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Do we need to be perfect all the time ?

Being perfect has two sides, On one hand, it can motivate you to perform at a high level and deliver top-quality work. On the other hand, it can cause you unnecessary anxiety and slow you down. How can you harness the positives of your perfectionism while mitigating the negatives? What measures or practices can you use to keep your perfectionism in check? Should you enlist the help of others?


Principles to Remember


Do

  • Learn to recognize the point of diminishing returns when you’re aiming to complete a task perfectly. Sometimes just getting it done is a worthy goal.

  • Reflect on your progress. Identify examples of when you successfully moderated your perfectionist tendencies.

  • Calibrate your standards. Oftentimes what you’re writing or saying doesn’t have to be the final word, it just has to contribute something useful.

Don’t

  • Mistake ruminating for problem solving. When your mind is twisting and turning, seek out distractions to break the cycle.

  • Toil in pursuit of an amorphous goal of perfection. Create a checklist that ensures you follow a process with measurable targets.

  • Go it alone. Ask others — a trusted colleague, friend, or mentor — for perspective and support.

This is a summarized version of the original article by Rebecca Knight .

She is a freelance journalist in Boston and a lecturer at Wesleyan University.  Her work has been published in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Financial Times.

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