Procrastination is probably the number one time management problem for all of us. It hits just about everyone at one time or another and for some it’s a constant stress-inducer. No matter how well you understand your life’s goals or organize your days, if you don’t get a handle on procrastination, you will be forever in the throes of a time-management crisis.
Does the following sound like you? You devote serious energy to planning a project. You create a schedule, set deadlines, organize your materials and tools, and attend to all of the preparatory work. Some of this initial activity may even give you a feeling of accomplishment; after all, preparatory time is important and the better you plan a task, the easier it will be to accomplish it well. You’ll certainly look busy to the people around you.
Once you’ve started the planning stages, you become caught up in the project even if you’re not actually engaged in performing the task at hand. Your time has been dedicated and is no longer free for other activities. In other words, the job is “hanging over your head,”.
You now feel the pressure to get this job done. If you put off doing the actual work – spend excessive time planning, waste time at extraneous tasks, or let distractions or temptations lure you away from the work – the pressure mounts and you pit yourself against the clock to meet your deadlines. Now the pressure turns to stress.
Why do we do this to ourselves? People procrastinate for lots of reasons. Oddly, at the top of the list is the need for perfectionism. This problem comes in several guises but two types are especially common:
- The need to perform flawlessly for fear of failure or looking foolish
- 2. The fear that less-than-perfect performance will send a job careening out of control.
Both types of perfectionism create considerable stress, but the first is more likely to lead to procrastination. He or she is called the â€œimpeccable performerâ€.
This person isn’t a procrastinator but a perfectionist with a driving need to excel. The perfectionist imposes monumental expectations on every action and creates considerable stress. Perfectionists usually set their own agenda, dive into a task early rather than late, and put in more time than others might find necessary.