Overcoming Perfectionism


Perfectionism has been on the top of my mind for quite some time now, mostly related to the recent launch of my blog. Writing a blog is something I have been dreaming about for years. I finally got around to do this and I feel so energized, so happy, that I want to share with you how I came to overcome some of my perfectionist tendencies. Through mindfulness and reflection, it is possible to abandon perfectionism in the ways it does not serve you, and on the other hand, keep the aspects of striving for perfection that actually help you grow and stand out from others in a positive way!

Stop Planning, Take Action
I am a notorious planner: I have lists and notebooks for everything, to the point they have started to form clutter and confuse me. After 50 or so drafts for the first post on my blog, I very simply decided to just go and post my very first article on how to read more. It might not be perfect, but it is a start and I am so proud of myself. It feels liberating to give up nitpicking on the tiniest of details and just do it. I wanted to write a very dry pun about Nike but I contained myself.

Don't Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good
I forgot who to attribute this quote to (I googled and it is by Voltaire) but it is something I repeat to myself on a daily basis. I feel like I have wasted so many opportunities out of fear of ridicule or underperforming, and it hurts to say there have been many occasions when I did not even try. I have been amazed at the results as I have started to "settle" with less than perfect performances. My essay might not be Pulitzer worthy, but it definitely deserves a good grade. I have become so much more productive. So, all you perfectionists out there, please keep this quote in mind! It has a life-changing effect.

Get Help
And here I don't mean professional help, although that too could help (no shame in talking to a trusted & skilled professional). I refer to the help of those around you: by delegating tasks and asking for help, you don't get as overwhelmed by the number of things on your to-do list. It has taken me a while to realize that I am not needed to micromanage everything, in fact, it can be very very frustrating for others. Realizing this is especially helpful in a relationship: in our household, I do the cleaning and my husband does the cooking. This clear division of chores helps us keep on top of things, makes us more efficient and most importantly, we never fight about chores! I know social media creates pressure to be perfect at everything you set your mind to, but trust me, there is really no need to do that. It is actually impossible to be a master of all trades, and it is much better for yourself and those around you to focus on the things you are passionate about. Or good at. This is how I have been able to optimize most things in my life. It maybe can't be applied to everything, but delegating some of the things will definitely help you.

Change Your Perspective
I no longer try to aim for perfection. What has helped me is to look at whatever it is you've done or created from another person's perspective. If it is good enough for them, it should be good enough for you. I mean, how often do we judge other people's doings as harshly as our own? So, cut yourself some slack and give yourself some credit for the things you have accomplished. Whenever I feel stuck with my tasks, I take a bit of time off if possible, and when I come back to it, it suddenly seems much better than I initially thought. This also applies to selfies weirdly. Whenever I have had a selfie session, most of the pictures turn out pretty awful in my opinion. But when I scroll through my camera feed a few days or weeks later, I am suddenly much happier with the outcome. It also applies to essays, other types of school work, articles I write, translations and so on.

Give Yourself Enough Time
Scheduling enough (but not too much) time for my tasks has also helped tremendously. This one is a tricky one, because often perfectionists spend way too much time on the tasks, much of the time with the things of lesser priority, and end up underperforming and disappointed. I have overcome this (at least for the most part) by starting early. This allows me to live by the tip above, taking some time off of whatever it is I am doing. When I am stressed, my perfectionist lenses get stuck and I can't see any good in the things I do. After a good nights sleep, some breakfast and maybe a cup of tea everything seems to have much more potential and I see the good in my work. This also helps with correcting some tiny misspellings or other mini mistakes in your work, which is an added bonus for a perfectionist trying to create and get things done.

This post became somewhat mixed, but I got into a flow when writing and decided to follow my own advice with getting things done. It might not be a perfect, all-encompassing list of tips, but it includes really good advice that has worked for me personally and hopefully can inspire some of you guys. If you have any tips or tricks for overcoming perfectionism, share them below. I would also love to hear which of these tips you found helpful and what would you maybe disagree on? 

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