Sunday, April 29, 2012

Perfectionism and Procrastination

I've always equated procrastination with laziness. In college when I would be pulling an all nighter to finish a big Sociology paper, I attributed my sleepless state to laziness in the days proceeding. More accurately, I usually placed my social life or activities before time at the computer. But I read something on yesterday that lit a lightbulb in my head...often it is perfectionism that leads to procrastination. We are always waiting for the perfect time to complete a task. We don't want to workout unless we have a solid 60 minutes to sweat. We wait to do laundry until we have a perfect block of time. We wait until we make "enough" money to pay down debt.

And that "waiting" for the perfect time or situation leads many of us to procrastinate and not live our life fully. Zig Ziglar calls it "getting cooked in the squat."

"Most people wait until everything is just right before they do anything. They refuse to go out on a limb where the fruit is. They are the people who end up like the cook's biscuits.

Let me explain. When I was a small boy in Yazoo City, Mississippi, we lived next door to some rich folks. I know they were rich because they not only had a cook, but the cook had something to cook. In the 1930's that was a sure sign of wealth. I was there for lunch one day, as I tried to be most every day. On this occasion, the cook brought out a pan of biscuits. Since they were no thicker than a silver dollar, I asked, 'Maude, what happened to those biscuits?' She reared back, laughed, and said, 'Well, those biscuits squatted to rise, but they just got cooked in the squat.'" -Zig Ziglar in the book See You at the Top

That's been me lately, at least in regards to writing. I obsess about what I should write about, how exactly I should phrase things, ponder how my words will be interpreted...and the days go by and you hear the sound of silence. The list is actually rather quite large when I think about the things I've put off doing just waiting for the perfect time. Here's a few...maybe you can relate:

  • Waiting until I have a full 60 minutes plus time to shower before I'll do a workout rather than just lacing up my shoes and being more active all day 

  • Spending way too many hours researching the "perfect diet" rather than just getting about the business of giving up ice cream and cutting up some veggies

  • Waiting until we had a large lump sum of money to put towards debt rather than attack it with $100 sticks (at times saving the money led to us spending it while it was waiting...)

  • Letting the laundry pile up hoping I'd have one big block of time to do it rather than throw in a load a day and staying on top of it. No matter when you tackle the laundry, there will ALWAYS be more

 So what are you waiting for? What goals or tasks do you just need to dig into rather than waiting for the "right time?"


  1. Oh friend, you are speaking my language!! My blog has cobwebs on it!! haha Thanks for the encouragement! :)

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  3. Dust off the cobwebs, friend. I enjoy reading your blog!!! (even though I procrastinate at ever leaving a comment because I can't think of the perfect one...)