Perfectionism Promotes Procrastination

Hello. My name is Joe. I am an addict.

That would be the opening at the local Procrastinators Anonymous meeting if we could ever get enough people to show up at a particular time and place.

ziggyIt’s true. I am a procrastinator. I have always been a procrastinator. My wife and family would attest to that. Karen would always tell me I’ll be late to my own funeral. She’s probably right. I missed the cue at our wedding, almost didn’t make my college graduation and can’t count the number of planes and meetings I either missed, almost missed or was the last to board or be seated at the table.

I don’t wear a watch and there is no clock in my office. If it wasn’t for the clock in the lower corner of my computer, I wouldn’t know what day or time it was. Karen figured that out. I think the last time she bought me a watch was … 1972. She thought she got around this time mismanagement by telling me appointments — sometimes important appointments — were earlier than they actually were. But when I started noticing people coming in after me, I caught on to her ploy. That’s the insidious nature of this addiction.

Poor dear. She tried everything. We went the organizer route {I usually lost that within minutes}. She tried shaming me {didn’t faze me}. She tried encouraging me {with me sheepishly apologizing every time I inevitably fell off the wagon}.

Even writing this has been a classic study of the addiction. I first thought of the idea in December. What’s today? Feb. 22? I set my priorities for today to be the day around 8 this morning … then rationalized I should check my e-mails, Facebook and WordPress accounts {each of which detoured my mind into that open range mode} … figured I should make sure I didn’t bounce any checks {I didn’t} … transitioned into maybe going to the post office … but not before rechecking my e-mails, Facebook and WordPress accounts {with the same detours} … actually got into the car to go the post office … remembered I needed some dog and people food … came home … decided it was time for lunch but not before rechecking my e-mails, Facebook and WordPress accounts {see above} … threw in a load of laundry … decided a power nap was in order … remembered I didn’t have lunch yet … and finally made it here after rechecking my e-mails, Facebook and WordPress accounts … remembered to actually eat lunch … and came back. It’s 3:28 p.m. That’s actually pretty good for me.

I can only imagine the number of opportunities I have missed because of my problem.

Of course, procrastination isn’t always bad. If you hold off long enough Mother Nature will clean up after herself and her snow dumps.

Before making my confession, I blamed it on my time in the news room. As every writer or editor knows, deadlines are more like suggestions and the more information you can squeeze in up to that last possible moment pumps the adrenaline. And beating the clock is euphoric!

But I knew that wasn’t true. Procrastination was my best friend as early as grade school when I would often wrap up a homework assignment as Sister Mary walked into the classroom. And it was perfected in high school and college where I would rather cram for an exam or pull an all nighter to get a report done rather than space my work.

My name is Joe. I am an addict.

That’s where Dan C. Crenshaw comes in. Somewhere on the Internet {during one of those free range moments} I came across the phrase “Perfectionism Promotes Procrastination.”

Ahaa! That’s it. It’s perfectionism that spawns procrastination! I knew it! This guy Crenshaw is right. By wanting to be perfect, you wait until the last minute … or as he put it, “A mistake can feel like devastation.”

And he has the credentials, too. He is a life and pet loss coach, author of the Furry Farewell Grief Handbook, presenter and counselor with post graduate study at two graduate schools. Hey, you can believe everything you read on the Internet, right?

Okay. My name is Joe. I am an addict.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: It is your conscience that tells you your instinct could be wrong.

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in confession, growing up, Humor, Newspapers, relationships and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Perfectionism Promotes Procrastination

  1. Good to hear from you. Hope all is going well.

  2. librarylady says:

    Sometimes procrastination is a good thing. Just recently spent a lot of time preparing a speech, way before It was necessary. The whole thing was eventually cancelled. I could have saved myself a lot of work by procrastinating.

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