So we’re approaching the end of the year and which often coincides with a raft of resolutions and promises to get things done! The big question is did you fulfil all your 2014 goals and resolutions or are you a perfectionist who has been a victim of your own procrastination?
There’s nothing wrong with high standards. Everyone wants to complete work to the best of their ability.
But when people start setting excessively high performance standards for themselves, the problems begin. It can lead to a constant sense of ‘never good enough’. The consequences? It wastes a huge amount of time. If you are measuring yourself by an impossible standard of your own making you will never be satisfied. You become so trapped in a cycle of finalising the work it never reaches an end point.
I’ll make start after I’ve checked these emails…
But it’s not just perfectionist tendencies that can stop you from ever getting to the point of delivering the goods. Procrastination is another major culprit.
There are many distractions around today that can masquerade as ‘urgent’ tasks you need to deal with. So instead of making meaningful progress on the real job in hand, you get side-tracked. Who hasn’t experienced that unsettled feeling when you know deep down you aren’t getting the work done but you aren’t benefiting from a decent break either?
We try to get motivated by reminding ourselves it’s really important to get going. That builds up the task’s importance in our mind. It becomes more daunting. So we procrastinate even further. Until a deadline finally forces us to act in a panic. And that means poor quality work.
If it makes you feel any better, our biology is against us on this one. We have two parts of our brain in competition. Your limbic system controls activities and responses like memory, emotion, behaviour and pleasure. It’s automatic and works at an unconscious level. And it isn’t keen on you doing work you don’t want to do.
So it starts fighting with the prefrontal cortex, the rational, analytical, logical and planning part of your brain. Unfortunately for your to-do list, the prefrontal cortex happens to be the less dominant of the two.