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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Perfect or Crazy?

I admit, I am a self professed procrastinator! The main reason for this is the fact that I am also a self professed perfectionist! My work consists of projects – It could be a college research paper to write or planning a huge work event; sometimes even both.  Because of the nature of the projects, I wait until the last minute to get it done. In large part, I know that whatever the end result of the project may be, it will also be a reflection of my work. My usual excuse is, “I perform better under pressure”, but more often than not it's my way of justifying putting things off. However, deep down inside I have excessive concerns about making mistakes, consistent self-doubt, harsh self-criticism, and a strong tendency to evaluate my performance as not measuring up to level expectations. Believe it or not, there’s a name for my “sickness”. It’s called maladaptive perfectionism.  As I looked further, another word they called it was self-oriented perfectionist. Jeff Kilbert did some research on it and he concluded:

". . . self-oriented perfectionists are those who derive a sense of pleasure from their labors and efforts, which in turn enhances their self-esteem and motivation to succeed and eventually helps them to develop a sense of control over their environment. Self-oriented perfectionists may then use their pleasure in their accomplishments as encouragement to continue and even improve their work" (Kilbert, 2008).

Ok. I think I can sort of live with his conclusion about perfectionism. But, knowing how I am with my perfectionist ways, I had to look for further details. I discovered other descriptors included distress, low-self esteem and symptoms of mental illness. Whoa! Wait a minute… what?!? Not a “perfectionist” description at all! I have to find a cure for my so called OCD ways!

There are so many suggestions on how to “cure” perfectionist thoughts and procrastination. After reviewing all of them, here was my overall way on how to rid my malaises:

Don’t take failure personally.
Retain a sense of humor.
View mistakes as learning opportunities.
Handle competition and compliments (I am competitive and can’t take compliments!)
Attempt appropriate challenges.

If I concentrate on these, I will also be able to take care of my procrastination issue with these steps:

Provide specific expectations (this one is for my boss!)
Set priorities with realistic goals and due dates
Maintain perspective
Know when to quit

Will I succeed with my new found information for my crazy ways? Of course, I’m perfect! :-).  Until next time!

More resources on perfectionism and procrastination:

Kilbert, J.J., Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., & Saito, M. (2005). Adaptive and maladaptive aspects of self-oriented versus socially prescribed perfectionism. Journal of College Student Development, 46, 141-156.

What Flavor Perfectionist Are You? It Matters.

How to Overcome Perfectionism & Procrastination.

The Many Faces of Perfectionism.

1 comment :

  1. I used to be a perfectionist and I am still sometimes a procrastinator. It took me a while to learn that mistakes are learning experiences and once I did, my life became a lot easier! Occasionally I am still a perfectionist with some things, but not anywhere near as bad as I used to be!