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PressurePros

Are You A Perfectionist ?

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This is an article on yahoo finance today. Interesting article that may make some people think. After reading it, now I know I am way better off being NOT behind a wand. (or designing websites)

____________________________________________________________

by Penelope Trunk The Brazen Careerist

I'm not a perfectionist. In fact, when I painted my walls I didn't paint near the windows because I didn't want to do the detail work. When I accidentally address an envelope upside down, I don't get a new envelope.

You know what? Doing those things hasn't made my life any worse. It hasn't made me unhappy, and it's freed me up to do other things besides worry about if what I do is perfect.

A Lack of Perfection = Perfection

I have a good eye for how well something has to be done in order to accomplish what I need to accomplish, and it's one of my favorite traits about myself. The good that comes from a lack of perfection is that I can set a lot of goals for myself because I get them done.

Here are the reasons I can't stand perfectionists:

Perfectionists procrastinate because they're scared of not being perfect.

Perfectionists are hypercritical to the point that they can't support people around them.

Perfectionists can't finish a project because they can always think of a way to improve it.

Perfectionists are phony, because no one's perfect and they can't handle showing that in themselves.

Four Steps to Imperfection

Here are four things to think about if you're letting perfectionism dictate your life:

1. You get more done if you don't sweat the details.

My disdain for details started when I looked around at all the people who are disappointed with their lives. For the most part, these are people who wish they'd done something that they didn't do for fear of failure. In the worst cases, these people have whole lists of such things. Then I saw a bumper sticker that read, "What would you do if failure were not an option?"

When I went through my own list of what I would do, I decided that if I stopped worrying about failure I'd be able to do a lot more. So I started focusing on just getting stuff done instead of getting it done perfectly. Details fell by the wayside.

I also noticed that once I stopped worrying about doing something perfectly, I didn't have nearly as much reason for procrastination. It's easy to start something if you tell yourself that getting it done 70 percent perfect (as opposed to 100 percent) is OK.

Believe it or not, in most cases 70 percent perfect is fine for what we do. The trick is to balance fearlessness with attention to detail and understand when you need to concentrate on each.

2. You do better work if you aren't worried about perfection.

Here's a story I heard from Alexander Kjerulf, who was talking about David Bayles's book "Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking":

A ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of the work they produced. All those on the right would be graded solely on their works' quality.

His procedure was simple: On the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the quantity group; 50 pound of pots rated an A, 40 pounds a B, and so on. Those being graded on quality, however, needed to produce only one pot -- albeit a perfect one -- to get an A.

At grading time, the works with the highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.

It seems that while the quantity group was busily churning out piles of work -- and learning from their mistakes -- the quality group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of clay.

Think about this in your own life, even if you're not using clay. The more you practice, the better you'll get. But you can't practice if you think only of perfection. Practice is about making mistakes; perfection comes from imperfection.

3. Working the longest hours doesn't mean you're doing the best work.

Usually, the hardest worker in an office is a perfectionist. This begs a few questions: Why does this person need to work harder than everyone else? Is she slow? Is she stupid? Is she avoiding her home life?

The people working the hardest are usually stuck on getting all the details perfect, but they've lost sight of one of the most important things -- which is that you look desperate if you work more hours than everyone else. The person working the hardest looks incompetent, either at managing their workload or at managing their family life.

Of course, you don't want to work the least number of hours, either. But you want to fall somewhere in between. People who work very long hours are inefficient and sometimes get so little sleep that they're performing at the level of a drunkard at work. So cut back your hours, and even if you do things with less attention to detail in order to get them done faster, they might actually get done better because you have a better handle on the time in your life.

4. Stop procrastination by stopping perfectionism.

One of the biggest productivity problems is procrastination. And one of the biggest contributors to procrastination is the feeling that we need to do something perfectly.

The key to ending procrastination in your life is to be honest about what you're really doing with your time and energy. Look closely at why you've made the bar so high that you can't even start. Procrastination can only flourish in a situation where perfection is so clearly demanded and so intrinsically impossible that inaction seems preferable to action.

So be honest with yourself about why being perfect is so important to you. Perfectionism doesn't make people happy, and often makes them nutcases.

And remember those clay pots -- they represent all the creativity and excitement you could unleash if you'd let the attention to detail slip a little.

