Beating Procrastination – Do Not Always Aim For Perfection
In our recent blog post about procrastination, we discussed the many reasons as to why you may find yourself procrastinating. One of which, may be due to a struggle with perfectionism. If you’re someone who always aims for perfection and endlessly tweaks your creations, focusing on small details, and has a hard time ever actually getting them out into the world, this may be the root of your issue. The human brain is capable of absolutely extraordinary determination, creativity and beyond. However, at the same time, it can greatly work against itself in ways that leave us feeling dissatisfied and having failed. Which are your thoughts allowing?
The perfectionist’s mind is an elaborate and complicated one. They set extremely high standards for themselves and also tend to be harsh when evaluating their own efforts. This makes it difficult to get nearly anything completed, because you’re constantly criticizing your work and always thinking that there’s more that can be done. The even bigger problem comes when you find yourself prone to put off work entirely because it seems too daunting to try and perfect. This is how the aspiration for perfection leads to procrastination.
When your self-doubt starts to bubble over, here are a few small steps to help keep it at bay:
- Do a reality check. Are your thoughts factual? Are you jumping to negative conclusions? Is the situation really as bad as you’re making it out to be? Will it matter at all three years down the road?
- Be kind to yourself. Think about this for a minute- if your friends talked to you the same way that you talk to yourself, would you keep them as friends? If you’re your own worst critic like most perfectionists are, your answer to this is likely no. Instead of bashing yourself, be your own best friend and give yourself a pat on the back and a few words of encouragement!
- Stop blaming yourself. It’s easy to get down on yourself when things don’t go your way, but it’s still important to recognize that you’ve done your best. Know that some things will always be out of your control. Reward yourself for accomplishments, and you’ll soon look forward to checking items off of your to-do list (perfect or not).
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Instead of focusing on the seemingly ‘perfect lives’ of others, put all of that energy towards yourself. What gives you joy? What gives you pride? Remember that the grass is always greener where you water it.
- Evaluate your standards. If you are always aiming for perfection it’s likely that you’re setting higher standards for yourself than you would for anyone else. Perhaps you’re even setting them a bit unrealistic. Replace these with healthy, achievable goals, and when evaluating your performance on a task, give yourself the same recognition that you would to someone else who had completed it.
- Focus on the things that you’re doing right. Instead of focusing on the things that you believe you aren’t doing well, focus on the ones that you are. Magnify your strengths rather than your perceived weaknesses. What have you done well in your life? What are some of your good qualities? When done often, you’ll begin to more quickly recognize your own strengths and build on them.
- Stay in the now. Most of us get sucked into constantly focusing too much on the past or the future. We regret what we’ve done, or what we haven’t, and we then worry about the days to come. Learn to instead live in the present. You’re work will be more meaningful and likely more successful because of it.
- View mistakes as lessons. A fear of failure often tags along with perfectionism. Freely allow yourself to make mistakes, however. This will give you the greatest opportunity to learn and grow.
Perfection is impossible. The sooner we all realize this and learn to live with it, the sooner we can start taking positive action. When we surrender to the moment and everything that comes with imperfection, we can allow ourselves to flourish into the best versions of ourselves. So continue to dream big knowing that whether or not you’ve achieved a particular goal yet is not near as important as the fact that you’re working towards it. Always remember that you don’t have to be perfect in order to be amazing.
“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”- Olin Miller
Make sure you read the other articles in our series on procrastination:
- How A Positive Mindset Can Beat Procrastination
- Add Some Structure To Your Days
- Seeing Each Task As One Big Project
- Understanding Procrastination And How To Beat It