HBR on Perfectionism

Harvard Business Review’s How Perfectionists Can Get Out of Their Own Way by Alice Boyes:

Perfectionist are guilty of:

“Struggling to make decisions or take action. Perfectionists are motivated to make the absolute best choice — even when doing so isn’t strictly necessary. This can lead to decision paralysis.”

What to do:

  • Learn from successes…By reflecting on the pathways that led to your successes, you’ll be able to see that you achieved a meaningful end despite not doing everything completely flawlessly or being 100% certain of success in advance.”
  • “You can also identify non-perfectionistic, but successful, role models and colleagues — how are they able to be effective without succumbing to perfectionism? Observe what they do and learn from it.”
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HBR’s advice on important but not urgent tasks

I first read about this concept of important but not urgent tasks in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Harvard Business Review’s article How to Focus on What’s Important, Not Just What’s Urgent by Alice Boyes tackles this idea as well. Here are a few highlights of the article:

  • The deadline is the greatest factor that pushes people to finish a task over the tasks’ level of difficulty or pay off, according to a series of studies recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research
  • Set a whole day for one important but not urgent task
  • Every week, clear a few hours for personal time like medical appointments. If you don’t need it, you have a few vacant hours. If you need it, you have time to attend to your health and other needs
  • “Shrink” your goals until they are “doable”
  •  Acknowledge that doing certain goals can make you feel things and that this experience can be stressful