This post is a way for me to call my bluff. And maybe yours as well.
Procrastination has a bad reputation, though it’s not always a bad thing as long as you are aware of it.
There’s a huge difference between procrastinating and lying to yourself about it, and procrastinating with full awareness but lack of self control.
There are millions of ways to do it.
In his new book, ‘ The Sick Bag Song’, Nick Cave gives a long list of popular procrastination methods we use daily:
“The Nine Primary Bedevilments of Creativity are –
Procrastination through fear.
Procrastination through indecision.
Procrastination through perfectionism.
Procrastination through waiting for inspiration.
Procrastination through chaos and misadventure.
Procrastination through illness and tiredness.
Procrastination through raising a family.
Procrastination through superstition and religion.
Procrastination through madness and suicide.”
“The Nine Secondary Bedevilments of Creativity are –
Procrastination through the Internet working.”
Procrastination through the Internet not working.
Procrastination through Twelve Step Programs.
Procrastination through therapy and self-help literature.
Procrastination through charity work and saving the planet.
Procrastination through education and research.
Procrastination through hobbies and outside interests.
Procrastination through addiction.
Procrastination through sex.
The Nine Tertiary Bedevilments of Creativity are –
Procrastination through HBO.
Procrastination through dying your hair.
Procrastination through making money.
Procrastination through not making money.
Procrastination through not having the right equipment.
Procrastination through personal hygiene.
Procrastination through shopping.
Procrastination through decorating your workspace.
Procrastination through making unnecessary lists.”
Well, you get it.
Out of this list, one type is the most dangerous of all.
Procrastination through perfectionism
Perfectionism is the worst kind of procrastinating because it is so well branded.
Lets tell it like it is – nothing in this world is perfect. Not even Apple products that were released under the hands of Steve Jobs.
This means that by delaying your work trying to make it perfect, you are actually saying “I don’t want this work to ever be done”. In oppose to getting your work to be as good as it can be – which means, not going to be perfect but will do.
The reason I use Steve Jobs as an example, because in recent years he was the poster boy for the micro manager with a great vision that will put emphasis on every small detail to make it perfect.
What people often disregard is that in the early days, when Jobs was allowed to roam and take full control of projects – deadlines were always pushed, goals weren’t met etc. I’m not saying Jobs procrastinated, I’m saying perfect never came.
Yet, while perfect is basically another way of saying “This will never end until someone says it shouldn’t be perfect, but good enough”, it is still thought of as a good thing. Because it suggests your are inspired to do your best.
Perfection is the most misleading version of procrastination.
Procrastination is not necessarily a bad thing
While it is the biggest enemy of getting things done, procrastination can also be used as a sign.
If you are avoiding doing something – you need to ask yourself why.
- Is it not really what you want to do?
- Are you scared of tackling that challenge?
- You don’t know what to do
Yes, everybody has off days that are slower than others. but if this task related – you need to double check yourself.
Are you lying to yourself?
Self awareness is the most important part. Are you aware of your reasons? Are you aware that by saying “I need it to be perfect” you are actually coming up with fancy excuses for why you are not going to get it done?
Here are some the things I screwed up using the “perfect” excuse:
- Lost clients
- Got employees pissed off at me
- One employee actually quit
- Got us to miss deadlines
- Stopped my new company’s growth.
- Lost night sleep
- Lost time with family
All under the excuse of making things better / perfect. Doesn’t sound great now, right?
Check yourself – are you really trying to make something better, or are you procrastinating? If so, why?