There is every chance that Michelangelo looked at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and realised an error somewhere in his work. Yet, it has brought joy and wonder to the lives of millions of people over hundreds of years.
One of the biggest problems with perfectionism is that it leads to over-critical analysis, repetition of the same tasks over and over again, and stunted business growth. If every tiny detail consumes you, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. You waste time on details that don’t add enough value to your business to justify the resources put into them.
Beating perfectionism doesn’t mean lowering your standards. Quite the contrary. It means channelling your efforts to where they make the biggest difference. So, if you’re an entrepreneur ‘suffering’ from perfectionism, check out our list of the top tips to defeat and start to grow your business:
1. Set deadlines
Deadlines are what make us achieve. A project with no deadline will never end because you will always be able to find fault if you look hard enough. When you’re the boss – the deadlines are down to you. That’s deadlines for your staff and deadlines for yourself.
Keep your goal in mind and prioritise. Deadlines should be realistically achievable but there may still be a temptation to allow yourself too much time for non-priority tasks. Keep in mind the value each task is adding to the overall result and assign timescales accordingly.
2. Use Checklists
You know what you have to achieve with a task, so write it down. Once you have achieved what you set out to do, consider it done. Perfectionists find it hard to walk away, so you will need to be strict with yourself. Remember, once you’ve achieved what you set out to do, anything else is wasted effort.
3. Delegate and Outsource
Often, when you start your company, you are the company. You take on every role and own every department. Even if you have a small team, it can be tempting to try to control everything. This is your baby and your future.
But if you spread yourself too thinly, you can end up doing everything adequately but nothing properly. Don’t be afraid to delegate or outsource work. This doesn’t mean you have to lose control of it, just that you pass your expectations on to somebody else who is being paid to deliver.
Be clear about what you want done, the standards you expect and the timescale for completion. You can then focus your time and effort on the tasks that befit your role in the organisation. Of course, you will need to review the task once it has been completed. If it meets your expectations – great! If it doesn’t, all is not lost. Coaching and training employees is an important aspect of business management. You cannot do everything. So, have faith in your recruitment and coaching abilities to help you employees – and therefore your business – to improve.
4. Accept Imperfection
This is a tough one for perfectionists. It goes against the very fibre of your being. But you need to keep your ultimate goal in mind.
It’s important to recognise that not everything has to be done to perfection. Often ‘good enough’ is…well, good enough. When you spend time focusing on a small detail of minor importance on one project, you deny yourself time on a major priority on another. Again, think about the bigger picture. In this scenario, the time spent will have been detrimental to your business and your overarching aims. Now, does that sound like a perfectionist to you?
Every business owner would like to strive for perfection. But it’s simply not possible. Trying to get every facet of your business spot on will detract you from focusing on the area where you can make the biggest difference.
It’s often said that, in business, you should spend 20% of tasks that provide 80% of your desired outcomes. For perfectionists, it’s easy to allow that scale to slide and you can quickly find you have a 30/70 split, then a 40/60 split, and so on.
So, don’t sweat the small stuff. The font you choose for your blog really isn’t the biggest business you need to make.
Prioritise, set deadlines, make a checklist, delegate where necessary, and accept that sometimes ‘ok’ is sufficient. Then you’ll be on your way to beating perfectionism and growing your business.
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