It may sound odd, but most perfectionists are procrastinators because anxiety makes it difficult to start a project unless they are sure they can do it perfectly. We often call it lazy, but that is not always accurate. As a perfectionist myself, I know how hard it is to convince myself to not only start a project, but to follow through with it too. Sometimes, I am so afraid that my efforts will not be good enough or that I will fail, and so I will not even bother in the first place.
If you are like me, you are probably very energetic when you feel empowered and capable. You have tons of ideas that you think will be beneficial or make you feel happy in your daily life like organizing your closet or writing an article, but the fear of not being able to finish or the result not being what you thought it would eb makes you quickly put it off.
Here are some tips to help you be less of a procrastinator and more of a doer.
- Recognize that you are procrastinating. I often try to convince myself that coming-back to a task or idea will help me make the right decision so that the outcome is exactly how I want it to be. All the time I spend thinking about it is time spent not doing it. If you realize that you are procrastinating, then it will be easier for you to confront your issue.
- Understand why you are procrastinating. You may be putting off a task because you think you do not have the skills to do it well. No one is perfect (despite how hard you or I may try), so if you put in the effort to do your best, then you are already doing better than you originally expected.
- Adopt anti-procrastinating practices. Forgive yourself for procrastinating in the past. Moving on from your old habits will give you a new start for anything you want to do. Try to tackle things as they come up instead of putting them off and minimize any distractions.
- Change your thoughts. Having a negative attitude will not help you get rid of the fear of failure. Telling yourself to "I can't" or "I have to" makes the task feel unpleasant and too hard to do. If you start to think in a more positive way, you might see yourself following through. Saying "I want to" or "I can" will make you want to accomplish the tasks at hand.
The next time you are feeling the clutches of failure creeping up on you, take a step back and breathe. Know that you can handle anything and accomplish whatever you put your mind to. Everything may not always be perfect, but that does not mean you should not try, otherwise, you risk missing out on what you could accomplish. Hey, if I did not convince myself to pursue my desire to write, despite the fear of failure, I never would have been a write for the Odyssey!