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Tag Archives: Perfectionism

D said:

I wanted to write about procrastination. I had another thought about it. I conducted an interview back in April with a client. He was a difficult client, hard to pull details from. Also, I did not conduct interviews as well then as I do now. I asked for and pulled the wrong information.

Now, months later, I am REALLY STUCK on this project. It is way over due and I hate working on it. Part of it is related to that perfectionism you talked about. I screwed up the initial interview and don’t want to go back to them to “fix it.” But now, it’s also very, very difficult to do the work. I have nothing solid to work with, so my initial “screw-up” is contributing to my antipathy towards the project. Read More »


“Perfectionism” is not the obsessive drive to keep working at something until it’s perfect.

In the context of procrastination,…

Perfectionism is the dread of possibly producing something that is not perfect or not up to standard.

This took me a long time to figure out.  A lot of psychology texts link procrastination to perfectionism, but that never made sense to me — there’s no way I’m a perfectionist, I thought, you should see the state of my office — Read More »

A friend of mine encourages me to examine “the thought behind the thought.”  I think this is an aspect of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

When my reaction is “I can’t work on this right now, even though it’s my highest priority and it’s almost late already,” what is the underlying belief that prompts this reaction?

Often, for me, I get stuck at the point where I need to talk to someone more knowledgeable than me to get more information.  That person may be the client of the project, or my manager, or an expert whose opinion of me is important.  I dread looking stupid, or revealing how far behind I already am in the project.  This is the unpleasant task that stops me cold: the razor in the apple.

The underlying belief is: I must never reveal ignorance to my betters.

If I can somehow work this fear out of my system, I will greatly reduce my procrastinating tendencies.  That’s the theory, anyway.

There.  I’ve just accomplished my first round of CBT self-analysis.  Do I feel different?  *pinch*

What I need is a new understanding of what procrastination is, and why I do it.  There are already several explanations, none of which has proved useful to me thus far:

  • Laziness — no, I am usually extremely productive when I’m procrastinating
  • Lack of Discipline — maybe, but learning discipline would take discipline; where do I start?
  • Perfectionism — I’m not a perfectionist, am I?
  • Bad Work Habits — yes, but sometimes I have good work habits, it depends on the situation or project; there must be more to it than that
  • It’s Natural — yes it’s natural to feel unmotivated about a task whose reward (or consequence for non-performance) seems small or remote in time; but why, when a terrifying deadline looms large, do I continue to procrastinate?