Perfectionism and procrastination often go hand in hand, creating a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break. Perfectionists tend to put off tasks until the last minute because they are afraid of not completing them to their own high standards. On the other hand, procrastinators often struggle with perfectionism because they feel overwhelmed by the pressure to meet expectations and achieve their goals.
The link between perfectionism and procrastination is well established. Perfectionism is defined as the belief that everything must be done to a perfect standard and the fear of failure or making mistakes. Procrastination, on the other hand, is the act of putting off or postponing tasks. Together they can create a self-destructive cycle that leaves individuals feeling stressed, anxious and unproductive.
Perfectionists often feel pressure to achieve their goals and are paralysed by the fear of failing to meet their own high standards. This fear can lead to procrastination, as they avoid starting the task in the hope of finding a way to perfect it. They may also suffer from ‘analysis paralysis’, where they spend an inordinate amount of time researching, planning and preparing for the task, rather than actually working on it.
Procrastinators also often struggle with perfectionism. They may feel overwhelmed by the pressure to achieve their goals and meet expectations. As a result, they put off tasks until the last minute in the hope that they will be able to complete them quickly and easily. However, this often leads to stress, anxiety and poor performance as they rush to complete the task under pressure.
Breaking the cycle of perfectionism and procrastination requires a change in mindset and approach. Here are 5 simple strategies that can help:
1. Set realistic expectations
It’s important to remember that everyone makes mistakes and that it’s ok to fail. You can learn from mistakes and use them to improve and grow. While striving for excellence is important, it’s also important to remember that it’s ok to not be perfect. Setting realistic and achievable goals that you can actually reach is the key to success. Allow yourself to acknowledge and accept your imperfections and be kind to yourself.
2. Prioritise and break down tasks
Make sure to take breaks in between your tasks to make sure you stay focused. Keep a list of which tasks you’ve completed and which ones you still need to do. This will help you stay organised and motivated to complete your tasks. Additionally, if you don’t understand a task, don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help.
3. Practice self-compassion
Take the time to be understanding of yourself and be kind. Recognise that mistakes are part of the learning process, and try to learn from them. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go as planned. Appreciate yourself and your efforts, no matter the outcome. Celebrate your successes, even the small ones, and trust that your hard work will eventually pay off.
4. Get organised
Additionally, break down long-term tasks into smaller, achievable goals and create a timeline for completing each one. Celebrate your successes (big or small) and don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, or colleagues if needed.
5. Find a support system
Surround yourself with people who understand and support your goals. This could be friends, family or a therapist. They can help you stay motivated and accountable.
Breaking the cycle of perfectionism and procrastination isn’t easy, but it is possible with the right mindset and approach. Remember to set realistic expectations, prioritise and break down tasks, practice self-compassion, get organised and find a support system. These strategies can help you overcome perfectionism and procrastination and achieve your goals.