Creatively Disguised Procrastination

I am currently reading a book titled “Ready, Set…PROCRASTINATE: 23 Anti – Procrastination Tools designed to help you stop putting things off and start getting things done by Akash Karia”. I signed up for Amazon Audible last year and got this book before cancelling my subscription. Anyway, I’ve had this book in my library since then and while I listened to the first few chapters and thought what a good book it was, I’ve been unable to complete it thanks to procrastination…Ironic isn’t it :). Few days ago, I randomly picked up where I left off and the chapter I’d just started was really hitting the nail on the head and I could totally relate with every scenario being painted…call it fate or coincidence if you will, all I was thinking is wow I really needed to hear that, I was totally feeling the vibe ;).

The chapter talked about pursuit of perfection as one of the leading causes of procrastination that’s an obvious one don’t you think? I mean we’ve all heard one version or another of the phrase “Perfect is the enemy of the good” or “perfection is the enemy of progress”. However, this author was talking more along the lines of tackling the perfectionist thoughts that cause you to procrastinate. He described how the need to be perfect creates an unconscious block stopping you from making progress. On and on it continued highlighting the danger of putting oneself under the pressure to be perfect.

Ah yes, there is apparently something like creative procrastination and disguised procrastination. I have named my post creatively disguised procrastination because I am completely guilty of both and I’ll explain why by telling you about these two types of procrastination.

You are creatively procrastinating when you spend time on less valuable activities and conveniently forget to do tasks that you don’t enjoy doing because they are boring, time consuming or difficult. In my case, Quilting big projects is still a daunting task for me and though I have an order of 5 bed size Quilts to fulfill, I keep putting off Quilting the 4 completely pieced one. Instead I have been busy creating other smaller projects and technically I am still being productive but the bottom line is I am putting off something that I should have completed a while ago 🙁

Disguised procrastination is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination and rightfully so – It makes you feel like you are being productive when you are actually “busy being busy” e.g spending hours on Instagram, reading blogs, tweaking website to make it more attractive, creating blog graphics… I might be speaking for myself here but there are so many times I have spent hours on Instagram when I only meant to reply a comment on a post. There’s also that time I signed in to Craftsy to continue a class I started but ended up spending the whole time downloading free patterns, oohing and aahing over fabric and notion sales in the Craftsy shop…At the end of the day, all of these activities are important (I do need patterns and I would have to shop for fabric and notions at some point) but the idea is to prioritize! Prioritizing tasks can help resolve creative form of disguised procrastination…

Subsequently, the Author talked about the “Pareto (80/20) principle”…80% of the results come from 20% of our efforts so the solution is to classify what the important 20% is and make sure they get done before the less important 80%.  However, the 20% important tasks are usually the most difficult so many people engage in disguised procrastination by working on low importance tasks…while this makes us feel like we are being productive, it is merely a form of self deception…yes it is! Too busy or not enough time should never be an excuse for not getting the important tasks done…resolve this by using the 80/20 principle *wink*.

The book continued with steps to “releasing yourself from the pressure of perfection”  such as:

  • Examining why you have been putting off tasks for as long as you have; could it be you are expecting too much from yourself (I could immediately identify examples of when I have failed to do certain things because of my high expectations)
  • Accept that seeking perfection is stopping you from making progress. He advised that “Done is better than perfect as you can always improve what you have once you’ve created it” -makes sense right?
  • Monitor your internal dialogue and talk back against perfectionism thoughts …this should be fun!
  • Give yourself permission to be imperfect and I took this one very serious as you can see below 🙂

Permission to be imperfect (1)

And there was another exercise that required you to write down 2-3 statements you can use to fight back against perfectionist thoughts. Here’s the examples the Author gave:

  1. Done is better than perfect
  2. Perfection is the enemy of the good
  3. If I tried to get it perfect, I’ll never get it done.

 

I am by no means advocating mediocrity by telling you to let go of the need to be perfect- on the contrary I am advocating for the need to be productive and if it means letting go of the reins of perfection just a little bit , I think it’s absolutely worth it. Again remember you can always improve on what you have once it has been created!

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinion on Procrastination…how have you dealt or are dealing with it and what useful advise can you share with people that are trying to break this anti-productivity habit 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and have a very productive weekend ahead!

