How to Overcome Perfectionism in the Workplace

how to overcome perfectionismIn any job, people strive to be the most productive, while producing the highest standard of work.  In anything we do, including our work, perfection is the ultimate goal.  But in life, nothing is ever perfect one hundred percent of the time, so if we have perfection as the only acceptable standard, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.  The only way we learn is by taking risks, making mistakes, stepping out of our comfort zone, and trying new things.

Many people struggle with perfectionism in the workplace, but they just don’t know how to overcome it.  Perfectionists are often hardworking, reliable and thorough employees that tend to play fair and follow the rules.  However, in times of high pressure, perfectionism in the workplace can have numerous negative effects, among them procrastination, discord with co-workers and stress-related health problems.  Worst of all, perfectionists are perpetually unsatisfied, regardless of how hard they are working.

Below are some steps on how to overcome perfectionism in the workplace, so you can achieve peace of mind while at the same time producing quality work:

1)  Stop comparing yourself to others.

There will always be someone accomplishing more, as well as less, than you.  Furthermore, no two people are exactly the same, and while a peer may be stronger than you in one area of their job, it is likely you excel more in a different area.

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2)  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

You are only one person, and thinking that you can do everything all the time and do it right is unrealistic. So to help overcome this characteristic of perfectionism, don’t turn down the opportunity to delegate responsibilities, which will allow you to get more done, and feel less stressed.

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3)  Try to focus more on the positive, and see mistakes as learning experiences.

No matter how careful we are, mistakes are inevitable, but there is always a lesson involved.  As long as you are trying your best, there is no reason to beat yourself up.   Getting discouraged will only set you back even more in your work performance.

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4)  Be easier not only on yourself, but others as well. 

Not everyone’s standards are as high as yours, and everyone around you is always learning as well.  Having more compassion and understanding will make you more approachable and easier to work with, so be aware of how you are judging the performance of those around you to help overcome perfectionism.

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5)  It is good to be detail-oriented, but not so much so that you sacrifice productivity. 

When you have a big task to accomplish in limited time, try not to get caught up in minute aspects that don’t have any significant impact on the task at hand.  This habit can also contribute to procrastination, since it can keep you from addressing other work projects in a timely matter.

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6)  Take care of yourself.

Take a walk, get some fresh air, and treat yourself to lunch or coffee.  Also, be sure to laugh.  Being too tense is not only bad for your health; it can affect your work as well.

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7)  Be open to change. 

Perfectionists are often very set in their ways, but change is part of improving and growing.  There may be an easier or better way of doing things that you just aren’t aware of, and by resisting change you could be denying yourself of that.

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Jessica Cody

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

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