10 Steps How to Stop Being a Perfectionist and Get More Done

by Positive Hustle

Are you a perfectionist?

Being a perfectionist can cause a real problem to your productivity and work performance. And in this guide, we will talk about the 10 steps on how you can overcome perfectionism and start making progress to achieve better success in life.

People who are a perfectionist often find it difficult to get things done. They procrastinate and they want things to be perfect. And they are often over-worried about things.

Here are a couple of common traits of a perfectionist…

Perfectionists often suffer anxiety and stress because they always want things to be perfect. They worry if things are going to work out according to their expectations, and their expectations are usually very high.

  • Focused too much on results

Yes, a perfectionist focuses too much on the result, not so much on the progress. This is why a perfectionist tends to procrastinate if they can’t deliver the work or deliver it up the standards he or she wants.

And because perfectionists only focus on the results, they have a strong fear of failure. They don’t want to fail, because they believe that failure is the worst outcome. Action takers, on the other hand, focus more on progress and they understand making progress means success.

Yes, this is one of the most common characteristics of a perfectionist. Because a perfectionist wants everything to be perfect, they tend to put things off and delay doing the work just because they want things to be perfect. Do you always procrastinate? If you do, you might want to find out if you are a perfectionist.

Perfectionists usually have a lower level of self-esteem. Why? Because they have high expectations, and they are unhappy when they fail to meet their expectations. Plus, they tend to be very self-critical due to their rigidity and unable to make progress.

Now you know why being a perfectionist can hurt your progress and prevent you from achieving your goals and dreams.

So, if you think you are a perfectionist, it is time to learn how to get rid of it…

My Experience With Being a Perfectionist

I still remember the days when I decided to start a YouTube channel. I was worried because I’m afraid if I’m not good enough and I’m not sure if people will want to watch me on YouTube.

And that has held me back and prevented me from starting a YouTube channel. I want my videos to be perfect and I want them to do great.

That has prevented me from starting. My fear of failure and perfectionism stop me from creating video content.

Luckily, I decided to face the fear and do it anyway. And as of this writing, I’m well on my way to publishing 100 videos on YouTube.

I’m not worried if no one watches my videos anymore, instead, I act from a different point of view. I just want to publish and expand my network. I want more people to get to know my content. I want to reach more people to inspire them about success.

I keep telling myself it is okay if no one watches my videos on YouTube. And if someone watched them, like what I did, and got inspired, my work will be well worth it.

So, in this guide, I’m going to share with you the 10 steps how to stop being a perfectionist and how you can start making progress. Here are the steps…

1. Acknowledge Perfectionism

You cannot fix what you don’t know if broken. Likewise, you can only overcome perfectionism if you know you are being a perfectionist and your behavior has been preventing you from making progress.

So, let’s face it. Be true to yourself. Find out the real reason why you procrastinate. Is it because you are such as perfectionist that it stops you from living a better life?

Once you know that you are a perfectionist and it is quite a common behavior, and you want to overcome it, it is time for step two…

Recommended reading: 10 Reasons Why People Procrastinate and How To Overcome It

2. Make Your Expectations Reasonable

First, check your expectations. Are your expectations reasonable? I have seen many people set extremely high expectations, only to find themselves sabotaging their progress because they don’t believe they can do it.

When it comes to setting financial goals, most people will set it to earn a million dollars within a year. Now, I’m not saying that earning a million dollars a year is impossible or an expectation that is too high, but you have to consider your starting point.

Most people fail to make a million dollars a year because they want to get there in one step. They forget that success is a process that consists of many small steps, not one.

And when your expectation is too high, and you don’t believe you can do it subconsciously, guess what, you will sabotage your actions. You will procrastinate because you don’t believe it is possible to achieve.

This is why you want to make your expectation reasonable. Make your expectation just nice, follow the Goldilocks’ Rule, and let them inspire you rather than sabotage you.

3. Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes

No one is perfect. And you will make mistakes. If you don’t make mistakes, it is either you don’t take enough actions, or what you do is simply within your comfort zone.

I like this saying from J.K. Rowling:

“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

Yes, if you have never made a mistake before, perhaps, you are living so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.

So, tell yourself it is alright to fail and make mistakes. Because making mistakes and experiencing failures are a part of success.

Most people got it wrong to think that failure is the opposite of success. But I’m here to tell you failure is on the same side as success.

