How do I avoid the perfectionism trap? | Sharon Saline, Psy.D. | 5 Min Read

March 4, 2024

Dear Dr. Saline,

I recently started my first full-time job after graduating from college and feel like I’m struggling with the adjustment. I’ve had the usual ups and downs in school which come with ADHD. But now that I’m working, my tendency toward perfectionism has become overwhelming. Worst of all, I don’t think my work is any better as a result of all the extra effort I put into it. Do you have any advice on how I can get unstuck from the perfectionism trap?

Thank you,


From Dr. Saline:

Dear Kathy,

First of all, congratulations on your first full-time job! It’s an important milestone, and it’s natural to take time to figure out new routines and skills as you make this transition. Wanting things to go well reflects your desire to do well. But when this desire morphs into a need for everything to be just right, anyone can tip over into complicated perfectionism.

Perfectionism is a common issue for kids and adults with ADHD who simply want to avoid making another mistake (again). While banishing perfectionism forever may be your goal, it’s not that realistic. Instead, you can…

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Sharon Saline, Psy.D.

Sharon Saline, Psy.D. is a top expert in ADHD and neurodiversity. Dr. Saline specializes in an integrative approach to managing ADHD, anxiety, executive functioning skills, learning differences and mental health issues in neurodiverse and 2e children, teens, college-age adults and families. With over 25 years of clinical experience, she brings a positive, strength-based approach to improving the challenges related to attention, learning and behavior. As a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Northampton, MA, Dr. Saline helps people reduce frustration, develop daily living skills, communicate better and feel closer. An internationally sought-after lecturer, workshop facilitator, and educator/clinician trainer, she adeptly addresses topics ranging from making sense of ADHD and executive functioning skills to managing anxiety to understanding the teen brain. You may contact Dr. Sharon Saline at