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.

Pro this article makes sense

Procrastination can be viewed as an addiction, and it's a view that makes sense. I seem to be addicted to stimulation whether online or otherwise where I can watch or read things that interest me. I like loud sounds and flashy lights as much as the casino slot machine addict that spends every other weekend losing his paycheck.

I asked a sociology professor of mine what the best way to deal with internet procrastination would be and he answered something along the lines of cognitive behavioral therapy. He specializes in addiction, particularly in gambling. Cognitive behavioral therapy is just trying to figure out ways to lessen the effects of addiction, to come up with ways to stop yourself from wasting time. For alcoholics this would mean getting rid of all the alcohol in their house and identifying things that make them want to drink. 

Procrastination as an addiction....

I know I have a problem, and I want to help myself. I never thought of procrastination as an addiction, but it totally makes sense. As you mentioned with the different types of addictions -- drugs, alcohol, infatuations, etc., it all makes sense. If I'm not procrastinationg about one thing, I'm procrastinating about something else. I'm a daydreamer so the idea of escaping from the present moment and the work at hand -- yes that's me too.

All of the comments here are gushing praise, so I'm really eager to try something that will help me with my addiction. I've heard the phrase "12-step program" but I never thought I was an addict, so I never really looked into it. I just hope I can help myself quickly enough to save my marriage and my graduate degree.

Thanks, and please help! I will also do what I can to help others.

 

 

I know that I *should* do it, and it's not that I don't *want* to do it, but I can't get myself to *just do it!* Sometimes it's because I don't know *how* to do it, and sometimes I'm afraid of failing.

Welcome leavinghome!

We won't be afraid of being sweet to ourselves.  - Her Space Holiday

Thank you so much, Pro!

I want to thank you so much, for making this site and for writing this article.  This line, "Recovery from procrastination means doing what you say you're going to
do, when you say you're going to do it" is so true.. I think it is true probably about all addictive escapist activities.  In my recovery from compulsive overeating, my sponsor keeps telling me: it's not about the foods, per se, although I do have particular binge foods... It's about making my commitments about my food every day, and then keeping those commitments to myself.

It is about learning to trust myself, and do what I say I'm going to do.

 The disease of not being able to trust myself and my own word - of being out of control of my own actions - is the most painful thing.

 Thank you

procrastination is a addiction

Oh Dear God... thank you for seeing this as an addiction.  I have spent 1000's and 1000.'s of dollars trying to overcome my procrastination problems with everything you have mentioned. I have finally come to believe that I can not overcome it and it must be an addiction.  When I look at it from an addiction perspective it makes perfect sense.  I am hoping with this site and the 12 step program I will be finally able to break free and  live a full life.  I live in Canada and hope there are people here, maybe in Vancouver BC, that I can connect with.  Would love to start a 12 step meeting, even a phone meeting and use the tools.  I can not go on any longer, with the cycles of loosing and failing, I"m sick and tired of being disappointed and sick and tired of not getting anywhere, and I am willing do anything to change.  What do I do, now?

Janetrose

 

now i know why i m addicted to

yep i feel i have got addicted to procastrination

it reinforces when you just get the work done good enough to succeed for the time being

i was usually the last to get through but ever since I noticed it I stopped progressing and now I am generally the first in the waiting list

Welcome, Janetrose. I

Welcome, Janetrose.

I check in daily and am working the 12 steps. As are others so look forward to touching base with you.  You can always email me and then later if you want to call me that's fine too. I have a couple of PA people I call on a daily basis as part of my check in and they've been wonderful.  I'm in L.A. so I'm in your time zone.  

I also use the Clutterers Anonymous action lines and that's a great tool and their website is quite interesting. i never thought of myself as a "clutterer" but it's all related and the people are very helpful.  Google it.

Best wishes,

tracy-la

THANK YOU!

This article is wonderful, truly wonderful!  It hits the nail on the head and as someone who is working a 12-step program and as someone with an addictive personality I needed to hear someone validate what I already knew -  Procrastinators do not have a problem with time management. They have a problem with compulsive avoidance.

