University professors and students who strive for perfection in everything they do are most likely to procrastinate , studies made by psychologist and York University Professor Gordon Flett show.
In his most recent research work, Professor Flett found that perfectionist students tend to delay accomplishing tasks at hand due to negative thoughts and often, fear of failure. This negativity increases stress levels and ultimately lead to significant work delays.
This study confirms an earlier finding by the same researcher in a research that focused on university professors. The need for perfection owing to perceived high expectations from peers and fear of failure fuels the tendency of professors to procrastinate that in the end results in fewer published articles.
Professor Flett suggest some ways to combat perfectionism and procrastination, such as aiming forexcellence rather than perfection and avoiding being overly concerned with external expectations. The first means students must strive for the best output possible, but not necessarily a flawless one. The second requires that one must work resolutely for their goal, and must not be obsessively concerned with what other people might say about the work.
In addition to external pressure, one’s negative inner voices must also be controlled to achieve one’s goals. This is important as endless ruminations on the possibility of failure can effectively destroy the determination to finish a task. Worse, as such internal conflicts may lead to depression and other psychological problems, people should not hesitate to seek professional help if necessary. Far too often, perfectionist people dismiss psychological counselling as a sign of weakness, if not something one must be ashamed of. It certainly is not, and perfectionist or not, one should seek help if troubled by some depression-inducing thoughts.
The recent research work, due for publication in the Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, is co-funded by Canada Research where Professor Flett also sits as Chair.