The problem with perfectionism


My alarm rings in the morning at 5 a.m., I get up, brush my teeth, go to the gym between 05:30 and 06:30, get ready for the day, and my day goes as planned. This is my typical routine.

If I’m tired one day, and instead of waking up at 5 a.m., I wake up 30 minutes later, and my mind tells me, “You’ve lost your schedule, you can’t go to the gym today. Let’s go tomorrow”.

Why is my mind not allowing me to hit the gym if I’m late?

It says I’ve got to be there at 05:30 or else it is a waste of time, even if it is 05:45.

Why do I have to be so perfect?

You could be one of the victims as well. If you can’t get out of bed when your alarm goes off, you might consider your day a failure.

Why does our mind seek perfection in all that we do? And how do we get rid of it?

Warning: This post will not be suitable for everyone. This is for a few weird types of people like me,

  • you want things to happen as planned
  • focus more on the details of your work
  • on time is late for you, 5 minutes early is on time
  • you tag and organize all of your notes, pictures, and documents
  • thinking upfront – everything is perfect or not, before starting
  • missing a workout or a healthy meal will leave you with guilt

Simply put, we are 50% Sheldon Cooper and 100% Monica Geller.

If you fall into any of the categories listed above, this post is for you. For others, it won’t be useful.

Let’s dive deep into it.

Why First

Sometimes we forget “why?” we started in the first place and moved in a different direction called “perfection”.

If you’ve made walking a habit, your only goal is to walk. That’s it and no strings attached.

Don’t be unimpressed if you finish walking after 4.58 kilometers because you were unable to complete 5 kilometers. That 5-kilometer makes you feel perfect…

Instead, be happy that you’re consistently crossing the 4-kilometer mark every day.

Whenever you feel yourself drifting towards perfection, take a pause and think about why you have started and ask yourself, “Am I on the right track now?” If not, adjust it.

Once you get started, you must love the process rather than trying to be perfect in it.

80/20 rule

If you’re trying to be a perfectionist, then it’s more likely that you’re also a productivity nerd. And your slogan will always be, “How can I get more done in less time?”

The Pareto principle or 80/20 rule states, “roughly 80% of outcomes come from 20% of causes” and vice versa.

Likewise, if you take any of your tasks – 80% of the results take 20% of your time, and vice versa (the rest of the 20% of results take 80% of your time).

Drafting a mail (80%) will take very little time (20%), but in the name of perfectionism, you’re going to read it 25 times to look for mistakes (20%), which will take more time (80%) than drafting.

If it makes sense to you when reading it for the first time, click the “send mail” button without a second thought. Don’t waste your time making it perfect.

Always prioritize the work which adds 80%  to your result and leave the 20% of time-consuming activities to chance/imperfection which makes little impact on your final result. (see later, I’ve clearly explained the 80/20 rule here – 2nd paragraph)

Your 20% imperfections will not cause the world to stop spinning.

Be an imperfectionist.

Why is our brain moving toward perfectionism? Because it’s symmetry and it looks aesthetically pleasing to our minds.

Perfection is just a thought in our minds. Thoughts are not facts. You believe something that is not true.

It’s an illusion. So, break it everywhere.

Keep your alarm at 05:03 instead of exactly 05:00.

Instead of scheduling a fixed time, tell yourself I’ve got to be there for an hour from the time I arrive at the gym.

When writing a message or captioning an Instagram post, use lowercase letters for all the characters.

No one can be perfect. Even if he is a perfectionist, for him, he is trying to be perfect.

It’s all in the mind; don’t blame it on the word ”perfection”. 


The things shared above are what I told myself to help me overcome them.

Next time you are waiting for the perfect time to start a task or attempting to procrastinate a work, I hope this post comes to your mind.

It’s better to just start and enjoy the process than to make a schedule and struggle to stick to it.

Sometimes, it is supposed to be asymmetry that makes our lives good. The imperfect stuff makes things perfect.

Until next time,
Peranesh xx 


If you have anything to say to me or want to comment on this post, feel free to leave a response here.

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About the author: Peranesh is an IT professional and occasional writer. You can connect with him on TelegramTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.