by Maree Ferguson, Founder & Director, Dietitian Connection
Are you a perfectionist? I certainly am. I suspect it’s also a trait that A many of my fellow dietitians possess, given our scientific training and our tendency towards precision, transparency and accountability.
Sorry, I just re-wrote that first paragraph five times – let me start again! Just kidding. In all seriousness, being a perfectionist can be a challenge. But I’ve made some progress in managing my perfectionist tendencies over the years as I got to know myself better, and I’d like to share what’s worked for me, in hopes you can apply some of the same strategies.
Here are my 8 TIPS on overcoming your inner perfectionist:
1 Just let those ideas flow:
Quickly complete a first draft to get your ideas on paper, then share it with someone else for their feedback. We are our own worst critics, so if someone you respect says what you have written is okay, it’s usually good enough to hit the “send” button.
2 Set a time limit:
I give myself a dedicated amount of time to complete a task; for example, for this article, I allotted a maximum of one hour. I’m less likely to procrastinate (and go and visit social media!) if I have a short amount of time to finish writing. Work generally expands to fill the available time.
3 Do your best work when you’re fresh:
I write first thing on a Monday morning, ideally before opening email, when I am fresh from the weekend and less likely to be distracted by the happenings of the week to come.
4 “Good enough”
is usually good enough: I remind myself it’s better to have something out there for the world to read and learn from, rather than agonising over the details and not hitting the “publish” button. I aim for good enough. You can’t make something better if you don’t start with version 1.0.
5 Use your perfectionism 5 sparingly:
I choose which items/ projects I want to make “perfect” and those that I can live with as less than “ perfect”.
6 Don’t dwell – move on:
I try to learn from the mistakes along the way and not dwell on them (for more than 24 hours, anyway!). We are all human, and we all make mistakes, as the cliché says.
7 Put on your blinders:
I swim in my own lane and don’t look at what others are doing or compare myself to other people. This can be a perfectionist trap.
8 Congratulate yourself when you finish a project:
It’s important to reward yourself for completing a project, even if it isn’t perfect, and reflect on how far you have come as a perfectionist. I’m not very good at this one, but I’m trying to do this more often, especially for larger projects.
” Done is better than perfect” – Sheryl Sandberg