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.

What do you believe is the root (main cause) of your procrastination?

Lack of mental focus (not being clear about intention or purpose)
5% (6 votes)
Fear (of failure)
21% (27 votes)
Pleasure seeking (avoid activities which cause pain in favor of fun or pleasure)
21% (27 votes)
Perfectionism (things must be done perfectly or not at all)
13% (16 votes)
Easily distracted (not being able to maintain attention for periods of time)
7% (9 votes)
Sheer laziness
6% (8 votes)
Lack of self discipline (or will power)
17% (21 votes)
Poor sense of time management
2% (3 votes)
Weak planning or goal setting skills
5% (6 votes)
Impatient (tendency to want immediate results)
3% (4 votes)
Total votes: 127



I love pools, I even though about sitting on one way back.

Never got to it, sometimes I still think about it.

It's my nap time.

Take care, enjoy the day.


All of the Above

Through my life I can point to every one of these at some time or another... and add some variations - Fear of Failure/Success, Stress Avoidance, Feeling of "What's the Point?"

It's an addiction/compulsion!

If we really are to believe (as I do) that a 12 step program around this will work, we need to just believe that procrastination is an addiction.  Therefore the items in the list above are really just our slippery places and warning signs.  Good to notice and avoid, but changing them will NOT cure our problem.

I think it is a pattern we got into for some reason (childhood avoidance, teenage stress, whatever) and b/c we are for some reason prone to addiction, we now use it like someone else would use alcohol.

The main thing in my humble opinion, and I think this is backed up by the AA Big Book, is not to figure out why, but just trust that the steps and tools have helped millions of people (in the cases of other addictions) and go with them.  In the Big Book they talk about all the people who have tried counselors, yada, yada.  Fact is, it didn't work, where the program did.  Steps, tools, promises, and priciples.  I think a really important thing that any one of us can do is read the Big Book and substitute the words "procrastinating, avoidance, whatever" for the words "drinking, alcohol, etc"  You will be amazed at how powerful it is.

So really, in my humble addict's opinion, the above list should not be called a list of roots or a causes, b/c that implies that we can place blame, or do something to change them.  If we are addicts we need to just admit that we are and move on to the next right thing.  Maybe it's poll of what our worst slippery places are as a group, and them we can use it to form more verbiage of our warning signs for future addicts??

Oh, and also, that DOES mean that it could be a chemical imbalance, b/c as we know that is part of what they look at for addicts.  So once again, admit we are addicts, and do the program the way the alcoholics do.  (If I am not mistaken, ours is called a "process addictions" as opposed to a "substance addiction")

Thanks for reading this!


re: addiction/compulsion

I agree Jules.   It is enlightening to think about these things, but one does not have to understand the behavior in order to work on changing it. 

It would be really nice if we could figure out why we procrastinate and bingo the light bulb would come on over our heads, and we'd never procrastinate again!  But in my experience it doesn't work that way.   The only road I've found to recovery is to work on changing my behavior, every day. 


"A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you." - Elbert Hubbard

Causes of procrastination

I am believing more and more there may be a chemical imbalnce in the brain - the prefrontal cortex - when it comes to procrastination.

Society says 'poor planning' or 'lazy'. I have dozens of 'how to plan' and time mgmt books, did the seminars, used the methods. Nada.

And I'm not lazy. quite the contrary.

I'm thinking it's a chemical imbalance.

Spirit Agrees it seems to be a brain function problem

I brought this to the attention of my doctor.  I can feel the energy in the left from temple when i am caught in extreme procrastination.  There is definitely a blockage of energy.  It is so apparent to me that i am going to request from my p care doctor a referral for examaination of this area.  My boyfriend's sister just underwent brain surgery, which was determined to be cancer in this same area,  put the fear of god into me.

I don't think I am lazy-so what's really going on?  Has anyone seen any of the public broadcast on the impact of brain chemistry on behavior.  There is a lot to disgest but it was very helpful to me to find clarity on this issue.


all of the above

 While I think that I am mainly stuck in the fearful/perfectionistic side of things, I know that facets of me have me acting out in procrastination (and other addictive/avoidance behaviors) for all of the reasons you list. Lately, much of this has been lifted from me, despite the fact that I have not been able to be here recently.


need multiple options on this poll

I wish this poll let me pick multiple reasons - I don't think there's just one. It also needs an "other" category. :)

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

multiple options?

