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How to Manage Perfectionism

Shifting your perspective

The positive side of perfectionism is the idea that you possess the motivation and a level of detailed attention that is unmatched by many.

The trouble happens, though, when you get so caught up in the details that you fail to see the bigger picture.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Manage Perfectionism

How to Manage Perfectionism

https://www.success.com/how-to-manage-perfectionism/

success.com

6

Key Ideas

Perfectionism

It can either propel you into serious action or paralyze your ability to accomplish even the most basic tasks.

Often, those who struggle with perfectionism have issues giving up control. In them lies a deeply rooted fear of failure.

Accept the outcome

If you’re struggling with the thought of submitting a task that you feel is less than perfect, create a list of the worst-case scenarios.

Ask yourself what's the worst that can happen. You'll most likely find out that the only negative aspect is the continuous rumination that'll keep you from finishing other important work.

Shifting your perspective

The positive side of perfectionism is the idea that you possess the motivation and a level of detailed attention that is unmatched by many.

The trouble happens, though, when you get so caught up in the details that you fail to see the bigger picture.

Dedication vs. obsession

Being dedicated and thorough is not the same as being obsessive and ruminating.

Entrepreneurs have a deep desire to offer their product or service to the world just as they imagine it. This type of vision and dedication likely contributed to them choosing this path. That’s a gift. But don’t conflate the bad with the good. 

Get things done

Getting something done is often more valuable than getting something just right. There is no point in being a perfectionist if your perfect work never sees the light of day.

Think about the other tasks that need your attention but have been ignored because of your obsession with a task that should have been done days ago.

Give up control

One strategy to "cure" perfectionism is to purposefully delegate tasks that once paralyzed you. If you manage a team, this transition should happen smoothly.

Think about this: you hired them because they already possess the knowledge and skills necessary to help your business succeed. Let them do their jobs, but also understand that mistakes are going to be made.

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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.

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Not Celebrating Your Success

It's never good enough, so you get sucked so far into the details that you become frustrated.

Even when your goal is complete and results in success, you believ...

Pursuing Perfection, But Never Feeling Perfect

Even if you have a clear goal of what perfection means, obsessively pursuing it is a sign of insecurity.

And insecurity, when not addressed directly, doesn’t go away because a concrete objective has been achieved, it manifests itself into self-criticism or a new overvalued goal.

Not Allowing Yourself To Fail

Instead of forgiving and viewing mistakes as a learning opportunity, you criticize and put pressure on yourself for not predicting a less than perfect outcome. You feel inadequate, and these feelings preoccupy your mind, often to the point of losing productivity.

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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 ...

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.

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Learn To Handle Criticism
Learn To Handle Criticism

If criticism makes you defensive, an attitude change can help.

Constructive criticism can show you how to improve, making your less-than-perfect performanc...

Set Reasonable Goals

Perfectionists tend to set goals of unreasonable excellence with no learning curve or room for error.

Dividing your goals into more achievable steps and rewarding yourself when you achieve them, will make you less stressed, less likely to give up and more forgiving of mistakes.

Alter Your Self-Talk In a Positive Way

Perfectionists tend to be very self-critical but this can perpetuate unhealthy behaviors and decrease their self-esteem.

By altering your self-talk positively, you can better enjoy life and gain an increased appreciation for yourself and your work.

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“Done” is always better than “Perfect”
“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...

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.
What causes perfectionism
  • Competitive work environments: If you work in a culture that demands perfection, you’ll probably start demanding perfection.
  • Pride and personality: Some persons have personalities that are naturally susceptible to perfectionism.
  • Fear of failure: People identify with their failure. They will strive for perfection as self-preservation.

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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.

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Perfectionist Behavior
Perfectionist Behavior

Perfectionist behavior is a broad personality trait prevalent in today's generation. It is defined as a hypercritical relationship with one's self.

While settin...

Perfectly Curated Life

Perfectionism is a growing cultural phenomenon that has engulfed a large set of people including celebrities. Some of the causes are:

  • Modern parenting
  • Competitive economy
  • Consumerism and advertising
  • Social Media.
Perfectionism x1000

Social Media acts as the biggest culprit in amplifying perfectionism as youngsters can constantly compare their looks and their lives to others in easily measurable ways.

There is an increased expectation from our family and our peers to be perfect in all aspects of our lives.

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The Wild Procrastinator

You are indecisive and often deals with things in the nick of time. But procrastination has a physical and social toll as your body and your coworkers get stressed over it.

Solution...

The Perfectionist

You are obsessed with your idea of perfection and end up spending way too much time on a specific task. This leads to feelings of being overwhelmed, missed deadlines and delaying other priorities.

Solution: Make sure you have achievable standards that don’t get in the way. Train yourself to do things that fall short of your idea of perfection until you begin to accept that the “imperfect” but functional is enough for most things.

The Underestimator

You often miscalculate how long it will take to do something to the point of missing deadlines and having to reschedule.

Solution: Schedule more time than you expect to take to finish a task, learn how to work faster and to estimate time more accurately. Reviewing past assignments duration will give you good time estimates for future reference.

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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.” 

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