If you are constantly putting off cleaning or organizing your house because “I don’t have time to do it right,” it’s time to get a grip. Stop procrastinating and get things done! The longer you put off the job, the harder it is going to be to do it – right or otherwise. Trust me. I know this as a “recovering perfectionist” myself. I had to make myself grow up and realize that I do not have time for perfection. Neither do you!
Okay, that was blunt and I am sorry, but, I’ve found that being blunt is the best way to get the attention of the aspiring perfect. Stick with me. Not only will you never achieve perfection, no one else in your life is going to know this nor are they going to care. There is a strong possibility that your drive to have the perfect closets and the Pinterest-photo-ready living room is actually creating more chaos in your life than you need or deserve. Stop reading and think about this for a moment.
It doesn’t have to be perfect!
I kept a stack of assorted containers in the corner of my kitchen for nearly a year. They sat there, under stacks of other “when-I-have-time” projects. My entire family knew to step back and raise a protective arm over their heads when they opened the door to the pantry – that’s how bad it was, things actually fell out. My excuse for not putting the pantry containers to good use? I could never find the time to create the adorable labels I had seen in a magazine. Never mind that I had a perfectly good, plain old label maker right there in . . . well, somewhere.
It was only after I was forced to attend a banquet with my husband sporting a giant purple egg on my head (another can fell out of the pantry), that I came to grips with the fact that my obsession with only allowing that which I deemed perfect into my life was not improving my life in the least little bit. In fact, it was making my life messy and it was making me miserable. The pantry is just one example. I could go long, long stretches without mopping the floors. Why? Because I did not have time to get down on my hands and knees and scrub each and every inch of grout. I know, it doesn’t make sense. But, it DID make sense to me back then.
Anyway the night we came home from the banquet, my husband went to bed and I stayed up emptied the stupid pantry – still in my dress – and put everything back in, in a way that makes sense for our family. I did not paint the inside of the pantry turquoise like I had imagined. I did not make sweet little borders for the edges of my shelf from scrapbook paper. I used the dusty containers and labeled them with masking tape and a sharpie I found in a drawer. And, guess what? It’s still that way. Nothing falls on us when we open the doors. You can find everything you need. I figure I’ve saved myself time by 1) Not spending an entire weekend decorating canisters that are mostly ever seen by me and 2) Not wasting nights out with my husband explaining why it appeared I’d been smashed in the head with a heavy rubber mallet.
The pantry was an epiphany for me. I started recognizing the many different ways my perfectionism was hindering me. One by one, I started changing my mindset and how I did things. Strangely, letting go of having the perfect house ended up freeing up more of my time and space. Now, I not only had time in the evening to start a project, there was room for me to work! It is a winning situation all-around. Below are ten things I started doing that really helped me let go of my perfectionist procrastination issues. If you struggle too, give one or two a try and see if you don’t feel a little better.
Five Ways to Begin Let Go of Your Perfectionism
- Recognize that nothing is perfect – not your house, not your life and certainly not pictures you see online or in print.
- Strive for “clean enough” when you are cleaning the house. If you set up a list of reasonable chores for yourself, you are more likely to get them done than if you are determined to not clean until you can scrub the walls, the grout and polish the baseboards.
- Get your family to help! This is a tough one for perfectionists because “They’re won’t do it right.” Realize that they are not doing things wrong, they are simply not doing them exactly the way you would do them. Teach your kids how to do things and then stand back and keep your mouth shut and resist that urge you have to go back and “fix” their hard work.
- Pick one project a week (or month) that you have been putting off until you can “do it right.” Make a list of the projects based on their urgency. Tackle that project in a rational way. Know your specific goal and focus solely on that. Set a deadline for yourself and meet it.
- Once you have your life back under control, go ahead an indulge your perfectionism in a positive way, pursuing something you enjoy that will not impact your manageable life.