Managing Your Perfectionism


Do you blame missed deadlines on your perfectionism? Managing your perfectionism is about knowing when good enough…is good enough.

If you struggle with finishing projects, you’re probably a perfectionist and I say that with the utmost respect…because I am too. 

Being a perfectionist is not a bad thing – as a matter of fact, in many cases it pushes you to deliver an excellent product or service. It helps you deliver a higher quality of work…but when it slows you down and causes you to miss deadlines because you can’t release your work or finish a project…it’s gone a bit too far.

Getting caught up in the details (even though the details are important) can cause you to spend a lot of time on getting everything perfect. Getting caught in the details keeps you from moving on to the next step.

But, here’s what I’ve learned over the years about how to manage my perfectionism and how you can, too.

Manage Perfectionism with a Checklist

  • When you start your project, start by creating a checklist of everything that has to be done. Work through the checklist and focus on completing the tasks.

  • Tell yourself that it’s your first draft, and recognize when you’re starting to slip into perfection mode. For instance, when I am writing a report, before I am even finished writing…I start playing with fonts and layouts. Those are the details you need to let go of until the end. Focus on writing the report…focus on finishing the report.

  • Keep pushing through finishing each step. You will feel good about being able to check the items off your list.

  • Once you’ve finished all the tasks on your list, go back and review your work, and make any final updates or changes that need to be completed. Remember to monitor your behavior and know when you’re slipping into that perfectionist behavior…know when you’re nitpicking details that may not be as important as others.

Your perfectionist tendencies are behaviors. Just like anything you do…if you pay close attention to what your triggers are and when they appear, you can manage the behavior in a more productive way.

If you find yourself struggling to release a project – reach out for help, and ask someone to review your work with you. It helps to talk through where you’re hung up and get the clarity you need to tie it up with a bow.

Create Your Standards

Another important tip is to design your standards. Know what you’re working on and when it deserves the utmost quality and when it doesn’t. Working on a client project would require great quality standards. However, creating a quick email to your team doesn’t require you to spend hours picking the exact font and layout. 

This is when you have to check your standards, and know when good is good enough. 

Working with Perfectionists

If you’re not a perfectionist but work with one or two…you should know that when perfectionists do release their work, they hope that it’s good enough even though they feel it could have been better. 

When working with a perfectionist, it’s important to remember that if you’re constantly critical of their work, it will only make them second guess themselves next time. 

Perfectionists want to give you all the greatness they have, and they never want you to feel that you didn’t get the best of their skills. Keep that in mind when making suggestions on how they can improve.