Writers are some of the best procrastinators. Just writing this site, I can see why. I've spent hours and hours going over again and again the frigging same paragraph. First what I've written is too boring, then it's too crass, then it's too long, then it doesn't scan right and then I change my mind. Bloody hell, how does anyone produce anything?
Don't get me started on the drawings...
Working to make something just right in your own eyes can be one of the most satisfying and productive activities. However, we need to strike the right balance.
- If you believe that improvement is an iterative process, then first work to implement the whole task to be acceptable but not perfect. Avoid spending a lot of effort perfecting only one part because you will run the risk of running out of time. In the remaining time, go back to improve each area in turn.
- If the task is open ended then set yourself a hard deadline to finish it and for important tasks tell people about the deadline.
- Don't tell people you are a perfectionist. This creates pressure on you to meet that expectation.
- If you don't like to start new task until the existing one is perfect then work on breaking this habit. Practice stopping a task before it's complete and moving on to another. There are cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to help with this.
Use the Chart of Procrastination as a handy reference guide to other types of procrastination.
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