Tips for perfectionists - Better Minds at Work Skip to main content

Pretty perfect!

How to convert perfectionism into optimalism

You like to take care of others, want to deliver quality and also take on many responsibilities?
There is nothing wrong with that! The condition is that you consciously choose for it, and that perfectionism is not a burden but that you can use it to the extent it helps you (optimalism).

Below you will find symptoms that describe perfectionism, which you may recognize. The tips below can help you to convert perfectionism into optimalism.

Ten symptoms of perfectionism:

  1. You can hardly say no. And if you do, you feel guilty.
  2. You set the bar very high for yourself and the others.
  3. You are dissatisfied with your own performance and assume that you do not meet the expectations of others. You mainly see what can be improved.
  4. You feel insecure about your own ability and that leads to fear to fail and other anxieties.
  5. You never have peace of mind. You think and worry a lot, you consider and weigh, even after you made a decision.
  6. You like things to go the way you want, according to your pla(ning) and your way.
  7. You sometimes postpone for a long time to start something, even if you want to.
  8. It is difficult to choose or decide because choosing is losing.
  9.  You feel responsible for the people around you and do everything you can to help them.
  10.  You keep going, you never give up, even if your body indicates that it is enough.

Tips to deal with perfectionism and convert it into optimalism:

  1. Be realistic. When you start a task, think: how big is the chance that I will immediately perform this new task without errors?
  2. Create a growth mindset. Making mistakes is part of learning. Allow yourself that.
  3. Trust yourself instead of depending on what others think of you. Think for example: ‘What do I think of this?’, ‘What do I want?’, ‘How do I see this?’, ‘What is my opinion on this?’
  4. Follow the 80/20 rule; it is often not worth the added value of spending 20% more time on a task. 80% is good enough to deliver and you have time to start on something new.
  5. Think about three things you’re grateful for at the end of every day every day, for example when you are in bed. This helps to keep seeing the bigger picture.
  6. Questioning your perfectionism thoughts. Think:
    • Do these thoughts HELP me?
    • Are they USEFUL?
    • Are my thoughts TRUE? CHECK this!
  7. Reflect on your progress to be less perfectionistic. Identify examples of when you successfully moderated your perfectionist tendencies.

What is the benefit of getting rid of perfectionism?

Perfectionism is also partly a control mechanism and therefore difficult to let go. It helps to think about what you achieve:

  1. Peace
  2. Less stress
  3. More satisfaction with yourself
  4. More self-confidence
  5. Mildness to yourself and others
  6. Realistic expectations