And it is NOT a laughing matter but a serious, painful situation. 

Thank you!!

Kate 

whoa!

first time in coming to terms with my procrastination, have felt like no one could ever no the deep deep pain i go through, my procrastination has created so much stress in my life that i sometimes have to question my sanity. I'm suppose to be an intelligent woman and yet i self sabotage so often. I truly don't understand why I am this way. I have contemplated................. but I won't. I get angry so much, and i do hurt more when people say "its just simple", "just get on with it" just do it" whats wrong with you" stop making excuses' 'im sick of your excuses, why don't you just try, start one step at at time, you've had ample opportunity, why haven't you started, you know you have to do it, theres no way around it, you have to do it, i don;t get you, your selfish, if you really cared, its obviously not important enough for you, just start it, whats your problem, and the list goes on......................I truly wish I had an answer to rationalise the way i am so I can finally be at peace

Aurora, we're here for you!

Probably all of us here have felt what you feel. I know i do. But I truly feel that coming here and participating in Daily Check Ins is helping me. My thoughts nd best wishes are with you. We can all get through this -- red my sig messages below. :) 

"It is never too late to be who you might have been" - George Eliot

"Fall seven times. Stand up eight." - Japanese proverb

Your Article on Procrastination - bingo!!

Addiction to avoidance -- so true!!  as are your comments about the unhelpful
"helpful" remarks of others.   (if one one person tells me that the way to deal with this is just to tell myself that the "real" start time is 1/2 earlier, or to set my clocks fast ----}    Thank you for this site.    I am so sick and tired of being late to work all the time, it is just such a bullshit behavior for which I have no justification whatsoever-  not to mention the danger to life and limb speeding like a banshee becs I am late.

I appreciate the resources here.   I hope I can find the willingness to use them. 

Thank you for this article.

Thank you for this article. I'm so glad I found this site through google.

I find that I'm really procrastinating too much, paying my bills late and incurring fines, cleaning my house only a little bit each time, and even with work I leave it to almost the last minute to deadline to complete it! 

*sigh* I find that the only times I have gotten work done is when I know I have a fixed deadline and there is no 2nd chance for it.

- Exams: I mug through the free nites the week or days before it!

- Meetings where I have to update on things done

So my studies and work haven't really suffered drastically, though I suspect that the results would have been way better if I didn't procrastinate so much.

My finances on the other hand are giving me a problem, even with fines and late payment fees and interest, I still continue to procrastinate on them and it's costing me more and more. It could have been worse if I hadn't signed up for automated payment services...Problem is the service is not available for all bills, so I'm still stuck with late payments on a number of them sad

Yes!

Pro, this is an amazing article and rings absolutely true for me. I'm a third-generation obsessive/addictive type and had never heard procrastination described as an addiction before. Thank you so much for creating this website and for making so much sense!

Thanks Justdooit, for so

Thanks Justdooit, for so succinctly describing the whole problem and about constructive living, you gave a new direction and this has become like a discovery even for me smiling

so how long have you been practicing constructive living, well right now I am procrastinating a bit by reading about Constructive living tongue out .................. but not for long!

Thanks! 

wow

i too am working onmy phd and just getting started is killing me. i love the topic- i think its interesting. i have tons of research and can tell you anything you need to know. ask me to sit down and write something- NOPE. I am failing a class now- after I was given a 60 day extension to complete the work.

Ruining my life

I'm near to ruin my life because of this habit. I have to write my Doctoral Dissertation and I'm not able to write it. I don't know if I'll be able to deliver it on time. I'm feeling really desperate. Today I tried to break my difficulty in starting by the use of a stepwatch. So I worked for a few minutes every time. I think I'll continue to use it, trying to scale up the work time. Thank you all for your support.

 

Good for you Pythagoras

I think there are many "ABD"s on this site!  Keep starting! 

