Perfectionism and Procrastination

Piled clothing

Are you a perfectionist who procrastinates? If there is clutter in your home or office, or projects you have started and not completed, you may just be a perfectionist.

Wouldn’t it seem that a perfectionist would want to get things done now and not procrastinate? Not necessarily. Extreme perfectionists only see the goal they want to accomplish, but have such high standards for themselves that they rarely achieve their goal. They will sometimes worry so much about doing things incorrectly or imperfectly that they don’t do anything at all and become paralyzed with fear; scared of making any progress that might cause them to fail.

I don’t think I’m a perfectionist, but I am a procrastinator.

I’d been meaning to get two broken lamps in my study repaired. I procrastinated, kept meaning to take care of them, but failed to do so. After about a year, I finally took the lamps to be fixed at a local antique lamp and repair shop. The owner fixed the lamps while I waited (took him 15 minutes) and I was so happy to once again have more than just the overhead lamp in my study. Can you believe that I took so long to get the lamps repaired?

Don’t expect to accomplish doing various tasks or un-cluttering your kitchen, bedroom, etc, at once. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You will certainly fail if you have such huge expectations. Make the decision to accomplish just one task a day. Take small steps, and reward yourself for each step you take by doing something that makes you happy.

To begin with, choose one area in a room such as your bedroom, and focus on the clothes piled on the floor or chair. Start by sorting the clothing into three piles; the love/need pile, the don’t love/don’t need pile, and the maybe pile. The piles can be messy and not perfectly stacked. Once you’ve finished sorting, the next day, or in the next few days, find homes for the love/need clothing in your bureau, closet, or any containers you might be using. Don’t procrastinate! Schedule a time close to doing these two steps to get rid of your don’t love/don’t needs, and make those choices about they maybe’s.

Let yourself feel good about the results by telling yourself that accomplishing this fear is enough for now! One little step at a time will aid you in decreasing your fears of perfection.   

(I’d love to hear how you are dealing with your own perfectionism and procrastination during your sorting session.)

To schedule a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at [email protected]

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