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Progress vs. Perfection

As we’ve noted in our other chapter on procrastination, sometimes we procrastinate due to fear of failure and uncertainty of our next steps. Many times students procrastinate because they feel like a given project won’t get done “just right” so they don’t even get started at all! This paralyzing feeling stems from your own belief that “I’m just not good enough.” The feeling can be a big barrier towards studying or getting work done.

It’s important to recognize this thought when it comes up and face it by taking action. Students are often frozen by feelings of inadequacy because a project just seems overwhelming and they don’t feel like they have the tools to get it done “right.” So they stop doing anything, using this as an excuse.

But now you know. When you feel this way, and stop doing anything, you can take a step back, and remind yourself that every larger project is actually made up of smaller tasks that you can tackle one by one.

Know that you’ll make those big projects more manageable by thinking about those small tasks that add up to a successful completion of a big project. In other words, keep your eyes on the journey (completing all of those small tasks), not just the destination (finishing the big project). Thinking of these small actions as part of a larger project is a huge step towards defeating those paralyzing feelings of inadequacy, which will cause you to procrastinate on doing anything at all.

And this is the backbone of the motto “progress not perfection!” Getting even small parts of a big project done is a huge step towards beating your feelings of inadequacy and procrastination. Believe it or not, starting to get those small tasks done will keep you moving forward with momentum, and give you feelings of accomplishment that will squash the paralyzation of inadequacy. So let’s get to it!

Do you feel paralyzed to procrastinate right now on a project you have due? Let’s put the idea of “progress not perfection” into practice in your life. Post to our Facebook page or tweet at us. Tell us one small thing you can do right now towards one of your big assignments. These small tasks could be things like, “Go to the library and pick out a book for your project,” “Read 8 pages of the assigned text towards my exam,” or “See how far you get on a homework problem, and then email your TA to ask questions about it.” We want to hear what you’re doing and how you’re applying this concept to a current project. Progress, not perfection. You’ve got this!

Erica Forrette

Erica Forrette

Chipper Team Member