At first I was totally in agreement! This would be a PERFECT poll if we allowed multiple options, and then gathered responses from a sample base of thousands, then averaged the stated  importance per respondee to each of the options checked, and created a pie chart.

Then I noticed that by having to choose one, and only one reason I am a procrastinator, I deduced that, um... my biggest obstacle is believing that if something can't be done perfectly, it may as well not be done at all.


Gnothi Seauton ~ Know Thyself

multiple options

For some reason the poll feature doesn't allow that option. Also I wanted to go back and add/edit some options, but I wasn't able to do so.

I'm sure most of us would agree that there is more than just one item they would check off.


I could also check perfectionism, and easily distractible - but after reading the Hillary Rettig book, I really identify with this statement:

“Stealth Panic”

We’re all familiar with the type of highenergy panic where you feel frantic and out of control. But panic often happens much more quietly than that. What I call “stealth panic” may actually be a more common cause of procrastination.

Stealth panic is what happens when you sit down to do your work at 9:00 a.m. and then get a sudden, irresistible urge to do something else, like get a cup of coffee. You don’t feel panicked it actually feels like a calm, even trivial decision but wham: you’ve been bumped off your path. Sometimes this happens even before 9:00 a.m., so that you don’t even make it to your desk.

Stealth panic often precipitates the trancelike state we discussed earlier that makes it easier for you to keep procrastinating. First you get the cup of coffee, then you read the newspaper, then you make a personal call, and then you do some Internet shopping and then, wham!, suddenly it’s lunchtime. Perhaps you were semiaware that you should have been doing something else, but never quite aware enough, or focused enough, to actually stop what you were doing and get back to work.

The Solution

We now arrive at the true heart of fearbased procrastination. Underneath the distractibility and antiproductive behaviors such as perfectionism, negativity and hypersensitivity, and just above your fear, is the panic that amplifies that fear until you can’t manage it. Minimize or eliminate that panic and you should be able to manage episodes of fear, thereby avoiding the need to resort to antiproductive behaviors and allowing you to return quickly and easily to your work.


"The sooner you get behind, the longer you have to catch up." - Steven Wright

addictive personality

i dont know. My best answer is that "i have an addictive personality". I would count that as the cause, and pleasure seeking and the rest as symptoms.

Tho i dont know the root cause for sure, the 12 steps seem to work for me.

If i were to ask "why" i have an addictive personality, i might say that my soul is seeking a deep connection. And if that's true, then it makes sense why the 12 steps work.

That is a good point, and

That is a good point, and something I missed as an option on the poll. I do tend to think there is likely a strong correlation between an addictive personality and a tendency to procrastinate. There might be a scientific study done out there somewhere on this topic.

It's also common I think to not really know the root cause. For me, I find that many of the options apply. It may be linked and that these factors are acting interdependently rather than independently. 

link between addiction and procrastination

Course I had to google this  lol


"The sooner you get behind, the longer you have to catch up." - Steven Wright

addiction and procrastination

Hoo boy.

I've always liked to say that my procrastination habit has given me all the tools for self-destruction, but without the glamour of substances. To my credit, I am REALLY getting good at noticing what I get (the reward, buzz, adrenaline, glory) from behaving badly around time. Super hard to face, but I  try. And I know I'm much, much better than I was. But one of the reasons I respond to this site, and pro's articulation of these issues, is the acceptance that I've got this tendency. I've never been an alcoholic or drug addict, but there's no question that I have an addict's dynamic in my response to challenges having to do with  success, failure, deadlines, time, and their moral implications. And the attention, love, forgiveness, enabling trip too. Always have. Gotta admit.

Gnothi Seauton ~ Know Thyself

Fear of success

I've thought about and tried to understand why. I think the most important reason for me is:

Fear of success and the responsibility that might come with it.

Regards Rexroth