Overcome Your OCD Perfectionist Tendencies and Just Get It Done Already

Adam Bertram
3 min readJul 1, 2019

When someone is a perfectionist, it can be easy to get lost in a task because it’s not perfect yet. Perfection tendencies will take over and one can become lost in a project for hours with no real benefit when it could have been completed already.

Let’s cover how we can learn how to stop working on the insignificant details and move on, letting go of the small stuff, and moving on to something else that is more productive!

In IT, software development, etc., most people are logical and left-brained trying to get at project perfect, before something we are working on is released. I have learned the hard way, having been very OCD in the past about stuff.

I would work on something for so long just trying to future-proof a product. I would spend a great deal of time on IT projects, working to perfect them, only to find sometime later that changes are made and the time I spent trying to perfect the project didn’t really matter. I’ve learned that while I may feel better within my OCD tendencies by working on something for a long time, in the end, its better to just do the work and move on, not focusing on perfection.

Stupid tasks that make no sense other than to quell my personal perfectionist tendencies made no sense whatsoever for the end goal. I was too focused on trying to make the project better instead of just meeting the requirements. I was simply giving in to my OCD tendencies instead of focusing on the business at hand.

Over the years I have gotten better as I have progressed in career, particularly while coding. You can solve a problem 50 different ways in code, but not every way is going to be the same. Take for example a recent situation. There was a simple hack in a script. It was a hack that simply paused the script for 20 seconds to wait for something else to run.

Another employee decided that the hack wasn’t good enough and added a random timer instead. The number 20 was too static and he decided to make it random without much real thought. This added no additional value whatsoever other than to satisfy his OCD tendencies. This event made me realize myself that I’ve done similar things in the past as well. Some of the stuff that I was focusing on for such a long period of time really didn’t matter.

This situation is what spurred this post. The goal of this post is to help people learn based on the Einstein quote: “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler”. There is a really good philosophy called Occam’s Razor. It’s about keeping a solution as simple as possible. Solve the immediate problem only, going no further.

When you are talking about code, everything is easily changed. If you work in another field, something like architecture, you will have to be more particular about your work as changes cannot be made. In code, there are lots more ways to make changes and changes are often needed over time, so being a perfectionist is simply a waste of time. With software, all we have to do is change a text file and the solution is done. This is easily changed as nothing is set in stone.

I’ve been in the industry for 20 years and in the beginning, everything had to be carefully planned out as the project began. This was basically done due to the use of hardware. Now that software is used more often, Ops people can work without having to plan everything ahead of time.

In today’s tech world, it’s all about immediacy. Tech employees need to learn how to work quickly, provide a minimum viable product first, giving the customer what they want and then changes can be made in the future based on what the consumer needs.

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Adam Bertram

A 20-year veteran of IT, crypto geek, content creator, consultant and overall problem solver.