I’m a recovering perfectionist. I won’t say I’m a former perfectionist because I don’t think perfectionism is entirely curable. It is, however, manageable. I used to drive myself (and my family) crazy with my Martha Stewart-like standards. From kids’ birthday parties to Thanksgiving dinners, everything had to be—you guessed it—perfect.
The problem was that trying to achieve my self-imposed standard of perfect left me exhausted and resentful. I had to find new ways to do things that would save time and energy, but still result in pride-worthy parties, meals, holidays, etc.
Does this sound at all familiar? I know I’m not the only one! Here are three shortcuts that really help me manage my perfectionism. Give them a try and see if they don’t put you on the road to recovery too.
1. One-stop shopping. I used to spend countless hours shopping for holiday gifts. I always wanted to give each person the perfect present. I still give special individualized gifts to my near and dear—on their birthdays. For holiday gift-giving, I took a page from Oprah’s book: She chooses one signature gift that she gives to everyone on her list. It’s a great way to save time and also to show off your personal style.
2. That’s entertainment. Party planning can be time-consuming and stressful, especially for those of us who want to get every single detail right. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have parties. I just learned a few new timesaving and stress-reducing methods of throwing them: Buffet is easier than sit-down. Catered is easier than cooking everything yourself. Potluck is easiest of all because basically your guests are catering for free. And if you create a theme, then potlucks can be fun, creative, and still well planned and put together. That’s perfect enough for me!
3. Lose control. I’m not sure there are any perfectionists who aren’t also control freaks. I was always hesitant to let anybody help me with anything because I knew that it wouldn’t be the same as if I did it myself. And I was right. Things are different when someone else has done them. And that’s okay, because different doesn’t always mean worse. Done, on the other hand, always mean done. And remember, “done” is the new “perfect.”