If  you are a perfectionist, it’s likely that:

  • You never feel like something is finished
  • You are your own harshest critic
  • If you don’t do everything on your “to do” list, you feel like a failure
  • You have trouble delegating because “if you want something done right, you should do it yourself.”
  • You rewrite letters and memos several times before sending them

A few jobs (such as designing spacecraft or performing neurosurgery) require an incredible degree of precision. But the rest of us can afford to be less than perfect. Trying to be perfect all the time can be exhausting. And who says you have to be perfect, anyway? Most likely, you are the one setting such high standards for yourself–so high that you might never reach them.

Also, it may surprise you to know that you can learn more from your failures than from your successes. Most successful people have experienced many setbacks along the way.

Here are some ways to set more realistic standards for yourself and learn to accept less than perfection:

  • Decide what’s important. Pick a few key areas in which you want to excel, and accept satisfactory performance in other areas.
  • Just do it. Many everyday decisions are not worth extensive contemplation. Instead of trying to make the ideal choice, sometimes it’s best to just make a decision and move forward.
  • Learn to value each person’s unique style and perspective. It’s okay if someone else can get the same results as you can by using a different approach.
  • Think about the big picture. Don’t waste time on unimportant details.
  • Concentrate on the work itself. Try not to focus too much on other people’s opinions or judgements.
  • Don’t stop–keep going. Interrupting to correct as you go slows down your work and stifles creativity.
  • Stop when it’s good enough. More time and effort doesn’t always mean better results.