Jo  

"The elevator to success is out of order.   You'll have to take the stairs . . . one step at a time." - Joe Girard

Thank you. Sure, there

Thank you...  Smiling

Sure, there are. I hope not being too late.

SHARE MY DISCOVERY

This comment has been moved here.

Hi everyone...

Hi I just joined, I had to after reading this article and the comments attatched.

This article hit a few spots, as did the comments. Right now I'm near breaking point...feel like I want to just scream, cry, and hide in bed for a looong while... reading around I think I might try and find some help as I realise maybe I'm not just a weak minded person that is unable to control what I do. So thanks.

Good luck to everyone with getting their things done, may all our lives seem a bit more brighter soon....

I havent really looked

I havent really looked around the site much, and dont know how comfortable I feel about a 12 step program (as I said I havent read into it much).. it kindof feels too much like a "higher power" "christian" thing that's associated with traditional 12 step programs (I know someone that is in one..).. HOWEVER..

 

I read the article on this page and some of the comments.. and it's a mirror image of me from an early age.. from primary and high school through my working and private life. Just about every symptom and example here applies to me. The feelings around putting things off and avoidance etc.. the failling on each new time management technique or motivational activity etc.

 

I'll look around the site more.. but at the very least.. thank you for writing that article.. and some of these comments.. great to know so many other people actually are aware of what it feels like to suffer from chronic procastination.. Really can make you feel lazy, stupid, worthless etc sometimes because the feelings of things being so overwhelming when you let so many tasks pile up.

 

Long deadlines or open ended deadlines are a nightmare.. and when you let 300+ tasks pile up you really feel numb sometimes and just sit there either doing whatever you shouldnt be doing.. or doing nothing at all.. just staring at stuff or beating yourself up over how you should be doing things and recognising the self sabotage right in the moment.

 

 

Anyway.. that is all.

 

share my discovery

Ok folks, I've found something that has shifted my procrastinating mind to a more productive place... and it concerns "feelings". I can't speak for every procrastinator here, but for me, procrastination is all about not "feeling" like doing something. For example. I tell myself "ok, it's Spring and it's time to start on the garden... we need to weed the raised boxes, add some good soil, get some fertilizer, a few packages of seeds, some starter plants, etc. Last year, there was no garden. Why? Because even though some part of me wanted to another part didn't feel like doing the necessary prep work, so guess what? Because I didn't feel like doing it - it never happened. End of story. Sad story, but wait....

Here is what I discovered -- as long as I based my actions, (i.e. what I do and don't do) on how I "feel", I just might end up spending the rest of my life procrastinating over things I don't "feel" like doing unless I can (a) talk my psyche into feeling different (b) change my thought process, especially the subconscious (c) reverse that little something in me that is, not only trying to destroy me, but controlling my life. I say... FAT CHANCE on fulfilling those dreams! I've been trying to do this (analyze it to death and/or figure it out) for waaaay too many years. The bottom line is, unless I can talk this "something" into changing it's mind about how it "feels" regarding a particular task, I will continue to do the same thing, probably for the rest of my life. How depressing.... So at this point my choices are, either procrastinate or strong-arm my psyche into accomplishing. The truth is both of these choices suck and are not a desirable way to live ones life. However....

I have since stumbled across a Japanese theory that supports honoring our feelings AND (not or) AND doing what needs to be done. In other words,

A) feel what you feel (I don't wanna... I hate this... no way... etc.)

B) honor your feelings (accept and express compassion for this part of you,
recognize the part that doesn't feel like doing it) <<--VERY important
then -

C) take your feelings with you and go do what needs to be done.

Does it sound easy? Or impossible? When it comes right down to it, who says we have to "feel" like doing a task? Did you know that most successful and productive people accomplish the task at hand because it needs to be done, not because they "feel" like doing it? Seriously, productive people laugh when you ask them if they absolutely "love" or "feel" like doing what they do. The truth is, they do not. Somehow productive people have skipped a dysfunctional mindset early in life -- the mindset that judges whether a task is worth doing based on their "feelings" about it. They just "do it"! Ask them why and they say "because it needs to be done". That mindset has become a habit for them. While they may be aware of their feelings about a task, feelings per se are not an issue in their decision process. And speaking of habits -- doing anything (positive or negative) for 21-30 days will create one. I have proven this to myself.

