Beware the Perfectionism Trap


Getting a “A” on an exam, executing multiple projects flawlessly and looking like you’ve stepped off a magazine cover all sound great, right? These sentiments of perfection have been ingrained in many of us from a young age. However, in the world of entrepreneurship, the perfectionism trap is more of a liability than an asset

The relentless pursuit of perfectionism can affect mental health, especially when confronted with people who are seemingly “living the dream” and succeeding in every single area of life. If our lives don’t measure up, we may feel inadequate.

The perfectionism trap is a universal concept, at schools, colleges, in the workplace and with personal friendships. It’s common for us to believe that perfection is what we should strive for without ever pausing to consider whether doing so will benefit us. Simply said, it serves as our benchmark for comparison and motivation.

What is perfectionism?

The idea that we must always be “perfect” in every manner and every facet of life is known as perfectionism.

The Clinical Innovation Center’s defines perfectionism as possessing uncompromising high standards. The “unrelenting” element of this belief, encompasses the issue of perfectionism and many of us are are susceptible to falling into the perfectionism trap.

Perfectionist tendencies lead us to believe that we should constantly strive for perfection and achieve it in everything we do, including schoolwork, grades, athletic performance, appearance, personal relationships, and every other area of our lives. Perfectionism dictates that we should also always appear to be doing everything effortlessly for our self-satisfaction and own success!

Striving for excellence isn’t a bad thing, and when managed correctly, you can make great strides in your life. With TimeTrack for instance, you can learn how to manage your time better and improve your productivity without falling into the trap of perfectionism.

time management hours overview

Time management made simple – Timesheets

The perfectionism trap

Modern ambitious professionals — and an increasing number of young people generally — have a significant problem with perfectionism. Furthermore, it is frequently misinterpreted, and some even mistake it for a badge of pride.

The pursuit of personal development involves trying to be perfect. It frequently involves excessive self-criticism and worries about others’ negative opinions of us.

Cognitive dissonance is the tension between perfect self-esteem and subpar performance, leading to a perfectionist’s low self-worth. To achieve perfection, we set lofty, if not impossible, goals and are then disappointed when we fall short.

Fundamentally, relentlessly comparing ourselves with others can actually be counterproductive. Common side-effects of striving for perfection all the time include poor time management, procrastination, lack of productivity and anxiety when it comes to decision-making.



Why do we fall into the perfectionism trap?

It’s likely that perfectionism and the comparative trap is a taught behavioural adaptation. Here are a few reasons we fall into this trap.

The feeling of achievement

So-called perfectionists feel better about themselves when they achieve something and get a win. The flipside of this is that when we fail, which happens to everyone occasionally, it makes us feel useless.

Constantly chasing that winning feeling can be draining. You are independent of external factors regarding who you are and how you feel inside. The mental control processes in life that link the internal and external worlds are completely unrelated. It’s not always true that what we perceive as success or failure actually is so; it is our interpretation of reality.

Believing our accomplishments make us valuable

Having wise thoughts or a winning project does not make you more valuable in life. Missing a deadline, losing out on a bid or messing up a project doesn’t make you less valuable. You are the same person at your core whether you win or lose.


Perfectionism can be self-defeating

We desire perfection to be unique

When “calamity strikes” and a straight-A student receives a B grade, the student may lose his sense of self. Some people identify so strongly with their behavior that they start to believe that consistently being excellent is what makes them unique. You cannot define your identity through your accolades only.

Perfectionism trap pitfalls

Below are four common pitfalls of perfectionism.

We lose focus

Striving for perfectionism can result in wasting time and losing focus. Perfectionists can get stuck in endless tiny details that aren’t necessary to big-picture work. This wastes time and prevents us from starting our next task.

Perfectionism is paralyzing

We become immobilized if we keep looking for the best solution after we’ve exhausted all other viable possibilities. Perfectionism shouldn’t stand in the way of improvement. Select a viable choice, then proceed with a healthy perfectionism. While you’re at it, take a break regularly to rest and recharge.

