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 blindness of the psychological community in not recognizing procrastination as an addictive disorder also infuriates me. Every book or article I've ever read about procrastination talks about getting to the "underlying reason" why you procrastinate so you can solve the problem. Knowing why you're procrastinating on a particular task can be helpful, but it's not the whole solution - not by a long shot. That's like saying an alcoholic can stop drinking if he can only discover what's really bothering him. An alcoholic drinks because he has an addictive personality and alcohol is his drug of choice. A procrastinator procrastinates because he (or she) has an addictive personality and procrastination is his or her "drug" of choice.
Addiction and compulsion are about escaping the present moment - not being present in your life, not experiencing the reality of your life. People procrastinate as a way to not be present in their lives because they have addictive personalities, and this is the particular form their addiction takes.
Misguided Advice from "Experts"
Until very recently, there was almost no research at all on procrastination in the psychological community. Now there is some research, but mostly unhelpful personality correlates, and laundry lists of the hidden "reasons". More recently, a few researchers have noticed that procrastination is a "marker" for alcohol and drug abuse - that procrastinators are much more likely to also abuse drugs and alcohol. But the uninsightful explanation given for this correlation is that procrastinators are using drugs and alcohol to deal with the pain of their procrastination.
How can these researchers be so blind and dense?!?! They stare right at the data and somehow miss the obvious. Procrastinators are more likely to use drugs and alcohol because they have addictive personalities, and if you have an addictive personality, you are vulnerable to using anything and everything addictively. Addiction is not related to specific substances or behaviors - addicts freely switch between them. Alcoholics become compulsive eaters and/or love addicts when they get sober, heroin addicts get off heroin by becoming alcoholics, etc.
Who Am I, Anyway?
I am a chronic procrastinator (with graduate training in psychology) who has also had to deal with a variety of other addictive problems. I've been clean and sober for nearly a decade, and I've resolved addictive problems with food and relationships as well. I know what addiction feels like. Procrastination feels like addiction, and it's the very hardest addiction I've ever had to deal with. It's harder to stop procrastinating than it is to quit drinking, drugging, smoking, compulsive eating, and romantically obsessing all together.
I started this Web site and this fellowship because there is nothing out there that provides what I need. I'm sick, sick, sick of the jokes and the stupid, useless explanations of psychologists. 12-step programs work for addiction, and if there was an effective fellowship for procrastination, it would work for that, too.
Although there was a fledgling fellowship in NYC for a while (Latecomers and Procrastinators Anonymous, or LA), it seems to have died away and since there was no formal organization there is no one to contact. And anyway, I didn't find it helpful because it made a common mistake that people make in trying to help procrastinators - it gave advice on time management.
Note: Procrastinators do not have a problem with time management. They have a problem with compulsive avoidance.
If you give a procrastinator a new time management tool, he will just play with the new time management tool as a way to procrastinate. The problem is not a lack of time management skills - or not mainly a lack of time management skills. Procrastination is a form of addictive escapism that must be dealt with directly or there will be no recovery.
Recovery from procrastination (aka compulsive task avoidance) cannot be achieved by abstaining from your current favorite procrastination activity, because you'll just switch to something else (just as cutting out certain foods doesn't resolve compulsive eating problems). Recovery from procrastination means doing what you say you're going to do, when you say you're going to do it.
If you look down the article list, you'll find the signs of compulsive procrastination, and the tools for recovery that I and other compulsive procrastinators have found useful. These come from the P.A. meeting materials, which can be found on this site here.