DTLC Radio 003 – The Mother of Procrastination

Perfectionism is the Mother of Procrastination - Michael Hyatt
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Perfectionism and Procrastination

Procrastination – the deadly and dirty 15-letter word. Why do we put things off we know we need to get done? What if you’re issue isn’t really with not starting or completing things, it’s more of an issue of having to do them perfectly? This is what happens when your perfectionism results in procrastination. It’s been said that perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.

Perfectionism is a self-imposed disposition that anything you do has to be done perfectly, just right, the best way possible. It strikes at first-borns and Type A personality types most often. The idea that no matter what you do, you have to be the best at it or at the very least, it has to be the best you can do.

While there are aspects of paying attention to the details and always doing your best that are admirable and should be emulated, it often creates a problem when it dominates your approach to life. Case in point, when you fail to start or finish a project because “things just aren’t right.” And just about anything can get in the way. For this video, I put off taping it because I needed a hair cut, I didn’t like the way I looked, I didn’t like the sound quality, the light was too harsh, it was too hot, I couldn’t articulate and speak clear enough, and on, and on it went.

Questions to Help You Identify Whether You Struggle with Perfectionism

Do you ever struggle with the idea that you have to be the best at everything you do?

Do feel the need to always be control?

Are your expectations of yourself super at work and at home?

Do you find that nearly everyone in your life – friends, family, and coworkers – fail to meet your standards on a regular basis?

Would others say that “being flexible” accurately describes you?

Do you feel more loved and appreciated based on your performance?

These are just a few of the questions that can help you determine if you suffer from perfectionistic-procrastinationism (like that? I just made it up!)

7 Tips to Overcoming Perfectionism and Procrastination

So, what can be done about it? Here are 7 tips on how to overcome perfectionism, procrastination, and always stopping before you’re finished.

  1. Stop comparing yourself to other people. There will always be people who are prettier, healthier, more handsome, in better shape, smarter, more articulate, and better period than you and I. Thank God for His grace in accepting me as I am and loving me enough not to leave there. What you don’t see now is all the work and effort that went in to getting those folks where they are and how you see them presently. Focus on being the best you – at this point in time – that you can be.
  2. Compare yourself to other people? Wait…say what?! Didn’t you just say to stop doing that? Yes, I did. But now, don’t look at where your role models or examples are now, take a look at where they once were. If they have a YouTube channel and are successful now, go back and watch their early versions and episodes. They will the first to tell you how dreadful some of them are. They had to work at their craft and grow in the comfortableness with themselves, how they look, their voice, mannerisms, etc. Look at how they have grown and developed over time. You can do the same thing…over time. The more you do the more you’ll learn and the better you’ll become. Practice endurance and perseverance…patience when necessary.
  3. Take the time to determine you personality type. Whether you’re a Type A personality or not, knowing how God wired you will help you immensely. Knowing your tendencies, why you do what you do the way you do it, and how it affects/interacts with others will help you know when to go with your strengths and when to back off a bit. It will also you identify where you excel and how to best motivate yourself forward.
  4. Learn to be flexible and how to accept things as they are. Perfectionist tend live in the “should be” world – the way things ought to be – instead of the way things are. Learning to adjust to situations and people will go a long way in relieving the self-imposed pressure to be perfect all the time. Learning to accept what you cannot change, people you cannot change, and situations that, while they may be able to be changed, are generally good enough to finish and move on, will also help you let go of the perfectionism. Not mention, it will make those around you a lot less anxious when they’re around you. Accept who you are – flaws and all – and learn to work toward who want to be without demanding it happen overnight.
  5. Learn to laugh at yourself. Develop a sense of humor and stop taking yourself so seriously. Life is too short to go through it as humbug – don’t be Scrooge! Enjoy the fact that you’re human learning to be better. Accept your mistakes as part of the process and opportunities to learn and let others relax around you. You’ll find that getting more comfortable in your own skin and laughing at yourself will make you more attractive and appealing to others. This will benefit you personally and professionally.
  6. Be realistic with yourself. Perfectionists are often idealists, too. You’re not perfect – so stop trying to be – but don’t stop growing and striving to be the best you you’re capable of becoming. Realize and accept that there will always be more work to do. There will always be room for improvement. Good enough is sometimes, good enough. Just move on. A man’s got to know his limitations – “Dirty” Harry Callahan.
  7. Concentrate on having a perfect heart. As a redeemed child of God, you have been given a new heart and new nature. It has been made perfect by the sacrificial blood of Christ shed at the cross. He has made you perfect. Focus your attention on your relationship with God and let Him take care of the details.

(Training programs mentioned in the intro:  P90X    Tony Horton    Beachbody    Jeff Cavaliere    Scott Herman    Buff Dudes. Be sure that whomever you choose to follow is reputable, knowledgeable, trained, certified, and use science to back their training and nutrition programs.)



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