Science-Backed Ways To Quiet Your Inner Perfectionist
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:
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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.
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.
To feel comfortable with the uncomfortable:
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.
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.
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.
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“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.
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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.
“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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