By Jeanne San
Working at home is hard enough as it is. When your work and home life is virtually inseparable, it’s easy to get bogged down by various little details on both fronts. Although the oft-quoted saying states that the “God is in the details,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to perfect all aspects of a job. To keep your sanity intact, you have to know where to draw the line between striving for the best and excessively trying to get everything right.
If you’ve ever found yourself dedicating undue time and energy to finish just one task, below are some valuable tips to keep yourself from falling into a vicious cycle of unrelenting perfectionism.
Assess Yourself if You Have This Problem.
The first thing you have to learn is whether you have a tendency to be perfectionistic. Being aware of your work habits puts you in a good position to improve it. So how do you know if you have a perfectionistic streak? First, if you leave no room for mistakes at all and you employ an all-or-nothing approach. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having high standards, but if it’s at the expense of your enjoyment, work, or health, then you can probably consider yourself as a perfectionist.
Shift Your Perspective.
It’s good to have an ideal, but not all ideals can be realistically accomplished. Whatever your ideal is, it should only serve as a guide, not an absolute thing you have to attain. To counteract this, try to have more helpful thoughts than self-defeating ones. Instead of thinking thoughts like, “anything less than the best is a failure,” or that “I can’t make any mistakes,” why not appease yourself with mottos that affirm realistic but positive statements. Tell yourself that no one’s perfect in this world and that all you can do right now is give it your best shot. Trust me, it makes all the difference.
Look at the Big Picture.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the minute details if you’re not looking beyond what you’re currently doing. Individuals with perfectionist tendencies can spend an inordinate amount of time picking the right font or getting their desks arranged just “right” and next thing you know one, two, or three hours have passed.
To keep this from happening, ask yourself if getting that font right really matters in the bigger scheme of things. If not, give it a few minutes and move on to the next task. After all, what’s the worse that could happen if the font you’re using, or your desk arrangement is slightly less than your liking? None, right? Days, weeks, and months from now, those things won’t even matter so stop letting it eat your time and get right down to doing the real thing.
Be Open to Compromise.
A big part of being a perfectionist is rooted in a particular kind of inflexibility. When you’re not willing to accept what you can do in reality versus the ideal you have in your mind, then it becomes a problem that gets in the way of your work or personal life.
Things are not always black and white, and compromise allows you to reconcile the results you’ve envisioned to what can be possibly done with your current time and resources.
For instance, if you think not being able to accomplish a task list of 15 todos in a day is a failure, then try to come up with a more reasonable standard. Maybe instead of 15, try taking on ten essential tasks for the day so you can also leave time for any errands or personal matters you may have to attend to throughout the day.
The Real Deal on Overcoming Perfectionism.
It’s no easy feat try to change an old habit or behavior so kudos to you for taking the first step forward. Overcoming perfectionism is similar to beating any other negative habit—you have to reward yourself in the process. Regardless, of how long it takes you to see results, giving yourself due credit for trying can serve as an excellent motivation to keep going while also serving as a way for you to reinforce a better outlook on forgoing your perfectionistic tendencies.
Jeanne enjoys writing informational content that teaches skills she's come to learn over the years. She translates these lessons into self-employed and entrepreneurial advice for anyone looking to overcome their mental roadblocks and psychological barriers in her blog, Vertex Skills. Aside from keeping an active blog, she also runs Breakthrough Writing, a content marketing agency where she and two other partners help businesses grow their brands to new heights.