Does Procrastination or Perfectionism sound familiar to you?
Are they different elements or one of the same? Is there a relationship between them?
Procrastination is often a symptom of perfectionism. Perfectionists often fear being unable to complete a task perfectly, so instead they put it off as long as possible. The higher the fear of failure and ridicule, the more perfectionists procrastinate
So if we know we have the tendency to be a perfectionist or to procrastinate, why do we continue doing so, and what can we do to prevent or limit it?
In addition, is it really so bad to procrastinate or to be a perfectionist? Is there a “cost” involved?
Like with many elements in life, there are pros and cons to being a perfectionist.
Advantages of perfectionism: Yes it’s good to pay attention to detail. The output of our service or product will be more professional, of a higher standard, mistake-free (hopefully) and no doubt your client (or the end-user) will be satisfied and will think very highly of you. After all, they may not know how long you spent working on the item or how many times you revised it.
Disadvantages of perfectionism: Being a perfectionist means that everything takes longer. Your entire work cycle is extended and you may be late at “delivering the goods”. Never mind the additional stress involved in having to put other tasks aside as you’re so “fixated” on getting the job out “perfectly”. You may miss other deadlines as a result, and not all of the hours you spend on getting it “right” may be billable. Your overall productivity level decreases, and who says the output is really that much better. Your relationships may be affected and it affects your well-being.
Now don’t get me wrong… It’s important to double-check for errors. It’s important to pay attention to detail. It’s important to be professional. The question is how much… and who gets to determine the standards. After all, who defines what “perfect” is? Maybe what looks perfect to me is sub-standard for you.
There are three elements involved in preventing or limiting procrastination and perfectionism:
- Identify when it takes place
- Identify why it takes place
- Take action to prevent it
- Does it occur when you’re doing a particular activity? At a certain time of the day, week or month? When it’s related to a particular person?
2. Does it occur because we’re too distracted? Because we feel overwhelmed and have too much to do? Because we don’t know where to start & need assistance? Because we feel we’re not doing the job well enough? Because we have poor time management or organizational skills? Or because we’re simply not motivated to do the task, or don’t see value in it (someone else wants us to do it). All these are reasons why people procrastinate.
3. The good news is… Once you’ve identified when and why it happens, you then have the chance to try correct it by taking action.
If taking action means outsourcing or delegating part of the task to someone else, great! Just make the decision and do it! Often the “cost” of outsourcing saves you so much in production time that it’s a win-win situation. Yes, often the reason preventing us delegating a task is that we think (or know) we can do it better than another person… Once again, is done better than perfect?
Ask yourself the basic time management question – What is the best use of my time right now?
If we take care of tasks when they’re important, it’ll prevent the pressure and stress which usually arises when the task become urgent.
Many tips and techniques exist to manage your time better. There are also various apps which can help you overcome these challenges. Some of the many ideas include:
Pre-planning, Setting goals using the S.M.A.R.T. goal acronym, Focusing on one task at a time, 15 – 20 minute time rule, Time blocking, Batching similar tasks together, Prioritizing (A,B,C rule) and more…
Ask yourself right now… Are you managing your time, or are you letting your time manage you? Is Done better than Perfect?
© Lesley Kaplan is passionate about life and enhancing people & processes. She assists businesses, organizations & individuals in improving their results with consulting, coaching, training & development, promotion, sales, strategy and branding. She is the Founder & CEO of “L.A.K. Creations & Consulting” and “Build Your Biz with Lesley Kaplan”. She organizes & facilitates a monthly networking group and a separate online bi-monthly Mastermind Group for Women in Business. www.LesleyKaplan.com