Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity, sanity, and creativity. Julia Cameron, Author of “The Artist’s Way,” stated:
“Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. It is a loop–an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole”
You don’t have to be creating something to be affected by perfectionism. It can impact your efforts in your relationship with other people or even as a human being because no one and nothing is perfect in this world.
Being a perfectionist in every aspect will stress you out and affect your life badly. You can choose to become a perfectionist in your work. For this, you will be spending additional time in repairing the relationships that you sacrifice while trying to deliver perfect performance.
Most perfectionists experience mental and emotional burnout to the extent that they wish to quit what they are doing. Don’t allow this situation to arise. Start replenishing your energy and live a better life by learning how to stop perfectionism.
Here are 12 ways that can help you learn how to overcome perfectionism and procrastination.
1. Separate Yourself from Competition
Don’t make your life more complicated than it is already. Perfectionism leads to more competition because being perfect means being best at everything you do. Choose your group and friends wisely so that they are supportive and not competitive.
2. Make up Some Rules
Avoiding all competitive situations is not possible every time. Hence, you need to make some rules. If you are going through a period of insecurity, when you feel that you need to be best at something, feel better about yourself. Make some strict rules for yourself and follow them. Don’t continuously track the competition; just focus on what you do and how you do. When you compare yourself with others, you urge to achieve perfection. This is how to stop being a perfectionist.
3. Do a Reality Check
Unrealistic expectations and perfectionism always appear in combination. Differentiate the realistic expectations from unrealistic ones. You can list them all and categorize them to understand what you need to work on and what needs to be ignored.
4. Face the Worst Case
Perfectionism is a way to ensure that you don’t fail in what you do. But a prevention mindset is not the best way for innovative and creative thinking. To overcome perfectionism, you need to accept the worst-case scenario and realize that you can probably do something in that remote situation that may arise.
If you have skills to handle catastrophic situations, you can list the worst things that can happen against most likely situations. Get someone you trust to talk about the situation.
5. Accept your Mistakes
If you want to learn how to stop being a perfectionist, start accepting your mistakes. Every big mistake can teach you something precious, and this can’t be learned with success.
The humiliation, embarrassment, and self-respect all are the tools to unearth the gold.
A song by Leonard Cohen explains why you should ignore the perfectionism:
“Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in”
6. Be Yourself and Prioritize Self-care
Being yourself is challenging because nothing meaningful, important, interesting, great, or beautiful, comes from imitations. Everyone advises putting your own gas mask before you help other people. Reconnect with an old hobby, engage in therapy, and start reading to take care of yourself.
When learning how to stop perfectionism, acknowledgment is very important. It doesn’t mean that you label yourself as a perfectionist. Labels are invitations to buy into the idea about yourself that doesn’t serve well. This will only lead to making things even harder for you to change. If you see perfectionism as a behavior, you can change it. It is easier to change your behavior than something that has become your identity.
When you acknowledge your perfectionism, you can think about the situation that brings out the perfectionist behavior in you.
8. Do Experiments
While you are learning how to stop being perfectionist in relationships, experiment with the things that work well for you, and practice them regularly. As every situation is different from the other, you should try different techniques to see, which fits a particular situation. You can begin with situations with lower risk and learn as you move up.
Practice delivering “good enough” results instead of trying to make it perfect. Find a different situation each day when you start experimenting. Perfectionism is a habit, and to create a different habit, you need to keep practicing until you achieve what you want.
9. Create Realistic Personal Goals and Expectations
Recognize that you are working enough, and you don’t need to be a perfectionist to achieve your goals. When you set more realistic goals for yourself, you eliminate making excess efforts to achieve impossible. This will help you enjoy a balanced lifestyle.
10.Learn to say No
Perfectionists often struggle to say no to new opportunities because of their high ambitions. However, you need to set healthy boundaries to lead a sustainable life. Stop taking tasks that aren’t directly related to your passion. Learn to say no whenever required. Use politeness when saying no, so you don’t hurt others’ feelings while rejecting them.
Invest this time in your wellbeing and continue working on what matters the most to you.
11. Schedule Regular Breaks
Instead of thinking about taking an off when it will feel right, schedule a break from work and relax. Probably, you are a Type-A personality who should prioritize self-care or you may never get a chance to go on a break.
When you take a break, it will automatically recharge you to do things rapidly and more efficiently. Imagine how your life would be if you would give relaxation for only half the effort you put into making things perfect.
12. Don’t Waste Your Time in Multitasking
Multitasking is a myth. Stop wasting your time trying to achieve multitasking. Don’t indulge yourself in more than one task at a time. It will not only waste your energy, disrupt your memory, and decrease your efficiency but will also add to your stress. To overcome the stress, practice meditation and keep your mind calm throughout the day. With this, you will better focus on your work, saving your time and energy, and you will finish your tasks more appropriately.
The irony about perfectionism is that no one adapts it to hurt their career, still, if you don’t keep it in check, it will ultimately hurt you in many ways.
Start recognizing it, and if you find that it is hurting your productivity and lifestyle, you should find ways to stop your perfectionism. You can start by experimenting with these strategies in different situations. Use the above-mentioned strategies to help yourself control the perfectionism in you. This way, you will be making the perfect work for you and not against you.