cycles. If you aren’t completing things because they’re not perfect yet, and you’re not launching things for that reason, I’m willing to bet that deep, deep down in your mind, you would be able to find a thought that goes something like this, “If I launch whatever this is, without it being perfect, it’ll fail – and that… that would make me a failure. And I’m not a failure, I’m a success.”
- Why is this not ideal? It means that you are effectively keeping yourself small, and you might not even realize it.
- I was doing this. I did this CONSTANTLY. I thought I wasn’t enough without creating the perfect thing all the time. And I won’t pretend this was an easy pattern to shed, and it’s still something that pops up for me sometimes. But I’ve gotten to the point that it’s not a daily thought that I have, it’s something that happens occasionally and when it does, I can get rid of it pretty easily and quickly.
So – there you have it! These are the 5 things that I come back to when I get to feeling that things need to be PeRfEcT when I’m in creation mode. Hopefully you found a few of these helpful – but feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments.