We all know people who are perfectionists.  They strive in everything they do to be the best, to out-perform all others, to be number one.

In some walks of life, this can be a great attribute. If you want to be a professional musician (especially a classical musician) perfectionism is a good goal.   Lang Lang didn’t become one of the world’s greatest pianists by settling for being merely good.

However, in other walks of life, being a perfectionist can be both a professional and a personal millstone..

Professionally, it can result in you taking far too long to complete relatively simple tasks to an adequate level of quality.  Your organisation probably wants you to complete the task and move on – to the next one.

Personally, you might start to feel anxious that your level of performance does not meet your own very high standards.  This anxiety can affect your overall mental health and, in turn, reduce your performance.  You end up in a downward spiral.

So, you need to clarify the standard asked of you – what is acceptable, and what is not.  Setting the standard is not normally your job.  You just have to accept the agreed standard – and meet it consistently, and within  an acceptable time period.   

When you meet it, give yourself a virtual pat on the back – and even a little reward … like a very short break or a coffee or a sweet – anything which show you recognise you have met the standard of performance required.

Rinse and repeat!   Keep meeting this standard and keep recognising it.

If you feel the agreed standard  is wrong, either report it to your supervisor or simply accept that someone, but not you, has failed in their role.

Slowly you should adjust your own expectations of your own performance, and you should feel better about that performance, reducing your anxiety levels – and increasing your productivity.