Christian Financial Advice and Biblical Stewardship

Perfectly Paralyzed by Procrastination

  • 2011 8 Jul
Perfectly Paralyzed by Procrastination

I've never thought of myself as a perfectionist. One would only have to peer into my office to understand why.

My office has the appearance of chaos, confusion and disorder. "Appearance" is the operative word. I find the chaos to be completely functional. I rely on my own, unique organizational theory: It's better occasionally to waste time searching for items than regularly to waste time keeping the place tidy with everything meticulously filed.

I know what you're thinking. My mother didn't agree with my theory either.

I admit that I struggle with procrastination. But me, a perfectionist? Hardly. A perfectionist is someone who does everything perfectly. I only think about doing things perfectly.

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to hear what Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, had to say on this subject. A procrastinator, says Warren, is nothing more than a frustrated perfectionist.

A perfectionist is convinced she must prove her worth by being perfect. A perfectionist craves approval. Warren contends it's the fear of not being able to perform perfectly that leads to procrastination. And procrastination eventually leads to paralysis.

There are times I can stare into my computer screen for hours on end without completing a single sentence. Even though I have a clear-cut subject, a semi-brilliant conclusion and a general idea of how I plan to get there, until I perfect my first paragraph, I'm paralyzed.

Have you ever felt paralyzed by your procrastination? Perhaps perfectionism is at the root of the problem.

I hear from lots of you who say you just can't get going with your Rapid Debt-Repayment Plans (one element of Debt-Proof Living; learn more at Could it be that you're so worried about making a mistake, you find yourself paralyzed? Are you holding yourself to an unattainable standard of perfection? That could be what's keeping you stuck right where you are.

Perfectionism can keep us from moving forward, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are antidotes for perfectionism.

1. Believe that no one is perfect. You will liberate yourself when you lower your expectations from perfect to realistic. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. You don't have to be perfect to be happy.

2. Let go and let God handle things. It takes a lot of faith to let go of those things over which we have no control.

3. Learn contentment. Life must be lived in less than perfect circumstances. Accept that. Love the moment, and enjoy the journey. Dump the pressure that says you must be perfect to be accepted.

It's time to break out of your prison of perfectionism. Identify what you need to do and take the first step. Even if you fall flat on your face, you will have gained at least five feet. Then take the second step, and the third. Before you know it, you will be making terrific progress. Not perfection, but progress!

Originally posted September 12, 2010.

©Copyright 2010 Mary Hunt. Everyday Cheapskate is a Registered Trademark.

Check out Mary's recently released revised and expanded edition of The Financially Confident Woman (DPL Press, 2008).

Debt-Proof Living was founded in 1992 by Mary Hunt. What began as a newsletter to encourage and empower people to break free from the bondage of consumer debt has grown into a huge community of ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their quest to effectively manage their money and stay out of debt. Today, "Debt-Proof Living" is read by close to 100,000 cheapskates.  Click here to subscribe. Also, you can receive Mary's free daily e-mail "Everyday Cheapskate" by signing up at