Procrastination is not often linked with perfectionism. When you think of one the other seems the polar opposite. Both are rooted in fear so it would only be natural that they often cross paths.
Perfectionist are thought of as the creatives who are very detail oriented, they care about every stroke they make and that the end product is perfect. They plan and are meticulous. People like to claim perfectionism as it seems you have your stuff together. Even though perfectionism can really hinder your creativity and showing up as your authentic self. Perfectionism is rooted in fear of judgment.
In contrast procrastination brings to mind someone lazy, unorganized, that stalls until the last minute. No one proudly claims they procrastinate. Often they are looking for ways to not wait until the last minute to do what needs to be done. Procrastination is rooted in fear of failure.
Perfectionism often leads to procrastination. You spend all your time and energy trying to make things perfect that you stall ever putting anything out into the world. What is interesting is that perfectionist notice they procrastinate but procrastinators don't always notice they are perfectionist. Especially if the perfectionistic traits are the stereotypical detail oriented creation based.
What are examples of Perfectionist Procrastination?
🎨Tweaking the art
When you think of the perfectionist creative this is what comes to mind. The person who takes all their time constantly adjusting, adding in the details, for weeks or months or even years because the piece never looks perfect. They can't face sending out imperfect creations into the world. This leads to procrastination because you will fall into the trap of reworking a creation for ever that you might never let the world see it. There is never a time that any artwork or creation will be perfect. There will always be mistakes and the longer you look at it the more you will see.
📈High standards or vision
You have big dreams creative! You know exactly what you want your art, your content, your videos, everything you make to look like. Even down to how you should do it and what tools are best. You have a vision of the ideal way something should look when it is done. This is perfectionism in disguise because what happens when it doesn't look like what you imagined and idealized? What happens if you can't afford the best tech or supplies or have the funds to create exactly what you want? You throw it away, strop the project, never finish, or worse never start.
🙅🏻♀️Excuses for every action
I don't have the time, the knowledge, the skills, the talent, the right tools so i can't. This is perfectionism at it's finest. You don't want to do anything if it can't be done to your specifications or ideal. That leads you to procrastinate because you don't have 4 uninterrupted hours to paint. You don't have a studio space so you can't focus. You have to learn to work with what you have and work within your current limits.
📖Caught in a learning loop
Just one more class and my skills will be better. Just one more course and I'll know what I'm missing. Just one more video and I'll know what to do. Just one more book and I'll learn all that I need to move forward. You spend all your time learning so you know all the things so you can be perfect. Then you get stuck always feeling like you still haven't arrived that you still don't know what to do. Absorbing all you can so when you decide to put yourself out there you are perfect and fail proof. But this leads to months and years of procrastinating because the real learning starts when you take action.
Sketch after sketch, small painting after small painting. You don't feel confident in your abilities so you are stay safe with honing your skills. This makes you seem like a perfectionist who is just going through things the practical way but you are procrastinating on just showing up and putting yourself all out there. You can easily back out if you were just practicing.
You have an action plan. Goals, lists, calendars, and lots of ideas all written out and ready to execute. But then oops, you get off schedule or life happens so time to plant again, and again, and again. You know the perfect way to approach your creations but then the moment things go off the rails you have to plan it all back out again. Leading your to procrastinate by doing what you think is helping you but it's hurting you if you plan more than you ever execute on your plans.
🤔Indecision and lack of clarity
Not sure what to do so you can't move forward. Have lots of ideas but don't know how to even start. You ask your friends and join groups looking for the exact right answer. You are a perfectionist you want to make sure you go about this the right way, take the right path, make the perfect choice. What you really are is procrastinating on making any choice and facing potential failure. You know exactly what you need to do but lack the confidence to trust yourself and move forward. Clarity comes with action.
😩Worrying about results
You know the result you want but the minute you start taking action and things don't seem to be lining up you bale. This is procrastination but also perfectionism because you are sticking to your expectation. You have in your mind exactly how things are supposed to happen. When they aren't perfect to your expectation you procrastinate on finishing or even worse just stop because you decided it wasn't going to work out.
😰Fear of failure and ridicule
Perfectionist worry about being ridiculed. You can't let people see that you made a mistake, that is embarrassing and doesn't meet your persona. Tell everyone it's taking a long time because you want it to be perfect or stopping it all together because it wasn't perfect. This can show up as you starting projects and then backing out because you are worries they are going to fail. What if you put all this time and energy into making a collection and no one buys anything?
Perfectionist procrastinators can be summed up as having high expectations but low performance.
You notice I said expectations. This is what most perfectionist focus on their expectations. If you find you procrastinate a lot examine what your expectations are and see if they meet up with perfectionist tendencies.
❤️In which ways do you see your creative procrastination actually being caused by perfectionism?❤️