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Do Perfectionism and Procrastination Affect Mental Health?

May 14, 2018 Jenny Capper

Perfectionism and procrastination tend to complement one another, and they both negatively affect our mental health. In fact, striving for perfectionism causes procrastination, and failing to do important things makes us feel bad. Visit HealthyPlace to learn what to do about it.

I know all about perfectionism and procrastination because I am a perfectionist. And I know perfectionism makes it hard to get anything done.

When you first think about it, that concept doesn’t really make sense. As a perfectionist, shouldn’t I be able to get everything done perfectly?

Rather than fueling my desire to accomplish everything, perfectionism discourages me from wanting to finish anything I set out to do. Perfectionism causes procrastination, and that negatively affects my mental health.

Perfectionism Causes Procrastination

I deal with perfectionism and procrastination anytime I start a project, whether it be reading a book, meal prepping, or writing this blog post. I procrastinate for as long as I can. I want there to be a perfect opportunity for me to take time and finish it all in one go. I want there to be extra time for me to perfect every little aspect, addressing every issue, and producing a product that has no errors.

If I’m being honest with myself, there is rarely a perfect time. But it’s hard for me to come to terms with this. 

When I feel like I don’t have sufficient time to perform a task, I get discouraged. Sometimes, I’ll start something, but if I feel that I can’t finish it to the best of my ability in the time that I have, I give up (Signs You Live with the Fear of Failure).

In most cases, if I just followed through and did it, I would have enough time. Maybe not to finish perfectly or all at once, but at least I would have done something.

Perfectionism and Procrastination Trigger My Depression Symptoms

My mental health is affected by perfectionism and procrastination when my depression flares up because I try so hard to be perfect. I put so much pressure on myself to perform everything perfectly. If I can’t do it, my negative thoughts begin to tell me that I’m a failure and that I should never have tried in the first place. This makes me want to hide from my feelings of depression.

Sometimes, I’ll stare at the wall, turning over in my mind all the ways I think I should be doing things.

Other times, I’ll sleep to get away from the pain I feel.

Either way, the time I could be spending on my task slips away, and the task never gets finished or I do it at the very last minute.

Both of these outcomes cause more stress and send me into a deeper depression (Letting Go of Perfectionism at Work When You Have Depression).

Perfectionism and Procrastination Can Be Overcome

Perfectionism and the resulting procrastination is a hard habit to break. But in order to find peace and actually live life, it is something I need to do (How to Escape the Hell of Perfectionist Paralysis). 

And it’s a task I need to work on bit by bit. There will be no perfect time to get rid of it quickly. I need to be okay with not perfectly battling perfectionism. But when I start overcoming it, a little at a time, I will find that I can finally live my life to the fullest. I will accomplish more than ever before. 

It’s just going to take some time.

APA Reference
Capper, J. (2018, May 14). Do Perfectionism and Procrastination Affect Mental Health?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalhealthforthedigitalgeneration/2018/05/perfectionism-procrastination-mental-health



Author: Jenny Capper

You can find Jenny on Twitter, FacebookYouTube, Instagram, and her blog.

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