In order to be truly efficient, we need to strike a balance between the best we could possibly do and the level of “good” a specific project requires. No one will expect perfection from you because it will ultimately be impossible to attain. Do the best you can in a reasonable time frame, and allow yourself to put it into the world.
How to Be As Perfect As Possible
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 38 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.
No one is perfect. Not you, not me, not even the most beautiful, successful people on the planet. Perfection is unattainable. But what is attainable is making people wonder if you are. Here’s how to make people doubt whether or not perfection is so elusive after all.
- Shower daily. Pick out a body soap that appeals to you and scrub down! Don’t feel obligated to wash your hair every day (in fact, that could dry it out), but do wash up regularly, especially after workouts.
- Pick out a shampoo and conditioner for your hair type. Use a deep treatment every so often to increase your hair’s natural shine.
- Brush your teeth (and tongue!) at least twice a day. Make it a habit when you get up and right before go to bed. A whitening toothpaste will make your pearly whites glisten even more.  X Research source
- While you’re at it, floss and use mouthwash! Not only are they good habits to have, but they reduce your chances of gum disease and tooth decay.  X Research source
- Don’t douse yourself in perfume or cologne. A light spray is a good idea, but smelling you from across the street, even if you smell like a field of daisies, is overpowering and less than ideal.
- Circulation increases in our sleep. That means our skin is receiving the most nutrients it receives at night, preparing it to look healthier and glow.  X Research source
- Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same areas of the brain. Studies have shown that participants who get more sleep lose more fat than their counterparts, who lose more muscle.  X Research source
- Sleep allows our brains time to consolidate memories. Not only does a healthy amount of sleep make for easier recall, but the same restructuring of memories spurs the creative process.  X Research source Our attention is sharpened, making it easier to focus (and get better grades!).
- Sleeping around 8 hours a night spurs athleticism, too. Athletes who slept around 10 hours a night experienced less daytime fatigue and faster running times.  X Research source
How To Be Perfect
Once, alchemists sought the secret formula for turning lead into gold. Nowadays, we seek things that are rather more unattainable. The perfect job. The perfect relationship. The perfect family life. Perfect health. Perfect everything!
Sam, for instance, tries to get the perfect body. His diet is whatever TV says is the latest “right way.” He exercises however his Facebook feed says is “the best way it’s done” (which is it again: cardio or strength?).
When Sam was a student, he studied the one way he knew how. He picked his major, his profession, his job based on advice from his parents, with just a few moments reflecting on his own desires or how to do the most good with his career. Medical treatment? He gets whatever he hears is best according to hearsay and best friends.
You probably don’t need me to tell you how that’s working for Sam. Sometimes things go well, sometimes they don’t, more or less at random. Things just. happen to Sam; he rarely feels in control.
For that, I admire Sam. He has a sense that there’s a better way, that he himself can do better. He’s self-aware, seeing that his “any ole’ way” strategy isn’t working for him. Realizing that if you’re lacking results, you must be lacking. something important. is the first great key.
A golden life needs a silver bullet. Without it, for all his admirable drive to improve his life, all his energy, I fear Sam will just move from one not-very-impressive strategy to another. Life often fails to reward our effort, if that effort is not properly directed.
Unlike Sam, Sally seeks the truth. She looks on a mess of a thousand lies and plucks the one nugget of truth out of it. She grows more powerful as the years pass; the diamonds in the rough inevitably end up in her hands; others may be satisfied by fool’s gold, but her kind want the genuine article, and they get it.
From ‘How to Be Perfect’
Listen to an audiobook excerpt from “How to Be Perfect,” featuring Michael Schur along with Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Ted Danson and D’Arcy Carden, stars of his TV show “The Good Place.”
In about 300 pages, Schur covers some 2,500 years of Western philosophical thought, breaking down concepts like virtue ethics, deontology, utilitarianism and contractualism, analyzing principles espoused by Aristotle (“a good salesman, and he gets us all excited about his pitch”), Kant (“a pretty rigid dude”) and Camus (“a stone-cold hottie”), and examining arguments from contemporary philosophers like Judith Thomson, Peter Singer, T.M. Scanlon and Johann Broodryk. He raises quandaries that are easy calls (“Should I Punch My Friend in the Face for No Reason?”) along with more challenging thought experiments like the Trolley Problem (“Should I Let This Runaway Trolley I’m Driving Kill Five People, or Should I Pull a Lever and Deliberately Kill One (Different) Person?”) and fraught issues like whether it’s wrong to enjoy art and literature created by people who behave reprehensibly.
As a philosophical layman taking on some of the most profound questions humans have pondered, Schur is, naturally, nervous about how the book will be received. “I’m terrified of people who know what they’re talking about reading it and saying, ‘You fool,’” he said. “That’s my greatest fear right now, is that someone is going to read it and out loud, alone in his or her office, say the words, ‘You fool.’”
“The smartest people who ever lived have been working really hard for thousands of years to try to explain to us how we can be better people, and how we can improve ourselves, but they wrote so complicatedly and densely and opaquely that no one wants to engage with it,” Schur said. “It’s like a chef had come up with a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that were both delicious and also helped you lose weight, but the recipe was 600 pages long and written in German, and no one read it. And I thought, if we could just translate that to, like, a human language, this would be very helpful.”
Learn How to Balance Life
“There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”
However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.
If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.
How to Be a Healthy Perfectionist
1. Draw a Line
We have the 80/20 rule, where 80% of output can be achieved in 20% of time spent. We can spend all our time getting the 100% in, or we can draw the line where we get majority of the output, and start on a new project.
Obsessing over details is draining and tedious, and it doesn’t help us accomplish much. I used to review a blog post 3-4 times before I published. All the reviewing only amounted to subtle changes in phrasing and the occasional typos. It was extremely ineffective, so now I scan it once or twice and publish it.
2. Be Conscious of Trade-offs
When we spend time and energy on something, we deny ourselves the opportunity to spend the same time and energy on something else. There are tons of things we can do, and we need to be aware of the trade-offs involved, so we can better draw a line.
For example, if some unimportant blog admin work takes an hour, that’s an hour I could spend on content creation or blog promotion. Being conscious of this helps me make a better choice on how to spend my time.
3. Get a View of the Big Picture
As a perfectionist, to make sure my attention is set on the end point, I have a monthly and weekly goal sheet my blog that keeps me on track. Every day, I refer to it to make sure what I’m doing contributes to the weekly goals, and ultimately the monthly goals to keep me on track.
4. Focus on Big Rocks
If it’s a small yes, deprioritize, delegate it to someone else, or get it done quickly. Seek out high impact tasks and spend time on them instead. Knowing the big picture helps you know the big rocks that contribute to the end goal.
5. Set a Time Limit
tells us work will take however long we want it to take. If you give yourself 4 hours, you will finish it in 4 hours. If you give yourself 3 hours, you will finish within 3 hours. If you don’t give yourself any time limit, you will take forever to do it.