Sola 🙂

 

16 Replies to “Creatively Disguised Procrastination”

  1. I have read many “self-help” books on overcoming procrastination. For me I need a pressing deadline to light a fire under me to get it done. Sometimes I make up imaginary deadlines to fool myself 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment. That works for me too but lately I actually wait until my deadline is approaching or at least until I can’t put off doing what needs to be done any longer. I have to start setting those imaginary deadlines now- I need some real fire under me to get things done.

  2. I hear “done is good enough” at work all the time. Please understand, I work on the software development side of a large company and I hear statements like this so often in my job. So much of what we deliver is just good enough and prioritization never lets us get to the parts that make it really really good. I get it but sometimes it makes me feel that I do mediocre work as good as I am at my job. So when it comes to my quilting I want to slow down and enjoy the process so a project turns out as perfect as I want. For me that could mean that some sewing sits around for a day or a couple weeks while I figure it out or find the inspiration. This is ok for my quilting as there are no true deadlines, just self imposed deadlines. I think what I’m really trying to say is I think there’s a time and a place for this philosophy and it doesn’t have to apply to everything you do.

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Thanks for sharing your view on this! I mean, i totally get what you are saying about your software development job (something I run as far away as possible from…my Husband thinks i’m just being lazy) You never really have the time to make it perfect, half of the time you just want your code to run without errors and do what it’s meant to do not perfect…hahahaha. In my former job where I was doing more of analysis, I spend hours working with loads of data and generating fun looking reports, the more colorful the better 🙂 and because I want it as perfect as possible and I genuinely love doing it…I set a personal deadline ahead of when it is due with the aim of achieving this and I am satisfied with the result most of the time :). In my Quilting however, I love doing it but I am still learning, which means I have to spend longer doing things and learn as I go so I should be “doing” and shouldn’t really expect perfection but I do! So I put off doing certain things until I feel like I have all the time and skill to commit to getting them done as perfectly as possible. In my quest to let go of perfectionism though, I am embracing enjoying the actual process of “doing” rather than focusing on a perfect end result. This is what I think you are saying right? If I spend time “doing” , enjoying the process and getting it “done” even if it’s imperfect (I can always recreate it or fix the fault) then that’s good enough. Hence the part about giving myself permission to be imperfect and if at the end it comes out perfect then that’s a double score.

      Ok this is such a long comment…sorry!

    1. Thanks for your comment Karen ? The book is available on Amazon somewhere but I can email you a link. That’s the exact thing I do…start something new and then I end up with a pile of UFO that I can easily pull one out for finishing when I get in the mood again. I’m won’t be surprised if it’s inheritable really… hahahaha.

  3. Perfectionism has never been my primary reason to procrastinate. As I grew up I procrastinated on school work and projects, mostly because I had no idea of what needed to be done, or how to order tasks to complete something. I also was very independent and didn’t ask questions, even when I should. I assumed I needed to figure things out on my own, and yet didn’t know how to do that. Sad, really, when I think of it. While I do still procrastinate most on things I don’t know how to do, I’ve gotten much better at jumping in and starting, and at asking questions or otherwise finding resources to help. One thing I do know: being a perfectionist means never being really happy with anything. It’s a good trait to overcome.

    1. Thanks Melanie ? that’s absolutely true, not knowing what to do or how to even get started is one of my greatest reasons for procrastinating. Unlike you, I’m still trying to get to the hang of jumping in and asking questions rather than figuring it all out on my own. It’s easier now that I have people like you ? who are kind enough to point me in the right direction and offering to answer any question! I’m trying to be honest with myself that I need to be more productive and I can do that by letting go of the procrastination crippling me more than I’ve been willing to accept! Thanks again as always.

  4. I enjoyed reading this post. We have SO much in common on the procrastination front. I’ll certainly be trying out some of your tips. I read recently that procrastination can be more about putting off starting than having an issue with the actual work and it suggested that, when you know you are putting off doing something, if you think ‘I’ll just do it for five minutes and then I stop if I want to’ most often, having got started you’ll be happy to carry on. I’ve tried that and found it worked a few times but more often I still do something else 🙁 Good luck with those quilts 🙂

    1. Thanks Janine, you are absolutely right! Getting started is usually the hardest part and the book also mentioned that. It was a scenario about waking up early to work out and how procrastination wouldn’t let him, until he started the first day and he only got as far as wearing the workout outfit then gradually until he eventually got used to it. And regarding the Quilts, I’m not taking any chances, I started Quilting one of them yesterday and should get a lot done this weekend… fingers crossed ?

You know I love to read your comments!