Are You a Perfectionist or a Butterfly?

Are you a perfectionist? Do you keep checking and rechecking documents? Or perhaps you ‘butterfly’ from task to task? Being a perfectionist or a butterfly will steal your valuable time unnecessarily. So here are the top 10 tips to help you overcome time obstacles.


Overcoming being a perfectionist

  1. Be realistic about what’s needed. Agree with your boss on what standard is acceptable. Consider the ‘worth’ of the task, and allocate your efforts accordingly.
  2. Think about what stage of the task or project you are at. For example, at the beginning of a project, perhaps all you need is a list of bullet points to discuss; these can be bashed out quickly. However, if it is the final draft of a document, then it does need to be typed perfectly and proofread carefully.
  3. Set a deadline for completion. Once you have decided the above, allocate smaller amounts of time to individual tasks within a larger project and stick to them! The extra time you spend on a task is rarely worth the extra pay-off.
  4. Focus on starting the task. You will find that achieving some of it will encourage you to continue. Fear of failure is often the curse of perfectionists, keeping them from getting started on a task. Accept what you’ve done rather than seek 100% perfection – 90% is often very good! 
  5. Still need more encouragement? Consider “If I spend too much time on this task, then what else am I not completing perfectly?” This should get you started.

Overcoming being a butterfly

  1. Focus on the task. Try your best to maintain concentration. Discipline yourself to finish one task before moving on to another.
  2. Set a time to complete the task. Having an end goal in mind will help you focus on the finish line.
  3. Keep only the necessary documents in front of you. Often butterflies are distracted by other things. If you can only see the task you are working on, you will not be tempted to flit to other tasks.
  4. Think about the consequences of not completing this task. The fear of somebody chasing you to complete the task, or of you having to say in a meeting that you haven’t completed it, may help to spur you to action.
  5. Reward yourself with something nice. If you need more motivation to complete the task, bribe yourself. This doesn’t necessarily mean chocolate! It could just be another task that you enjoy doing. Congratulate yourself as you finish each task.

Compiled by Judith Di-Castri

Judith Di-Castri is a specialist communications consultant at Zee Associates ( She can be contacted on 01825 733621 or at