Perfection is Procrastination

思然 oce
6 min readJul 21, 2020
Photo by Pedro da Silva on Unsplash

When I am into something, I always read almost anything I can find.

Recently, I am very into productive stuff again. I said again because I did that a few years back when I just was starting my PhD. Graduate schools are where a lot of peers seeking ways to be more productive — publish or perish, they say. And I am familiar with the concepts of GTD (get things done), habit-building, and productive procrastination.

And I have successfully completed my PhD in four years. So what I learned back then (5 years ago) seemed to work…

But it is easy to become your old self when you are not paying attention. I suddenly realised the first half of 2020 has gone — and I achieved almost nothing.

How come? What have I done?

While I surely can blame COVID-19 for this seemingly unproductive half-year, I myself do have some responsibility for this period of unproductiveness.

It is not I really did nothing, surely I completed stuff that I have to complete for my paycheck. But that’s it. I feel no progress in my life. I learned nothing new. Maybe I did learn a few new programming tricks. Oh, and I did submit a paper that is currently under review… Also learned a bit of Python… But that’s it.

I always read for solutions. Then I found the book “Make Time — How to Focus on What Matters Every Day”.

Make Time

In there, one sentence resonated with me a lot:

Perfection is a distraction

I always want to read different opinions on how certain things were done before actually doing them. I always want to be perfect. This is the reason why after I read many books on productivity I still am reading new books on this topic. Like this “Make Time” book.

With the Internet, you can find endless ways to perform a task. A “perfection” freak like me always spends countless hours digging up the perfect solution, and before I know it, the time I spent searching for perfection already exceeds the time it could have taken in whatever imperfect way.

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思然 oce

PhD | Research Psychologist | Psychometrician | Computer Science Teacher | IT Auditor/Consultant | ex-CISA/CISSP | Top Writer in Humor | Work in HK, UK, USA