2 strategies to overcome procrastination caused by perfectionism

I want you to imagine a software engineer. This person has recently changed jobs and is haunted by doubts such as, “Am I capable of doing a top job?” This feeling of anxiety leads to the habit of procrastinating, which causes people to delay completing tasks until the deadline. That’s why I’m explaining you amazing 2 strategies to overcome procrastination caused by perfectionism.

Behind this is the strong belief that “it must be perfect on the first try.”

Deep down, we fear that we won’t be able to complete our work perfectly and let those around us down, which leads us to believe that by procrastinating we can protect ourselves from the possibility of failure. “I can do my best if I start a little later, but now is not the time,” he repeats in his head, and he gets stuck in a vicious cycle of procrastination.

Perfectionists are constantly striving to be “completely error-free.” They fear negative judgment from others and hold themselves to too high standards. Therefore, they are overly critical of themselves.

Moreover, these people tend to see their perfectionism as a trait to be admired and a shield that protects them from fear of failure. Therefore, we unconsciously delay the progress of the task we were trying to complete. Even if it’s a task you’ve been planning for days, or in extreme cases, years.

2 strategies to overcome procrastination caused by perfectionism

As a result, the goal of “achieving perfection” becomes an excuse for not taking necessary action, ultimately leading to stagnation. The aspirations that were supposed to be high are buried under a pile of possibilities that were never realized.

This tendency to procrastinate, born of perfectionism, can become a habit that is difficult to overcome.

What can we do to avoid blaming ourselves too much or letting fear of failure consume us? Here are two strategies to overcome perfectionism, meet deadlines, and achieve your best.

1. Solving the crisis of identity collapse

2 strategies to overcome procrastination caused by perfectionism

A 2017 study published in the academic journal Personality and Individual Differences suggests that procrastination is most likely to occur when there is a large gap between what one perceives one’s ability to do and what one is actually capable of doing. This conflict unfolds in the form of a conflict between the ideal self (the person one believes “what one should be”) and the actual self (the reality).

We need to break free from the belief that we are expected to do a perfect job and realize that what we can do now is enough and that our value comes from being our authentic selves. To do this, it is essential to dig into the fundamental reasons why we pursue perfection.

Part 1: Return to the root of the problem

Stop for a moment and reflect on where this feeling of having to be perfect comes from in the first place. Perhaps this is because in the environment in which we were raised, being perfect was a condition for receiving love and approval, and we internalized the expectations placed on ourselves. 

Explore why the desire for perfection is so deeply ingrained in you, and through self-reflection find a perspective closer to your true self. And I want them to have an open attitude of accepting whatever it is. It can also be helpful to seek advice from a psychologist or mental health professional to uncover and address the hidden reasons behind perfectionist procrastination. Psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are known to be effective methods for addressing concerns related to perfectionism in individuals .

Part 2: Ask for objective feedback

2 strategies to overcome procrastination caused by perfectionism

Try to look at yourself the way people around you look at you. People tend to evaluate themselves more harshly than they evaluate others. Maybe you’re actually doing a pretty good job and meeting high standards, but you just can’t get recognition for your accomplishments.

There is no point in blaming yourself for work that is considered “excellent” by others. Seek a second opinion from a trusted advisor. Feedback from others can be supportive.

Part 3: Emphasize “moving forward” rather than “finishing perfectly”

It’s important to push your limits, but what’s even more important is to not be swayed by the “inner voice” that criticizes you.

Let’s focus on continuous improvement rather than getting caught up in past standards. You should stop holding yourself to unrealistic ideals and focus on growing and moving forward. Instead of focusing on getting it perfect the first time, try changing your mindset to appreciating the progress you are making little by little. Recognize that all your efforts and efforts are worth it, and that even if you make a mistake, it’s all a path to improvement.

Regardless of where the “this isn’t good enough” mentality comes from, it’s important to understand that the best results don’t happen all at once. It may seem easy in theory, but it can be difficult to accept it wholeheartedly and internalize it.

2. Try things that are less important first: strategies to overcome procrastination

People who are prone to procrastination due to perfectionism tend to put off tasks that have important consequences. The fear of negative reviews can make you feel intimidated to tackle tasks that seem important. It’s a good idea to start with something simple, low-impact, and personal, and then gradually encourage a change in mindset. Any goal will do, so choose a goal that won’t make you feel discouraged if it ends up incomplete. You can try it over and over again whenever you have free time. There’s no need to make it a habit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a one-time effort. 

2 strategies to overcome procrastination caused by perfectionism

For example, you might want to try a new recipe the next time you’re in the kitchen. It doesn’t have to be a complicated menu. The key is to try something simple that you’ve never tried before. Or you can download a vocabulary building app and set aside study time every day to learn new words. If you can set a goal and see yourself achieving it instantly, you’ll be amazed at how much confidence you’ll gain.

Enjoying a small sense of accomplishment changes the way you view yourself and your attitude towards taking on new challenges. At this time, a shift in thinking occurs, allowing one to place more emphasis on “progress” than “perfection.”

This mindset will help you overcome your fear of failure, criticism, self-criticism, and doubt, and break the cycle of procrastination that comes with perfectionism.

By gradually cultivating the ability to tackle tasks that are fearful of failure, you can take a step toward a journey of self-transformation. I want you to always keep this in mind. It’s not about being good enough, it’s about continuing to move forward and be better than before.


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