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Archive for March, 2011



Perfectionism is yet another form of dysfunctional behavior often disguised as a positive personality attribute.

Before the majority of the perfectionists reading this tune me out, let me clarify my position on this:

  • The pursuit of excellence and mastery is a noble activity. I’m for it!
  • Perfectionism is an irrational, illogical and potentially neurotic activity. I’m against it!

Being a perfectionist and being productive are not compatible. Perfectionism can paralyze people and keep them from starting on important projects and tasks. It is hard to get organized and be more productive if you are paralyzed.

One of the primary sources of perfectionism is criticism. It could be that you grew up in an environment where your parents, teachers, peers or other people important to you were, shall we say, slightly overcritical. But don’t be too quick to lay the blame on others. It could be that a part of your psyche took on the role of mental parent and criticized yourself. You decided to develop your own little internal voice to provide all the criticism you needed. You may have decided to play the children’s version of “keeping up with the Joneses.” You picked a big brother or sister, or a high-achieving peer, and decided to be like them … or be better than them. You began living your life by comparison. If you didn’t always measure up, your little voice was quick to let you know about it. Think about it. People who are frequently criticized pay a high price for mistakes. Therefore, they respond by vowing to get it right the first time or not doing anything unless they do it exceptionally well.

First of all … chill out! Lighten up! Go ahead and take a chance every once in a while. Make a few mistakes. Won’t it feel good not to always take on the role of propping up the business, family, relationship, project or world? Then look for the birth of your critical voice. Where did it begin? Was it someone else? Was it you? Turn that voice off!

As with most forms of dysfunctional behavior, discover the source and you have much of the problem solved. And if you decide to find out the source of your perfectionist behavior, don’t look for the perfect answer. Look for an excellent answer and live with it.

There is a huge difference in perfectionism and the pursuit of excellence or mastery. Perfectionists never feel satisfied. They always feel somewhat restless and disappointed in their performance. In short, their activities generate more negative feelings than positive feelings. Although masters also know they can improve their skills or performance, they feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when they perform their work. In short, their activities generate positive feelings and enhance self-esteem.

Pursue excellence and stop being a perfectionist.

Remember, a true friend is someone who really knows you and still likes you. Learn to be your own true friend. This may not be a perfect idea, but it’s a pretty good idea!

Writtten by Chris Crouch, developer of the GO System.


Cubicles Shrinking, But That’s OK

I was interviewed for this article and wanted to pass on the link.


Eliminating Distractions

In order to improve your productivity, you have to improve your focus.  To improve your focus, you have to eliminate your distractions.  All the stacks, gadgets, and clutter sitting on your desk are huge distractions.  And worse still, clutter is contagious!

For example, you may sit down at your desk, determined to work on a specific task, and then moments later, your eyes drift over to another stack of work sitting on the corner of your desk. You stop working on the first task and start a new task from the other stack. By the end of the day, instead of completing the most important task, you have three or four partially completed tasks. It may not seem like a big deal to toss a piece of paper in a stack on the corner of your desk, but stacks turn into piles and piles turn into highly distracting, energy-draining, stress-producing clutter.  When your desk is a mess, you are less likely to care if a few more items are tossed into the growing piles.  If things are in order, you are more likely to keep them in order. 

In terms of clutter, you need to sweat the small stuff.  Small stuff turns into big stuff!

You might have tried to get rid of those stacks in the past, but for some reason you abandoned the project before you had the chance to completely finish it.  You had great intentions and got off to a great start, but the clutter eventually overwhelmed you and you gave up.  This may have happened because you didn’t understand there are different phases of getting organized, as well as a definite order.  This may sound too simple, but you have to take an organized approach to becoming more organized. In turn, this process will increase your productivity. 

The five phases to eliminating the clutter in your workspace to help you become more focused, organized and productive are:                                                                             

  1. Pick the one area in your work environment you want to focus on that will make the biggest difference in your productivity.  For the sake of this chapter, let’s start by clearing off your desk.
  2. Gather up all the stacks, papers and tasks you are currently working on. Put all of it in one stack in the middle of your desk.
  3. As you work through the stack, eliminate everything you absolutely do not need in order to complete your work responsibilities.
  4. Prioritize the remaining papers and tasks by placing the most important items on top and ending with the least important items on the bottom. Deadline dates could also determine the order.
  5. Place the most important task on your desk. File the rest of the items in a file labeled “pending” by order of importance or deadline dates. 

When you finish the first task, go to your pending file and pull out the next task. Continue this process until the items in your stack have been completed. It is important to keep these phases separate and do the stacks in the proper order. The organizational task of putting your stacks in order of importance or deadline dates must come before the first task is started. Make sure you don’t get anxious and start working on a new task before you have completed the current task. 

It’s likely your stacks will grow again. Often, this happens at the start of a new week or month. No problem. Before you get overwhelmed, stop for a few minutes and go through the five phases mentioned above to get back on track.  The good news is you recognized you were heading down the path of clutter, disorganization and unproductive behavior and you now know what to do to get back to having a positively productive day!