Procrastination – How Perfect are You?
Is this you?
• Set goals and aspirations at an exceptionally high level?
• Never believe that you are quite doing enough?
• All or nothing thinking – either good or bad?
• Don’t like to delegate, for fear of lack of control?
• Fear of failure?
• Nit-pick over minor mistakes?
• People pleaser?
If you answered ‘yes’ to three or more you could be called a ‘perfectionist’. ‘Great,’ you say, ‘that’s exactly how I would see myself – striving towards my goal, focused and determined, ensuring quality and attention to detail is of the highest level.’ All good stuff, but when do you know that you have reached that ‘perfect’ level at work?
An engineer I worked with was determined that his report would be exactly what the client wanted. As an objective, it was spot-on – except that this report turned into a War and Peace look-a-like and was eventually delivered four weeks after the deadline. The client was not impressed and that was the last job we did for them.
Perfectionism can become toxic when people set impossibly high standards and often believe that they are worthless if they cannot meet them.
If you’re going to be a perfectionist, why now? Economic conditions have moved companies to down-size their work-force; those that remain are often doubling-up jobs;
Everyone is feeling the pressure. Getting the job done is one thing; can you really afford to be obsessed about small details, or always to aim above and beyond what is asked for?
A friend of mine found that when she was an Account Manager she could manage being a perfectionist because, largely, she could control her work life balance.
However, when she was promoted to a senior position which involved managing people, overseeing projects, all involving resource and time restraints, she found it almost impossible to step back and take a more strategic role and trust her staff to manage the detail.
She worried excessively about situations she could not personally control; were her staff dressed smartly? Were they dealing with client queries quickly and efficiently? How could she get them to smash their already difficult targets?
All these questions kept whirling around in her mind which spilled over in to her home life where she found herself becoming more intolerant to her family and struggling to sleep more than a few hours a night!
This type of dysfunctional perfectionism can lead to debilitating conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression and latest statistics show that these are on the increase.