What is the relationship between perfectionism and procrastination?

Do you find it difficult to finish what you start because it is never good enough? Careful! This may lead you to procrastinate too much.

Career development

In the pursuit of excellence, many people encounter a potentially dangerous binary: perfectionism and procrastination.  

A certain degree of perfectionism can be a desirable quality that functions as a motivating agent that drives us to achieve our goals. However, excessive perfectionism can become an obstacle that prevents us from moving forward, even negatively affecting our self-esteem.  

Sometimes, the obsessive search for perfection can lead to procrastination, a behaviour that leads us to postpone our tasks over and over again.  

Perfectionism and its traps

Perfectionism, in its most extreme form, can paralyze us. It causes us to set impossibly high standards for ourselves, leading us to feel like we never achieve our goals. This constant pursuit of perfection can lead to anxiety, stress, and, paradoxically, lower performance. When we obsess over every detail and try to find perfection in everything we do, we are likely to delay completing even the simplest tasks. 

Perfectionism is usually linked to excessive self-demand and fear of failure. We worry so much about making mistakes that we prefer to do nothing at all. We start putting off important tasks waiting for the perfect moment that usually never comes. As a result, we become trapped in the cycle of inaction. 

The origin of perfectionism is varied and can be rooted in upbringing, education, or self-demand. No It is essential to remember that we cannot confuse perfectionism with obsessive-compulsive disorder, although both share the concern for details, the fear of failure and the need to do things impeccably. 

Procrastination: How to get out of the loop of inaction? 

Procrastination is the natural response to unbridled perfectionism. When we cannot meet our perfectionist standards, we prefer to postpone action. We often tell ourselves that “I’ll do better later” or “I need more time to prepare.” This mentality causes us to miss opportunities, delays our projects, and ultimately distances us from our goals. 

To break out of this vicious cycle it is essential to find a healthy balance between the pursuit of excellence and effective action. We must learn to accept that absolute perfection is unattainable and that mistakes are learning opportunities.  

Furthermore, it is crucial to overcome the tendency to postpone our tasks. The perfect moment rarely comes, and imperfect action is better than inaction. The key is to set realistic goals, divide large projects into smaller tasks, make effective decisions and take constant steps towards our objectives.  

Types of procrastination: What is yours?

In addition to the perfectionist procrastinator (one who seeks excessive perfection ), there are other types of procrastinators, each with their characteristics and motivations. Next, we will explore the most common types of procrastinators: 

Procrastinator Impostor 

The impostor procrastinator feels that he does not live up to expectations, whether his own or others. Constant self-criticism leads him to underestimate his abilities and, as a result, he tends to delay his responsibilities.  

Unmotivated Procrastinator 

The unmotivated procrastinator puts off tasks simply because they don’t feel an emotional connection to them. He may lack interest or motivation to complete certain responsibilities, leading to procrastination. This type of procrastinator needs to find ways to reignite their interest and find purpose in their tasks. 

Overwhelmed Procrastinator 

The overwhelmed procrastinator tends to put off tasks due to the feeling that the task is too big or complicated. Perfectionism can intensify this feeling, as the overwhelmed person may believe that every detail must be addressed perfectly, which paralyzes them.  

Lucky Procrastinator 

Although it may seem paradoxical, the lucky procrastinator is the one who manages to complete his tasks despite constantly postponing them. This type of procrastinator might experience a feeling that they can only achieve exceptional results under pressure. However, this approach can be exhausting and not sustainable in the long term


As we have seen, if you are a perfectionist, you may find it difficult to avoid procrastination. There are several types of procrastination, and some individuals are chronic procrastinators, which can further hinder your ability to make progress on your goals. However, recognizing these tendencies and working to overcome them is the first step toward a more productive and satisfying life. 

Keep reading