Perfecting Procrastination

A post on today’s ABAJournal.comblog reports that “expert” has linked perfectionism to procrastination. The expert is a consultant who has written a book on time management. She tells the New York Times that perfectionists often need deadline pressures to force themselves to finish projects.

We are all familiar with this phenomena as many people insist that they have such a need for dealines. Let’s just be clear: the link between procrastination seems somewhat tenuous and perhaps dubious. However, even if there is such a link it is a link such that all perfectionists are procrastinators (many recognize that their work will more closely approach perfection if they manage both their time and deadlines) and certainly not all procrastinators are perfectionists (as demonstrated repeatedly each semester by my students.) For a time, one of my children claimed he was perfecting procrastination. Fortunately, he’s given up on that project and is now getting his work in on time.

The posts also (and perhaps more astutely) notes 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. (I wonder if writing blog posts like this count as wasting time all  the time or only when I’m procrastinating in order to avoid having to grade papers!)

So don’t consider yourself a perfectionist just because you procrastinate and don’t use your drive for perfection as an excuse for procrastination. The effective, efficient, and professional paralegal manages time, deadlines, work, and even their own characteristices rather than allowing them to manage them.


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