I'm Always Behind No Matter How Hard I Work!

 

What to Do When You Can't Meet Your Own Standards


Everyone sees you as successful, but you feel like you're fooling them; you're just barely getting done what is necessary, while piles of unfinished work haunt you. You feel anxious all the time, working more and more, but still can't catch up.

We are in the information age. It is a blessing and a curse. There is unlimited information about just about everything we research. We are having to handle these new boundary-less floods of information. Finding a way to know when enough is enough is very challenging to people who want to do things "right." The thoroughness in gathering information that was possible before the internet, is no longer possible.

In addition, downsizing has increased expectations of employees who remain in a company, so that each employee now has to do the work of two, then three, then four employees of the past. This means more and more compromises have to be made in the quality of the work, which for people with very high standards for themselves is intolerable.

Research shows that people who have unrealistically high standards are actually less productive than those with lower standards. Perfectionists hold standards that are so high that they slow down the work. Companies have found that slightly lower, realistic standards serve the bottom line much better.

Before you say "I'm certainly not a perfectionist; I don't do anything perfectly," know that perfectionists are the ones who say this.

Being a perfectionist does not mean you do everything perfectly--nobody does that. It means being chronically dissatisfied with work that others view as good work, and it means being brutal with oneself when one makes mistakes--not recognizing them as inevitable for everyone frequently.  Perfectionism is the daily experience of failure, because failure is how perfectionists interpret anything short of the mythical perfection.

In these steps, I will be discussing how to create a balance of high-quality work, and high quality of life, by recognizing and working with standards and expectations we hold for ourselves that are compulsively high.

  Take Step One

Make a list of expectations you have of yourself--the ones you achieve, the ones you do partly or sometimes, and the ones you attack yourself for not doing.  More...

 
  Now Step Two

Figure out which expectations are REALLY realistic for you in the near future, and ones (no matter how important you think they are) you haven't done and aren't likely to do anytime soon.  More...

 
  Then Step Three

Begin to develop a good Mom inside yourself to take over your care from your ruthless inner critic.  With a few tools, and enough practice you can learn that what is do-able is good enough.  You can also learn that you're much more likely to perform well for a good Mom than a ruthless inner critic.  More...

 
  Step Four

Do you think you have to choose between being successful and enjoying life?  Are you vacillating between binging and starving or purging, high spending and severe saving, being "good" and being "bad?"  More...

 
  Step Five

This is a radical notion, but I believe we have to evolve much faster than is our nature, and in this case, we have to learn to make peace with the unfinished and disorganized.  More...

 

 

 

Email: CynthiaLubow@yahoo.com 

 Cynthia W. Lubow, MFT

 For 30 years, compassionately helping people build self-confidence and feel happier.

 San Francisco East Bay Area Therapist

I can work with anyone who lives in California through Skype

Including San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, San Diego, Ukiah, Marin...