6 Unconventional Ways to Sidestep Perfectionism and Get the Work Done

Have you ever struggled to start something because your perfectionism was holding you back?

Maybe it felt like there were too many things to get right that you didn’t know where to start? Or maybe you felt like you didn’t have enough time to do a proper job? Maybe your fear of making mistakes made starting all that more difficult.

So much time is wasted in this way that could be directed towards getting the work done.

So let’s look at 6 ways you can overcome this perfectionism:

1. Think of it as a first draft

As soon as you view the work as a first draft, it should take the pressure off. First drafts don’t need to be masterpieces. It’s just a matter of getting something down.

2. Encourage mistakes

Rather than be scared of mistakes, remind yourself that because it’s a first draft you are allowed to make mistakes. In fact, encourage yourself to make mistakes. This will really take the pressure off. You can sort out the mistakes in a later draft.

3. Make it a small one

Looking at the whole project makes you feel more pressure, and makes getting it right seem even more difficult. Instead, break down the task into tiny steps. It all feels less intimidating now, doesn’t it?

4. The Mona Lisa is not perfect

Remind yourself that even great masterpieces have imperfections. Apparently the Mona Lisa doesn’t have eyebrows.

5. Pick your battles

Even for important projects, if you break it down, you’ll see that some parts require more attention than others. Don’t waste time getting something perfect that really doesn’t need to be.

6. Ignore the deadline

If the deadline is making you feel like you don’t have time to do a good job, forget about it. Ignore it.

Give yourself a new deadline many weeks or months into the future. And then just get started. You’ll find you actually waste much less time and make it easier to start than if you keep obsessing over an impending deadline.

Something needs to be done

When you find yourself wasting time because your perfectionism prevents you from getting started on a task, that is the time to use these tips. It may feel like you’re compromising but the alternative is getting nothing done.

Always think “it’s better out than in”. Getting an imperfect draft done is always better than the perfectionist end-product being stuck in your head.

Image Credit: Dustin Lee