Are You a Perfectionist Procrastinator?

February 20, 2021


Are you reluctant to try new things? Make big plans, but don’t follow through? Tend to be critical of self and others? If so, you may be a perfectionist procrastinator.

Perfectionism and procrastination often go hand-in-hand. Certain characteristics drive perfectionists to delay things. What does this quiz say about you?

Are you a perfectionist procrastinator?

Answer “yes” or “no.”

1. I’m reluctant to try new things.

2. I start working immediately, even on unpleasant tasks.

3. I I tend to be critical of self and others.

4. I enjoy the process as well as the outcome.

5. I see mistakes as opportunities for growing and learning.

6. I make big plans but don’t follow through.

7. If I can’t do it right, there’s no point in doing it.

8. I usually follow through on my plans.

9. I often get caught up in details so don’t have time to finish the project.

10. I put things off until the time, mood or conditions are right.

11. I always complete important jobs with time to spare.

12. I must always be on time and do well.

13. I do not need others to like and approve of me.

Scoring: Three points for each “yes” to statements 2, 4,  5, 8, 11, and 13, and one point each “no” to all the other statements. The higher your score, the fewer perfectionist procrastinator habits you tend to have.

Procrastination is often a symptom of perfectionism. Because perfectionists fear being unable to complete a task perfectly, they put it off as long as possible. Perfectionists also fear that failure will invoke criticism or ridicule either from internal voices or external authorities and peers. The higher the fear of failure and ridicule, the more perfectionists tend to procrastinate.

Procrastination may be easy to spot: Are you working on a company or school project that needs to meet the team deadline, or are you surfing the web, reading Facebook posts, filing papers, or grocery shopping? If you answered yes to the latter, you may be procrastinating.

Conquering perfectionist, procrastination habits

Perfectionist procrastinator habits destroy creativity and productivity, and hinder career advancement. Consider minimizing these habits.

– Face fears. Identify the fear.A person trying to find a job over an extended time period may fear rejection. Someone may refuse a promotion because he’s afraid to fail.

Don’t fear mistakes.  Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  Note what you can do to minimize this.  Look upon something new as exciting. If you don’t try, how will know if you can succeed?

Set realistic goals and plan.  Have clear goals that reflect your purpose. Your purpose is your compass that keeps you on the right path. Your goals and plans should flow from your purpose, and daily activities should be guided by these.

Research your goal.  Know helpful resources (people, organizations, printed materials). Outline goals, strategies and time-lines on a paper or electronic organizer. Modify goals as circumstances change.

– Manage time. Get up an hour earlier each day to think and plan. Periods of uninterrupted concentration tend to enable you to complete projects within set deadlines.

Review daily work activities over several weeks to identify self-defeating habits and patterns. Do you underestimate time needed for tasks?Identify how you can modify your schedule and tasks.

Make a “to-do” list. Write down everything you need to do to achieve daily goals. Prioritize tasks.

Assess what can be accomplished within a given time frame. Don’t do too much at once. Space tasks. Break big jobs down into manageable tasks. Reward yourself for tasks completed. Allow for the unexpected. Balance demanding tasks with more relaxing ones.

– Enhance confidence and optimism. Prepare a list of accomplishments and positive personality characteristics. Post this where you can read it daily.

Think and talk about things you want.Associate with people who believe in you.  Review fortunate experiences in a journal. Note the role belief and hard work played in achieving successes, and strategies used to accomplish results.

Don’t compare yourself with others. Judge your accomplishments against realistic personal standards of excellence. Cultivate the attitude of striving for excellence rather than perfection. Know mistakes are part of learning, excelling, growing.

– Measure success by internal standards, rather than by status symbols or material wealth. Learn to enjoy the process of learning, achieving, and mastering. Research demonstrates that accomplished individuals, who regularly win awards, are driven by the effort rather than the result. Knowing you can attain a desired goal, enhances feelings of confidence and pride.

Award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers many other tips for minimizing perfectionist procrastinator traits.

Author Bio; Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized columnist, registered psychologist, coach and author of Questers Dare to Change.  Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, University of Alberta, and other institutions of higher learning, and worked with varied individual and organizational clients. Carole Kanchier is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential. Dr. Kanchier walks her talk!

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