Perfectionism vs. Organization

The ongoing myth about those folks who allow their disorganization to get out of control is that they are slothful sluggards who just can’t get their act together.  The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of my clients are perfectionists.  When we think of perfectionism, we think order and neatness, but in reality, perfectionism can often prevent people from getting and staying organized.  So how is this possible?

You see the nature of the perfectionist is to aim for perfection.  If it is to be done, it is to be done perfectly.  So what happens when perfectionists run up against life in the real world.  You know what I am talking about; kids that get up too late to make their beds, spouses that leave dishes lying around in front of the TV, co-workers who share their space, illness, final exams, deadlines, life in general.  Because perfectionists often focus on making things perfect, they soon run out of energy and chaos ensues.  Instead of creating perfect environments, they often opt to sit in the middle of the mess, paralyzed with the inability to make and keep things perfect.  

So what is the answer?  If you are a perfectionist and you see yourself in this description, start to focus on making some progress instead of absolute perfection.  You see the perfectionist will walk into a cluttered family room with an hour concentrate on creating order in the room.  Instead of picking up dishes and dirty laundry, throw away old newspapers, and gathering up kids toys or schoolwork the perfectionist will sit down and arrange the magazines in alphabetical order.   Given enough time the perfectionist would get the room organized, but often their perfectionism eats up too much time on the minor and does not allow them to focus on the minor.  

Becoming organized is not really about perfectionism, it is more about significantly improving your surroundings, using the time you have, with the resources at your disposal.  Although being perfectly organized can be something we strive toward, being organized enough to be able to find and sit down on the couch and enjoy your family is much more important.  Take the pressure off yourself, stop trying to be perfect.  Martha Stewart Living, for most people, is just a magazine.  

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