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How to Be a Perfectionist (It’s a Good Thing, Actually)

December 22, 2014  
Filed under The Workplace

man under the microscope by a perfectionist woman

While “I’m a perfectionist” might not be the smartest answer to give to a job interviewer’s request to “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses” (since perfectionists can be known to have difficulties finishing tasks on time), being a perfectionist is actually a good thing…with the right approach, that is.

The wrong way to be a perfectionist

Being overly critical. Is there such a thing as perfection? Since what is perfect to you might be imperfect to another, there is no end to perfection. Things are not always black and white as they are in numbers. So the next time you find yourself being overly critical, putting everything under the microscope for minor details that will probably go unnoticed, why not ask the opinions of your boss, an honest friend or colleagues and move on? The wisest thing to do in this case is to take a chill pill and let the majority rule.

Judgment of time. Time is money and sometimes perfectionists have a hard time keeping up with it or understanding the value of it. This can lead to being late on deadlines and appointments, or getting the work half done. Next time, keep a timer handy or make it a point to know what your limits are and start earlier on whatever it may be.

Self sacrifice. In your head, you want a certain project, assignment, chore, task or activity done so perfectly that you sacrifice your health and time to get it how you want it. End of matter. You forget to eat. Sleep doesn’t matter and the next thing you know, huge bags have appeared under your eyes and you feel the onset of a flu. Self sacrifice is of course necessary at times, but not to the extreme. Rate the value of the task at hand and if it can be helped, help yourself and stop being so uptight.

The right way to be a perfectionist

It’s all in the details. Being meticulous in all the right things and being timely is a valuable trait to hone. But knowing and deciding what details to overlook or put under the microscope might sometimes be challenging.

Consciously make a decision to decipher in a bird’s eye view what is good enough, and then move on to the next project, task, activity. Know what your habits are. If you’re naturally not a perfectionist, practice being exact and precise, whether it be with the placement of one stroke as a graphic designer or making sure to go over your work one more time to make sure words like ‘receive’ is not spelled ‘recieve,’ etc.

So while a “perfectionist” may not have good undertones, it’s actually a positive trait to have and gain because it means you’re striving to be perfect–and that usually means putting your best foot forward, which leads to less flaws and errors in life.



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  1. […] your time and hold you back from your goals. Learn how to hone your perfectionism and use it in a positive way. When you find yourself meticulously stressing over every detail of a project, take a step back. […]

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