DON’T BE A PERFECTIONIST
Perfection isn’t the secret ingredient to professional success. In fact, constantly chasing perfection may actually ruin your career.
The negative connotation of perfectionism may not be easy to swallow at first. This is because we’re taught to go above and beyond whenever possible. The act of fine-tuning, revisiting, and tweaking a project or task to perfection often derives a level of pleasure.
But in all reality, you’re actually losing time and potentially annoying your manager, coworkers, or even your clients or customers. Sure, perfection may be achievable, but what do you really gain from reaching it? Perfection is such a subjective thing, one man or woman’s idea of perfection is unlikely on par with another’s.
It’s time to set a new standard for perfection in your life: Make 80 percent the new 100 percent. By using the 80/20 rule, once you knock out 80 percent of a task, the remaining 20 percent gets you diminishing returns. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with completing something to where it’s “good enough,” because to some that’s perfect.
Still not sold? Here are a few downsides to perfectionism:
1. You think hard work and perfection go hand-in-hand. For some reason this idea has become a norm for most people in their professional lives. Working hard on a project to please a client and your boss doesn’t always mean achieving perfection.
In fact, wasting time attempting to make something perfect may actually leave your clients, boss, or coworkers unhappy. Remember, you can always revisit the project to make necessary updates and edits based on feedback.
2. Things take longer to get done. Regardless of your profession, as an avid perfectionist you’re likely going to spend more time accomplishing things on the job. The more time you spend in the development cycle tweaking things, the less time you’ll have for other projects. In the end, you may end up having to put in overtime to meet deadlines. Know when your project is complete and don’t waste time revisiting it.
3. You’re probably doing more work than necessary. Why put extra work into a project if it isn’t going to pay off in the end? Remember, after completing the necessary 80 percent of the project, the last 20 percent will only bring you diminishing returns. Focus on developing the minimum viable product or MVP. Stamp out the nagging feeling that tells you to tweak the project further and settle on creating the minimum amount of work that will lead to the most success.
4. You aren’t delegating. If your perfectionism is getting in the way of trusting your team, you have a real problem on your hands. Some tasks are better handled by others, and knowing how and when to delegate will make you a better employee and leader. Collaborate and coordinate on projects or parts of projects with your team and give them full ownership of the task. Don’t micromanage their work, just trust their abilities.
5. You aren’t reaching maximum efficiency. Time equals money. Too much time spent on one aspect of a project means your company is either losing money or you’re overcharging your client or customer. Focus on getting things to meet the necessary requirements and then move onto other tasks and projects. If you’re wrapped up in the details of a project too early on, you’re probably missing out on other important opportunities.
6. You’re fearful. Are you scared what will happen if a project isn’t perfect? The obsessive hunt for perfection may have you working based on fear. It’s OK to fail sometimes, and you never know, what you might consider to be far from perfect could seem genius to another person. Sometimes moving away from your perfectionist habits means taking risks and leaving things at the “just good enough” stage.
7. If you’re not already burned out, you will be. Perfection-induced stress, anxiety, and frustration aren’t doing your overall health any favors. You’re probably spending far more time at work than necessary and thinking about work when you’re not there.
Next time you’re sweating the details, ask yourself this: How can I create something that’s good enough and awesome?
How do you manage your perfectionism?
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