Your hardest hitting efforts fall short of others’ expectations. Fun melts away like ice cream on a scorching afternoon. It’s too cold, or too hot for, but rarely right. Health suffers and anxiety spikes. Would peers describe you as perfectionist? If so, you’re likely habitually late, and likely armed with excuses that could set death row prisoners free. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Perfectionism Makes Late
Perhaps even more than slow you down, perfectionism is bad for the brain. According to Gordon Flett at York University that craving for perfect, leaves people unable to continue. So stress grows as the clock ticks toward another dreaded deadline you’ll miss. Another related peril of perfectionism, research shows, in addition to avoiding time limits, is its tendency to undermine quality performance. See why perfectionists rarely reach the peaks?
Be careful not to confuse perfect with excellent though. While it’s admirable to devote attention to details, perfection robs a brain’s passion to sustain accurate overall performance. Consider the end results and it makes sense. Excellence, is seen in great masterpieces such as Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Perfectionists, on the other hand, harbor unrealistically high standards, and then judge others for not living up to these lofty expectations. Have you seen it?
Brain drain comes to perfectionists through:
1. Procrastination – which punches against growth. According to University of Calgary researcher, Piers Steels procrastination is on the rise, as reported in the January Psychological Bulletin where Steels stated that 26% of Americans identified themselves as serious procrastinators.
The opposite is of procrastination is targeting effective ways to reboot the human brain for creative excellence. It’s more than and yet includes time management.
2. Stress -increases cortisol to dangerous levels. Literally, it can shrink the human brain, lower the immune system, rob memory, and shut down creativity. Sadly, stress that comes from perfectionism, often masks as diligence, and so it’s mental toxins can go unnoticed. Stress tends to leave people fearfully limited to the foothills while more creative peers race them mentally to the peaks. What would it take to enjoy a life unhindered by perfectionism’s mental chains?
Would you agree that perfectionism chains people to rigid routines, and imprisons them in places of fear and insecurity? If so, you’ll likely also agree that it takes courage to loosen that noose of mediocrity in favor of daring acts that draw from your unique mix of talents.
Adventures on the other side of late:
Taken one step at a time, risk-taking leads to accomplishment, in spite of challenges and short-comings along the way.
Helen Keller spoke for many of us when she said:
I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.
Rather than perfect, life for Keller represented:
Either a daring adventure, or it was nothing at all.
For you? Human brains rewire for excellent adventures beyond perfectionism through risks taken on an otherwise ordinary day. How will you nudge that exciting idea you’ve been holding back, to cultivate an innovative place through time management beyond ruts of perfectionism?
5 ways you can reboot the brain to manage time:
1. Set target and name desired completion date so that both remain in front of you at work. Mark the due date, a day or so ahead of the deadline, to avoid stress that comes from that last minute rush. Stress tends to limit growth and shut down creativity.
2. Identify barriers and reduce conflicting tasks that slow you down. On the left side of a paper list each task that will lead to completion of your target. To the right of tasks, list barriers or conflicting duties that slow your progress.
3. Plan adventure, stay curious and have fun. Remember that Einstein, Edison, Mother Teresa, and Helen Keller all had the same number of hours in any day as you have. For each successful leader you’ll also find an ability to tap into brainpower that motivates visions through curiosity, adventure and yes – sheer fun.
4. Avoid multi-tasking that works against brainpower. To multi-task, is to bottleneck your brain and decrease focus needed for meeting a deadline, instead, prioritize tasks each morning so that your top target stays on top of your to do list. Then focus more on completing one task at a time, and check off its completion.
5. Reward efforts following each action plan completed. In brain based terms, these rewards, or serotonin taps increase brainpower that any individual or group needs to remain in a race to the finish line. Serotonin is your brain’s best adrenalin for managing time, while other natural drugs can come to your rescue when cortisol chemicals cause you to fall off track.
Have you joined the hall of procrastinators who run for perfect. Or do you manage time and hit high performance deadlines with the brain in mind?