Perfectionists are everywhere and you might in fact be one of them. Do you need everything to be just so? Do you get disgruntled if things are not the way you envisioned them to be? Do you go to great lengths, sacrificing your time and energy, to get it exactly right? If so, you might be a perfectionist, and in today’s fast paced world when time means money, this can both a good thing and a bad thing. It can be a double edged sword, as they say. While perfectionism can yield great work results, especially when it comes to quality, it can also be a huge time suck.

If you are a perfectionist, or if you have a perfectionist in your midst, you will need to be sure that this person is kept in check and practicing time management so they do not spent too much unnecessary time on work that could be done quicker. The fact is that not everything needs to be done perfectly. In fact, in our fast paced world ‘agile’ is the preferred approach. This is where you work to complete a project in incremental (small steps) and iterative (repeated) stages. With this approach perfection is achieve over time rather than all at once in the beginning, as many perfectionists often prefer to work.

If the nature of your job entails or demands perfection, then that expectation must be built in to the job description, but sometimes “excellent” or even “good” work can be better than perfect because it takes less time and leaves the worker with more energy and focus to deal with other important matters.

Perfectionists can practice time management in the following ways. Start by meeting with your manager to discuss how much time designated tasks should be taking. Perfectionists often want to do things 100% right, so if you are one then chances are you’ll do your best to stay within these boundaries. Knowing a realistic estimate for how much time you should be spending on your tasks will make it easier for you to determine the level of attention and quality required for each job. If there are problems that arise due to a drop in quality, simply talk to your manager and renegotiate the times frames. Once this is made clear to everyone, you will see an improvement in your time spent on various projects and any stress about the quality of your results will be alleviated.

Perfectionists need to be encouraged to write down every moment of their day so they know how they are spending their time. They tend to get very caught up and “in flow” with the finer points and the details of things, making it easy for them to lose track of time. For this reason, perfectionists can benefit by having a clock in direct line of sight near them. Some find they work best if they use timers and alarms to time their tasks. Making it easier to finish their tasks in a timely manner and then record it. This makes sure that everyone is on the same page about how time is spent.