Perfectionism, Procrastination, and Productivity

Ah perfectionism. Perfectionism is like chocolate cake. It looks good, it tastes good, but essentially, it’s bad for you. Don’t get me wrong. It IS good to do you’re very best and desire for it to be perfect. But too much of anything is bad for you right? Just like chocolate cake.

The definition of perfectionism is, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable. It sounds like a great concept until it’s taken literally. Here’s a disclaimer for life: nothing will ever be truly perfect. Just yesterday I was re-reading a piece that I’d written and found about 5 errors. And that was after I’d already edited it a couple of times. So, what does that mean for perfectionists. It means they have a dilemma.

Perfectionism, when left unchecked, can and probably will lead to procrastination. What? Yes, you read that right. Procrastination is often equated with laziness, which seems to be the opposite of perfectionism. But look at it like this: the crippling fear of not creating something perfect, can lead to never even beginning. The excuses are ‘I’m waiting for the perfect moment’, ‘I don’t know quite how to start’, or ‘I don’t know if it will even be that good.’ Most of us look at procrastination as the putting off important things.

This is bane of productivity’s existence. Productivity doesn’t ask for perfect things, just that things get done. Now, let’s be clear. I am NOT telling you to not care if you’ve done a good job or not. Of course you should care! But your desire to create good work should never escalate to the point of obsession. If you let that happen, you may never start. If you do start, you may never finish. If you do finish, you’ll have taken so long, you won’t have gotten anything else done.

Perfectionism is a pressure and responsibility that is impossible. When you accept that your best is indeed good enough, you will find that you have become more productive and, most importantly, you’ll find you’re happier.