People with perfectionistic tendencies are usually aware of the fact that their perfectionism contributes to their suffering, that their stringent rules create experiences of failure almost by definition. But something happens when perfectionism and anxiety have always been accompanied by goal striving. The two get conflated. You might think you need that merciless perfectionism to be productive. Some feel that if they were to loosen their grasp on their perfectionism, they’d never have a worthwhile achievement again. The perfectionism seems like the engine of every success, and as a result, it grows.
Think of a typical day, see it in your mind’s eye from start to finish. Are you multitasking? I don’t need to know you personally to know that at some point during the day, the answer is yes. We all do it. Now, you might actually believe you are good at multitasking. And you may very well be better at it than your spouse, neighbor, or coworker. But here’s the thing: multitasking hurts our performance, so even if you are better at it than someone else, it is still reducing your productivity. We can only hold 3-5 pieces of information in our minds at once (Cowan, 2010). The implication of this finding is staggering. When we multitask, we are undercutting ourselves in every domain of our lives - - things are taking us longer than they need to, the quality of our work is lower, and we are not giving our full attention to the people and things that matter most to us.