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.

Step 1 questions from a "sibling" fellowship (WA)

In the interest of getting myself moving again on a First Step regarding my procrastination/perfectionism dis-ease, and I hope also providing a service to some here, here's list of questions from the big book of Workaholics Anonymous:

1. How has work stress and excess work and/or work avoidance affected my health?

2. What is the history of my workaholism, starting with my family history of addictive work or other addictions? What has my family of origin taught me about work? Including my first memories of work or activity, what is the progression of work addiction in my life?

3. What have I tried in the past to control my problems with work: changing jobs, taking time off, reading self-help books, etc.?

4. Free-write about what I am powerless over, and my feelings about powerlessness.

5. How would I quantify my workaholism? (WA book suggests using an example it provides as a model; I can't type out the whole thing here but the idea is to make an estimate regarding things like "number of times I worked all night," "amount of lost wages due to probation or lack of promotion," "number of times I have given excuses (lies) for being late," "number of hours spent watching TV to escape," "number of times my tax returns have been way overdue," etc. Hoo boy, such fun stuff to take a hard look at!)

6. How have my relationships or lack of them been affected by my work problems?

7. What seems unmanageable in my life? How has this addiction diminished my life?

8. How would I describe my relationship to money and power?

9. How would I describe the criticism that I direct at myself — my negative thinking and poor self esteem? How do these drive my decisions?

10. How do procrastination and perfectionism and love of power affect my life? How have I been deceptive and tried to cover for how out of control life feels?


More questions / literature

All of the stuff below is from another 12 Step fellowship I've been investigating — Underearners Anonymous. (I'm just guessing, but this may be an off-shoot of Debtors Anonymous, which is pretty large and well-established in some places, including New York City.)

Personally, I identify incredibly strongly with some of the passages below. I've highlighted the parts that really resonate for me. 


From website homepage

Underearning is many things, not all of which are about money. While the most visible consequence is the inability to provide for one’s needs, including future needs, underearning is also about the inability to fully acknowledge and express our capabilities and competencies. It is about underachieving, or under-being, no matter how much money we make.

From a reading done at one particular online meeting:

We all are recovering from the desire to compulsively hide. We have settled for lives that do not serve us. We have hidden our talents, demeaned our abilities, and chosen lives filled with suffering. In UA, we find that it's important to take weekly actions to slowly bring prosperity into our lives. We gather at this meeting to give each other support and encouragement to take actions that, for many of us, produce fear — and as a result, procrastination. By linking hands across the world in this virtual room, we become stronger and are more able to do god's will for us. May we find it now. The format of this meeting is we will share our actions for three minutes and then there will be three minutes for feedback in which any UA member can comment supportively, on the actions just stated.


Underearners Anonymous - Symptoms of Underearning


1. Time Indifference – We put off what must be done and do not use our time to support our own vision and further our own goals. (Holy cow, yes.)

2. Idea Deflection –We compulsively reject ideas that could expand our lives or careers, and increase our profitability. (Sometimes.)

3. Compulsive Need to Prove – Although we have demonstrated competence in our jobs or business, we are driven by a need to re-prove our worth and value.

4. Clinging to Useless Possessions – We hold onto possessions that no longer serve our needs, such as threadbare clothing or broken appliances.

5. Exertion/Exhaustion – We habitually overwork, become exhausted, then under-work or cease work completely.

6. Giving Away Our Time – We compulsively volunteer for various causes, or give away our services without charge, when there is no clear benefit.

7. Undervaluing and Under-pricing – We undervalue our abilities and services and fear asking for increases in compensation or for what the market will bear.

8. Isolation – We choose to work alone when it might serve us much better to have co-workers, associates, or employees. (I can isolate perfectly well while I'm in an office with colleagues 10 feet away; location/setting is not the issue, especially in these wired, always-connected times. The issue is compulsive hiding and isolation, fear of being judged critically and rejection, and not being willing to risk having my work product and analytical point of view exposed until I'm sure it's unassailable.)

9. Physical Ailments – Sometimes, out of fear of being larger or exposed, we experience physical ailments. (to a degree.)

10. Misplaced Guilt or Shame – We feel uneasy when asking for or being given what we need or what we are owed. (Yep.)

11. Not Following Up – We do not follow up on opportunities, leads, or jobs that could be profitable. We begin many projects and tasks but often do not complete them. (There's only one thing I can do here — laugh, because the scale and duration of this behavior is so astronomical.)

12. Stability Boredom – We create unnecessary conflict with co-workers, supervisors and clients, generating problems that result in financial distress. (Time and time and time again. Apparently I'm a drama addict.


Do You Think You Might Be a Compulsive Underearner?

Most compulsive underearners answer yes to at least eight of the following questions.

1. Do you have little or no money left over at the end of the month? (More often than I would like, by far.

2. Do you keep possessions that do not fully work or clothes that are threadbare?

3. Do you cycle from under-working to over-working?

4. Do you dislike your work but fail to take action to improve it?

5. Do you sabotage new income or work ideas?  (Oh hell yes.)

6. Do you see the “gross” and not the “net”? (yes.)

7. Do you feel that to survive you’ll always have to do work you don’t like?

8. Are you filling up your free time with endless chores?

9. Do you fear asking for a raise? (yep.)

10. Is it frightening to ask for what you know the market will bear for your goods or services? (yep.)

11. Are you afraid of spending money but sometimes go on a buying binge? (yep. For years now I haven't felt entitled to spend anything on myself, but occasionally I'll go into this fog and buy something like a $140 tie [my wife wanted me to return this, but I refused], or an $800 pair of glasses [Now this order I did cancel].) 

12. Are you afraid that by spending money no more will come in?

13. Do you feel you’ll never have enough? (I worry)

14. Do you believe money will solve all your problems? (I don't really believe this — I'm not all that interested in material goods, especially when I'm in a relatively healthy space — but at times I do become obsessed with getting money for certain things. Currently obsessing on getting an offer of a full-time job from client #2, which would allow me to buy a new laptop, an iPad, and an iPhone, which might just fix all my problems. [Kidding.])  

15. Are you attracted to isolation? (uh, that would be a yes.)

11/12 for the first set of 

11/12 for the first set of  questions. 12/15 for the second set of questions. But how is it related to PA ? And what can be done about it ?


Can't tackle the "how related" question right now except to say that I think for me they're very much related. More soon. 

Re "what can be done about it," the only solution I know of is working the 12 Steps under the guidance of a sponsor, as if your life depended on it. Because it does, at least for me. This solution is working in my life (to some extent; I've got a long way to go), and I've seen many people undergo miraculous transformation by adopting the steps as a way of life, nothing less than that.

Thx Ian!

Wow, I feel challenged.  That IS a great list of questions.  Hmm... I'll have to revisit another day (when I'm not at work).  Thanks Ian!