Doostang News: September 12, 2011
Vice President of Investor Relations, New York, NY
Pre-MBA Associate, Incline Village (Lake Tahoe), NV
Junior Analyst, Richmond, VA
Market Developer, Nationwide
Senior Content Product Manager, Mountain View, CA
Strong attention to detail is something employers value in the people that work for them. But when your tendency to check, and recheck, and recheck again gets in the way of your productivity, it’s time to pause and determine if perfectionism is getting in the way of your ability to do your job effectively. If you find yourself spending too much time and energy trying to achieve the perfect result, consider these pointers.
Weigh the Costs
If you spend countless hours going over your work until it reaches perfection, you’re likely doing this at the expense of other activities or projects. So make a list of all of the things – both personal and professional – that you aren’t able to focus on because you are caught up with one particular task. When you start to see what you are missing out on, you’re more likely to want to change your behavior. You may also find that the quality of one “perfect” project doesn’t outweigh the numerous assignments you failed to get to on time.
If you struggle with knowing when to cut yourself off, set limits for yourself ahead of time. Allocate a certain number of hours to completing a task, or allow yourself to review a certain project a set number of times. It’s also important to set deadlines for yourself and to work to meet them.
Many perfectionists fail to see constructive criticism as something that is positive, but rather, as an attack. As a result, they work to create a product that others will be unable to criticize because it is flawless. The fact is, criticism can be healthy and help you to see weaknesses in your work that you wouldn’t have noticed on your own. Criticism can help you to perform better on future projects, and is a healthy exercise in helping you to see your work in another light.
Learn from Your Mistakes
On that note, it’s okay to make mistakes – everyone does – and it’s important to learn from them. No one will fault you for being less than perfect, so you shouldn’t dwell on it, but take it for the character building experience that it is.
Give Yourself a Break
Force yourself to unplug from your work when you go home at the end of the day. Your evenings should be reserved for relaxing and indulging in activities that you enjoy – not spending more time on projects that can wait for the morning.
The fact that there is always something you can improve upon should be heartening, as you can constantly work to better yourself. That said, perfection is difficult, if not impossible to come by, so ease up on yourself and just focus on doing your best.
Until next time,