Perfectionism and Time Management

Here are tips that will help you better manage your time, especially if you struggle with perfectionism, and find it hard to stop working.

What would you say...

Is it easier to manage your time if you are a perfectionist,  someone who likes to complete all tasks to a high level of satisfaction?

It may surprise you to know that people with perfectionist tendencies actually tend to struggle with effective use of their time. Let us look at the issue of perfectionism and time management.

We all want to produce high quality results and this sometimes can put a huge strain on us. When you want to make your work perfect, you are normally overly self critical. You may work tirelessly for hours on the same project, even using double the time you originally allocated for the task.

The intensity of such a pursuit of excellence can, on occasion, evolve into a menacing dread of making mistakes. You may be scared of not reaching the high standards you set for yourself, and this can have crippling effects on your level of success and even the organization of your personal schedule.

What are ways that you can handle the urge of perfectionism, thereby improving your time management skills?

Related: Best Books for Perfectionists

1. What Exactly Do You Spend Your Time On?

First, you should have an honest appraisal of how your distribute your work time. How much time do you spend constructively building and creating good work? For instance, you may notice that a huge percentage of your work time is actually spent 'fixing'.

When you write an essay, for example, do you find yourself pressing the backspace button every few minutes, even deleting rows of sentences to start afresh?

For you to be effective, you need to minimize the time spent correcting when you are supposed to be creating. Let your work be fluid by allowing your brain to think and assemble before you type it out. Don't waste time trying too hard to make everything perfect. You'll achieve much more if you put in a good effort on each section of your assignment, and then swiftly move on.

2. Reflect on the Advantages and Disadvantages of Perfectionism

Another way to manage the struggle between perfectionism and time management is to have a balanced view of the issue. Write down reasons why perfectionist tendencies may be helping you reach certain goals, but also look at ways in which they might be hindering you.

For instance, an advantage of aiming for perfection is that your work may indeed be more superior because you are dedicated and have a strong work ethic. Being highly self-driven brings great benefits.

On the other hand, you may become really depressed when you seem to be failing at certain aspects of your work, or you may be preoccupied with the fear of disapproval to the extent where it basically paralyzes you. 

Once you are aware of the way perfectionism may be negatively influencing you, then you can become more clear on traits you need to get rid of, while maintaining the good work habits that are attached to perfectionism.

3.  What can You Reasonably Accomplish?

It is brilliant to have that determination to produce great work, but never lose touch of what you can realistically achieve. If you feel pressured by external factors, realize that NO-ONE expects you to know and do everything.

Make your goals just a step ahead of what you can currently complete successfully and do not go crazy with your targets.

Also realize that when you work on a project, you are not the first to work on something similar and you likely will not be the last. We all work with what we currently have. Your work is not likely going to be the absolute best there will ever be on that subject.

Our contributions to the academic world are basically like an on-going conversation. As a whole, we just keep getting better and better - working on the experience of the person before us.

In Summary:

To effectively manage your time and avoid painful perfectionism, keep in mind the value of your time and energy. You simply cannot spend endless amounts of time on low-priority activities, just to make sure every detail is perfect.

Be aware of the danger of setting unreachable standards and then feeling bad when you do not reach them. Be realistic, prioritize and only plan a couple of tasks to complete each day, if you accomplish more - then that is a bonus for you.

Set firm time deadlines for yourself to make sure you keep on track, and that you are doing what you're supposed to be doing.

Thanks for reading! How do you balance the struggle between perfectionism and time management? Comment below!

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