Column 03 The Perfectionism Monster by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

Perfectionism is like a monster with hundreds of tentacles and it reaches into every part of our lives and holds on till we can find it and rip it out. The only problem is that if there is the least little bit left; it will fester till it tries to take over your life again. I find little vestiges of my perfectionism almost every single day. It is a never ending process to eliminate this from my thinking; much like decluttering. I have to nip them in the bud before they take over. See in my perfectionism I want to rip out every single bit of it; but I can’t because I don’t know where it is hiding. The trick is to be aware of its signs.

The perfectionism monster makes us obsess and do too much as well as procrastinate and do nothing. We have been dealing with issues that we have been procrastinating about. Many times we put off doing something because it is just too hard to get all of our ducks in a row to ge started.

We allow Parkinson’s Law to kick in without even thinking, As Professor C. Northcote Parkinson says, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”  Do not allow yourself to get caught up in this inefficient way of thinking. He uses the example of a lady wanting to send a card to her niece. She has to look for the right card, find her glasses, then; after she has toiled with writing the perfect words on the card: she has to try to find the address; then to find a stamp. Then it is raining outside and she can’t find her umbrella so she can walk down the street and put it in the mailbox. All of this over a little card that could take many of us just three minutes to write, address, stamp and mail. Why did she take so long to accomplish this simple task?

It was because she didn’t have a system for efficiently using her time. Busy people keep everything they need for paying bills in one spot; or do they!!! Do you have to hunt for your bills in your mail hotspot, a pen, stamps or better yet you can’t pay bills because you do not know how much money you have in the bank and you need to balance six months of bank statements or spend hours bringing down your balance in your checkbook. Or do you just write the checks and pray that you won’t be overdrawn!!

Half the battle of paying bills is being able to have everything in one spot so you only have to spend 15 minutes doing it; not all day!! This is why we procrastinate because we don’t think we have time. Many of us are busy with jobs outside the home, soccer practice, dance class and tons of other appointments that we spend many hours in waiting rooms or waiting in our cars for our babies to join us. This is time that we never do get back.

For years I have used my version of our Office in a Bag. In it I kept my checkbook, pens, pencils, a colored pen for signing cards, greeting cards, thank you notes, my address book, postage stamps, a calculator, paper clips, a little stapler, a ruler, some graph paper, a high lighter, some pretty stationery, some plain paper and a little notebook paper. This was like having everything in a desk drawer with me at all times. I took it with me to work, so on my lunch hour; I could pay a bill, balance my check book, write a letter, send a card, make out a grocery list or plan my menus for next week. This little tool allowed me the flexibility to use tiny bits of time while I was waiting for football practice to end.

An Office in a Bag keeps me from procrastinating and taking a lot of time to just mail a card or a check. Or the best part it keeps me from running around the house looking for a pen, a stamp and the address; Parkinson’s Law is not going to creep in and take over my life like the lady in Professor Parkinson book; Parkinson’s Law.

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