So here is what I discovered --

A wonderful website. It's not necessary to join, but if you do, the articles are some of the most inspirational and motivating I have ever read. They have helped me tremendously.
The ToDo Institute - http://www.todoinstitute.org/

Books:
Constructive Living by Reynolds
A Handbook for Constructive Living by Reynolds

anything on Morita or Naikan therapy.

..................................................................................................................

In response to Jasonx:
Regarding your discomfort about 12 step recovery... if you have a friend that is in 12 step recovery (you state: "...I know someone that is in one...") and is touting it as "Christian", both you and your friend are misinformed. I owe my life to 12 step recovery from drugs and alcohol. I've
been abstinent from both substances for 27 years and I am not a Christian. You need to know that twelve step recovery is not about Christianity or any religion. Twelve step recovery (regardless of which addiction) is non-denominational. At least it's supposed to be. Make no mistake, there are those who bring in their own agenda, Christian or otherwise, but that is not what 12 step recovery is about. Step 2 (of the 12) suggests that you consider believing in a power greater than yourself. Some believe it to be God, or a Divine Source, or the Universe, or anything you deem greater than yourself. In fact athiests have used their higher consciousness or the group itself as their higher power. So if you choose to remain uncomfortable about 12 step recovery, just know that it's not "a christian thing", as you have expressed in your last comment.

JustDooIt, yours has been

JustDooIt, yours has been the most beneficial comment for me personally on this site (or any site). I've waited a while before writing here to make sure it does work for me. I have been following a two track approach: 1. Doing tasks WHILE initially feeling horrible about it and 2. Being aware of slipping back into my list of crutch activities (websurfing, daydreaming, TV, sleeping, in that order). I think I've always had trouble starting because I always believed that I really really don't feel like doing it THEREFORE I can't do it. Now I just accept/embrace that I really really don't feel like doing it WHILE doing it (negative feelings go away soon though). I also bought the book Constructive Living and its great. But really, I think the book is only reinforcing the key realization that took a few paragraphs above to dawn on me. Thank you!

I agree

Very well written article with a lot of points I agree with. I found your reference to procrastionation as "addictive escapism" to be on the mark. I think it's the one fundamental truth that all procrastinators realize but find so hard to give up because it will take something like the rewiring of one's brain to fix. Techniques to deal with time management are a waste of time I've found. I agree that removing distractions don't help much too. If only procrastionators can have someone hold a gun to their head then the fear of dying would far outweigh any fear of the activity they have been putting off doing!

14 Years old and..

Hello, I'm new to this site, but I'm sure I'm a chronic procrastinator.

I'm only 14 years old and yet this problem has effected my life in alot of ways.  Like school, I hated long-term deadlines.  Give me a month to do a paper, I would do it the night before.  Eventually it got to the point where every night around 11:00-12:00 I would be doing my homework, then eventually I couldn't finish so I told myself I would finish it in the morning.  Yet I never did. 

Personally I've tried to do shedules before I thought my procrastination problem was getting out of hand.  Like I would feel guilty for not doing something then make a list of what I was going to do tomorrow, but then when it was tomorrow, I wouldn't even look at the list.  It satisfied me temporary, because I made the list and I thought, 'Hey at least it's an improvement.'

But I wasn't really making any improvement.

Whenever I told people I was a horrible procrastinator, they would usually laugh, and then say they were too.  But they seemed fine, there lifes weren't on the brink of destruction because of their procrastionation, like mine was. 

So eventually I found this site, that gave me finally a understanding of that it wasn't time management, but rather it was I was advioding things chronically.  In 3 weeks I'm going to be starting high school, and I know if I don't get this problem under control it's just going to grow, like a disease. (If that makes sense?)

