I am an overachiever. I try to do too much with too little, and I overestimate my ability to complete tasks in a certain amount of time. I both over- and underestimate myself, always to my detriment – if I bite off more than I can chew, it is confirmation that I was not up to the task. If take a smaller job, I tell myself I didn’t try hard enough.
Being an overachiever, a perfectionist, is the reason why I’m late (or close to it) a lot of the time. I try to look perfect, to have everything together, and if I’m ready ahead of time (a rare occurrence), I’ll try to make the best use of my time by getting other things done while I’m waiting to leave/be picked up. Inevitably comes the glance at the clock and the moment of panic: the realization that it’s happened again.
Wanting to make things AWESOME is one of the reasons I leave assignments and tasks to the last minute. It took me a long time to realize, but I think I’m waiting around to feel inspired. I produce what I consider to be excellent work when the mood strikes, so sometimes I subconsciously put off a writing task until I feel that I can produce work of that calibre. The problem is, sometimes the mood doesn’t strike and I find myself working on something at the last minute in a panic. What I’ve realized (and am trying hard to put into practice) is that the work I produce when I’m not “inspired” is still good – and it’s infinitely better than panicking and rushing at the last minute.
Being an overachiever means that I have big plans for gifts, most of which never get past the idea phase. When I should just buy someone a bottle of wine or a card, I want to celebrate their birthday/graduation/other celebratory event in a grand way … and end up failing to do it at all.
It’s discouraging putting all of this into words. I hate staring my flaws in the face, and generally prefer to think about all the ways I’m awesome. (Kidding, mostly.) But sometimes it’s necessary, to look at where you come up short and figure out how to boost your performance in that area.
I’m still a long way from perfect, but to help combat my desire to write “in the mood” work, I sometimes schedule writing, or add it to my list of things to do on a particular day. It may not be excellent, but hey, that’s what edits are for. And done well is better than imagined excellence.
Do you ever leave things to the last minute because your plans are too big? Would you call yourself an overachiever too? What’s your trouble spot?
Get ‘er done today!