The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer, Katharina Buczek.
Hi, my name is Katharina, and I am a perfectionist (cue support group response).
No, but seriously, I am not afraid to admit it. Some individuals are people pleasers; others are workaholics. I just so happen to be a perfectionist, which– like everything in life– comes with its pros and cons.
Let’s start with the upsides. When it came to things like school or work, I was always on the ball. I used calendars and to-do lists to make sure I accurately anticipated assignments or shifts. Then, I made sure to complete everything– sometimes even beyond the required scope– just to feel prepared.
One of my coveted tips was leaving post-it notes with reminders in the most trafficked areas of my house. For instance, have to send an email out at 10 a.m. sharp and don’t want to forget? Leave a post-it note on your coffee pot, mirror, or right on top of your laptop. It never failed me.
Perfectionism didn’t just impact my academics or employment, though. It bled into other parts of my life, too, and sometimes resulted in positive outcomes.
With finances, for instance, I learned to budget meticulously. And when it came to planning trips, I researched spots in advance, created itineraries, and tried to make sure I could hit all of my most desired destinations.
While I may have graduated with high grades or earned accolades from my employers though, perfectionism wasn’t everything it looked like from the outside.
In my own mind, I was constantly anxious, calculating, and worrying. Missing a deadline or being a few minutes late to class felt like the end of the world.