Procrastinating (A Lot) And Other Warning Signs Of Perfectionism

Psychologists say perfectionism can do more harm than good.
ljubaphoto via Getty Images

Late nights finishing work or projects. Having to make sure the house is spotless. Giving 110% at everything you do. Perfectionism is often portrayed as a great way to be – CEOs and world leaders talk about their regimented routines and productivity goals. But it can often be damaging and exhausting.

Perfectionism is actually on the rise. In 2017, Professor Thomas Curran co-authored a study with Dr Andrew Hill all about how it’s been rising steadily since the 1980s and that it makes young people put demands on themselves that are hard to bear.

Here are some ways to tell if perfectionism is ruining your life…

If you have an all-or-nothing mindset

If you’re going balls-to-the-wall on a project – whether that’s work or personal – and can’t see the wood for the trees because you’re so hyper-focused on a goal, it could be a sign that you’re worrying too much about everything being perfect.

If not meeting goals makes you feel unworthy

When you’re punishing yourself mentally and emotionally for not doing well enough at something, that’s unhealthy and can seriously affect your self-esteem.

If work is taking over your life

Loving your work is great – after all, they say if you love your job you won’t work a day in your life – but taking your job home with you, working over and above your hours and just generally stressing about making sure everything is perfect is going to lead you to some serious burnout.

If you procrastinate a lot

This might sound ironic, but not doing anything can actually be a sign of perfectionism. Why? Some people put off doing a task if they know they can’t give it their all and have it be absolutely perfect. It stems from a fear of failure and leads to a cycle of not feeling good enough and pushing yourself too hard.

How to overcome perfectionism

It’s hard to get over perfectionism, especially if doing everything amazingly is something you really pride yourself on. But it can be better for your mental and physical health in the long run.

So, what to do? Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be great for rewiring your brain and changing your behaviours.

As well as this, mindfulness techniques and deep breathing has been proven to reduce stress and can help you get a better perspective on things.

And working on your overall self-esteem and acceptance is always good, too. You deserve to give yourself some slack – you’re only human, at the end of the day!