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I think there's a middle ground,

I myself am not a stereotypical perfectionist, however I do find myself spending more time needlessly doing things I wasn't planning on doing to make a project or job better than anticipated, often at my own expense. I'm not hypercritical, and can accept failure, but try all in my knowledge and power to avoid these circumstances. A lot of people out there just strive for average results or outcomes, just something that looks decent and move on.

The dahli lama once said "A way to measure success, is to truely examine what you have to give up to achieve it"

There is a lot of wisdom in this as a lot of us have families here and a lot of us have things which suffer, and lack our attention due to our buisness's and other priorities.

I currently lost my job as a nurse and although got another one the very next day, it brought me great comfort to realize that I am the person I am. I like to build my life around stability. At all times I have 2 or 3 jobs to cover any possible hardships, and lack of income to support my family of 4. I do this line of work as a part time job, however it's stepped up to a full time job and was able to focus on getting more work lined up to accomidate the lack of a primary income. I also work thru an nursing agency making $27/hr where I pick up shifts when the weather is bad.

Perfectionism is something people have as a perception as well, perceptions are only as good as the person whos eye's they belong. What may be perfect to me may not be on the same ideals as to anybody else. I feel that too often people are trying to live up to others expectations, which is why I make it a point to express to my prospective customers, that i never leave a job that dosen't meet the standards to which I would desire on my OWN HOME. I have high standards, however I know that to achieve perfection is a feckless endeavor which will lead to insanity.

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I gave up many of my OCD habits 5 yrs ago.My brain was constantly in over drive and I was rarely getting over 2 hrs of sleep a night.My brain is stuck in drive now,but I sleep better even if bed time is 2AM evey night.

I used to do every job as if it were a monument to the company and it would get us put in the history books(any job I have ever had I did the same thing).Now I have found a middle ground on what I feel both us and the HO can live with.No complaints so far.

I fully agree that pushing to get everything perfect has caused me more than once to put things off.Mostly from the fear they wouldn't meet my standards or some preconceived standards I thought our customers had.

Angela finally helped me realize that customers want a clean property and don't expect it to look new.When I don't over think every little detail in my life it seems as thought things go smoother.

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In answer to the thread. Yes. It has been difficult training 2 new employees because of this. Not to be on the job site all day and then showing up at the end to collect the pay check was scary. Are there sometimes problems? Yes. However by myself not being on the job for the most part of the day I can generate more business.

I did print this out. Thanks.

Maybe we should start another thread on our favorite books and why they have helped us.

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Thanks Ken, a great read

To answer your question

YES! amongst other things.

The reasons are complicated... too complicated for me...:2eyes:

and it is struggle to accept that sometimes "near enough is good enough", that there are "horses for courses" and it's "good enough for a sheep station"....

I cope by looking for what the customer wants, as opposed to the best that could possibly be done given unlimited resources and time, and looking ahead to all the other things that need to be done that day. There are times when I have to force myself to walk away, still thinking "just another 5 minutes....", knowing that it would really be "just another hour"...

And now to watch TOY STORY on tv with the kids...

John

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I feel that too often people are trying to live up to others expectations, which is why I make it a point to express to my prospective customers, that i never leave a job that doesn't meet the standards to which I would desire on my OWN HOME.

Well said. Yes, I have taken the quality of the job personally to my own expense numerous times. Something most clients wouldn't even recognize as really, really good work, but I just HAD to do it. ha! I've finally learned that lesson over time as I have dumbly told someone, 'yea, we can get that out' - and then it doesn't work.

Explaining 'reasonable expectations' before the work is performed has saved me from those embarrassing situations over the last few years.

Glad to know I'm not the only one with the perfectionist problems. ha!

Brent

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Standards, standards are great, cause there are so many to choose from. Thats the only way I can keep my sanity, I have very high standards, Ive learned to choose the right standard for each job, based on certain criteria. It has simplyfied my life.

Great mat. Ken

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This is an article on yahoo finance today. Interesting article that may make some people think. After reading it, now I know I am way better off being NOT behind a wand. (or designing websites)

____________________________________________________________

by Penelope Trunk The Brazen Careerist

I'm not a perfectionist. In fact, when I painted my walls I didn't paint near the windows because I didn't want to do the detail work. When I accidentally address an envelope upside down, I don't get a new envelope.

