Friday, October 28, 2011

Don't Get Stuck in The Web of Perfectionism

Do you find yourself agonizing over every little detail? Does it take you 3 times as long to accomplish a task because you are trying to get it “just right?” If so, you might be a perfectionist? It’s not an uncommon personality trait to see in the business world and it can help to push individuals to endeavor to do their best. In extreme cases, though, it leads to wasted time and resources.  The outcome usually doesn’t justify the immense effort that went into it. If you find yourself in the web of extreme perfectionism, here are a few tips that can lead you out.

Make a Decision and Stick to it
When you choose a direction to take and announce it to your employees, stick to it. One of the pitfalls of perfectionism is wasted time second-guessing yourself. If you're constantly changing gears after your team has started the project, then you have wasted those recourses. You might never know if your third, fourth, or fifth decision would be any better.  As they say, go with your gut!

Trus t your Employees
When you tell your staff your plan and what resources you'll need from them, listen to their input. They will let you know if it’s possible and if they think it’s a good idea. Listening to their insight will help prevent you from sliding into another guessing game. Another piece to this is, trusting your employees to do their part well. You hired them because they're skilled, right? Lastly, before you start implementing your plan, just in case…


Have a Plan B
You never know what’s going to happen! An obstacle may arise that cannot be overcome, so make sure you have a plan B. A backup plan will help you from getting entrenched to deeply in your first plan and devastated if things go wrong. The more flexible and ready for change you are, the easier it is to adapt to things life throws at you.

There is a fine line between perfectionism and having a critical eye. It’s important to always strive for the best, but worrying about getting something perfect is harmful to the project and your mental health. The steps I’ve outlined above will help you to free yourself from the perfectionist mindset, if you find yourself there. Here is a great article about avoiding the pitfalls of perfectionism all together.

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