P.S. Sorry for spelling/grammartical errors.  I'm only 14 >_<

I am inspired by students on this site

Hi Sierrah!

Welcome! A number of students and other people with projects use this site, and several of them post about their process & studying, etc. I find them very inspirational! I bet you will get a lot of good ideas from them, too! Good luck with everything! smiling

Recycler


Recycler

Thank you, gals & guys, for being here! smiling

hi Sierrah!

Good for you for trying to get a handle in this problem early! I procrastinated in school from the earliest I can remember - kindergarten. I remember several incidents from elementary school, actually - another one from sixth grade. It wasn't until I was an adult that I started to try to deal with it. You're way ahead of things, so congratulations to you!!

Keep checking in here - I think you'll find it helps.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

How much work am I not going to do while searching this sit

I stumbled on here while procrasonating at work.  I really haven't been able to classify my procrastonation, but I will be hoping this site might help me.  without going into details procrastination often termed lazyness by others has been a huge issue my whole life.  I don't clean, never did homework, took me 3 years after completeing course work to graduate from college just becasue I didn't finsih a report and submit paperwork.  Right now (at this second) i'm probably working my way into trouble at work.  I frustrate myself, but I *enjoy* being distracted, and the internet makes it so easy.

Procrastination and Time Management

Here's how I think of the relationship between procrastination & time management for me. Once the procrastination is addressed, I'll be able to see what the time management issues are and fix them. I definitely think I have both, but sometimes they're hard to tease apart.

Just read something interesting

I just read something today in the book "Too Perfect" that speaks to this issue, and that is that most people suffering with procrastination due to perfectionism don't schedule their time realistically.  The author says "Perfectionists tend to schedule their time as if they will perform ideally and can anticipate perfect conditions. They assume...that nothing will interrupt them, that fatigue won't hamper their efficiency, that they'll be able to move along at top speed." 

I think I do this, and then when things don't go perfectly and I fall behind schedule, I get depressed and panicky which leads to more procrastination and a reluctance to ever try scheduling or posting "to do" lists again! 

Wow.

I've been a sober alcoholic for 14 years and procrastination has cost me endless time, money, serenity and energy. This is the first time I've seen procrastination referred to as a drug in and of itself and I can't believe I haven't thought of it that way before. I am addicted to procrastinating. It's not a symptom, it's a disease. Thanks for the insight.

exactly!

I started this site because I felt in my gut that procrastination was an addictive problem (compulsive task avoidance), but not a single resource I could find described it this way.

Did you see the lists of signs and tools I uploaded yesterday? I hope you join us in bookending.

I hear you! My parents think

I hear you! My parents think that I have poor time management skills that I need to improve... Now I know I can overcome the negatives of procrastination and take advantage of the good.

Almost Completely Unrelated...

This blog has just been syndicated on LiveJournal! If you use LiveJournal, or know people who do, they can add it to their friends list.

http://procrast_anon.livejournal.com/

LJ syndication is empty

I ran over to LJ to add you to my Friends Page but the syndication list is empty. Is it still working? What happened?

thanks

I'm not familiar with Live Journal, but that sounds like it will get the word out more, so it's good! smiling

Cry or Rejoice

This is my first visit to this site. Four days ago was the first time I realized I was a chronic procrastinator. Six months ago I decided to see a therapist to help with what I thought was self-sabotaging behavior that keeps stopping me from being successful. My therapist never even thought that I would be a chronic procrastinator nor addressed it except to give me list of things that I should do, and of course I procrastinated on the list. What I called self-sabotaging behavior is procrastination. But now I'm sad. I just want to cry my eyeballs out, I actually have an addiction...another addiction...add that to alcohol abuse. This is such a hard realization for me right now. I don't like being one of those people and yet I am. I haven't gone through enough of this site to find the part where I start fixing this problem of mine. If someone can direct me to the right place I would appreciate it. I should rejoice that I actually figured this out but now I'm just sad. sad

no worries - it will get better now!

