Have you ever found yourself in a rut where you are trying to complete a task but you are unable to do it because it is not good enough, no matter how much time you have devoted to it? This is the perfectionism trap. And you need to escape from the perfectionism trap as soon as possible.
Hi, I am Prakhar. And today we will talk about the perfectionism trap and how to escape and create a system to avoid this trap.
According to Psychology Today – Perfectionism is a trait that makes life an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. When healthy, it can be self-motivating and drive you to overcome adversity and achieve success. When unhealthy, it can be a fast and enduring track to unhappiness. (Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/perfectionism#:~:text=Perfectionism%20is%20a%20personality%20trait%20characterized%20by%20high%20expectations%20and,be%20a%20symptom%20of%20OCD. )
What causes perfectionism?
Perfectionism can be caused by fear of failure and fear of not being good enough. There are multiple reasons why we have those fears. An expert psychologist can help you find the underlying condition which is causing perfectionism.
Let’s take an example that you want to write an article or report. The fear of failure or criticism makes you keep on improving your work but not letting yourself finish. Your improvement cycles are not because you want to keep on improving your article, it is happening because you do not want to publish your task. Why you will ever do that and not publish your task? You have not learned how to handle criticism and how to handle failure. It may sound harsh, but I have also been in that situation. I had no variable for failure.
How to escape from the perfectionism trap?
First of all, whatever you are doing, your purpose is to be publishing your work. Your purpose should be delivering the task. As Bhagwat Geeta said, “Actions are in your hands, not the results or outcomes.” Try to shift your mindset from delivering the perfect masterpiece to the mindset that you need to give something to your fellow human beings quickly and in greater quantity. Add the failure variable.
I am paraphrasing Einstein that, If you have never failed, it means you have never tried anything new.
There are two ways of writing articles. First, if you write one article in 30 days and do all the research use the best possible words and methods. And second where you create one article each day for 30 days. There have been many research and experiments done and results show that the second option gives better results.
The process is more important. If you master the process then you will automatically start creating better content than those who are into creating masterpieces.
How to create a system to avoid the perfectionism trap?
You might have heard about Parkinson’s law. It says “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_law )
It means if you give yourself 30 days to write an article you will use all the 30 days but if you give yourself just one hour, you will write that article in just one hour. This article itself is written in one hour.
As I always say subdivide your task into the tinniest piece possible and do one at a time. Allocate time for each task and finish it in the allocated time frame, integrate it, and publish it. Your job is to publish things and upgrade not to create masterpieces. The Android and iOS were very bad when they were launched, as compared to today but they were improved year after a year.
How to keep track of quality?
Now the question comes to mind where is the line? isn’t not writing my article properly make it bad? Yes, your concern is right. Not being perfect doesn’t mean writing bad-quality content. Use your perfectionism as adaptive perfectionism. Take all the good parts of perfectionism and leave all the bad elements of it. Here the work is needed. You have to track your work and judge the quality.
Let’s say you have decided to do a task in just half an hour but you saw that half an hour was not helping you create good work. Then make it one hour next time. Find that sweet spot and integrate it into your system.
In conclusion, Do the given task quickly. Focus on finishing it quickly, and do your research, and upgradation in parallel. Try Adaptive perfectionism with Parkinson’s law. Make all your activities time-bound. Remember your job is to publish.
What is your strategy to escape from the perfectionism trap?