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.

Advice Appreciated - Setting Limits

Today I will end up failing a biology course for the second time and failing a class this year is not anything new to me.::sad:: I'm at the point where I am absolutely tired of unintentionally repeating the same old habits.

Various professors and counselors had advised me to take some time off of college to find my source of real motivation.

But... I don't think motivation is the issue. I think my fear of being overwhelmed is.

As a chronic procrastinator, I have an addiction to coping with stress by browsing the internet and a couple of particular forums. And I direly want to overcome this habit.

Should I limit my internet/forum usage to only the weeknights and weekends?

I have read Neil Fiore's The Now Habit and he stresses that one must take breaks to keep the mind energized and healthy.

Yet the only problem is that when I do take a break, I have difficulty prying my focus off the forums and onto my work.

So what do you suggest I do? Would setting internet limits benefit my situation or make it worse (re: feel deprived and procrastinate even further to compensate for the 'lost time')?



I can only speak from my experience as a chronic procrastinator for 48 years: 30 years ago I was in the same boat as you and finally allowed myself to drop out of school, because I did not know what I wanted to study. The idea of choosing a major for me was overwhelming, mainly because at the time I thought it would define who I was for life. In allowing myself to let go I gave myself the opportunity to find work and get into the routine of doing that. It took a long, long time to go back to school for a subject I was really interested in, but I continued in the middle to follow various interests while I worked. I don't regret any of it, although it would have been convenient to have figured things out a little earlier so that I was not raising young children, working and going back to school simultaneously, but the experiences I picked up along the way were pivotal to who I am today. As the poet said, I took the road less traveled, and I am the better for it.

They say that people procrastinate because of several reasons. Now I find myself procrastinating because I am afraid, or not interested, or because I am rebelling against some authority in my own mind. I look deeply into my soul to figure out the reasons and then I better know how to combat it.


I did much the same

I did much the same when I stopped failing out of college years ago -- I decided to stop beating my head against the wall and do something else.  I stayed interested in the things I was interested in, but I went out and got a job.  Time and work helped me to understand myself better and learn skills and attitudes that made me a better student when I finally did get back to finishing a degree.

Yes, it might have been nice for my life to follow the path I thought I had planned out when I was 18, but I'm not sorry it turned out the way it has.  I too am a better person because of this different life.


Timed breaks

Surfing the web is may main form of entertainment and distraction too -- and I do web development for a living, so I can't get away from the computer to work much.

My suggestion is to use a timer -- you can get a kitchen timer or download a software timer, and give yourself a certain amount of time for a break.  15 minutes is 15 minutes, and remember this one very important thing: the Internet will be there later.

If you use Firefox for web browsing, you may want to look into the LeechBlock extension and some of its advanced features.  If nothing else, you can do what I do -- block your favorite/usual sites for part of the day, so you have a defined "working" time.  Again, those sites will be there later...

Don't beat yourself up about failing classes.  I failed out of college three times myself.  Maybe a break will help you get a new perspective on what you're trying to do with college and why you want to go at all.  (And make sure you take some easy courses to bring up your GPA.)

I think you're right about fear and anxiety driving your procrastination.  Right now, your fear makes you run away from your work, which doesn't help -- learning a new pattern that drives you into your work to reduce the looming anxiety isn't quick, but you can do it.  Take it one day at a time, one thing at a time, and you can do it.



Timed breaks work for me unless it's something that I tend to get carried away on, like reading novels or certain types of internet surfing. I can't do these things during breaks when I'm supposed to be working because I ignore the timer. I turn it off and keep doing what feels good. Maybe that's just me, but that's why I suggested to not do the highly addictive activities during break times.

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

I'd say yes

Sounds pretty clear to me that you need to limit your internet time during work periods. No internet until the work period is over - not what you do during your breaks.

There is an article in the forum with tips for studying. Click the Articles button and scroll down.

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.