I’ve got bad news for all us perfectionists out there. We won’t win unless we have a mindset change now. “Later” is the one word that can kill your career.
There’s no way around it. Procrastination is the enemy of success. If you ask me, this really sucks, because most thoughtful people take a long time to do anything.
The other day, I heard a young man say that he can start work later in the day, and that it was no reflection on the quality of his work whatever time he started it. I know in the freelance “gig” economy of today, it can seem that work flexibility is a given. But to tell you the truth, I don’t think much has changed. The early bird continues to get the worm.
The young man who starts work later in the day is on some level worrying about the quality of his work, that is why he puts it off. While he puts it off, another person meanwhile has gotten an equivalent thing done, and three more on top of it.
What rules the market today? Speed.
Look at any business book and articles today and you will see words like “accelerate” and “efficiency” stand out in bold. Because the world is ruled by speed today–in large part because technological change has infiltrated most if not all business organizations–fast and efficient output seems to be the rule of the game.
Why Perfectionist Procrastination is a Bad Idea
You have all heard that a procrastinator is a perfectionist. It’s true!
But let’s say that you spend an extra two hours a day “doing” your work (by which we mean that those are the two hours when you’re near your work but not actually doing it), the amount of time you actually waste can add up.
While you are avoiding doing imperfect work in those two hours, someone who is less committed to the idea of perfection, someone who brings less fear of failure to their work, could be using that same amount of time to just get more work done.
Whose portfolio looks better in the end?
Maybe you are taking a look at one of these portfolios and you’re thinking to yourself, it’s not that great, pretty average work, how’d they become so successful? Well, while you were listlessly reading Buzzfeed articles, they simply GOT MORE DONE.
How to Overcome Perfectionism as Procrastination
The idea that taking a longer time to do something determines the quality of the end product is a MYTH. But anxious minds tend to depend on this myth. We think that the more we suffer, the more we will succeed.
This is because, believe me, procrastination is a type of suffering. It is not fun!
While people who get things done can go home at the end of a workday, procrastinators tend to continue thinking about the work not done throughout the night. The longer the task is left unfinished, the more it weighs on the procrastinator’s mind.
It’s a feedback loop that strengthens the pattern of anxiety in your mind!
It is a huge psychological battle to win but you have to stop overthinking and shrink down the size of any task in your mind.
The Only Tip You Need to Get Over Procrastination
If you want to beat procrastination and have it not ruin your career, focus on getting started rather than on finishing your task. That’s all! GET STARTED NOW.
Do not think about how good the finished product will be. Do not overcommit to finishing too much in too little time to overcompensate for your procrastination. Do not worry about the amount of time this task will take and how it can affect the rest of your schedule that week. Do not think about the 9 other related tasks you have to do before you properly get started on it. Do not get overwhelmed by the complexity of the task or the uncertainty surrounding it. Do not make it out to be bigger than it is.
JUST GET STARTED NOW. Otherwise, “later” is going to kill your career before you’ve even gotten started on it.
Have you ever been defeated by procrastination or conquered it? Do you have a really horrible experience around procrastination that you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below!
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