Why Perfectionism Is The Mother Of Procrastination

Many people nowadays pride themselves in perfectionism but more times the trait is their biggest hurdle to productivity. It is certainly a miracle to have a spotless product, relationship, partner, service or performance but reality tells us that it’s a quality reserved for God (or however you refer to a higher power). Of course perfectionists are as pure as Harare water in an uncovered pond on a windy day.

In physics we learnt about ideal gases, but the next topic which focused on real gases was meant to tell us that the ideal situation didn’t exist.

Mediocrity is not a place any individual of high self-worth should want to dwell in, but sometimes it’s a phase one has to pass through to know and appreciate what being exceptional is. In our times before baby-walkers were invented we had to crawl before walking and when we finally walked, running would make us fall. We would cry out to our mothers to treat our little wounds and heal, very soon we would run. The same applied when we had our first bicycles, probably started on a few trainer wheels and after a few scabs we could race with our hands detached from the handle bars.

Now imagine if you were in a 3 hour exam and wrote your responses to your best abilities but 2 hours 30 minutes into the exam you realized you could have written each answer better. At this point if those answers would still get you a good pass mark it would be better to leave them as is than to restart the whole exam. The time allocated for the exam would probably elapse before you went back through all those questions.

Many perfectionists have a problem of going back to the dojo too often whilst the door that was open for their opportunity is closing. It’s not worth it to restart the exam for 4 more marks when you have already aced it. You can be exceptional without being perfect. There are 1000 ways I would have begun this article but if I spent time re-evaluating them all you wouldn’t be reading this.

But shouldn’t we re-evaluate?

Re-evaluating a product is good for as long as the re-evaluation process itself does not interfere with the time allocated for a task. O-Level Accounting is sat for in 3 hours and I’m sure given  24 hours to write it people would probably earn 100%. Thinking of the correct answer after the 3hours have elapsed does not help a candidate pass and so it is with most opportunities. You spend the day perfecting a presentation for an opportunity which is only open for 2 hours.

Do not wait for a logo to begin a company but of course you can’t compromise when it comes to things like business plans. However even in the business plan there are things you will improve over time through experience.

There are things about blogging you will never understand when told in theory until you hurdle them. There are unwritten solutions to problems I face running this blog and so if I had delayed this blog project hoping to start off spotless I would still be telling Mackina, “Bro, I need to start a blog.”

Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.

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