The modern workplace has rapidly changed in the last decade. Many of the previously accepted habits are nowadays irrelevant. The fast-paced environment has moved the focus from perfectionism to speed and acceptable results. In this new environment, the old habits fight with the new demands. In some cases, people get to the point where they experience burnout while trying to stick to the old traditions and practices.
Sticking to the habits many people do not do, the step to further change delay results and cause stress and anxiety in the workplace. Trying to move forward and remaining competitive in the new reality is the critical point for everyone to survive.
To stay competitive, we need to act on the old habits, get out of our comfort zone, stretch, and learn to live with what we have instead of fighting to keep what is already gone. There are three tools people use to maintain the status quo and stay in their comfort zone.
Everyone has been in a situation when the mind does not want to start something, no matter how important it is. When we feel uncomfortable with new things, our first reaction is to delay doing them. This tool helps us build the illusion that everything depends on us and no, matter the delay of the start, the environment will tolerate us.
Protect by delay
A second tool often used by people who do not want to move out of their comfort zone is a delay. Delaying something and knowing that you are the only person in the room able to deliver the final result is a tool to keep yourself safe from the upcoming changes. But this tool and approach are often illusionary. While being the only person able to deliver the final result can change fast, and your position can vary from a strong one into a weak and insecure one.
Perfect the thing
The last tool people use to protect their comfort is perfectionism. Maybe you have Sen, these people, or have been one of them. No matter how the final results look, perfectionists try to find this tiny element to change the product or the work further. They need just a little bit more time to finish that last element. To find that after the last small element there will, be another one and another one. Perfectionism is the scariest of the three tools used because it adds additional elements in the process without analyzing the purpose and the real meaning of the new elements added for the final product. That often causes extensive delays in time and weakens the final result or product impact.
Does what you just read scary you? Are you looking at yourself as someone who uses one or maybe even the three tools? Well, you are not alone. According to the German Labor psychology institute, thirty-two percent of EU people do not want to move from their comfort zone and actively use procrastination, protection by delay, and perfectionism to sustain the already built status quo.
Do you not want to be one of these thirty-two percent?
Here is how I learned to overcome my feelings in the direction of the 3P’s.
We often procrastinate because we do not have enough information on new things and at the same time have many examples for the current situation. The key to starting fast is to move forward by using curiosity, collecting enough preliminary information on what is expected to change after the new reality, and how it will change your fact for good. Having enough information in the positive specter for the change is crucial to boost your internal willingness and motivation to start.
Understand the deadline
We often protect ourselves by delaying a result because of the limited information we have. No matter what the work means for others, if it is not essential for us, we will always delay it. To overcome that, you will need to explore further what will happen next if you meet the deadline and the possible delay cause. Understanding the impact of what has to be done and how the result will positively impact the environment and the team is the key to plan and execute for success by meeting the deadline.
Accept that nothing is perfect
I have had a perfectionist boss—a great lady with over thirty-five years of experience who always wanted to see the perfect product. More than sixty percent of our goals were delayed because of that, but she was not happy if it did not look exactly the same as he imagined it. All that starts further perfecting the same product or upgrading the same task a few days after we have reported it as completed. What everyone needs to understand is that there is nothing perfect in the world. Perfecting a job or product only leads to exhaustion, burnout, and dissatisfaction. To deal with that, you will need to ask what the acceptable result looks like in the head of the person or the team who has assigned them to you and make that satisfactory result the perfect goal in your head. That will save you from investing unnecessary effort and focus on the essential things in life and work.
The fast-paced environment we live in is stressful and often burns us out from the inside. To survive in such a demanding and challenging environment, we will need to learn how to deliver results fast and move to the next challenge and opportunity. Being slow and perfecting things in a world that does not require that is like paving the way to exhaustion, demotivation, disengagement, and burnout. There is no right or wrong way to do things in our life and at work. But the environmental demand is to do them fast and with the level of acceptable quality.