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Science-Backed Ways To Quiet Your Inner Perfectionist

The Issue With Perfectionism

The Issue With Perfectionism

The more you chase perfectionism, the more likely you are to procrastinate and then get stressed out when things don’t go exactly how you wanted them to.

Research even indicates that even when perfectionists get higher salaries, they are more unhappy with their work.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Science-Backed Ways To Quiet Your Inner Perfectionist

Science-Backed Ways To Quiet Your Inner Perfectionist

https://blog.rescuetime.com/overcoming-perfectionism/

blog.rescuetime.com

6

Key Ideas

Standards vs Reality

Most perfectionists can’t see their standards are unrealistic and bad for them. To find if you’re a perfectionist, ask yourself if your standards:

  • ... are higher than those of others.
  • ... can be met by you or others.
  • ... help or get in the way of you achieving your goals.
  • ... can be relaxed without affecting much the end result.

Thinking Like An Athlete

In sports, the drive for perfectionism is a positive force and turn setbacks into opportunities to reflect, learn, and adjust your approach. But regular perfectionists keep revisiting past failures as a form of self-condemnation.

All this does is cause them to raise the bar even higher, increasing the likelihood of failure. Try to see failure as simply a launching place for success, so you can break away from perfectionism.

Being Comfortable With Not Knowing

To feel comfortable with the uncomfortable:

  • Think what’s the worst-case scenario of a situation that's stressing you out, to see that the consequences aren’t as bad.
  • Have a safety net with plans, friends, and resources to decrease your fear of failure.
  • Reframe the fear of the unknown as excitement.

Set Limits To Your Effort

Run a small experiment where you either purposefully stop early or give yourself hard limits on your work. So you have an opportunity to disprove your perfectionistic beliefs.

Not only will this help you get over your own perfectionism, but it can also highlight places where your effort is better spent.

Asking For 30/90 Feedback

If a project is at 90%, you’re asking for line-level feedback like typos, glitches, or silly mistakes. At 30%, the reviewer skips over those things (assuming they’ll be looped in later to help with them) and focuses on the broader strokes: structure, strategy, approach.

Using this technique can help curb the socially-prescribed perfectionism in the workplace. It also makes your managers more aware of the status of your projects, and thus less likely to pile more on you.

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Try to identify things you avoided due to fear of failure and situations where your perfectionism wasn’t worth it or moments where you did well despite being uncertain.

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Get an outside perspective on your perfectionist tendencies

Talk honestly and openly to someone about your tendencies and how you’re working on getting better.

Ask them to tell you when you are being too fussy about something so you can think about it.

Interrupting the cycle of rumination
  • Take note of when you’re ruminating and what triggers it until you can see your patterns and find ways to counteract them.
  • Don't trust your first reaction when ruminating. Most of the time, it colors negatively your read of the situation.
  • Seek a diversion to break the rumination cycle.
  • Think positively: remembering your successes and times you tried new things helps you to not be avoidant of tasks you can’t do perfectly.

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“Done” is always better than “Perfect”

“Perfect” and “productive” aren’t the same thing; perfectionism is actually counterproductive.

Just because society is placing a higher value on perfection doesn’t mean you’re actually getting more done.

3 types of perfectionism
  • Self-oriented: when people are highly critical of themselves.
  • Other-oriented: when people are highly critical of others.
  • Socially-prescribed: when people think others expect them to be perfect and then pressure themselves to be perfect in order to meet those expectations.

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3 types of perfectionism
  • Self-oriented: the irrational desire to be perfect.
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Perfectionism harms productivity

Seeking perfection can create paralysis that hurts productivity. 

You procrastinate to distract yourself from the big scary tasks you have to do. And you end up beating yourself up later because you wasted so much time.

Julie Morgenstern
Julie Morgenstern

“Perfectionism is a pretty rampant problem (...) It may be worse in an era of social media where everybody’s posting the most curated, best, perfect lives and achievements. We’re constantly surrounding by the best way, the perfect way, the right way in our personal and our work lives.” 

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