August 11, 2021 7 minutes to read
This story originally appeared on the calendar
Legendary comic book artist, writer, and editor Jack Kirby once said, “Perfectionists are their own devils.” And it’s 100% spot-on – just like his indispensable contributions to the comic industry.
Note that the reason this quote resonates with you is because if you are a perfectionist you are actually a procrastinator in disguise. Yes. You may deny it – but it’s true.
How do procrastination and perfectionism reduce productivity?
Despite the misconception that procrastinators are idlers, the reality is that you may be trapped in the loop of procrastination and perfectionism.
- Starting a project or task is too scary because you feel like it’s not good enough.
- You are investing too much time in the planning phase instead of getting to work. As a result, you wait until the last minute to work on the actual task as it does not fit your “big vision”.
- Your emotions determine your actions, e.g. B. if you do not start a project because you are not in the correct headspace.
- They prioritize simpler and less intimidating tasks. This, in turn, prevents you from focusing on more important tasks.
Once you find yourself in this loop of procrastination and perfectionism, the consequences can be dire.
“The symptoms of procrastination often reflect the inability to get things done, meet deadlines, arrive on time, and keep promises,” writes Dr. Bill Cloke. “Heavy concentration, negative internal messages, unrealistic expectations and the inability to organize and work constructively are present with delay.”
All of this will, of course, affect your productivity. However, being a perfectionist can destroy not only chronic procrastination but your productivity in the following ways.
1. Causes anxiety and depression.
Is Fear the Cause of Perfectionism? Or is perfectionism the cause of fear? Unfortunately, the answer is not always clear. However, several studies have found that perfectionism can lead to a wide variety of problems such as anxiety and depression.
“It’s something that runs through everything when it comes to mental health problems,” says Sarah Egan, a senior research fellow at Curtin University in Perth who specializes in perfectionism, eating disorders, and anxiety. “There aren’t many other things that do that.
“There are studies that suggest that the higher the perfectionism, the more mental disorders you will suffer.”
2. Lowers self-esteem.
Since perfectionists set incredibly high standards, they feel terrible if they don’t meet those standards. As a consequence, this casts a shadow of self-doubt on them. And ultimately, this leads to them engaging in negative self-talk.
That may sound like an exaggeration. However, because perfectionists never meet the bar they set themselves, they consider themselves failures. Without this trust, you will not be able to be successful and move forward.
3. Inhibits innovation.
Perfectionism often kills innovation. It is therefore not surprising that this also affects your productivity. Finally, as John Rampton, Co-Founder and CEO of Calendar previously wrote, “Innovation encourages you to constantly improve and stay in the know so you stay relevant.”
However, here is the problem. You invest a lot of time brainstorming ideas. But since you’re consumed with perfection, throw these ideas in the trash like last week’s leftovers. And that could mean leaving some great ideas on the cutting room floor.
If that’s not enough, it can also affect your self-esteem. The reason? Because you reject possible opportunities that you can make smarter, faster, and better.
4. Causes health problems.
Several studies have found that perfectionism can shorten a person’s life expectancy.
The reason? It’s easy. Perfectionism can negatively affect a person’s physical health.
Perfectionists can suffer from chronic headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and heartburn. Perfectionism can also lead to high levels of chronic stress, which is known to be associated with cardiovascular problems. It is also possible for perfectionists to develop eating disorders.
More concerning? Perfectionism causes more suicides.
5. Reluctance to make decisions.
“There is an argument that if you make unimportant decisions, you should either decide quickly or outsource the decision,” writes Alice Boyles for HBR.
“But perfectionists have a hard time calling decisions unimportant,” she adds. “They like to be in control.”
Why is this the case? “Because imperfections bothers you more than other people. When things go wrong, perfectionists can experience explosive frustration or a nagging sense of irritation that is difficult to ignore, and they don’t want to take that risk. “
“Sometimes perfectionists are so used to micromanaging that it doesn’t even occur to them that every decision is unimportant,” says Boyles. “You are blind to it. Instead, they habitually and automatically rate everything as worthy of their full effort. “
6. Difficulty achieving goals.
Perfection can also make it harder to achieve your goals. The reason for this is because the fear of failure freezes you in place. This, of course, prevents you from moving forward and moving forward.
In addition, this nagging negative self-talk preoccupies the back of your mind. And that’s not exactly the best way to inspire and motivate you to pursue your goals.
And since perfectionists have a tendency to give up quickly, they often throw in the towel before the worst comes down to it.
7. Claimed relationships.
Getting along with perfectionists is not for the faint of heart. Perfectionists may doubt their worth because they have convinced themselves that they are failures. In addition, perfectionists struggle to be honest and transparent as they hide their flaws and weaknesses. After all, this behavior can damage relationships.
Also, some perfectionists expect others to live up to the inappropriately high expectations they have placed of themselves. And if this is not achieved, it leads to disappointment and conflict when others fail to meet these expectations.
8. Limited options.
After all, perfectionists are obsessed with failure and chasing unattainable expectations, which prevents them from trying new things and meeting new people. As a result, they can miss out on new and exciting opportunities that can make them more productive.
How to Beat Procrastination and Perfectionism
However, there is a silver disc. It is entirely possible to break the dreaded procrastination and perfectionism loop. And here are some pointers on how to do this;
- Lower the rod. This is a process that won’t happen overnight. But you’re lowering the standards by starting small, e.g. B. Not making your bed in the morning or proofreading an email.
- Keep your chores bite-sized. As the joke goes, “How do you eat an elephant?” By eating one bite at a time. When you break down large projects into smaller ones, it doesn’t feel so daunting. And these small steps help build momentum.
- Stop multitasking. As a reminder, the human brain is not designed to multitask. To counter this, try strategies like time blocking, removing distractions, and soliciting feedback.
- Practice self-compassion. If you need a lift, go back and see what you actually accomplished that day.
- Surround yourself with positive support. Remove toxic relationships and spend more time with those you support.
- Build in mindfulness. By being present and not busy, you can stay grounded and reduce anxiety.
- Reduce your obligations. Practice the art of saying no so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. This in turn encourages you to focus on the essentials.
- Reward yourself. When you’ve completed part of a big task, indulge in a stroll or your favorite Starbucks drink.
- Track your time. This is how you can tell when you are most productive. Knowing this will help you plan your most important or challenging tasks at this point.
The most important things to take away? Know that you are not alone If procrastination and perfectionism are affecting your health and well-being, see a psychologist.
Photo credit: Cottonbro; Pixel; Thank you!
How do procrastination and perfectionism reduce productivity? first appeared on the calendar.