At job interviews when people ask me what my weaknesses are, I always answer, “I’m a perfectionist and a procrastinator.”
When projects are assigned, right off the bat, I typically have thousands of great ideas. However, because of my perfectionistic tendencies, I become overwhelmed by my own ideas, buckle under the pressure, procrastinate and then end up turning in good (but not great or perfect) work.
Because of that process, deadlines are my best friend and worst enemy. They are my best friend because at least they at least require the work to be completed, otherwise I could put it off for forever. They are my worst enemy because, as they approach my work seems to get sloppier and more frenetic.
Today is my worst nightmare in regards to deadlines. I started out this morning finishing up a work assignment that was actually due yesterday. Now I am writing this post 15 minutes before it’s supposed to post. And what am I actually supposed to be doing today? Taxes! I told the Pilot, my tax stuff would be organized and totaled by this weekend and told myself I would spend all day on Friday on it. Well here is Friday and I haven’t even started!
I know I could do incredible work, if I learned to start earlier and budget my time better. But, I only remember this procrastination cycle throughout my whole life (elementary, middle, high school and college).
My approach to work changed drastically in grad school. And, as I write this, I can’t for the life of me remember, what motivated me to stay so on top of things. But, even if I could, would that same attitude be what motivates me now? I kind of doubt it.
I think my best approach at this point is to make mini deadlines, that keep me on track before the big deadline and tell someone (maybe the Pilot?) about the mini deadlines, so the accountability is there.
Although, I would really love to discover a bit more personal accountability and motivation. That’s a deadline for another day.
How do you handle deadlines? Do you crave the structure? Buckle under pressure? Do you avoid the project? Or do you get it done days before it’s due?
Any advice you have, would be greatly appreciated!!