To get started in solving this problem - and believe me, if I can do better, anyone can! - read these things:

1. The articles on the site (click the Articles button at the top for a list), and

2. Start bookending! There is a sticky at the top of the Bookending forum that explains it:

Why bookending works

Welcome! You will find a lot of help here.

Cry AND rejoice

Crying's okay - it's a big realisation for you. Rejoice now because you have identified your problem. You are on the way now to getting help with it.

This site will give you lots of ideas on how to tackle procrastination, including some ideas and insights on what might have caused you to get this way (I haven't figured it out for my problem yet, but some here have).

Your first step is to just accept it. Admit it, accept it and realise that procrastinators aren't bad people, they just have an addictive habit that inhibits their life somewhat (for some it's on a large scale, for others it's less so).

Go to the 'questions and insights' forum and give us a big speel about your problems, the things you mainly procrastinate on, the effect it has, etc and we'll all pitch in with advice and encouragement.

You're not alone!!!

Rejoicing after the Crying

Thanks for the words of encouragement. I recently took some time to really take a look at my life and found myself leaving the world of blissful ignorance to now a reality check of discovering I'm a chronic procrastinator due to fears of success. This site has been quite helpful along with some others and I'm ready to start making some changes. My therapist said it will take about a year to break this bad habbit of mine so I guess it's time to start. I'll try the bookending tool and see how I progress. Thanks again, I truly appreciate all the help I can get.

I still haven't figured it out...

I don't know why I do it. I think it's a fear of failure. I look at successful people and resent them like hell because I can't be that. I'm not as smart, charismatic, innovative, creative etc etc....

So I find ways of not having to try, in case I fail.

I didn't relate to the demand resistance stuff (I do sometimes have a donwanna moment, but it's usually not because I'm being told to, it's because it's not, or no longer, interesting to me).

I need a therapist. I really think I do....

I don't know where it could have come from if it IS a fear of failure, though. I was never pressured as a child to 'perform', even though I was constantly told I was really smart and should apply myself a bit more, it wasn't by my parents - they were still proud even if I underachieved in relation to my potential. It was usually school teachers that I frustrated...and now employers... sad

Do you need to figure it out?

Now that I've come to this terrible but wonderful realization I can now take the steps to move forward and so can you. I'm not sure it's important to find out where these things we do come from, I think it's more important that we accept it in ourselves and decide to make the change to bettter ourselves. That means coming to sites like this, learn that we're not alone, and learn that it's possible to make improvements in our lives. I too disappointed teachers and employers but that's okay. We've learned and now it's time to take that pain and use it to make a change. "The unburnt child has not learned change." Consider yourself lucky that you have been burned. I am one of those gifted kids (now an adult) who's highly creative, artisticly talented, inventive and resourceful however I don't allow myself to use my gifts to be successful. I've had a lifetime of failures but now it's time for success. You being here tells us all that you're ready too. It helps to let the world know where you want to go because the world will help you get there. Good luck to you. I know you'll reach your goals.

Thanks!

That was very inspiring smiling

Invaluable Insight

Your relating the "P" word to other types of addiction is something we can all grab hold of. If an addiction is repeatedly doing something you don't want to do, then procrastination fits.

Where every other addiction involves doing something, our addiction revolves around not doing something we should. With the other types of addiction; drugs, alcohol, gambling, eating, net surfing, porn, etc. if you are in a program, you call your sponsor and he/she helps you over the rough spot. With us, calling a sponsor and talking for an extended time could wind up being just another form of procrastination. No wonder it is so hard!

Add to that, the possible programming we received as children. I wonder how many of us were called "lazy" when we were young? (might make an interesting poll)

Addicted to the intangeble, invisible behavior that is so misunderstood, causes so much pain to ourselves and others, and keeps so many from reaching their full potential is a terrible burden to bear. It helps to know we are not alone. There is a place we can come to get support and encouragement.

