To Be Perfect You Must Procrastinate

To Be Perfect You Must Procrastinate

By: Dennis Sherrin

Recently, I have written on the importance of team building and delegation. These two processes are critical to the success of nearly all initiatives within an organization. My research on these subjects, as well as my personal experience, lead me to consider two specific habits that can negatively affect progress on initiatives – perfection and procrastination.

Perfection & Procrastination

Perfectionism is a pursuit of the ideal result. You are probably used to the idea of “perfect” being a positive term, but if you feel like you need to wait for something to be perfect before acting, it can be detrimental to progress. Because perfection is unattainable, it is unreasonable to wait for the perfect timing and impossible to consider every possible outcome/consequence of a project. When perfection is our goal we set ourselves up for failure in nearly every circumstance.

Procrastination is the avoidance of a task that needs doing. When procrastinating, we only take action when conditions are ideal or when the pressure of deadlines force us to do so. Procrastination often leads to self-doubt, anxiety and guilt due to inaction yet, it is a difficult habit to break.

As you can see, these two habits often appear together and are interrelated in that they both lead to inaction and mental blocks. Are you waiting for the perfect circumstances or are you putting something off because you are not ready to say it’s finished?

Imagine what you could accomplish by recognizing these habits, acknowledging their debilitating power, then transforming your behaviors to reduce or eliminate them. To combat the negative habits of perfectionism and procrastination, consider some cues I have learned from years of observation and programs such as Strategic Coach and Kolbe.

  • When brainstorming, get an outline together fast! If you are initiating a project, brainstorm, create and outline your concepts as soon as possible. When you stop, you will tell yourself you are about 75%-80% done. That’s okay!
  • Set your goal at 75% – 80% of the ideal result and take action. This mental measurement eliminates over analyzing (perfectionism) and reduces the time you spend working on one project/task (procrastination).   Think about a project you held onto for weeks then when you finally were ready to pass the project to your team, what percent complete did you decide you reached? I would suggest you thought 75%-80%. So, why waste so much time and momentum by holding on to it?
  • Delegate to your team. They will add their own 75%-80% effort on the initiative once you delegate, which will get the project to 90%-96% of the ideal result. In today’s business world, a 95% result is higher quality than most of the efforts in the marketplace.
  • Take your concept to market. You can make further adjustments based on client feedback. Perfection is nonexistent in the market. We consider products from manufacturers, like Apple, to be high quality yet, they publish many updates after product introduction.

The Results of Eliminating Perfectionism & Procrastination

The payoff of revising your habits range from greater confidence and less stress (for you and your team), to a significant increase in productivity, and ultimately, to personal satisfaction and more success.

Why don’t you give it a try right now? Don’t just say you will evaluate this concept. Take a moment now to stop and develop 80% of a plan for a project and share it with your team so they can add their 80% today.

At hb&k, we utilize tools and techniques to be even better every day. We understand how to help others implement initiatives leading to stronger organizations, leaders, teams and individuals. Contact us to help you.