No room for creativity

We are hesitant to try anything new and different when it is outside our comfort zone or area of expertise. Perfectionists often feel constrained by the fear of failing and subsequently fail to grown and learn.

Missed opportunities

By constantly chasing perfectionism, we don’t have time for new learning experiences and challenging projects as we’re so preoccupied with perfecting less important stuff. So, we pass up the chance to develop, add value in a novel way, or find a hidden talent that is personally satisfying.

The perfectionism trap: time management

Well, everyone wants to be a perfectionist in this era, but we all know it is almost impossible. But, we can be more productive (not just busy) by managing our time, being punctual, and setting our priorities via time management. Great time management is the antidote to the perfectionism trap.

Let it go

With distractions occurring every few minutes at work, maintaining concentration is difficult. A sound time management plan and letting go of the need to be perfect ensures that the most important things receive all your attention. As a result, your performance will improve and you can complete projects quickly.

End on a positive note

When it’s the end of the day, finish without regrets and with a positive attitude. Stepping out of the perfectionism trap means acknowledging your good work and leaving the rest for tomorrow. Set goals and work to achieve them within the allotted time. Try the 1-3-5 Rule to stay focused on your current objectives.

Get organized

Time management involves great organizational skills and prioritizing your work to complete goals on time. This makes it easier for you to complete your projects and speeds up your work.


Manage your time effectively and your performance will increase tenfold, which means you won’t have to chase perfection. In addition, with sound time management techniques in place, you may complete the same amount of work with less effort and do better than was anticipated!

Overcoming the need to be perfect

Retraining your brain is the key to escaping the perfectionism trap. And one of the best techniques we have for this process is the practice of mindfulness. But how does mindful thinking change how you live your life?

Here are a few suggestions for avoiding the perfectionism trap and altering your perspective.

Challenge your thoughts

After identifying specific attitudes and perfectionist tendencies, make it a practice to push yourself. For instance, if you start criticizing yourself or drawing conclusions too fast, stop and consider whether that is the case. Then, consider alternative frames of reference and whether you’re exaggerating the bad aspects of your situation.

Embrace the small pleasures in life

Being more appreciative of life’s blessings is one of the most effective methods to combat negative perfectionism tendencies. Try out strategies like self-inquiry and gratitude writing.

Learn and move on

Try to perceive failure as a learning opportunity that will help you achieve in the future. The ancient Stoic principle that “the obstacle is the way” holds that we can only begin to overcome problems by accepting them as essential components of our road to achievement.

Set realistic goals

While it can feel great to push ourselves and see how far we can go, it’s also crucial to set realistic objectives if we want to be productive and take care of our mental health. Try dividing major goals into smaller ones and creating action plans that will move you closer to your larger objective to make them more attainable.

Be adaptable and open to the possibility that your objectives may change as you go along. For this, you have to be a person who knows how to manage his or her time. For more assistance on being productive, look into time tracking and day theming.

Reframe perfectionism into productivity. For example, TimeTrack Auto Scheduler speeds up the scheduling process, reducing time wastage. The automatic duty roster calculates the ideal duty roster for everyone quickly and easily.


Auto Scheduler – TimeTrack

Celebrate your achievements

Fight pathological perfectionism by simply writing down everything you accomplish in a day. We can increase our self-esteem, self-satisfaction, confidence and contentment by celebrating our accomplishments.


Perfectionism is a typical pitfall that many human beings fall into. You can learn to manage your tendency toward perfectionism by practicing better time management and being mindful.

Perfectionism in moderation is beneficial. Make an effort to get better, but avoid getting sucked into a relentless pursuit of the impossible.


See how you can incorporate this excellent time management technique into your arsenal of workplace tools with TimeTrack. Our software makes it simple and practical to boost your time management skills.