Thanks, pro and everybody else!

Replacing "Talking" Sponsors with "Working" Sponsors

I can definetely see how using "talking" sponsors is just another method of procrastination.  Heck, I've been in therapy for years.....  And I tell myself I can't possibly fix anything on my own before my next therapy session....  And I tell my therapists the same things over and over again until they get frustrated with me and show it - and that's saying something!

But sometimes, I find I can be productive if there is someone in the room who is also working - not talking to me, just working.  Not ignoring me either - they'll answer a question if I have one - but then they go back to working.  I wouldn't have my BA if not for my best friend at the time.  I was in a bad stint of procrastinating.  He got me to come over to his house and he sat with me while I worked - I didn't change my underwear or shower for days - but he sat with me and I worked. 

That's the only reason I graduated.  I don't think I've ever worked with a procrastinator before, but I think two procrastinators agreeing to work in the same room could be powerful.  Having a "working" sponsor - whaddya think?

I like your post, and agree.

Time is crunched here, but I'll get back more soon. I've had non-procrastinators "sponsor" me, but they don't fully understand. It's like having a non-alcoholic sponsor an alcoholic at a dinner party. It works okay for the party, but after a while the behavior comes back. They view the condition as acute, and they're teaching or helping us to get through, but it's really more chronic. I'm getting more convinced that working a 12 step program with this is a very good idea, and a sponsor who's a procrastinator is the way to go.

absolutely

Such wisdom solidground:) Now, any offered solutions? I'm assuming we need a program to work and work it.

You in program? Pro is working on a PA online meeting.

Solutions

As you've noted, the solution can also be used as part of the problem, but the flip side is also true. Sometimes I come here to procrastinate and end up motivated into doing whatever it is I'm putting off.

We can look after each other here - motivate, remind, cajole, console. And sometimes one of the biggest motivators is talking someone else through a situation and offering them morale support. In helping others we can help ourselves.

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Yess...

"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."

This is completely true for me, so I laughed. But it also hurts... sad

Procrastination as Addiction - the Unintended Reinforcement

I'm here (newly registered today) because I think I can say with some certainty that last night I was the VERY last person in my well-populated county to get hardcopy tax filings postmarked on time. I can say that because I am in the habit of mailing the things Certified. So there I was at Midnight on the tail of one other hapless soul, in the parking lot of the main Post Office for the county, flinging around postage and certified mail forms. I think the supervisor wanted to kill me, but I got the precious "on time" postmark. Naturally, one of my filings was an Extension form.

This is just the most recent example. I could write a very long post with more examples of being "just in time" and the occasional "just missed." It's hurting me personally and professionally and it's hurting the people I love and work with.

So why do it? I could backtrack and look at the events that lead to the big final rush - not just the sitting on my hands part but also the wasted efforts once I start; getting sidetracked and/or trying to do too many other things at the same time; misallocated effort perfecting one part of the job while neglecting others. All leading up to the final awful decision that I can't do it all and I have * just enough * time to get it in before I'm officially late. With taxes, that would mean paying a penalty. With work it often means missing winning a contract.

But another view is not what leads up to it but why do I draw the line so late? Everyone routinely makes decisions as to when they need to finish something on a deadline - why draw it to (literally) the last minute? I'm not a psychologist, but I have one thought. I once read an excerpt written by a compulsive gambler who said that the payoff was not in winning but the thrill of the act itself - watching the dice roll or the roulette wheel spin. There is a similar article I've seen on the web - this one a couple of hundred years old - by a famous procrastinator who wrote a whole essay on procrastination, allegedly while a courier waited, just in time to meet the publication deadline for that very article. In both cases it seems that part of what reinforces the last minute behavior is the thrill of pushing the limits of what can be done with the alloted time.

I don't have an answer for this but I suspect that addressing this unhealthy reinforcement and finding a way to reinforce more reasonable time setting is one part of the solution.

In the meantime I have to go. I have an appointment and if I don't leave right now I'll be late. No kidding...