The Link Between Procrastination and Perfectionism

I bought this book to help me understand why someone close to me was a championship procrastinator. I found it very insightful. While the book cautioned that procrastination can be caused by any number of reasons, the authors stated that a common cause is the link between procrastination and perfectionism.

For example, let’s say that you’ve been given six weeks to write a paper for school. If you start writing it the first day and give it your very best effort, writing and revising right up until the day it’s due, yet still end up with less than a perfect grade, your illusion of perfection is shattered. However, if you don’t start writing the paper until the day before it’s due and pull an all-nighter, then no matter what your grade is, you can hold on to your illusion of perfection because you know you didn’t do your best work.

Brilliant! And sure enough, my procrastinating friend nodded and said, “Yep, that’s me.” I’ve mentioned this link to many a procrastinator since and many of them acknowledged that it rang true.

Half the battle in overcoming any personal challenge is knowing what you’re up against. I hope this explanation helps procrastinators out there conquer this debilitating adversary . . . and sooner rather than later!

Click here to see all my posts related to procrastination.


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2 Responses to “The Link Between Procrastination and Perfectionism”

  1. John C. A. Manley | Says:

    That’s a pretty funny reason to procrastinate — so one can think they were perfect.

    I remember in my martial arts days this one guy who only showed up like once a month for the last three, kept on saying to us new students (in a bragging voice) “If I had come everyday for the last three years, I’d be a black belt.”

    Human logic is forever riddled with interesting ways of outsmarting itself.

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Ah, yes, the games we play with ourselves! Thanks, John!

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