A Procrastinator’s Guide From A to Z
“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”
― Albert Einstein
R is for Right Way.
Do you ever feel like you don’t know you’re doing, like everyone else knows something you don’t? Do you question your actions? Do you question your entire decision making process? Do you think that other people have a better way of doing stuff, better than anything you could come with? Do you think they know the “right way” of doing things, that other people are right more often than you are?
Welcome to Perfectionism!
Procrastinators are Perfectionists at heart. Why do you think it takes them so long to accomplish tasks? It’s not because they don’t care. It’s not because they’re lazy. Procrastinators live under the delusion that if they could only find the “right way” to do things, to accomplish their goals, they’d be all set. If they could just find the “right way” to keep up with the laundry, their clothes would never overflow the hamper. If they could just find the “right way” to organize their home, it would never be messy. If they could worship the “right” Deity, read the “right” holy book, and pray the “right way,” bad things wouldn’t happen to them or their family. They live under the delusion that life would be great if the the Procrastinator could harness their Perfectionism, if they could only find the “right way.”
I don’t know what triggers Perfectionism. I wish I had an answer. I look back at my own life, I look at my childhood, and wonder…when did everything shift sideways? Was I born this way? Did I learn it? Am I searching for approval? Is that the root of my problem? Do I subconsciously hide behind Perfectionism? Do I seek out the “right way” of doing things because I’m too scared to move forward with my life? Am I looking for excuses?
Fear, Perfectionism, Procrastination, and Depression…they’re all tied together. We put things off because we’re waiting for the “right time” to do things the “right way.” Later seems easier and BETTER than today. We’re afraid of getting it wrong. And when everything seems to be going in the toilet, when we can’t live up to the impossible expectations we’ve made for ourselves, depression sets in. Perfectionists set up themselves up to fail. And when they inevitable do so, they fulfill their own prophesy.
I wonder…what could we accomplish if we put aside our Fear and Perfectionism? Maybe the laundry wouldn’t’ be done perfectly, the “right way,” but in the end…does it matter? Do you NEED a perfectly organized home, or is “good enough” okay? Wouldn’t it be better live our dreams now, even if we can only do them so-so, rather than put them off? I think about my writing. Is it better to write the “right way” and be paralyzed by perfectionism, or is it better to put aside childish delusions and simply do the best I know how?
I don’t think we should stop learning or improving our minds. But do we need to become an expert in order to utilize this information? Maybe good enough is okay. Maybe it’s okay to admit that we don’t know what we’re doing, that we can’t do it all, that we need help. Maybe we should stop worrying about the stuff that’s out of our control, and focus on what we can do today. Even five minutes is better than nothing, if it’s done today.