Your mistakes will make you wiser. And your failures will become the stepping stones to success. Hence, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and fail, because they are inevitable on your journey to success.

Recommended reading:

4. Embrace the Power of Focus

If you want to overcome perfectionism, you need to embrace the power of focus. Meaning, don’t multitask and work on only one thing at a time.

The same goes for your goals. You don’t need to have 100 goals to be successful. You just need to pursue one goal at a time.

Too often, I see people set too many goals, and they have too many items on their to-do list, and they ended up accomplishing none of their goals/tasks.

When you spread your focus too thin, you will quickly lose your willpower and motivation to execute.

I strongly suggest you read this book, The ONE Thing. It is a New York Times Bestseller and a book that I have read countless times. Follow the principles in the book because they will change your life.

the one thing
One of the must-read books about productivity. I highly recommend this book. Get it from Amazon.

5. Stop All Possible Distractions

Get rid of all possible distractions if you want to focus on getting your work done. Yes, you may be a perfectionist, but having distractions around will only make the situation worse.

Because you are already a perfectionist, you don’t want other tasks or things to distract or take your attention away.

Imagine you are a perfectionist and you want to start a Shopify store. But because of your perfectionism attitude, you didn’t build the Shopify store because you want everything to be perfect.

And in the middle of that, you discovered other ways to build an online store. You got distracted. Now instead of worrying about building a Shopify store, you got other things to worry about.

Can you see how distractions can make the situation worse? This is why if you want to get rid of perfectionism, you need to get rid of distractions too.

Read: 10 Ways to Eliminate Distractions When Working

6. Remember that There’s No Perfect Timing

Right, there is no perfect time to start. Just like this Chinese proverb:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

So, don’t wait, and don’t let the illusion of perfect timing stop you from taking action right away.

It is understandable if you want to choose a good date to start your restaurant business for the first time, but you don’t have to be too obsessed with timing, because the timing will never be perfect.

The only one that is trying to be perfect is you, not the timing.

Hence, follow Nike’s tagline, just do it. And don’t wait for the right time, instead, go and make the time ‘right’ for you.

7. Believe that Everything Will Turn Out Fine

The next step to overcoming perfectionism is to believe that everything will turn out fine.

Many perfectionists procrastinate because they focus too much on the negatives. They are being pessimistic and they let something that is yet to happen stops them from moving forward.

In other words, perfectionists are stopped by their own thoughts. They worry if things are going to turn out fine. And that ‘worry’ is what prevents them from achieving their goals and pursuing their dreams.

You have to believe that things are going to turn out fine. You can never predict the future, so the only thing you can do is to choose to believe that things will work out and you will get the results you want.

Never let the perfectionist side of you stops you from achieving what you want in your life just because of a thought you have in your head.

Learn to how to change your brain to change your income and success. Attend this free web class from John Assaraf here.

8. Never Compare Yourself to Others

That’s right, one way to get rid of perfectionism is to never compare yourself with others, only compare with yourself.

There is nothing wrong to compare it with others, like in sports and business, you will have competition. But the problem comes when you try to over-compare and it stifles your progress.

The more you want to compare with others and become perfect, the bitter you will become. But if you continuously compete with yourself, you will do better.

Dale Carnegie has a great quote:

“One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.”

So, stop comparing yourself to others, it will only slow down your progress.

Remember, a flower doesn’t try to compete with the flower next to it, it just blooms.

9. Delegate and Outsource Your Work

You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to do everything yourself. Instead, if you want to succeed in life, learn to trust others. Delegate your tasks. Outsource your work. Learn to leverage and believe in others.

A perfectionist never trusts others. They’d rather do things themselves. And even if they do get others to do it for them, they expect others to deliver an extremely high standard work.

Steve Jobs was a perfectionist. He was extremely demanding and often pushed his team a mile farther than what people expected. Jobs was a legendary visionary, but working with him could give you a serious headache.

10. Commit to Making Progress

Finally, if you want to stop being a perfectionist, you must commit to making progress all the time.

It doesn’t matter if what you do is going to be perfect, or whether your plan is going to work out, you want to create progress.

Why? Because making progress is the key to getting results and avoiding getting stuck where you are.

Most people are paralyzed by their perfectionism and they tend to procrastinate on their work or whatever goals they are pursuing. But once you commit to making progress, you don’t care so much about the results.

All you want to do is to focus on taking one small step at a time.

Must-read guide: Success Cycle: How to Leverage Small Success to Build Bigger Ones

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