Procrastination and Perfectionism
Dawson Trotman the founder of well-known NGO called The Navigators, once said: “The greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started”. (Trotman, 2018)
In every phase of life we humans do face the need of procrastination i.e. delaying things or leaving things till the last moment, and this could be due to various psychological interdependencies. Academic procrastination amongst all is the most common type among college students, certain estimates show that about 50-80% college students tend to procrastinate. Perfectionism is related to psychopathological activities, having negative outcomes like procrastination. The following report is going to present a correlation between procrastination and perfectionism in mainly university students. (Benson, 2003)
Procrastination is the phenomenon of delaying important tasks in hand for tasks that are easier, enjoyable and less important. According to Piers Steel a speaker and researcher, 95% of population procrastinates to some degree. (team, 2018)
This procrastination is related to delaying academic tasks like preparing for exams, homework, projects for the last minute for temporary comfort and out of fear of making errors. (Senecal, Koestner & Vallerand, 1995; Schouwenburg, 1992).
(Daniel E. Gustavson, 2017)
Perfectionism is usually defined as a necessity of seeming to be perfect. Brene Brown a research professor at University of Houston says, “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfection is not about healthy achievement or growth”. She is trying to convey that perfectionism isn’t always a positive trait, rather people are using it as a shield for protecting themselves from judgments and shame. (Benson, 2003)
Perfectionism has two dimension; 1) Personal Dimension- This dimension is basically focuses on a person setting high standards for themselves, evaluating one’s behaviors and performance while at the same time trying to avoid errors. (Hewitt & Flett, 1991; Flett, Hewitt & Martin, 1995) 2) Interpersonal Dimension- This type of perfectionism involves critical assessment of performance and behaviors of others, which leads to one accusing others, distrusting them and having opposing feelings against them. (Hewitt & Flett, 1991; Flett, Hewitt & Martin, 1995)
Perfectionism and its relation with Procrastination:
There have been researches conducted and also authors indicated that procrastination has some relation with perfectionism. The common characteristics between the two are high standards, fear of failure and unrealistic beliefs. Perfectionists usually tend to set very high standard goals for themselves and exhibit procrastination because of their fear of making errors and not being able to reach those high standards. Ferrari believed that procrastinators usually have a perfectionist attribute regarding how others assess them. Such people can’t complete their tasks because they set unrealistically high standards as they think about how others will view them if their task is not perfect. This indicates a somewhat relationship between perfectionism and procrastination.
A study conducted by Martin, et al. in 1993, made with university students indicated a positive correlation between procrastination and the interpersonal dimension of perfectionism and indicated a negative relationship between procrastination and personal dimension of perfectionism. Another study conducted by Lay in 1986 indicated a correlation between personal perfectionism and academic procrastination, and a study by Busko in 1998 concluded that personal perfectionism negatively influenced academic procrastination. Going through the different study results we say that there is definitely a relation between academic procrastination and perfectionism.
(Eraslan, 2007); (Seo, 2008)
In a study conducted by Bahtiyar Eraslan Capan, a faculty of Anadlou University Turkey, titled as “Relationship among Perfectionism, academic procrastination and life satisfactions of university students” he collected data from students of each department of university for the spring semester of 2007-2008. The Scatter diagram of SPSS program a statistical software program that allows quick evaluation of your data, was used to investigate whether a linear relationship occurred amongst perfectionism, academic procrastination and life satisfactions. A linear relationship was determined between the three traits in consideration. The study resulted in saying that there was a negative as well as a positive correlation between self-oriented or personal perfectionism and academic procrastination.
Relating the topic with subject:
The personal management course we studied that high standards or goals challenges and motivates a person to do better, but too challenging can lead to causing a burden on the person which is a common obstacle that prevents people from setting goals. Unrealistic goals are another trait of perfectionists and procrastinators and this issue arises when a person has lack of knowledge about setting SMART goals. The course in relation to the topic teaches us that key to overcoming procrastination and related problems is setting SMART goals, when we will apply this our lives will be much easier.
The report focused on determining a correlation between academic procrastination and perfectionism. It was found that a large percentage of students tend to procrastinate due to fear of making mistakes, setting unrealistic goals and high standards for oneself, which also happens to be a common characteristic of perfectionism. Examples indicate positive and negative correlation between academic procrastination and the two types of perfectionism. I being a procrastinator myself believe my procrastination too is related to me trying to do things perfectly and this does leave a positive impact i.e, highly motivated work and good grades but it also leaves a negative impact, me procrastinating my work until the last moment which puts pressure for completing the work in the due time frame. Hence it is important to understand the thin line of difference between doing things perfectly for better outcomes and expecting perfection all the time leading to delay in tasks.