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Procrastinators May Be Perfectionists Looking for an Out, Expert Says

Posted Feb 29, 2012 6:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Perfectionism can be linked to procrastination, according to a consultant who has written a book on time management.

Productivity consultant Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management from the Inside Out, tells the New York Times that perfectionists often need deadline pressures to force themselves to finish projects.

She elaborates in a blog post. “Perfectionists feel compelled to do everything at the same level of excellence, often driven by a ‘If I can’t do this perfectly, I’m not going to do it at all’ mentality,” she writes. Morgenstern suggests practicing “selective perfectionism”—deciding which tasks need to be perfect and which can be done just well enough. Delegating trivial tasks can also help.

The most effective people focus on progress over perfection, according to corporate trainer Rory Vaden. He outlines the extent of the problem in an interview with the Times. In one survey, employees admitted wasting, on average, two hours a day at work, he says.

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