Perfectionism and Work Stress — How to Cope with It?

Written by: Maheen Asif – M.Sc (Clinical Psychology)
Last updated date : October 04, 2022
Table of Contents Article title – DBT for anger
  1. Chapter 1
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Chapter 3
  4. Chapter 4
  5. Chapter 5
  6. Chapter 6
  7. Chapter 7
  8. Chapter 8

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Perfectionism and work stress go hand in hand. Work stress in perfectionists is a dark side. Most perfectionists are high achievers who pay close attention to the details. But they can’t seem to let go of projects, delegate, or know when they’ve done their best work on a project.

For example, You have 30 minutes to give a presentation, but even though you’ve gone over it five times, you don’t think it’s good enough. Still, you feel like you should read it again and might need to add more pictures and graphs. And what if there are still mistakes in grammar even though you tried your best? You are stressing out and want to be on time, but you also want a perfect presentation.

So, instead of giving your boss your presentation on time, you miss the deadline, which means she will have to look it over quickly when she gets it two days before the meeting. You’re already upset, and now you might be making your boss upset, too. Not only that, but this isn’t the first time you’ve missed a deadline for the same reason.

On the other hand, there have been times when you turned in a presentation on time and got good feedback, but you worried a lot after you sent it because you were afraid you missed something, or it wasn’t good enough. This happens to you often, and on top of that, it gives you anxiety, headaches, and stomachaches.

Most of the time, stress happens when you don’t reach your idea of perfection.

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Chapter 1:
Why Does Perfectionism Cause Work Stress?

Perfectionism can cause stress at work and at home all the time. Living in a cycle of stress with no way out can make you feel like you can’t do anything or that there’s no hope. Stress that never goes away can make you feel like there’s no reason to try.

By expecting perfection, which is impossible to reach, a person can’t do what they want to do. They will never be perfect, so they will never reach this goal. Even if perfection was reached at some point, what is considered perfect might change over time. This way of thinking can make it worse for people with harmful perfectionism to lose their sense of purpose and meaning.

Self-criticism and perfectionism often go hand in hand with talking badly to yourself. People with perfectionism may often think things like, “What’s wrong with me?” and “At this rate, I might as well give up.” A constant stream of harsh thoughts can wear a person out emotionally.

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Chapter 2:
How To Cope With "Perfectionism"?

Here are some ideas and suggestions that will help you get past perfectionism and work stress.

Practice self-awareness

It takes some self-awareness to realize perfectionism can cause stress at work and at home. Bad habits can be hard to break, but if you know yourself well, you can notice when you’re acting like a perfectionist and take a step back to change. As you start to notice how you act at work, you can start to make different decisions. For example, you can look at a presentation as a whole instead of worrying about a small part of it. It will help you reach a point where “good enough” is good enough.

Realize no one’s perfect

Work stress in Perfectionists is very common because they can’t accept any mistake in their day-to-day tasks at work. They’re too afraid of what will happen if they are not “perfect.” They must understand that no one is ever “perfect,” and it’s fine to make mistakes and learn from them.

Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

It’s normal to compare yourself to others, but there’s no reason to look at anyone else’s work. We only set ourselves up for disappointment when we compare ourselves to others. We all have our own lives and can choose different ways to do things. Even people with perfectionism have work stress and other problems if you talk to them. Instead, focus on your work and look for ways to make it better without thinking too much.

Set realistic goals and reward yourself as you meet them

You may have missed deadlines because you wanted your work to look better. But you hurt yourself when you’re late for a client because that means your work went unnoticed. Instead, you should always set realistic goals by knowing when a project is due.Next, break up that project into smaller parts so you can meet your deadlines and not have to worry about small details.

If you learn to set reasonable goals, you can reward yourself when you reach them. This will help you realize that you are doing a good job and reaching the goals you set for yourself. When you reach your goals, you can’t find anything wrong with them, which means it’s as close to perfect as you can get.

Ask Yourself If It’s Worth IT

We’ve already said that people with perfectionism have work stress more than anyone else in the office. There’s no reason to worry about small things. It won’t make your work or life better in any way. Before you worry about the little things, think about whether it’s really worth it.

How important is what you’re doing? Is life or death at stake? Most of the time, the things we worry about and try to get just right aren’t worth the trouble in the long run. At work, it’s often more important to be able to do something to move forward than to make something perfect.

Allow Mistakes

No matter how careful you are, you will make mistakes. Ask a coworker to check your work for mistakes instead of reading the same report over and over to find mistakes. Once they’re done, you can read them again and look for mistakes in grammar. What’s done is done after that. Even though you might not want to give a report with a typo to your boss or a client, they will forgive you and not think twice about it. You are just a person.

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Chapter 3:
Dealing with Perfectionism at Work

Even though perfectionism makes your work stand out, it doesn’t make you a better performer than anyone else. Work stress in perfectionists makes them worried about small things that no one else noticed. You could have been more productive if you hadn’t spent so much time worrying about your presentation. For example, you could have been working on other tasks or getting more sleep at night.

Of course, not all perfectionists are the same. Some are great at managing their time and never miss deadlines, while others are always late because they are so focused on being perfect.

There are some benefits to being a perfectionist, but you have to decide if those benefits are worth the work stress of perfectionists.

 

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Chapter 4:
Take Away

It can be hard to look at yourself in the mirror and see that you need to change. Many people find it hard to change their perfectionism which causes stress at work and in daily life. Still, you can reach your goals and work well at a pace that won’t wear you out. Work stress in perfectionists can make it hard for you to do your best. You might do better in the long run if you learn how to deal with them. If your perfectionism gets too much for you to handle on your own, a mental health professional can teach you how to deal with it. Counseling or therapy can help you talk through some of the problems that have come up because of it and find ways to move on. It can also help you deal with how perfectionism makes you feel. After reading this article, you might have many more questions to ask about being perfect. Hence, we have many online courses on our Epsychonline website. There is also one course on Perfectionism. This course helps you know more about this concept and also clears your doubts. You should enroll in this course to build a stronger personality.
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  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

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