You graduated as valedictorian of your class. You’ve aced every job interview, and now, you’re at a cushy job with great benefits. Even better, you deliver solid work, and your boss seems to be especially happy with your performance. Life should be fine and dandy, right?

Only it’s not. Whether you’re finishing a report for your boss or preparing for a vacation, you seem to be always scrambling at the last minute just to get things done. You know you should have started days, if not weeks ago, but you simply couldn’t bring yourself to just do the work.

Procrastination as a Symptom

At the heart of all procrastination is perfectionism.  You have such high standards that you fear not being able to deliver to the best of your abilities. As a result, you put off doing tasks–even critical–ones to avoid disappointing yourself and others.  I remember in grad school studying to become and Orange County psychologist, I had my share of all night writing sessions when the deadline was finally unavoidable.

Of course, this is a vicious cycle. If you can’t finish important tasks, your job and relationships suffer. And if you do manage to finish something, it always feels like you just survived a life-and-death scenario, causing serious mental distress on your part.

Overcoming Procrastination

The truth is, it’s easier to not start something than to start something and risk failure.  Often the clients who come to me for anxiety therapy also struggle with procrastination as well.  When the light bulb comes on that they are not just “lazy” but, instead are full of anxiety and fearing failure, then there is a real chance for change. As such, so many people struggle with procrastination both personally and professionally.  So here are a couple ideas to reframe your work process and break free of the procrastination cycle.

Don’t Always Do Your Best

Shocking as this may sound, you don’t always have to do your best–it’s impossible and trying to do so will only drive you crazy. Rather, sort tasks into three categories: unimportant ones that require you to expend minimal effort; important tasks that you require you to spend some extra time and focus; and the things that you take personal pride in and merit your best effort.

The Power of Drafting

As a perfectionist, everything you do has to be right the first time around, which is why it’s so hard to start anything. So, why don’t you take a task you’ve been putting off for the longest time and pretend that you’re just working on the draft? Doing so creates a “mental safe zone” where you can freely explore ideas without your inner critic blocking your progress.

Of course, if you try these tips and are still struggling to overcome anxiety and procrastination, a therapist in Orange County can help you deal with the underlying issue of anxiety and teach you healthy thought patterns to beat this problem. Talk to one today, and with a little help, you may just be able to break its vicious cycle.

Procrastination-Busting Strategies for Perfectionists.
15 Tricks To Overcome Procrastination.