April. Well into the full swing of another year, and the daily grind resumes.
It is common for people to not feel particularly motivated, and procrastination could easily set in at this point. There may be many reasons behind procrastination, but in this article we focus on the management of procrastination as a result of perfectionism.
Perfectionism is a style of operation that seeks to achieve perfection. People with this operation system often set very high goals, which could in turn create an undue level of pressure that could paralyse them. If you are experiencing this type of procrastination, the following tips can be helpful for you.
- Identify when and where you are the most productive. Is it first thing in the morning? Is it in the local library? Aim to do your work in these situations.
- Plan what you need to do. Write down a to-do list. When we have high ambitions sometimes the ideas become muddy and unapproachable. Writing things down on a piece of paper helps to clarify and make tangible what exactly you need to do.
- Rank the to-do list items on a hierarchy in relation to the level of difficulty. Often tackling the easiest item on the list does not require too much of your energy, but can energise you as you get something ticked off on the list.
- Break down big goals into small goals. Stop focusing on the end result. Set a series of realistic, achievable goals that can eventually lead to the completion of the task, and focus on the goal right in front of you. Once you have done it, allow yourself some reward or break time, before you move on to the next achievable goal.
- Aim to do 10 minutes of work. A two-hour job may sound hard to tackle, but don’t forget that any job is made up of many smaller chunks. Break down the job into 10-minute chunks to make it easier to approach. If after 10 minutes you find yourself getting into it, then you can do more of it. But also know that you can take a break after you’ve accomplished 10 minutes of work, as you just need to aim for 10 minutes of work each time.
- Get some accountability. Tell a supportive friend or family when you plan to tackle your achievable goal. Get them to check on your progress. This could create a sense of commitment to your work.
- Stimulus control. Reduce distractions, create obstacles between you and whatever gives you immediate gratification. If you have a problem of lying down in bed to avoid doing your task, then consider getting out of your bedroom and go to a place (e.g., the library, a café) where it is impossible to do so. Place your phone somewhere further away from you, and close those distracting webpages on your laptop.
- Use mindfulness to increase tolerance towards discomfort. Many put off doing work because of the associated feeling of discomfort. Doing the work mindfully could help you detach from the discomfort, therefore improving your tolerance of it. This is done by learning to experience the discomfort in an accepting and non-judgmental way.
Jennifer MPsych (Clinical), PGDip ClinPsych, BA(Hons – First Class) is a psychologist who understands that a good therapeutic relationship is the starting point of any meaningful work with her clients. She is genuine and easy to talk to, and is dedicated to creating a safe space for her clients to share their stories.
Jennifer has worked in the fields of health psychology as well as general mental health in adults and children. These experiences have equipped her with skills in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of a range of mental health presentations. In addition, she has developed expertise in the management of tinnitus and hypersensitivity of hearing. Recognising that everyone is unique and different, she sees the importance of establishing a collaborative therapeutic relationship, and is committed to tailoring evidence-based interventions to her clients with different situations and backgrounds to effectively promote their mental wellbeing.
Through her years of clinical work, Jennifer has pursued her interest in working with adults experiencing a range of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, social adjustment issues, stress management, and cross-cultural issues. She is passionate about therapy, and is always committed to further increasing her professional knowledge to ensure she can provide the best possible care for her clients.