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.

Newbie - Idea/Proposal: peer-to-peer "productivity pal" for writers, (dissertation/senior) students & freelancers

Hi you guys out there suffering from chronic procrastination!

I´m new to this group. I´ve been struggling with procrastination all my life. Over the last months, I´ve been trying to finish my thesis and I´ve already missed all thinkable deadlines.

I´ve got an idea and I would like to know if anyone is interested in it (if so, please keep reading)...  <!--break-->

Over the last years I´ve read several books on procrastination and spent zillions of hours reading procrastination stuff on the internet, which means that study techniques, establishing long- and short-term goals and developing action plans are not a (big) problem for me. I also think I understand the underlying problems of my procrastination, such as fear of failure, task aversiveness and low motivation to achieve, but I agree 100% with pro when he says that knowing why you´re a procrastinator can help but it´s not the solution and that procrastinators have an additive personality and a problem with compulsive avoidance (

So, in my case, the problem I can´t deal with is to make myself accountable to my daily goals because I´m alone and nobody supervises how much time I spend on my work. I´m sure many of you have the same problem as I do! ;-)

I´ve been thinking about hiring a professional coach, but most of them just seem to focus on your underlying problems and won´t actually see how much time you actually spend on your projects every day (I don´t know if would spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a dissertation coach, either :-) ). Check-in postings seem to be helpful for small tasks but I´m pretty sure that I would just end up doing nothing and stopping posting new check-ins.

So, my idea is to build very small groups (two or three procrastinators) who mutually CONTROL the progress of their own work by communicating to each other their working plans in advance and, more importantly, by ACTUALLY SENDING THE RESULT of their work to each other, personally (for example by email) on a daily/weekly basis and getting feedback and support from each other. That is, we could actually send the due assignments, paragraphs, chapters, presentations, etc. to our "productivity pal", and vice-versa. Of course, we could support this activity by frequent emails, by chatting on this site or posting the results here in order to foster the sense of accountability and the sense of having someone who actually supervises your work and supports you. If confidentiality and exclusivity of our work is an issue, we could also avoid sending the editable files (such as Word, HTML or Powerpoint files) by sending to each other only non-editable PDF files of our work or just screenshots of it, and by hiding names and personal references in the files.

Of course, this wouldn´t work for things like doing the dishes, writing christmas cards or cleaning up the room, since they can´t be controlled over the internet, but it could work for students who have to hand in assignments, senior or grad students who have to finish their thesis or dissertation (like me! ;-) ) and writers or freelancers who have to hand in the result of their work on a regular basis.

I think this could work, since no other person can understand us better than another person suffering from the same self-destroying habit.

I really think this deserves a try!!

Anyone interested???

Any comments would be appreciated!
Thanks a lot,

SIgn me up

Hi I'm interested in finding a study buddy. I am finishing my degree this year that I started 16 years ago! I have a dissertation due tomorrow and I'm going to hand in some rubbish that I'll probably get around to at 5am after fretting all night. I found this site today because I was watching a re-run of Ricki Lake. Hearing someone talking about drug and alcohol addiction I had an a-ha moment and did a google search for 'procrastinators anonymous'. I've never participated in a forum before so here goes...

How are people doing with this idea? 

Has this been working?

I just joined and noticed this thread. I'm a freelancer and looking for ways to deal with my chronic procrastination.

How has this idea worked out for you?

main tool: check-ins

I don't think this idea ever got off the ground. As far as I know, the main tool being used here is check-ins. But this is very effective!

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.


This is the purpose of the check-ins on this site. You commit to doing something and post a message giving your commitment, then you check in again after a set period of time and say what you did. The accountability is what makes check-ins work.

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

check-ins versus peer coaches

First of all, thanks a lot pro for maintaining this site. After so many years of procrastination, it´s the first time I find a place where procrastination is considered an addiction problem, and it really helps to view it that way!

There´s no doubt that it helps to post your to-do list online and come back to say how much of it you did, but being a hardcore chronic procrastinator I´m afraid I´d finish up giving it up or tricking myself on the major projects/issues. I´ve tried in the past a "one-to-one productivity relationship" more or less similar to the one I´m proposing here and it helped a lot, but I moved and lost that "productivity pal", so here I am again.

Anyway, I think there´s nothing to lose by trying it but a lot to win!

let us know how it goes!

Please tell us the results of your experiment. If it works, I can open a forum just for finding PA buddies for peer coaching.

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

Reply to Searcher re Newbie idea (one to one peer pals)

I'm a former member, just came back today.   When I was coming here before, I had exactly the problem you suggest.  I loved the fellowship, and being acountable to folks here.  But I found myself STILL procrastinating on the key, decisive, important-but-mindbogglingly dull major projects that didnt lend themselves to listoing accomplishments.

Anyway, I'm stuck right now, and I propose we get started.  Let's try your idea out, NOW.  Let me know if you agree.  I'm at

I'm a real estate agent once again, and I am again procrastinating on doing various research that needs to be done.  I'm good at the research, but often procrastinate when alone, or when behind on a project already. 

I was also a business writer after leaving real estate, but gave up and returned to real estate due to procrastination and boredom.

Maybe one of the veterans here can advise us on whether this is the best way to go.  In the meantime let's just DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


whatever works

If it works, do it! I've found, though, that pairing up with other procrastinators led to long phone calls instead of getting work done.

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

procrastination by reading about procrastination

I've posted this quote before but it seems appropriate here.  This is from Steve Pavlina, in a humorous list of "ways to be unproductive"

"Instead of doing your actual work, spend most of your time reading productivity blogs.  Within a few months, you’ll have acquired enough knowledge to start your own.  Eventually you’ll realize that 50% of the web consists of productivity tips written by chronic procrastinators.  The other 50% is porn. "

Some mornings it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps. - Emo Phillips  

That's a great quote.

Thanks for posting it. Left to our own devices, we procrastinators tend to enter in alot of "lose-lose" situations. It's also alot like gambling. Every once in a while we end up getting something for nothing, and that really perpetuates the behavior. When I make things too complicated I soon fall into the trap.

anti-procrastination activities leading to more procrastination

Sure, as a procrastinator I´ve always ended up engaging in anti-procrastination activities in order to procrastinate even more. Many of us know many of these activities: even reading a book on procrastination or performance techniques can be used by us procrastinators as a way to avoid working on the things you have to do and to continue procrastinating! :-?

Anyway, long telephone calls is not an issue here, since I´m one of the European guys on this site! ;-)

Good idea.

Searcher, It sounds like a very good idea, especialy as I am also a newbie in the same situation as you, albeit my months of procrasting academical work just recently turned into a year, and I have no idea how to avoid it going on to several years.

So I am definitly intrested. Ill send you a message.




I think it's definitely worth a try!

 A pro-peergroup would probably have helped me write a better MA-thesis. I somehow got it done on my own, though it turned out really bad, as I've only handed in a hundred pages of formatted "notes" and not a piece of scientific work. But anyways, the idea of only writing a draft of my thesis, NOT THE REAL THING, got me into writing something at all. Without this "it's just note-taking, it's just drafting"-thought I most certainly wouldn't have written anything out of fear of failure etc...

Right now all I have to do is study for my oral final exams ... which in my college means that I basically have to know everything I've ever taken a class on ... Too bad that there is hardly a way to hand in my study-results to another peer, or is there? I really need to get back on track, or I won't get even the basics of my study load done


"Study (but not too long) how to use the symptoms of procrastination to trigger the cure!" Neil Fiore