Friday, July 24, 2015

Pesky procrastination

Do you often put off to tomorrow what could be done today? There just aren’t enough hours in the day, are there?! Do you also have certain standards of quality for your output? Anything worth doing, is worth doing well, right? Would you be surprised to know that procrastination and perfectionism are closely linked? It’s true!

I used to delay action because I didn’t have the time or the energy to give a particular project my usual 110%, and I knew that once I started, I wouldn’t stop until it met my satisfaction, and was complete. It was either 0 or 110, and 0 was frequently more appealing! I would rely on the pressure of the deadline to get things done, rather than work on them in a comfortable and leisurely fashion, which would have allowed more room for creativity and fine tuning.
As it turns out, those of us who hold ourselves to excessively high standards are also quite critical of ourselves. In fact, we are even rather judgmental of others, as well. We may not voice our criticisms aloud, but we think them; we spew labels and evaluations all the time. They seem so innocuous; we barely notice that we are doing it. “Stupid driver.” “Rude clerk.” “Hideous outfit.” “I can’t believe he just said that.” “What was she thinking?” “Ugh – I’m such an idiot! How did I miss that?!” 

The truth is, we’re all human. We are all fallible creatures, just trying to do our best with the resources available to us – time, finances, energy, intelligence - as limited and imperfect as they often are. Whenever we are able to muster some sort of acceptance of this fact, and even perhaps an appreciation of the beauty in it, we can harness compassion. Having compassion for ourselves and for others provides us with a certain kind of patience that is very calming

Rather than concerning ourselves with perfecting our performance, we would be much better served to focus our efforts on PROGRESS. Baby steps. That is all that is required to keep us moving forward, and to further us in the achievement of our goals. Mistakes may be made along the way, but they will be smaller, and easier to catch and learn from. In actuality, anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly. Prioritize taking action. Start now!