Neatnik Amanda vs. a Professional Organizer: The Trap of Perfectionism

Good enough is good enough
Good enough is good enough

Last weekend’s attempt to get your papers organized was a real disaster.  Then Amanda started in on you again.  “Why can’t you just do it? When are you going to organized, instead of making bigger messes?  I think you don’t want to get organized.  You want to live in this mess the rest of your life,” she said, as she rolled her eyes.  You keep asking yourself, “Why can’t I get organized?”  You’ve tried but you just can’t do it.  On Saturday, when you worked on the paper, you couldn’t make decisions.  What if you made the wrong one and threw away something you should have kept?  It was almost scary, every time you picked up a piece of paper you were haunted by the “what ifs.”  The longer you thought about it the more you realized that’s what happens whenever you try to get organized.  It’s not that you don’t want to be organized; it’s just so hard to decide.

Believe it or not, you are disorganized because of your perfectionism.  By avoiding decisions you can avoid making mistakes.  A PO recognizes this trait in clients and helps them to see how it’s affecting their ability to get organized.  She’ll help you develop decision models and ways to make the whole process of letting go easier.  POs know that decision-making gets easier and faster the more you practice.  I tell clients who are perfectionists to memorize the phrase, “Good enough is good enough.”

You know Amanda won’t let you go through a deliberation process with your things.  She’ll demand that you decide instantly, the way she does.  What would help you more, Amanda pushing you to make quick decisions, or a PO teaching you how to make choices you can live with?


Copyright© 2019 Elizabeth Tawney Gross, Organizing For Everyday, LLC

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