I am currently reading a book titled “Ready, Set…PROCRASTINATE: 23 Anti – Procrastination Tools designed to help you stop putting things off and start getting things done by Akash Karia”. I signed up for Amazon Audible last year and got this book before cancelling my subscription. Anyway, I’ve had this book in my library since then and while I listened to the first few chapters and thought what a good book it was, I’ve been unable to complete it thanks to procrastination…Ironic isn’t it :). Few days ago, I randomly picked up where I left off and the chapter I’d just started was really hitting the nail on the head and I could totally relate with every scenario being painted…call it fate or coincidence if you will, all I was thinking is wow I really needed to hear that, I was totally feeling the vibe ;).
The chapter talked about pursuit of perfection as one of the leading causes of procrastination that’s an obvious one don’t you think? I mean we’ve all heard one version or another of the phrase “Perfect is the enemy of the good” or “perfection is the enemy of progress”. However, this author was talking more along the lines of tackling the perfectionist thoughts that cause you to procrastinate. He described how the need to be perfect creates an unconscious block stopping you from making progress. On and on it continued highlighting the danger of putting oneself under the pressure to be perfect.
Ah yes, there is apparently something like creative procrastination and disguised procrastination. I have named my post creatively disguised procrastination because I am completely guilty of both and I’ll explain why by telling you about these two types of procrastination.
You are creatively procrastinating when you spend time on less valuable activities and conveniently forget to do tasks that you don’t enjoy doing because they are boring, time consuming or difficult. In my case, Quilting big projects is still a daunting task for me and though I have an order of 5 bed size Quilts to fulfill, I keep putting off Quilting the 4 completely pieced one. Instead I have been busy creating other smaller projects and technically I am still being productive but the bottom line is I am putting off something that I should have completed a while ago 😦
Disguised procrastination is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination and rightfully so – It makes you feel like you are being productive when you are actually “busy being busy” e.g spending hours on Instagram, reading blogs, tweaking website to make it more attractive, creating blog graphics… I might be speaking for myself here but there are so many times I have spent hours on Instagram when I only meant to reply a comment on a post. There’s also that time I signed in to Craftsy to continue a class I started but ended up spending the whole time downloading free patterns, oohing and aahing over fabric and notion sales in the Craftsy shop…At the end of the day, all of these activities are important (I do need patterns and I would have to shop for fabric and notions at some point) but the idea is to prioritize! Prioritizing tasks can help resolve creative form of disguised procrastination…
Subsequently, the Author talked about the “Pareto (80/20) principle”…80% of the results come from 20% of our efforts so the solution is to classify what the important 20% is and make sure they get done before the less important 80%. However, the 20% important tasks are usually the most difficult so many people engage in disguised procrastination by working on low importance tasks…while this makes us feel like we are being productive, it is merely a form of self deception…yes it is! Too busy or not enough time should never be an excuse for not getting the important tasks done…resolve this by using the 80/20 principle *wink*.
The book continued with steps to “releasing yourself from the pressure of perfection” such as:
- Examining why you have been putting off tasks for as long as you have; could it be you are expecting too much from yourself (I could immediately identify examples of when I have failed to do certain things because of my high expectations)
- Accept that seeking perfection is stopping you from making progress. He advised that “Done is better than perfect as you can always improve what you have once you’ve created it” -makes sense right?
- Monitor your internal dialogue and talk back against perfectionism thoughts …this should be fun!
- Give yourself permission to be imperfect and I took this one very serious as you can see below 🙂
And there was another exercise that required you to write down 2-3 statements you can use to fight back against perfectionist thoughts. Here’s the examples the Author gave:
- Done is better than perfect
- Perfection is the enemy of the good
- If I tried to get it perfect, I’ll never get it done.
I am by no means advocating mediocrity by telling you to let go of the need to be perfect- on the contrary I am advocating for the need to be productive and if it means letting go of the reins of perfection just a little bit , I think it’s absolutely worth it. Again remember you can always improve on what you have once it has been created!
I would love to hear your thoughts and opinion on Procrastination…how have you dealt or are dealing with it and what useful advise can you share with people that are trying to break this anti-productivity habit 🙂
Thanks for stopping by and have a very productive weekend ahead!