Perfectionism and time management

by Berryl
(San Francisco)

I used to have quite a perfectionist streak in me, and I have found that working on getting it 100% right just took too much time.

I know that it is really important to be as good as you can be, but I found that perfectionism ended up meaning that I would never start tasks or that I would spend so long on tasks that it became difficult to finish.

I now aim to get it about 80%-90% right. I then ask myself "Is this good enough". Usually it is OK. I wouldn't recommend it for people who don't suffer from perfectionism.

Kell's reply: Thanks for your comment Berryl. Perfectionism, as you say can really affect work performance in a number of ways.

Perfectionism can mean that:

  • we put of tasks and procrastinate - because of the unrealistic expectation that we have of ourselves.

  • never finish anything, or take too long to finish something, because it is never quite right!

I find the latter issue a difficult one for me. I want to do a good job but find that I set the bar too high and as a result spend too much time at the expense of other tasks that need to be completed.

It has been difficult for me to say that "near enough is good enough" but I remind myself that for a perfectionist it is important to stay on the right side of the Pareto principle.

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