Finally End Procrastination and Conquer Your Perfectionism
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Do you ever look at all these YouTubers who are pumping out content day in and day out? Or perhaps you see the class president always acing their assignments. Maybe the mom who always seems to be present and attuned to their children’s needs.
You see them and you think – I want to do that.
But then you remember – you have a procrastination problem. Everyone says being addicted to drugs is bad, but being a chronic procrastinator is even worse.
Or if you’re a perfectionist – you sit around all day wanting to start something but failing. Again, and again.
To me, that sounds terrifying and kinda sad.
This is what most people’s lives consist of. Always wishing they could be more, always wishing they could accomplish something. I felt this way too.
The great thing is – you don’t have to feel this way. You can start to enjoy your life the way you were meant to. You can achieve goals that seem far out of reach and you can start accomplishing all of this today.
I’ve struggled with both procrastination and perfectionism for the first 19 years of my life. I can say it was definitely one of the hardest personal battles I’ve fought.
It’ll be hard for you, but it will be worth it.
I’ve since come a long way from being a procrastinator and perfectionist – now I teach people to be more productive in life.
By the end of this article, you will have all the information you need to stop procrastinating and to end your perfectionism. It is up to you whether or not you actually use my ‘big sister’ advice and take control of your life.
The Main Goals
It sucks to see all of these YouTubers and influencers who seem to be living their best life. Especially if you feel like a failure who consistently wastes all your time.
But at the same time, you feel so overwhelmed because you can’t seem to start or finish literally anything. This causes you to worry about your future and you just fall into this deep cycle of:
Feeling this way is completely normal. If you’re really wanting to stop this cycle, make sure you read the rest of this post. I not only talk about practical steps you can take – but I also talk briefly about the psychology behind these problems.
When I personally started my productivity journey, I really had four main goals in mind.
I wanted to start taking responsibility for my actions – my perfectionism, my procrastination, and just myself in general. You can do this by deciding from this point forward, that you’ll be 100% honest with yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with being imperfect – we all are. But lying to yourself about your shortcomings won’t change others’ views of you, it only hurts you and any personal progress you’re wanting to make.
Stop Relying on Motivation
I started my productivity journey because I really wanted to get my life back on track. I was sick of the roly-poley situation that was going on with my productivity. Basically, this was from riding the wave of motivation – which almost everyone knows leads to mediocre & unfinished work.
The way you can get off this wave is to stop relying on your motivation to get things done. If anything, you need to rely on routines you’ve built or the do-something principle by Mark Manson to get started.
Stop Making Excuses
I also wanted to stop making excuses for not getting things done. I was always too tired, too hungry, too unmotivated, too busy, with everything. If you really want to change your life, you have to stop making excuses.
The last thing I wanted to do was consistently show up for myself. Remember this is a personal journey – try to get rid of the thoughts that you’ll stop procrastinating to be better than someone, or to accomplish tasks for others.
This journey is for you – so enjoy the ride godd*mnit!
If you’re seriously wanting to change your life, make sure you implement everything I talk about. Not doing one or two things can make the difference between beating or continuing your procrastination.
Remember, the most important thing is to be consistent with yourself. Even if you show up for one minute – it’s better than not showing up.
I’d also like to let you know that failure is a part of this process. You aren’t going to turn into a productivity machine overnight.
You’re gonna fail – and that’s okay. Use it as a learning opportunity instead of an opportunity to bash yourself.
When I truly started to work on my perfectionism and procrastination – I almost immediately saw huge benefits.
The first thing I noticed was that I stopped feeling rushed all the time. I used to always dread doing anything because I knew I would feel so overwhelmed by just the sheer amount of stuff I needed to do. I also felt very proud of myself for finishing the tasks I had planned to do. You can get this benefit too if you set realistic goals for yourself to achieve!
So if you’re wondering why I decided to group procrastination with perfectionism, it was for two reasons.
The first is a lot of individuals struggle with perfectionism.
The second reason is that perfectionism has a huge impact on your productivity. It’s almost impossible to be productive and finish what you need to if you have that nasty voice in the back of your head telling you that it’s not good enough.
If you don’t have or have never struggled with perfectionism – good for you! I’m jealous haha.
How You Can Overcome Your Procrastination
When looking into what causes procrastination, I was surprised to see the sheer amount of things that can cause us to procrastinate. To keep it simple I’ll just list a few of the most common.
- Low Self-Confidence
- Anxiety, ADHD, Depression, etc.
