Some office habits are really good for you, like mini-workouts and taking breaks for standing. But according to a study published by the Personality and Social Psychology Review, there’s one office habit or behavior that might be really bad for you. The culprit? Your perfectionism.


Sure, perfectionism can be a great thing when it comes to setting goals that result in a sense of accomplishment. These notions are called “perfectionistic strivings.” The converse, however, is that perfectionists can experience “perfectionistic concerns,” or feelings of inadequacy. Perfectionistic concerns include worrying that you’ll let others down and that you’ll be unable to meet high standards (even your own). The study says that this could lead to negative effects such as anxiety, fatigue, depression and eating disorders.


These negative thoughts are really compounded in the workplace. Unlike in school or in sports, where you can get positive reinforcement through a good grade or a first-place finish, there’s no official, measurable marker in the workplace to signal an accomplishment.

So what’s the best way to combat the feelings that might lead to office burnout? The study suggests setting realistic goals, accepting failure and attempting to learn from it, and forgiving yourself for failures. Easier said than done, we know, but even just being aware of the possible negative health implications of perfectionism can help make you a better worker. And if you need it, try resetting yourself with these facial yoga exercises or zoning out for a few minutes with an Internet distraction.

What do you do to stay realistic at work? Tell us in the comments!