Can Perfection Be the Obstacle to Productivity?
Are you one of those women who have to do everything perfectly? Do you know that perfection is the biggest enemy of your own productivity?
You were always taught that being perfect was a good thing. Perfect grades at school. Perfect hair. Perfect makeup. Perfect bridal dress. Perfect wedding. Perfect everything.
Let me tell you something: perfection has no business in a modern woman’s life. Think about it: in a busy day, you have to do things at a supersonic pace. You have to make yourself look good in the morning. You have to get to work on time. You have to do your job well. You have to take care of your home and family. You have to remain positive, so you’ll make people happy. If you try to do all these things perfectly, you’ll turn yourself into a bubble that’s about to burst, and that won’t be pretty at all.
Are you interested to find out how perfection hurts your productivity? Read on; there’s a lot to say on that matter.
When You Strive for Perfection, You Don’t Do Much
So you want the perfect outfit and makeup in the morning? Then, you’ll have to get up really early to give yourself at least two hours for a shower, breakfast, and the process of getting ready before you head off to work. What does that mean? You don’t sleep much. That affects your productivity. If you go to bed too early just to sleep enough and still get ready to perfection, it means you’re missing out on that cozy evening with your loved ones.
You can do only one thing perfectly. All other tasks and joys will suffer because of it.
Why can’t you just go with a capsule wardrobe that doesn’t take much time to combine, but still looks incredibly good on you? Why can’t you apply minimal makeup to accentuate your natural beauty? You don’t have to be the epitome of perfection every single time.
Perfectionism Leads to a Burnout
Let’s say you’re a freelance writer. If everyone else takes two hours to write an article, you’ll take at least four. You’ll pay attention to every single word, phrase, sentence, and paragraph. You’ll do a great job, but you won’t be able to do much of it. When you have several articles to complete during the day, you’ll work for many hours and you’ll put your entire lifestyle out of balance.
Perfectionism makes you tired. You can keep going for some time, but your body and mind have limits. They come to a point when they tell you “That’s enough!” And you’ll hit the burnout. You’ll become irritable, extremely tired, and surprisingly unproductive.
How can you avoid the burnout? Well, stop being such a perfectionist and be more productive! It’s still important to do a good job. However, you must do more work in less time. That’s what productivity means, and that’s what perfectionism stops you from achieving.
Perfectionism Makes You Procrastinate
Let’s go with another example: a student, who always aims for perfect As. She has an important research paper to write, and she has to make it perfect. If research papers take two weeks to complete, she’ll need at least a month for it. She’ll work on every chapter for ages. Then, she’ll never stop editing. Yes; other projects and courses will suffer because of this research paper. The bigger problem is: she’ll spend so much time on each stage that she won’t finish it on time. This is not perfection. It’s procrastination.
What would the smart solution be? If this student organizes her time in a way that allows her to be good enough in all tasks, she’ll get to do everything on time. If she doesn’t manage to write that research paper, she’ll hire a writing service and focus on the other tasks. These decisions will make her more productive, and she’ll definitely overcome the procrastination trap.
You get the point, right? Sometimes good enough is good enough.
Negative Feedback Ruins a Perfectionist
You’ve worked long and really hard to achieve the state of perfection with something. You avoided other tasks because you were completely devoted to this one. Then, reality hits you: someone doesn’t like your work. In most situations, perfectionists have an extremely negative response to negative feedback.
Some of them will take the approach of a superior. They will say “This person knows nothing. I did this perfectly; they are just not good enough to understand how valuable my work is.” Most, on the other hand, will be completely devastated. When they realize that their perfect is not good enough, they will simply stop trying.
You’re productive only when you know how to handle feedback. There’s a way to benefit from negative comments. You’ll consider them. You’ll think how you can make your work better. You’ll act constructively. Perfectionism doesn’t allow you to do that.
Perfectionism Prevents You from Taking Risks
As a perfectionist, you tend to set really high standards. They are often unrealistic. You don’t just try to do everything well; you wish to be the best one in everything you do. When you realize you can’t be the best one at something, you tend not to try it at all.
You might not try yoga if you think you’re not flexible enough. You might never try surfing, since you’ll convince yourself it’s too late to start learning now; you could never become great at it. You might not try to express your feelings in written because you’re not a great writer.
Perfectionism prevents you from trying new things. And when you don’t try new things, you’re simply not living a productive life.
Perfectionism is practically paralyzing. It prevents you from enjoying life to the fullest. This strive for stellar achievements makes you a full-time worrier. It’s time to move past that point. It’s time to accept some level of uncertainty. It’s time to settle with good enough when that means achieving more in less time and with less effort. Are you ready for this change? It will really make a difference!
William Grigsby is an HR expert. His passion is to show that each person is unique and can independently achieve success by applying efforts every day. William was writing in this space for 2 successful years. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @willgrgsb