Procrastination, perfectionism, depression

Go head and click these links if you want to understand the references. If you don’t click this will go faster and be a less effective procrastination tool.

Why procrastinators procrastinate. (more like how…but its mostly brilliant so we can let that go.)

Procrastination monkey

How to beat procrastination. (Or start to beat it…)

Years ago I was planning to build a procrastination app but I never got around to it. As much as that sounds like a 2010 iOS conference punchline it is the truth. I wanted an app for that.

I wrote about this at length in college, when I was supposed to be writing papers. How I would plan plan plan my projects, do just enough work to show myself how on track I was for success and then ignore the plans until the last possible hour (panic monster arrival) then churn out the work and get an A-. I called it an A – effort, but in fact it was procrastination. The Verb to the crippling mental state of perfectionism.

By allowing myself little time to work any less than triumphant outcome was a result of timing, rather than my skill and brilliance. The fact that time management in and of itself was a skill was not lost on me, rather shoved in the closet along with abstemiousness, maintenance, and other less sparkly practices.

WBW talks about the dark playground. Here is a picture for you non-link clickers.

Look at those fun rides
Look at those fun rides


As I get older the dark playground shares a parking lot with procrastination station. Where activities and commitments masquarade as adult pursuits but in fact keep me from making concrete commitments to things that could count as personal achievements.

Here I am going to spend an hour making the train cars of procrastination station. Wait for me.

It only took 5 minutes because I did a crappy job. WIN!
It only took 5 minutes because I did a crappy job. WIN!

Of course there is place for all of those train cars. When you get on them from the “civic mindedness” station that shares the parking lot with the happy playground. If Id rather meddle in community business than watch TV (who am I kidding here) then good for me. But this is not where I boarded the train. I shut down google earth and pet rescue and re-categorizing my blog posts to do all this great volunteerism.

What is missing is self care. Not the fun kind of self care. I have spa days, and date nights, retreats with friends, and freehand drawing classes at design/build centers. The kind of self care that takes specific planning and one brick building kind of maintenance. Jogging to improve heart function. Adding in healthy food to push out calories. Earning money instead of consulting with businesses for free.

The discipline I have been practicing lately (now that I have quit : mediation, walking, running, yoga, buying and selling antiques, app design, interior design consulting, color picking) is writing this blog 5 times a week. Even if I don’t want to. This had seemed like a specific goal (one brick) in the road to being paid to write. For someone. Somewhere. About one of my many areas of expertise. Without doing any research. Sure I don’t always like to write here. But does doing something I don’t like act as a step against procrastination?

I’m not sure.

I am sure that I have been procrastinating for as long as I have felt depressed. For those of you who clicked the link and couldn’t relate to the monkey and the dark playground I first say. Wow. What must that feel like?

He writes about the pain and unhappiness of procrastination, and how it is tied into our sense of self esteem and self worth. What he doesn’t write about it how HARD it is. It takes a vigilance to procrastinate every project. Almost an elective paralysis. A LOT of brainpower and brain space. Much like depression.

I wonder about the links between these three states: perfectionism, depression, and procrastination. They all seem to have scope creep, fear, and vigilance in common. They are missing the matter-of fact attitude that makes me a great mom. If I have doubt or fear I say fuck it. I trust my kid, I trust this world. Competence is innate. Fearfulness is learned. And so far they are thriving. I don’t need to re-write their storylines.

How to be more matter of fact? This is not a concrete goal. The little monkey is rubbing his hands together gleefully. Yes, Anna, he says. Lets become “matter of fact.” Good one. I’ll file that next to “heart healthy”. See you tonight in the dark playground. He has plans…Scandal + pet rescue + checking blog stats. While rubbing Leo’s head. An excellent evening.

Are any of you procrastinators? Really really good ones? Are you perfectionists? Depressed?

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Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

5 thoughts on “Procrastination, perfectionism, depression”

  1. I have spells of depression, I can literally switch from being on top of the world down to hell and back to the top again in a matter of hours. I am also awful for procrastination, I have an addictive personality and I am very much a perfectionist, to the point where objects must be parallel on tables etc. I also have tunnel vision in the sense that I get a craze every once in a while and I will spend loads of time and money on it, whilst ignoring everything else.

    1. That all makes perfect sense to me. I have been dealing with an irs audit and it is the best thing to cure procrastination. Or at least displace it. I want to procrastinate the audit so much that other things seem less onerous. The mood issues are not helped much by the audit. Thanks for writing.

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