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Unleashing Your Potential: Strategies to Manage Perfectionism and Prioritize Effective Patient Care


Perfectionism is the voice of the oppresssor - Anne Lamott
Eyetastic Services Perfectionism Optometry

I know firsthand the pressure to be perfect, and boy, is it stressful. It was not until I came into my 30s that I realized that being a perfectionist is overrated. It can hold you back from reaching your full potential. When starting my career, I felt I had to know everything and get everything right the first time. I was constantly second-guessing myself and obsessing over every detail. But over time, I realized that this mindset hindered my professional growth. I was so focused on avoiding mistakes that I wasn't taking risks or pushing myself to learn new things. It created the worst case of anxiety, and I wanted to write this article to help others grow personally and professionally.


I want to share the downsides of perfectionism in eye care and tips for embracing imperfection without sacrificing quality or service. As we value and appreciate imperfection on the outside, we must also appreciate imperfection on the inside! Perfectionism differs from working to be your best when it overtakes your life. We MUST always give the best care imaginable for anything relating to patient care, so we should work to find help when we notice that perfectionism affects our well-being, efficiency, and effectiveness in our careers and lives.


Understanding the Downsides of Being a Perfectionist

Perfectionism can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can drive you to do your best work and strive for excellence. But on the other hand, it can lead to unrealistic expectations, burnout, and a fear of failure. Sometimes, finding the balance is hard. In eye care, where precision is critical, the pressure to be perfect can be incredibly intense and cycles down to other tasks that might not need to be perfect. Another one of the downsides of perfectionism is that it can lead to procrastination and indecision. This leads to working inefficiently and having poor time management. When you're afraid of making mistakes, it's easy to get stuck in a cycle of overthinking and analysis paralysis. But in eye care, as in any field, it's essential to be able to make decisions and follow through on them. Nike has the right idea with their slogan, "Just Do It." Finishing what you start is vital to success in eye care careers.


Strategies for Getting Things Done Without Sacrificing Quality

Embracing imperfection doesn't mean sacrificing quality. It's possible to get things done efficiently and effectively while accepting that there may be room for improvement. Here are a few strategies for achieving this balance:

  1. Focus on completing the most important tasks first and leave less critical tasks for later. Create a checklist or workflow for complex tasks to ensure all steps are completed correctly. Try using Monday or Notion.

  2. Set a realistic deadline for completing each task, and hold yourself accountable.

  3. Work closely with your team members to develop effective treatment plans for the best patient outcomes.

  4. Embrace AI with chatboxes (HIPAA Compliant), writing emails, scribes, and messaging to confirm phone calls or let patients know their glasses are ready.

  5. Never compare yourself with others. Focus on you constantly.

  6. Self-love is self-explanatory. If you get negative thoughts, catch yourself and work to create happy thoughts.


Embracing Imperfections in Eye Care Careers Can Lead to Greater Success and Job Satisfaction

Being a perfectionist in an eye care career can hinder rather than help in some areas of practice when it hits a level that can affect your well-being. Embrace imperfection and focus on continuous improvement while improving patient care and boosting your career. You can become a better team member, achieve better patient outcomes, and experience greater job satisfaction. If perfectionism affects your career, seeking therapy for strategies to live your best life is okay. So, don't be afraid to let go of your perfectionism and embrace your imperfections – they might be your greatest strengths.

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