The Root of Procrastination and Perfectionism

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a worry spiral? You have a big presentation tomorrow and you’re worried about how it will go, for example. 

You start worrying you’ll flub your words, or someone will ask a question you don’t know the answer to, or any number of bad things will happen. 

You’re so worried about how it will turn out that you over-prepare and spend hours and hours practicing and perfecting your slides.

Or maybe you do the opposite and procrastinate and hardly prepare at all. 

Procrastination and perfectionism are both fight/flight responses to stressors in your life. 

We think that if we’re ‘perfect' we can control the outcome and be safe

We procrastinate in an attempt to ‘flee’ the uncomfortable feelings that stress is bringing up for us.

Worry is a struggle to gain certainty and it’s a losing battle. There’s no such thing as certainty in life. 

When you find yourself spiraling with worry thoughts in an attempt to gain certainty, try the following…

  • Recognize the signs of stress and anxiety in your body and mind
  • Take a breath and acknowledge how you’re feeling
  • Stop Focusing on the Outcome (you can’t control it)
  • Focus on Your Effort Instead (you have 100% control of it)

Have you ever thought of procrastination and perfectionism as safety behaviors brought on by the fight/flight response? Any big ah-has with this reframe? Share them in the comments!

procrastination and perfectionism are fight or flight responses to stressors in our lives

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