Weekend Poll: Are you a perfectionist?

I sometimes joke that I’m a recovering perfectionist.

I’m not so sure, though, that it is a joke. For example, I played around with the two images you see on this page for a good 15 minutes – and would have taken longer, except that I set myself a time limit.

You readers are important to me, and so I want to publish not only words but also images that will resonate with you. In preparing the image that appears atop your screen, I’d tried and discarded two other images before settling on the fellow you now see. I had tried three iterations of the text layout before my timer rang and I told  myself any of the versions I’d drafted was good enough.

You read correctly. I set a timer and committed to myself that I’d stop playing around with the photos for this post within a set time limit. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may see that I love visual imagery as well as words. I enjoy playing around with both. Did I need to continue reworking them all morning? No. Would you think less of me for not reworking these images even more? I hope not!

Good enough

Christabell, a highly respected EA I know, mentioned this approach to me years ago. We worked in the same sector, at different ends of the country, and Christabell was among my early Real Careers interviewees. The phrase, “good enough” need not imply subpar or even average quality. It does not imply an absence of proofreading, or inattention to accuracy. To me, good enough means you know when to stop polishing or reworking something.


Producing quality work is important, and we should all take pride in our deliverables. The quest for perfection, however, can actually hinder our productivity. I’ll write more about this when providing the results of this Weekend Poll, and I’ll also share some of these results when I speak about the quest for perfection at next month’s #ADMINSROCK virtual conference.

What about you?

This leads, of course, to asking whether you tend to rethink, revise and redo your work. Do you have tendencies toward perfectionism in your career?

Do you have tendencies toward perfectionism in your career?

Please take a couple of minutes to complete the poll below. As always, I look forward to hearing what you have to say and will publish the results here.

YesNoOnly occasionally; it depends on the project or undertaking
I fix it and feel upset/disappointed in myselfI fix it and make a mental or physical "note to self" to learn from it and do better next timeI fix it and forget about it
I won't start a new habit unless I know I'll keep it up, no matter whatI wait and work my way up to the point where I feel confident I can succeed in maintaining a new habitI go all innone of the above
I don't hesitateI'll delegate depending on the degree of confidence I have in the other person's workI delegate if I have to, but then I have to spend time double checking the other person's workI prefer to do the work myself, even if it takes more time; I'll know the work is up to my standards
NoYes; I think I micromanageYes; I've heard this from one or more colleagues
YesNoI have perfectionist tendencies, and try to rein this in
I'm generally on top of my work and keep reasonable hoursI'm generally on top of my work and keep long hoursI sometimes struggle with staying on top of workload, and attribute this at least in part to being a perfectionistI sometimes struggle with staying on top of workload, and attribute this to the volume/nature of work rather than to being a perfectionistI typically struggle with workload

2 Comments on “Weekend Poll: Are you a perfectionist?

    • Thanks, Nina, and you will find the results interesting!

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