You know what? Doing those things hasn't made my life any worse. It hasn't made me unhappy, and it's freed me up to do other things besides worry about if what I do is perfect.

A Lack of Perfection = Perfection

I have a good eye for how well something has to be done in order to accomplish what I need to accomplish, and it's one of my favorite traits about myself. The good that comes from a lack of perfection is that I can set a lot of goals for myself because I get them done.

Here are the reasons I can't stand perfectionists:

Perfectionists procrastinate because they're scared of not being perfect.

Perfectionists are hypercritical to the point that they can't support people around them.

Perfectionists can't finish a project because they can always think of a way to improve it.

Perfectionists are phony, because no one's perfect and they can't handle showing that in themselves.

Four Steps to Imperfection

Here are four things to think about if you're letting perfectionism dictate your life:

1. You get more done if you don't sweat the details.

My disdain for details started when I looked around at all the people who are disappointed with their lives. For the most part, these are people who wish they'd done something that they didn't do for fear of failure. In the worst cases, these people have whole lists of such things. Then I saw a bumper sticker that read, "What would you do if failure were not an option?"

When I went through my own list of what I would do, I decided that if I stopped worrying about failure I'd be able to do a lot more. So I started focusing on just getting stuff done instead of getting it done perfectly. Details fell by the wayside.

I also noticed that once I stopped worrying about doing something perfectly, I didn't have nearly as much reason for procrastination. It's easy to start something if you tell yourself that getting it done 70 percent perfect (as opposed to 100 percent) is OK.

Believe it or not, in most cases 70 percent perfect is fine for what we do. The trick is to balance fearlessness with attention to detail and understand when you need to concentrate on each.

2. You do better work if you aren't worried about perfection.

Here's a story I heard from Alexander Kjerulf, who was talking about David Bayles's book "Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking":

A ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of the work they produced. All those on the right would be graded solely on their works' quality.

His procedure was simple: On the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the quantity group; 50 pound of pots rated an A, 40 pounds a B, and so on. Those being graded on quality, however, needed to produce only one pot -- albeit a perfect one -- to get an A.

At grading time, the works with the highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.

It seems that while the quantity group was busily churning out piles of work -- and learning from their mistakes -- the quality group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of clay.

Think about this in your own life, even if you're not using clay. The more you practice, the better you'll get. But you can't practice if you think only of perfection. Practice is about making mistakes; perfection comes from imperfection.

3. Working the longest hours doesn't mean you're doing the best work.

Usually, the hardest worker in an office is a perfectionist. This begs a few questions: Why does this person need to work harder than everyone else? Is she slow? Is she stupid? Is she avoiding her home life?

The people working the hardest are usually stuck on getting all the details perfect, but they've lost sight of one of the most important things -- which is that you look desperate if you work more hours than everyone else. The person working the hardest looks incompetent, either at managing their workload or at managing their family life.

Of course, you don't want to work the least number of hours, either. But you want to fall somewhere in between. People who work very long hours are inefficient and sometimes get so little sleep that they're performing at the level of a drunkard at work. So cut back your hours, and even if you do things with less attention to detail in order to get them done faster, they might actually get done better because you have a better handle on the time in your life.

4. Stop procrastination by stopping perfectionism.

One of the biggest productivity problems is procrastination. And one of the biggest contributors to procrastination is the feeling that we need to do something perfectly.

The key to ending procrastination in your life is to be honest about what you're really doing with your time and energy. Look closely at why you've made the bar so high that you can't even start. Procrastination can only flourish in a situation where perfection is so clearly demanded and so intrinsically impossible that inaction seems preferable to action.

So be honest with yourself about why being perfect is so important to you. Perfectionism doesn't make people happy, and often makes them nutcases.

And remember those clay pots -- they represent all the creativity and excitement you could unleash if you'd let the attention to detail slip a little.

I got the book and I'm reading it (Jeff G.), also I get emails from same.Doing the pricing thing, and the rest they can go in the old threads, earn it.

This came at a good time. 'Cause I'm doing same thing everyone else is doing, and looking back at 2009... Did I do the best I couldve? I didnt. If you fine tune it I was horrible. I have a sign in my room. Just put it up. "Dont think about what I havent done, Think about what I have done". Heck this year I found the grime scene!!! That just to start!

Edited by gutterdog

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