- Lack of Structure
- Self-Regulation Issues
- Mental Health Issues / Negative Self-Talk
- Bad Goal Setting
- Fear of Failure
If you’re struggling with a mental health disorder I suggest you first visit a doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist if needed.
Now that we know what the causes are, let’s talk about how you can completely rid your life of procrastination.
Set up Your Environment
The first step to finally getting rid of procrastination is to set up your environment to work for you, not against you.
If you struggle with a videogame addiction (yes, it’s a thing) and you have your games sitting out next to where you study, you may as well not even study. We all know that once you come across a problem that’s mildly difficult, you’ll give up and head over to your console.
I personally use a website blocker to stop me from scrolling Reddit, Facebook, or YouTube.
Set up your environment in a way that will make it easier to do the tasks you’re needing to do, rather than the alternative.
Create a Routine / Time-block
The second step is to set up a routine. For me personally, this step has worked wonders to keep me on track and it automatically sets up time-oriented goals without me even doing anything.
I simply create time blocks on Google Calendar and title them whatever I want to get done at that time. Keep in mind you should always strive to keep your time-blocking realistic, which includes downtime. If you pack too much into your calendar you’ll feel burnt out and not accomplish everything you’re wanting to.
Some individuals like to use a to-do list, but I’ve found that I’m more productive when I use time-blocking.
If you stick to your schedule long enough, it will soon become a habit. Once it becomes a habit, you’re golden. Just remember to keep being consistent or you’ll have to redo the process over again.
The third thing is to eliminate distractions. This is very very similar to the first one, except this is for each task that you’re doing.
So instead of just getting rid of your phone entirely, just hand it to someone until you’ve finished studying. Rather than completely getting rid of these things from your daily life, you can get rid of them for specific tasks you need to do.
A lot of people tend to slack and just think ‘meh, I’ll just put my phone in the next room’. And then you see their ass waddling off to grab their phone after 2.5 seconds of studying. Don’t be this person.
Set Up Consequences
Yeah, this one really sucks but I promise you that you’ll get your tasks done.
So for me, if I watch YouTube for over 30 minutes in a day, I have to deep clean an entire room in my apartment. My boyfriend holds me accountable so there is no way I can get out of it.
So, let’s use the studying example again. You can give your friend an embarrassing picture of yourself to post if you don’t complete the homework assignment.
You can even take it a step further and tell them you have to send them proof for them to not post it.
Trust me, if nothing cures your procrastination problem – this definitely will.
View Failures as Progress
If you’re someone who always seems to fail at being more productive, first off, forgive yourself right now. Literally, apologize to yourself. Right now.
Have you done it yet? Good.
I had you do that because it’s crucial for these next few steps. If you’re actually wanting to be productive you have to stop thinking about past failures and start to view failing as progress.
Another thing I’d like to point out – failing is a good thing. I love failing because it allows me to reflect and figure out what went wrong. Instead of shaming myself, I accept that I’m human and I make steps to improve the process. I immediately remove my emotions from the situation and think, “it’s okay, what went wrong and how can I do it better next time?”.
Take Responsibility for Your Time
Do you ever notice that something ALWAYS seems to be going wrong? Does it feel like whenever you get started on a project you can’t finish it and everything keeps getting in the way?
You’re probably not taking responsibility for your time.
From time to time, it’s okay for something to take longer than expected, or for your schedule to get ruined by an unforeseen event.
But if you’re finding that this is always happing – more than likely, the problem lies with you.
It’s easy to blame others for our misfortune, our emotions, ruining our schedule, or just being too much to deal with. But in reality, this is actually our responsibility to deal with.
It’s your responsibility to make and use your time wisely. No one is going to hold your hand or ‘save’ you. No one is going to make you do anything – it’s entirely up to you.
It’s up to you to control and work through your emotions, it’s your job to make sure your schedule is followed, and it’s your job to tell others no when needed.
Set up Realistic Goals
You also need to be setting up realistic goals. You can check out an article here if you’re wanting to know how you can do that.
The Psychology of Perfectionism
Believe it or not – there is a version of healthy perfectionism.
Healthy perfectionism involves having high but realistic standards for yourself and others, being conscientious, and being persistent in the face of adversity.
I created this little chart from another blog post talking about how people can stop half-assing everything:
The green circle is where you should be!
Typically, perfectionism is caused by two things. Either fear of failure or the avoidance of harsh judgment.
