You are not a perfectionist, you're just scared
I used to say that I was a perfectionist until I realised what I was really saying. I was scared of putting something out there that wasn't good enough, that I would look like a fool if something that I made wasn't up to scratch.
Being a perfectionist is a bad thing no matter which way you cut it and that becomes obvious once you take on board this fact:
Perfect doesn't exist.
If perfect doesn't exist then the pursuit of it is bullshit and I think that you already know that. You know that you're scared, I knew that I was but it's easier to cast aspersions on everyone else who finished on time and give yourself some grandeur, make yourself feel better by asserting that you are a perfectionist.
What then are those people who finished on time? Were they not aiming to be as good as they could possibly be? Yeah I guess that some of them might have just been coasting by. But for the most part the organised ones who delivered when you made excuses were aiming to be the best they could be WITHIN the time limits.
You have to deliver.
Real artists ship.
Everyone can have ideas, anyone can start something but to finish it and put it out there, that's what's special.
One thing that I like to do is look back at the start of peoples careers. It's easy with Youtubers or maybe film directors. Look back at the first thing they put out. There is a good chance that it's actually pretty shitty. But they put it out. They shipped it. They finished it, I'm sure they wanted more time to make it better (read: perfect) but they knew that they didn't have that luxury. They knew that it had to be out there so that they could chase the next project, they could pursue perfect (read: better) in the right way by constantly producing. By developing their skills through practice not through "perfectionism".
Sitting on one project or idea waiting for it to be perfect is just an excuse and you'll have to get over yourself if you want to make any progress. If you want perfection, put out as much mediocre as you can until it stops being mediocre.
Turn up, create, publish then move on to the next thing. You will never have enough time or money to do the thing so do it as best you can with the constraints and learn from it.
There is a reason to be scared, there's a reason that it can be tough to put your work out there before you feel like it's ready and that is the pain of seeing an idea bomb. Watching something that you created fail and wondering, if had you just spent a little bit more time on it, would it have succeeded is tough. Research has shown that emotional pain hits us in the same way as physical pain and so it does hurt but do you know what is ultimately a bigger badder pain? Regret. Regret for not doing something is the most common thing that people utter on their death bed. That's pain that cuts real deep.
So the choice is between the chance of a small pain vs the certainty of a much bigger pain.
The more that you put stuff out there the smaller place the fear will occupy. It will get easier with practice and you'll soon see that the wins mean a lot more than the losses.
I'm taking this advice myself at the moment and me and two friends are making our first film. Something that I have been putting off for a long time because I was scared (being a perfectionist).
I don't have access to the best camera in the world but I've worked to that constraint, we don't have access to any actors so we wrote for one character and one of us is gong to play him. We don't have access to any fancy locations so we've written to that too. We have no budget, like basically zero but we're still going to give it a go and were going to finish it and put it out there and you know what, we'll move on and make a second one and a third and we're not going to stop until we're perfect. The thing is we're never going to reach perfection and that's ok because we'll get really good, we'll learn things along the way and we'll have fun and we'll make film after film and they'll be good and interesting and people will like them and people will hate them and to me that's much better than perfect.
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