Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Too Perfect Tuesdays - Chapt 3 - Rising Above Perfectionism
Aim for Average, Overcoming Work or Study Blocks

photo by tanakawho at Flickr 
Call on the power of the duck to help you work
This post continues with AIM FOR AVERAGE & OVERCOMING WORK OR STUDY BLOCKS from Chapter Three.

This series will look at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.

Too Perfect, When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992.  If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.


If certain tasks daunt you because you dread having to meet your own standards of perfection, it may help to imagine what a B-minus student, writer, attorney or radiologist would accomplish.  Force yourself to perform only that well, in the interests of accomplishing the task.  You'll be amazed not only by the amount of work you'll produce, but also by its quality; it won't suffer as much as you think.  You're not a B-minus worker, and that will show through, no mater what you do.  And with fewer trivial details to obscure them, your main points will carry more force and be clearer.

You may find it useful to give yourself as many little exercises as you can in being B-minus.  Take letter writing.  Instead of watching your unanswered correspondence pile up while you wait for the time and inspiration to produce missives to rival Lord Chesterfield's, give yourself fifteen minutes to produce a brief, very average letter.  You'll receive two immediate benefits; you'll have one less letter to write, and your correspondent will be glad to know you're alive and thinking of him or her, however briefly and ineloquently.  <snip>

In similar fashion, try being a faster, B-minus Christmas shopper, housekeeper, painter, cook, landscaper.  And before you insist that you don't want to be a B-minus anything, try it a few times.  <snip>


If perfectionism is inhibiting your progress on certain tasks that require concentration, besides working to change your attitude ("They must be done perfectly!"), you might also try changing the way in which you organize your work time.

Prepare to tackle the troublesome work in short, very structured periods, instead of long, open-ended sessions which create the illusion that you have unlimited time, and thus can dawdle and focus endlessly on details.

Plan a two-hour work session,  If you feel you'll need some breaks, schedule them; for example, allow yourself five minutes off between the twenty-fifth and thirtieth minutes of each half hour.  <snip>

As you fine-tune this method, you'll find that even though you're spending less time working, you'll be much more productive than you were when faced with dreaded, interminable sessions.  <snip>

I, too, hate to think of myself as B-minus anything.

Sign available via PopArt UK
Except perhaps a B-minus housekeeper.  That would prolly be a step up.

And yet, when I think about the hugundous time and energy investment required to be an A+ everything, that little voice inside me screams, HELL, no!  Doesn't yours?

I'm choosing to strive for A+ in the things that really, really matter to me, and allow myself to be a B-minus in those that don't.  I can certainly testify that while I enjoy receiving long chatty letters and e-mails, I'd rather get 1-2 short ones every year than one volume of War & Peace every ten.  Really, how do you answer one of those?

And speaking of two-hour sessions... Been blogging much too long, today, time for a break.

I do tend to work in marathon session, then get so burned out I dread the next one.  So, breaks for me today, the better to work into the night!

Do you too think you must be A+ rather than B-minus at everything?
Have you gotten over it?
How about working in increments, and taking regular breaks?