5 Tips to Fight Back Against Perfectionism

Perfectionism is an insidious thing that can destroy your happiness and kill your productivity. Trust me. I know. I am a recovering perfectionist

I come by my perfectionism honestly. My mother is a perfectionist. The most annoying part is, she really does achieve perfection most of the time! Whatever she does, she does it as best as she can. And that is usually pretty darn close to perfect.

Now I must say, I appreciate that she has instilled in me the work ethic and standards that she has. I work hard to achieve the best results I can.

But there is a dark side to perfectionism that disables me and keeps me from getting things done. At times, I am so afraid that something won’t be good enough that I don’t do it!

For years, I procrastinated framing and hanging photos on my walls because I was afraid that I wouldn’t hang them perfectly, or the frames were never just right for the walls or the images, etc. (I got over this when I discovered how fabulous canvas prints are!)

This might seem ridiculous, but my perfectionism and my fear that my pictures wouldn’t be hung just right, (those nails seemed so permanent,) robbed me of seeing the faces of my kids on my walls every day.

So, I am trying to beat my perfectionist tendencies and fears, because really fear is what perfectionism comes down to — fear that I won’t be good enough.

And fear is no place to live.

Here are five things I do to fight back against my perfectionism:

1. Just Do It!

I can’t achieve anything, let alone perfection, if I don’t do it! When the perfectionism fueled procrastination hits, I have to push through it and just do it!

2. Inch by Inch, it is a Cinch

Sometimes a task can seem overwhelming — “I will never be able to get that done, perfectly!”

But, as my mother used to say, “Inch by Inch, it is cinch.” Bite off the task in small, does not need to be perfect, steps. Soon, you will be closer to finished, and then you can decide how close to perfect you need to be on that particular task.

3. Make Time Deadlines

I work slowly — whether I am editing a photo, perfecting the formatting of a post or painting the edging on a wall. I have always worked slowly, making sure that my work is as perfect as I can get it.

While I don’t ever want to sacrifice the quality of my work, I also need to make myself move faster and make decisions more quickly.

By giving myself time deadlines, I get myself moving faster and spend less time in analysis paralysis.

4. Time is Money. How Much is This Task Worth?

As a business owner, I need to look at the ROI of how I spend my time. But when it comes to perfecting the edit on an image or the formatting of a post, my ROI can be terrible! I sometimes spend way too much time trying to achieve perfection instead of moving on to the next task.

Again, I need to achieve my standard of quality, but I also need to recognize where I need to spend my time to keep my business running and successful.

5. Good Enough is Good Enough

Yes, sometimes good enough is all that is necessary.

I feel a little nauseated even typing those words. But sometimes, it IS good enough. The edging on my daughter’s pink wall is good enough. The photos are aligned well enough on the walls. And my children’s homework is done well enough.

Are you a perfectionist? How do you fight back against your perfectionist tendencies and fears?

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Written by Janice Croze, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom.

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  1. says

    Good enough is good enough has become my mantra so I can keep my perfectionism from making my kids a little kooky. I want to accept their best (or even GOOD) efforts to encourage them. Getting all over things that aren’t done perfectly (can we PLEASE rinse a little more oatmeal out of the bowl before it goes in the dishwasher) crushes them! Hey, the dish got into the dishwasher. That’s a great start. I need to give the same grace to myself because we ALL deserve it. Have a great day!

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