Perfectionist or Optimalist*?

Posted by Mindy Katz on October 9, 2015 in Flourish with ADHD |

ADHD Awareness Month – Day 9

From the outside looking in, folks might find it hard to believe that perfectionism is a common ADHD trait. One of the reasons it seems so odd is that, often, it doesn’t even look like we are doing what we need to do.

Perfectionism can lead to Procrastination  – we don’t feel like we can get started on a project until all the conditions (internal and external) are perfect. It can look like a lack of time management – we spend so much time focusing on making one piece of a project perfect, we run out of time to finish the whole thing.

Being a perfectionist can also cause us to hyper-focus on small details rather than working on the big picture. We get so deep into whatever we are doing, that hours have passed by the time we come up for air.

Perfectionism can be exhausting and not very productive.

An alternative, is to strive for an optimal outcome – good enough and done. For many of us, I know this is a radical concept, however in the big picture if we miss a deadline it doesn’t matter how perfect the project.

We can be more productive and less stressed out when we focus on the process – breaking things down, writing down the plan, scheduling tasks and reminders and keeping our eye on the big picture.

Optimally, you want to do a good job and you don’t want to let perfectionism get in the way. We can relieve ourselves from the stress of perfectionism and become optimalists*.


* The term optimalist comes from the book “Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment” by Tal Ben-Shahar


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