Planning & Procrastination: Perfectionism and Fear of Failure

Planning & Procrastination: Perfectionism and Fear of Failure

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The first blog in this series of two can be found here. We continue the discussion with attention to two additional barriers to productivity that support procrastination. Notice how they each can be addressed through intentional planning.


Planning or PerfectionismPerfectionism is the feeling that you must do it perfectly for it to count. Often, perfectionism additionally requires that everything is perfect before you start production. This sometimes extends to the house being clean, the tools being top-notch, the media being flawless, and the equipment being in perfect working order. Delays are the result because you rarely have the perfect situation, environment, and equipment.

Planning to Overcome

Perfectionism, at its core, is a desire for order. Feed that desire for order with your approach to planning. Take time to list, prioritize, and schedule not just tasks, but deliveries, conversations, and environmental duties like house cleaning and office organization. Organize your computer files and folders in a pleasant, intuitive order. Include these tasks on your list and give them the respect they deserve as you overcome perfectionism and make progress.

Fear of Failure

Fear of Failure is more common than I had realized. It manifests in hesitation to make the calls, launch the project, or purchase the needed materials. This fear can often be more damaging than any of the other barriers that support procrastination because it has an element of perceived safety. To risk is to do something that is unsafe. Your brain rationalizes that safety is more important than whatever you could gain from the risk.

Planning to the Rescue

Planning addresses this by calling the bluff of fear. The quest for productivity is not a risk to personal safety. It is a test of resolve, a chance for movement, and an experiment in life’s choices. Embarrassment, failure, or mistakes are not life-threatening as you work and produce. Your list and reflections on tasks make that clear. Continue to move forward. Check off tasks. Make progress despite the trepidation or hesitations.