Nuking Perfectionism

Monday, 18th February, 2013 

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                                   Nuking Perfectionism



The report's good, but not good enough. You keep working on it even though you're way behind schedule. Three hours later you've made four changes and are pleased. You work until midnight to make up for the extra time you spent on the report.

Being a perfectionist is like using 30 inches of insulation when 10 will do. The last 20 inches cost as much per inch as the first 10. However, these last 20 inches add little insulating value.

Worse, perfectionism often backfires. If you're writing a report to communicate three ideas and devote 10 hours to exhaustive research, your extra eight hours result in an excess of material. Then, because the excess research both exhausted you and take you right up to the report's deadline, you write it under extreme pressure. As a result, even you agree that your final report is lower in quality than if you had cut the research time by two-thirds and begun writing earlier.


Most perfectionists don't decide to keep working, they simply can't leave a project until it's perfect.

The solution? Train yourself to notice when you're devoting an unusual amount of time to a project. Decide before you begin a project how long it should take. Once you exceed your initial time estimate, stop work.

In other words, force yourself to deal with the real choice you've been making unconsciously -- to spend extra hours on a project or to decide that you've done it well enough and can move to other work.
Addicted to perfectionism? Recognize what your "habit" costs you.

Okay, send me a perfect response.


© Lynne Curry, 2012,

Follow Lynne on Twitter: @lynnecurry10

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Eye Opening

Monday, 18th February, 2013 3:10 PM

I find this to be an eye opening topic for many professionals. Especially those who have a hard time juggling work/home balance.

Sunday, 24th February, 2013 3:43 PM

Glad you liked it, Lynne

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