Set Limits To Your Effort - Deepstash

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Science-Backed Ways To Quiet Your Inner Perfectionist

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.

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Do a weekly review to reflect on your progress
Do a weekly review to reflect on your progress

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.

You...

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.
3 types of perfectionism
  • Self-oriented: the irrational desire to be perfect.
  • Socially prescribed: perceiving excessive expectations from others.
  • Other-oriented: placing unrealistic...
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.” 

Perfectionism and to-do lists

To-do lists can help perfectionists move past our paralysis. They may find making a list to be a reassuring guide to their day.

But there's also a risk: to-do lists can backfire i...

Break down projects

 ... into manageable tasks. 

This way, you're armed with a set of concrete actions to take rather a vague cloud of high expectations.

Define the next action

... rather than all subsequent steps.

Focusing only on the next action gives you permission to work on something even if you don’t have it all figured out—which is crucial to completing tasks that in the past have left you paralyzed.