Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

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Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators (Atlantic Monthly)

There was a good article this week on procrastination in Atlantic Monthly:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/02/why-writers-are-the-worst-procrastinators/283773/

 

How to Get Started - A Magic Bullet That Works (Really!)

I've always had a hard time getting started. If I can only get started, I'll keep going. But often getting started can feel all but impossible.

I recently found a solution that is startlingly effective. I hope I can do a good job explaining how it works because the first time it was explained to me, by a coach, I didn't get it. Later I stumbled upon it myself by accident, and then realized it was what that coach years ago was trying to explain to me.

Procrastinators Anonymous Meeting List

All meetings that I know about are on Zoom now. If you know of other PA meetings, please message me and I'll add them.

Zoom Meetings


WEDNESDAYS
New York: 12:30pm to 1:45pm ET US
California: 9:30-10:45am PT US
London, UK: 5:30-6:45pm GMT/UTC
France/Spain: 6:30-7:45pm CET
Tel Aviv: 7:30-8:45pm
Istanbul: 8:30-9:45pm

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88098397844

CHATBOX USE - PLEASE READ

The chatbox is for meetings or check-ins, not for procrastination! If you are not even trying to get something done, please do not hang out in the chatbox and attempt to divert others who are trying to work. This is really important.

Thank you for cooperating.

 

What do you believe is the root (main cause) of your procrastination?

Lack of mental focus (not being clear about intention or purpose)
3% (3 votes)
Fear (of failure)
20% (18 votes)
Pleasure seeking (avoid activities which cause pain in favor of fun or pleasure)
24% (21 votes)
Perfectionism (things must be done perfectly or not at all)
13% (11 votes)
Easily distracted (not being able to maintain attention for periods of time)
8% (7 votes)
Sheer laziness
5% (4 votes)
Lack of self discipline (or will power)
19% (17 votes)
Poor sense of time management
2% (2 votes)
Weak planning or goal setting skills
3% (3 votes)
Impatient (tendency to want immediate results)
2% (2 votes)
Total votes: 88

P.A. Tools for Recovery

From the P.A. Meeting Materials...

  1. Break It Down: Break down projects into specific action steps; include preparation tasks in the breakdown.
  1. Visualization: Plan what to do, then imagine yourself doing it. The more specific and vivid your visualization, the better. See yourself doing the task, and doing it well.

Demand Sensitivity and Demand Resistance

Demand Resistance - Is It Hurting Your Business?

by Mitch Meyerson

Over the last twenty years, I have seen many forms of self-sabotage. The following psychological concept is one of the more common, yet least identified patterns that holds people back from success.

Simply put, demand-resistance is a chronic negative response to obligations or expectations. It is almost always unconscious.

Here are some common examples:

Why Planning is Crucial

There are two important levels to the planning process:

1. Planning what to do.
2. Imagining yourself doing it.

Planning What to Do

Waiting Until the Time is Right (or Not!)

A common source of procrastination is the idea that we have to wait until we have a big block of time before starting on a task - any task. One of my great frustrations in life is not being able to get done everything I need to get done even when I am trying. I think this is because I don't make good use of the many small pockets of time that are available throughout a day.

Tips for Getting Started

This list of tips for getting started was posted by Procrastinator's Anonymous member, Milo (original post here). I'm re-posting it, with minor editing, as an article so it won't get lost:

1. Visualisation. Visualise the task being completed and how good it feels to have it off your list and out of your head.

2. Break it down into small steps. (But don't overanalyse; that's another form of procrastination.)

3. Exercise brute-force willpower. Grit your teeth and say, "I'm just going to do it, dammit!"

Perfectionism can be a Major Time Waster!

There's a saying that, "If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well." This is emphatically not true! One of my favorite sayings is this:

"Some things require completion, not perfection."

Perfectionism can stymie us in many ways. Often it prevents people from doing a thing at all. They feel so much anxiety about whether they'll be able to do it perfectly, or feel so overwhelmed with the enormity of trying to do it perfectly, that they're unable to even get started.

Trying to Do Too Much

One common reason that people never get done what they want to get done most is that they are trying to fit too much into a 24-hour period. The solution isn't better time management. If you're like me, no amount of time management will allow you to do it all. The solution is to realize which items on your to-do list that you don't actually have to do.

A quote from Chinese writer and educator Lin Yutang expresses this well:

Tips for Getting Schoolwork or Writing Done

Basic Principles of Efficacy

This is adapted from work by Dr. Robert Boice, PhD. The principles are his (word for word except the word "writing" in #5 is replaced with "actual work". The explanations are in my own words. The principles are based on controlled studies - not just his opinion.

1. Wait. Do exercises to calm down and focus.

2. Begin before feeling ready. This helps you to develop systematic ways of finding imagination and confidence.

3. Work in brief, daily sessions. Be very consistent in this; make it a habit.

Chronic Procrastination is NOT a Time Management Problem!

Not a Laughing Matter!

The jokes about procrastination infuriate me. This is not a funny problem - not if you are suffering from true, chronic procrastination. Lawyers have been disbarred due to procrastination. Small business owners have lost their businesses due to procrastination. People's lives fall apart and are destroyed due to procrastination. This is not a funny problem.

The Five Main Types of Procrastination

Categorizing Reasons

The Procrastinators Anonymous Web site focuses mainly on the addictive aspect of procrastination since that's literally addressed no where else, but addictive compulsion isn't the only reason for procrastination - even for people who struggle with compulsive procrastination.

Signs of Compulsive Procrastination

Compulsive procrastinators may not have all the signs listed here, but if you identify with many of these characteristics, you are probably a compulsive procrastinator.

Characteristics of Procrastinators

This list of characteristics is from a "laundry list" contributed to Latecomers & Procrastinators Anonymous of New York City by "Joe L. et al." (This fellowship is different from Procrastinators Anonymous, and seems to have disappeared.)

We have found through our group experience that many of us have or identify with the following characteristics. You need not identify with all of them or order to be a chronic procrastinator.

  1. Disappointment is a way of life with us. We constantly disappoint other people and ourselves by not keeping promises that we make.
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