How do you identify realistic vs unrealistic expectations?
My 4th Step reveals a pattern of unrealistic expectations of myself, others, space and time. When this happens, I become chronically late, rushed, stressed, frustrated, angry, disappointed, and/or either blaming others or wanting to kill myself.
Today I inventoried my feelings of burnout on a work project. My project is being forced out due to stuff beyond my control, and I have accomplished only half the objectives. My procrastination is certainly a factor in the unfulfillment, but the fact is we've been given half the time originally intended, and the client's internal problems and the economic disaster played major roles.
So my team is appealing for an extension, which will save my job and my family's income. The problem is, when I honestly examined my feelings, I almost wanted the appeal to fail because I am feeling so burned out. I lack the passion to push for it. Looking back, for months I have cut corners on the quality of my work. When obstacles arose, I failed to fight through them. Instead I cut corners and used old ways of faking progress, relying on the Authority Figure's ignorance about my actual work, and exaggerating the smallest successes to distract attention away from the lack of real results.
When I Fifth-Stepped this today, my friend pointed out how respected I am by other team members, one of whom would have caught it by now if I were actually a loser or slacker. He noted how distracting family health crises and my own car wreck injuries have been, and said I accomplished more than most people could under such difficult circumstances.
I checked these points with a colleague. She felt the same way. Both these trusted people in my life, felt that I set my expectations of myself and the project way too high.
As I reflected on that for Step 6, I realized it is a pervasive problem. I don't know how long things take, for example. I have unrealistic ideas about quality, how much perfection is actually achievable or even desirable. In short, I don't know what "normal" looks like! What is a "normal" amount to time to take on a phone call, an email, a weekly project report, a research analysis?
This might be the wrong place to ask this (lol, my fellow procrastinators!). But...How does one set realistic expectations for how long things take? How do normal people balance the need for quality against the relentlessness of the clock?