Perfectionist or Procrastinator?


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Written by Dr. Betty-Ann Svedsen, MD & Certified Life Coach

Perfectionist or Procrastinator?

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I once proudly called myself a perfectionist.

Many jobs require an attention to detail, not just medicine. I’m not talking about the “seeing patients” part of medicine; I’m talking about the behind the scenes work like charting, emptying my in-box, signing prescriptions, etc…I would go back and re-read/correct my notes (which are voice translated). I’m not talking about important things, like names or doses of medications, I’m talking about grammar and punctuation. To me, sloppy dictation meant sloppy medicine and sloppy(incompetent) doctor.

I also felt that I worked best under pressure, especially with written work that had deadlines; essays, projects, etc…I felt like I needed more time to plan, process and be all intellectual-like. “oh, I have 4 months to get this done…” Lots of last minute stress, nail-biting, teeth gnashing- but I always got the job done. Because that’s how I am. Somewhere along the way, I finally called BULLSHIT on myself.

Perfectionism was me being overly worried about what others thought of me. Would my colleagues think less of me as a clinician if the first letter in a sentence was not capitalized? Umm, no. And what if they did? So what? I gave myself permission to stop sweating the small stuff. I still get the job done, but it doesn’t have to be A+ work anymore.

Working best under pressure? BULLSHIT. I was a procrastinator. Under a dark cloud of perfectionism. Worried about what others would think. Now I reverse procrastinate, which is basically front-loading the work and refining at the end if needed. Much less agita for me. There is no Medal of Honor given for “best work done in least amount of time”. So my friends, take-home message is…Stop worrying so much about what others think. Just do a good job, show up and show love. Mwah!




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