How Perfectionism Fuels Procrastination
Finals are rapidly approaching and, unfortunately, many of us are prone to procrastination. One thing that may be fueling procrastination is perfectionism. If you’re anything like me, you’ve waited until the day an essay is due to begin writing it because you’re stressed that when you start to write, the essay won’t come out as well as you want. However, waiting until the last minute allows for the excuse of not having enough time, which explains non-perfection. While there’s nothing wrong with having high standards, when those standards add unnecessary stress, they can become a burden that needs to be evaluated.
A common misconception is that procrastination is laziness. This is not true. According to Psychology Today, procrastination is often the result of negative self-talk, brought on by low self-confidence, anxiety, and an inability to motivate oneself. It is a self-defeating pattern of behavior that serves perfectionist tendencies by removing the fear of failure. Oftentimes, a procrastinator will delve into other tasks that they believe will be more enjoyable and still productive to distract themselves. Perhaps that is organizing clothes by color instead of working on a presentation or picking up extra hours at work when an essay is due.
I implore all of you to avoid sidestepping discomfort through diversion as we round off the semester. Instead, take a look at why you are avoiding a task. Many common reasons include fear of failure, misunderstanding of the task, lack of prioritizing, lack of self-confidence, lack of focus, indecision, and the boredom of a task.
Once the cause of perfectionism is identified, it can be individually dealt with and leave time for completion of tasks sans the anxiety of finishing things last minute. Perfectionism is the enemy of creativity; embracing the creative mind inside will allow for productivity.