Tuesday, August 14, 2012

on procrastination and perfectionism (Part 2)

Perfectionism goes deeper still. I read in a book the other day that said perfectionism at its core is trying to earn the acceptance and approval of others. Ouch! Did that hit you as hard as it just hit me?

As I take a sober look at my imperfection I tend to make the huge mistake of equating imperfect with inadequate. And who wants to be perceived as inadequate? So I find myself in the business of image management. Next time someone asks me if I have a job or work outside the home I will say yes, I have a full time job as a perfectionist, an image manager. It is a very high stress, exhausting job. I keep telling myself I need to quit, but I’m a workaholic and I just can’t help myself. Your opinion of me is just too important to me; I’m trapped in this job. My reputation and the essence of my being are at stake here. And if there is any chance of you perceiving me as anything less than perfect, or at the very least, better than you, then it is time to put in some overtime hours. It is during those overtime hours that I revert to the defense mechanism of procrastination. When all else fails, leave it unfinished. Works like a charm.

I put it off because I am just not willing to take the risk of being rejected in any way shape or form. I’ll keep it unfinished and keep all of you in the dark; you will never know how imperfect I really am!! Ha!

Who am I kidding?

I am a completely imperfect total mess.

And since I have worked on this post for days and I can’t come up with an inspiring ending, I of course procrastinated, left it unfinished and made myself this necklace.


I know you are just loving the bubbles at the bottom. You have no idea how hard it was for me to not rip the whole thing out and start all over again. I decided, however, to leave it imperfect.



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

on procrastination and perfectionism (Part 1)

Why do you procrastinate? What does your procrastination look like?

For most of us, most of the time, procrastination is just an avoidance or delay of the discomfort that one will incur by performing the task at hand. I don’t want to wash the dishes because I’m tired. So I procrastinate. I watch TV instead. I don’t want to clean the bathroom because it is nasty, and I get hot every time I clean the bathrooms. I procrastinate. I go swimming instead. I don’t want to struggle anymore with this piece that I’m writing. I procrastinate. I sweep the kitchen floor instead. I don’t want to fix dinner; I don’t even want to think about cooking dinner. I procrastinate. I play sudoku instead.

Let me tell ya’, I am a master procrastinator.

I have been noticing lately all of the unfinished projects that I have and all of the other ones that have not even made it from my brain to something you can actually see, feel or touch. I began to ask myself, what on earth is going on here? Why is it that I find so many things to do and so few of them to finish?

I really didn’t like the answer to my questions. I noticed that sometimes, most of the time, it wasn’t that I was just delaying the discomfort of the task; there was something much deeper that I was running from. Even though I didn’t like my answers, I’m going to share it with you anyway. Perhaps we could all benefit from looking deeper into what makes us procrastinate.

I noticed that when I procrastinate, what I’m really doing is delaying the Imperfect.

One of my many menacing issues in life is a constant struggle with perfectionism. Do I have any sisters out there? (no need for my real sisters to answer that question, we each came by it honestly, and just for the record, they are worse than me. Just kidding.)

My mind is very good at conjuring up all kinds of wonderful masterpieces, or if I can’t come up with any of my own, through pinterest and a plethora of other fabulous creative blogging women I have plenty of marvelous projects in my mind that are just waiting to be tackled.

The problem is, because I tend to be such a perfectionist, once I begin a job, sooner or later I start to notice that the final result is not going to be this perfect thing that I had envisioned. The next logical step then, in my mind, is to stop, drop and roll away.

Accepting the fact that I am imperfect and that everything I ever do is going to be imperfect is really hard. I fight this all of the time. I find that the best defense I have against imperfection is just to leave it incomplete. It is much easier to say, “it isn’t finished” than “it’s not perfect”.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in excellence in everything we do and giving the best we possibly can. But if we spend our lives trying to be perfect, we will never be able to enjoy the imperfect, which is pretty much everything, so we can’t enjoy life the way we were supposed to enjoy it. We skip from one unfinished project to another and all we have to show for it is frustration; Or if we do finish, discontentment instead of a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.

Solomon in the midst of all his toiling wisely discovered this truth in Ecclesiastes 2:24.

Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.

In a small nutshell, our work is a gift from God; our souls are to enjoy our work, not the end result. If the perfect end result is what we are aiming for, since it will always be imperfect we won’t be able to enjoy it.

Do your best; don’t put it off. Enjoy away in your good labor, it is, after all, “from the hand of God.” Offer it up to the Lord.

Then, delight yourself in his perfection.