How to live 24 hours with a perfectionist (myself) and survive

Nov 1, 2020

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Oh, Johnny Nash (mandatory to watch, listen, and enjoy), how right you were!

I’m happy to say I’m an ex-perfectionist.

That decision brought to my life goal achievement, productivity, fulfillment, and, finally, happiness.

One cannot:

  • be productive,
  • achieve any of your goals,
  • move forward in life,
  • be happy…

being a perfectionist, because perfection is something you never accomplish. Anything can always be “a little bit more perfect”.

Here you got the endless road.

Whenever you come to this reasoning and are convinced of it, you can begin working on avoiding perfectionism. Try these hacks:

1. Delegate

Delegating is something key to forget about perfectionism.

When you see someone does something you wouldn’t have done that way, but the client accepts it and is happy, it’s when you take notice your concept about perfectionism is subjective and only yours.

Maybe I was wrong? Sure!

Perfectionism depends on how you perceive reality. You can believe something is perfect but, if someone with more knowledge in the topic takes a look at it, he perfectly can say that’s bullshit.

I will go even further. A person with less knowledge of the subject can say that it is not perfect. Because it’s not perfect “for him”.

Perfection is seen individually by each one of us.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), there isn’t one and only concept of perfection.

But there’s an only concept about what works and what doesn’t.

2. Set deadlines

Another tip is dedicating a fixed amount of time to the task you have to do.

Whenever that time is over, you cannot do anything else referring to that task.

This is a really life-changing tip! (at least, in my case). The first time you’re scared, but when you see that your outcome works, it’s a great sensation.

Avoiding perfectionism, you will save a lot of time.

That time can be applied to many other facets of your life.

Setting deadlines will let you flee from the dreaded Parkinson’s Law, but that’s another story.

3. Compare yourself with others

Finally, I’d say that comparing yourself with others is a useful (instead of a hateful) tool.

It’s not easy to find people performing “10 out of 10” out there.

A lot are performing “5 or 6 out of 10”. And many more, less.

You can perform “7 or 8 out of 10”, and your outcome will still be outstanding.

The benefit of this decision?

You will have a life “10 out of 10” because you’re going to feel pretty well, knowing you’re doing a good job, with clients saying how good you are.

It’s essential to notice that the way you “rate” your task is not the way others will rate it.

I mean, your “8” could be a “10” for other people. This usually happens, especially if you’re a perfectionist, because you’re the only one who knows how far you could have gone, and what your yardstick looks like.

I’m not saying you have to decrease the quality of your job, falling into mediocrity. You never can do that!

Be sure that a perfectionist that performs “10 out of 10” never produces garbage, even if he performs at an “8 out of 10” level. So, sleep well!

It’s just producing outcomes that work, useful for those who receive it, that they appreciate it. That will give you more personal fulfillment than that “stupid perfection”. Be sure that your clients and everyone around you will too.


Remember these 3 hacks because they completely changed my life:

  1. Delegate. You’ll see things work.
  2. Set deadlines. You won’t waste your time.
  3. Compare yourself to others. You’re always better than you think, even not performing at a “10 out of 10” level.

When you’re managing a vast and problematic situation is when you accept being a perfectionist is stupid (and, by the way, impossible and useless).

When you avoid perfectionism, you enter into a “magic productivity loop” in which:

  • you create more things,
  • you improve yourself,
  • you can manage multiple projects,
  • you achieve more goals,
  • you progress,
  • you evolve.

That’s what will give you real meaning to your life. Meaning drives to fulfillment.

Forget about perfectionism. Life is all about goal achievement.

Photo at the top courtesy of Donald Giannatti on Unsplash.

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