Lately, I’ve been hearing the notion that perfectionism is just a dressed-up version of fear. It’s socially acceptable and something that we brush off as an acceptable excuse for not going for what we want.
I think that dealing with perfectionism is a lot like taking care of your mental health or flexing a muscle that you aren’t used to using. It’s hard and uncomfortable at first but once you find what works for you, dealing with perfectionism becomes easier. These things make my thoughts dissipate a lot quicker.
Make a to-do list
Any time I feel some sort of anxiety or fear about getting something done, I make a to-do list. Something about seeing everything laid out in front of me calms me down a lot quicker than breathing exercises.
I use a to-do list like a brain dump. Everything that I want to do goes on the list. I don’t filter or spellcheck (yes, I do correct myself when I write). So by the end of the session, my to-do list looks like a mess. And sometimes undecipherable
Cross off unattainable goals
At this point, if I’m not automatically relieved at the fact that I have my tasks laid out in front of me I know I need to take control of the list. Because I dump everything on there, there’s bound to be really big lofty to-dos on there.
So I start crossing them off. If I know I don’t have the time or energy to tackle the task, I cross it off. I usually bargain with myself and try to see if I can “try” to fit it in at some point in my day, but that alone allows me to be confident in crossing it off.
I typically spend a ton of time trying to make sure everything goes “according to plan” that by the time I’m done doing so, there isn’t much time to get anything done. Sometimes the best way for me to stop this is just by throwing on some music and going at a task.
Sometimes I start with the smallest one and that eventually build momentum to complete more time-consuming tasks. I usually end up getting a lot done in a short span of time that I have to laugh at myself for not wanting or imagining all the results in my head.
Negotiate with yourself
I have definitely not started something because I “want to take my time to complete it”. Sometimes it’s with the dishes at other times, I get this way with my laundry. When this happens I try to talk myself out of not doing something entirely.
Breaking things up in chunks is okay. I mean I spent most of my college years, breaking up the amount of work I had to do for a class over a week so that I wouldn’t get so overwhelmed.
Not all the same things work for everyone, but looking at what other things people do can make it easier to identify what does and doesn’t work for you. It’s also important to remember to talk it out with someone. You’d be surprised at how many people share your thought process or help you break out of your perfectionistic tendencies.