Do you find yourself agonizing over every little detail? Does it take you 3 times as long to finish 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 be an aid to push people to attempt 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
You make good decisions; that is why you’re managing the projects you are working on. So when you make a decision, stick to it. Try not to second-guess yourself – this just wastes time. Who’s to say your fourth or fifth decision will be any better or beneficial? If you start that second-guessing game, it can spiral out of control!
Trus t your Employees
Listen to the input from your employees after you have unveiled your plan. They are great resources and will inform you of what is possible. If they like the plan then it’s probably a good one. Their support will help prevent you from sliding into the second-guessing game that I previously talked about. Another way to prevent wasted time is not to micromanage your workforce. Once you have assigned tasks, take a step back and let them manage those tasks. You hired them for their competence in the first place, right? And before you execute your plan …
Have a Plan B
Sometimes things go wrong, so develop a backup plan. This will keep you more flexible mentally and keep you from being held to the constraints of your first plan. The more flexible you are, the more you’ll be able to handle the “non-perfect” things that happen throughout your plan and your day.
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 detrimental 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 completely.