You also probably fail to set proper expectations for both yourself and others. If you’re not a very forgiving person, it may stem from your other-oriented perfectionism.
Individuals with perfectionism also routinely shrug off compliments. We don’t believe we’re good enough – so why would someone else?
I’ve noticed that some people even get offended when people compliment them. They believe the other person is lying or trying to manipulate them.
Or you may find yourself constantly seeking approval from others. You become this validation machine that needs someone to tell you you’re good enough. And honestly, it’s toxic. Instead of focusing on ways you can improve yourself and help others, you’re focused on how others perceive you and think of you. Not only that – but you may do things in an attempt to make the person think more highly of you or to like you more. (This is actually manipulation.)
If you were to ask all of your family members what they think of you, they’d all say different things.
We are all entitled to our opinion and we are all entitled to withhold any opinions of our choosing.
How would you feel if people were constantly asking you what your personal opinions and judgments about them were? You’d get annoyed and feel like you had to lie to appease them.
Basically – focus on yourself!
How You Can Overcome Your Perfectionism
So if you’re wondering, “well how do I even get started with mastering my perfectionistic tendencies?”
In my experience, perfectionism is slightly harder to overcome because you can’t rely so much on others to help you.
Look at Your Core Beliefs
Growing up, you may have been constantly criticized, only shown love when you accomplished something, being compared to others by your family, or you were in a toxic environment.
Looking at your core beliefs will help you to understand what assumptions and beliefs you created as a child during these situations.
This is relevant to perfectionism because people typically have the core belief that they’re not good enough or they aren’t valuable.
If you feel this may be you, feel free to look into your core beliefs so you can start to challenge them.
Free Yourself From Your Comparison Mindset
There will always be someone better, stronger, more attractive, smarter, more accomplished, etc, than you.
You should always work to be better than yourself. Healthy competition is still good but just make sure that you aren’t viewing yourself as less valuable because you aren’t as good at something as someone else.
Just do it. Just get started. Stop planning everything.
Something I find very prevalent with perfectionism in myself and others is the need to plan out everything and to have the first draft be the best draft.
If you’re unable to start something, the way to start it is to just do it.
Just get started already!
Create very small goals for yourself (like just picking up your pencil). And just do your project.
Guess what, if you hate it, you can just restart. The faster you make mistakes, the faster you can learn to do it the correct way.
In fact, you should practice failing. I’m not even kidding. I’m thinking about adding a section to my bullet journal listing all the ways I’ve massively failed throughout the year.
You’ll be surprised that when you fail or mess up, it won’t be as big of a deal as you were making it out to be.
Stop Seeking Validation
Feel free to go back to the section above to see how you can stop seeking validation!
Be Compassionate & Forgiving of Mistakes
You need to learn to be more compassionate to yourself and others. A lot of the time when we see someone do something we think, “ugh I wouldn’t be able to live if I acted like that.”
That’s you being hella judgemental. While I personally don’t struggle with this as much, I did have a friend that struggled with being super judgemental.
The more judgemental you are towards others, the more judgemental you are towards yourself. Learning to be more compassionate and understanding of others’ mistakes will allow you to be forgiving of your own mistakes. Which will help tremendously with your perfectionism.
We’re all stuck on a planet and just trying to make it to another day – there’s no reason to make it harder on ourselves or others.
Learn to Trust Yourself
It can be very hard to trust yourself, especially if you feel that you’re not able to follow through with promises that you make.
By trusting yourself, you start to follow through on your actions and you stop relying so heavily on others to tell you if you’re doing the right thing.
To completely stop perfectionism, start to trust that you will be consistent. Even if you fail, you’ll always get started again.
What Your Results Should Look Like
It’s honestly a part of the human experience to need breaks and to not perform at 100% all the time.
If you expect to perform 100% all the time after this article, you need to reread the perfectionist section.
Ever since I’ve integrated all of these tips into my daily life, I’ve found that I’ve started to love getting things done on time. I’ve also noticed that completing my daily tasks is easier because they’re now a habit. You also end up surprising and motivating others in your life. It’s a bit weird but when you start to work on yourself, others take notice and they want to do it as well.
Remember to be kind to yourself and to work towards being a better you. Also, keep in mind to be forgiving and to work on your self-care.
Basically – once you implement these you’ll start to love doing your daily tasks. You’ll feel more fulfilled and slowly build trust in yourself.
Good luck with your venture into the unknown and enjoy the journey.