Posts Tagged ‘procrastination’

Three Ridiculously Easy Tips to Defeat Perfectionism

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014


If you are like most of us, you are doing more with less. Most businesses take pride in the ever increasing productivity of workers. Bosses often pile on too much work to too few people. Solo-entrepreneurs over-commit themselves. And, pretty much everyone is sleep-deprived, caffeine and sugar-high, or otherwise brain drained by the habits we rely on to keep us going.

So how can you manage a pile of projects, your social media commitments, and have time for Scandal? Plus get some time to see your friends and family, walk your dog, eat right, workout, sleep enough and occasionally chill!

The simple way to satisfying the taskmaster – your boss or yourself – is to drop the perfectionism.

Highly productive people who live satisfying and successful lives seem to share the same philosophy. It can be summed up as:

Focus on the outcome. Consider the time and resources available. Embrace the traits of swift and simple as tenets of your personal brand. Enjoy life.

In my research on work behavior, I’ve identified three different types of perfectionist work styles. While you might have obvious signs of perfectionism, some perfectionist behaviors are sneaky. Which of these might apply to you?

The “Everything Matters!” perfectionists

These folks give everything the same priority: top notch! They live by a much repeated and truly debilitating adage: “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” That’s simply not true. Why scrub empty milk cartons before placing them in the recycling, when a simple rinse will do the trick? Don’t take more time creating the perfect Netflix watch list than you do watching movies.

TIP #1: Make a list of everything you could do poorly, without sacrificing health, wealth and your personal brand at work. Then enjoy the extra sleep, creative time, and just doing nothing once in a while.

The “Chicken Little” perfectionists

Often called micromanagers, these people are sure the sky will come crashing down, if they don’t have everything they need in advance and everything in place in case anything goes wrong. They suffer from a lack of basic awareness that humans are inherently good problem-solvers. They also ignore that the 24-hour gas station minimart has a pretty good substitute for whatever you’re missing.

TIP #2: Make a list, check it twice and then be nice to yourself.  The Queen of England eats breakfast cereal out of a Tupperware bowl. Give yourself the joy of spontaneous inspiration, when you get to source a wealth of substitutes because something is missing or the plan needs tweaking on-the-spot.

The “Too Much, Too Tired” perfectionists

Whenever you see clutter on the desk, the office floor, the bathroom at home, or in the car, handbag or briefcase, you pretty much have the most insidious perfectionism at hand. These folks are so overwhelmed by the stacks, piles and most importantly good intentions to do the world’s greatest job at work and home, they get very little accomplished. The same is true with the overfilled calendar, because they’ve said yes to too much.

TIP #3: Get a good friend to un-pile your life. As you clean up, have a heart to heart discussion about what really matters. Then organize your time and life around those priorities. Block off a full hour each day to throw away your mess and reorganize your space, so you can keep calm and be proud of what you do accomplish.

Do you feel like you’re breaking your back, losing your mind or otherwise suffering from an unmanageable workload? Let me know the number one thing that’s really important for you to do perfectly, and five things you can choose to do more swiftly and simply. I’ll be your accountability partner. Email me at [email protected]. Subject line: Perfect.

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The Best Way to Procrastinate: Productively

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

There’s this adage: “if you have something that must get done, give it to a busy person.” I hate that adage, because I am a busy person. The adage makes me feel like the butt of some psychic joke. I often wonder why I’m good about being busy, why it is so fulfilling to do a lot. Tonight, as I am implementing David Allen’s GTD system (as I have been for 6 months), which manifests my cult-like love for personal productivity, I keep interrupting my own work with other work (that is also mine by varying degrees of “mine-ness”). Library of SuccessI have levels of relationships to my work like Dante has circles of hell.  At the center, there’s my never-stop-burning urge to transfer everything I know to anyone who could use it. If you read my first book, Speak Up & Succeed: you know that 1.5 pounds was just breaking a sweat on the deep dive into business communication that I want to you to take with me. So deep, that just to keep my lungs from bursting, Pegasus Media World just released my ebook: Library of Success, which is a wiki of every possible piece of content you can bring into a meeting. I owe big thanks to Molly Jo Rosen for her contribution to that, and a note to my book design team to give her credit. That is the great thing about eBooks: you can make a much-needed correction without burning 25,000 books.

But, I digress. I wanted to tell you that the secret to my success is: I have so much to do that procrastination looks like productivity. When I want to drag my heels on prepping for a media interview, I can mind-map a client’s product portfolio. When I want to delay producing my newsletter, I can answer a reporter’s request for an expert on producing small company events cheaply in Texas. Yes, I get very detailed requests because part of my job is to know the world’s most important people. If I’m home so my staff can get work done in the morning, I can clip Mo’s dog’s nails instead of completing an RFP. When I’m procrastinating, a lot gets done. Sunday night, our house became gluten-free, ahead of my sorting through the weekend’s email.

So I think the key to productivity is procrastination. If you always have a lot to do, there’s always something you can stick ahead of what you simply don’t want to do. Except when the fire feels really hot – because you’re hurtling into the brick wall of a hard and fast deadline, can’t you hear the angels sing? On a wing and a prayer.

What are you waiting on?

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