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.

I'm probably the worst procrastinator in the world

I'm not going to give you my whole life story, but I'm a 20 year old high school drop out who has been trying to finish his high school diploma through correspondence for a year now. Guess how much work I've done? Not even enough to finish a grade 10 math course. It's just sad... but do you know what the saddest thing about it is? Through out school nearly every single teacher I've ever had has told me I'm one of the smartest students they've ever had. I believe them. In the few school activities I actually enjoyed I blew everyone away. And in the ones I didn't enjoy I spent most of my time wondering why I was wasting my time on such pointless work. Hah do I sound like a little brat or what? I'm actually pretty nice if you talk to me, but this has always been my mindset, and it's gotten me nowhere!

Well after that introduction I don't really know what to say next. I guess I should just ask what I need to start doing to fix my procrastination problem?

honesty with self

Welcome plo! I've only been participating here for a few days but already learning a lot. The thinking and reading on this site helped me realize that every time I procrastinate, I fail to keep my word to myself about what I intend to do and when I intend to do it.  In other words, when procrastinating I am being dishonest with myself. My deepest self knows this, and therefore doesn't trust me anymore. Such deep-seated distrust of self is not a mentally stable condition. So already I can see why I'm going to need a Power greater than myself to restore me to sanity.

Keep coming back Plo and share when you can. The Articles, Forum and Chatbox are all real helpful tools, and you'll find some frequent contributors here who have real gems to share as we all seek recovery together.

pm, sorta

thanks plo, jdoe, grail, kpoet for all your responses. I feel at home here :)

This doesnt have PM, but you can click on a user's name, and go to their user page, and click on 'contact' and send them an email. Doing so reveals the email address in your profile to that user. and if someone responds to such an email, then the responder's email is revealed to the respondee.

One has to click on one's own email and click 'edit' then check 'Personal contact form' to enable other users to contact you via email.


And i am delighted that so many people are finding help on this site. I feel amongst friends.

I also did well in school, especially in math

I am similar to you to some extent in that I also did very well in school, especially in math.  Like you, I did not have to do very much work, especially compared to the average person, to do well in school.  However, I still managed to motive myself to try to do the best that I could.  For example, in high school, I came at or near the top in math contests in Canada and did very well in several U.S. ones.   Fortunately, I was largely able to continue that success through my undergraduate studies and part of my master's degree.  However, about half of the way through, I realized that I wanted to do something different (i.e., computer programming instead of applied math).  Rather than quitting or changing, I plowed through but I did procrastinate somewhat, delaying my finishing.  However, I still managed to keep my standards high and get a mark of at least 90% on my thesis and overall.  After that, for a while, I was quite productive and did not have many problems.  However, fairly recently, I have been procrastinating a lot more, which is why I joined this site.  I want to thank you for your post as it elicited several responses that have helped me to realize one of the reasons that I am procrastinating.  Despite my skill and experience in computer programming and mathematics, I still often have a deep and underlying fear of failure.  I am not exactly sure why although, due to other issues, I think that it is an "overflow" issue from somewhat low self-esteem.  By worrying about not doing well enough, I avoid doing working on my tasks but that then causes other problems since, as an independent contract computer programmer, if I don't work, I don't get paid!  I now have some serious financial problems, with my very likely having to declare bankruptcy, partially due to that reason.

I am sorry for being so long-winded, but I hope that you may see something of yourself in my situation with that perhaps helping you to some extent with your own situation.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that this site supports sending PM (personal messages) so if you would like to know more, just reply here and I will eventually respond.

Good luck and I hope that you are able to get your high school diploma soon. 

- John O.

Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

Hey plo

Welcome Plo.

Eh, pretty common pattern really. You grow up not HAVING to work, because everything's so easy - you finally get to the point where you *do* have to do work, and find out that you can't! It's learned behaviour, and I just figured, as quick as I might have been in some things, I just hadn't learned to push myself to do work, and it turns out, it's hard.

There's a german word, sitzfleisch, for your skill at sitting and doing work - your sitting muscles. ;P

Also, go take a look at information on 'locus of control' - believing, and being told you've succeeded because you're *smart* as a kid, often makes kids think that that's something unchangeable - and that if they fail at something, then it's not because they haven't tried hard enough, but because maybe they've lost their smartness - maybe they're *dumb*.
So you get smart kids not trying, because they don't want to fail and have people think they're dumb. Praise kids for their *effort* on the other hand, and if they fail, they tend to *try harder*.

So, what does this also result in? Smart kids procrastinating.
Because if you fail, it's not because you're 'not smart' - but because you were procrastinating! And if you manage to pull through anyway, well, you must be pretty super-human, because otherwise you couldn't have gotten it done at the last minute! Perfect, eternal, fall-back excuse.

Facing up to self-esteem issues, and not being afraid to fail, even if you don't have those ego-salvaging excuses, risking looking dumb is the only thing that's kind of been helping.

And hey. It also means that like my grandparents said - I really *believe* that it's hard-work that gets you places, not smarts. I should know, since I usually fail at the hard-work! Believing that that *is* a skill that can be learned, and not some unchangeable & innate is also necessary.

Anyway, good luck!

(And trust me, you're not the worst procrastinator in the world... does it really help you to think that? ;P )

Hey Plo,

Hey Plo,

Welcome to PA. It seems like you are paralyzed by your procrastination in such a way that you can't force yourself to do your studies. It must be extremely tough for you realizing all that potential you have yet unable to apply it.

What do you feel you need to do to fix your procrastination? As everyone who comes here.. we've admitted that we have a problem. That's the first step I believe. Now the next step is action. Maybe what you need to do next is ask yourself what you are willing to do to change. Make a detailed list of some items you want to work on. Progress is incremental, and it can be slow at first, but the important thing and most difficult is to persevere. I believe you have the power in you to overcome procrastination.. as I believe everyone has that potential inside to overcome their own procrastination.


You are only motivated to do what you feel is important to you.

welcome plo

in grade school i used to get grade O (for outstanding) with comment 3 (needs to make more effort). lol.

welcome and i hope you find recovery here. I have. So far. One day at a time. In fact, i'm procrastinating right now.

Which reminds me. Now that i've been inspired by the stories of other sufferers, it's time to go do my dreaded task, which i actually really want to do and am looking forward to having done.

re: the worst procrastinator in the world

Hey, Plo!  You are not alone here and certainly not the worst.  Many smart people do bady in school just because they are bored.  Einstein failed math.

I'm not the smartest person in the world, but I'm easily bored and easily distracted so I can sympathize with being bored.  Try to find ways to make boring tasks fun.  I like to make a game of setting a timer and seeing how much I can get done in 10 minutes.   

Read through the material on the site, and keep posting!   Welcome!

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

I'd like to add something

I'd like to add something else too.

 It seems like whenever I get my procrastination under control for a few days everything feels GREAT, but I still slip back into old habits and lose pace again.

 How do I get over this? Is there anyone I could have some 1 on 1 time with who has gotten past these problems? I know if I put my mind to it I can work through this, I just need some guidance.

 Sorry for sounding so needy, but I want to beat this.


I am still trying to overcome procrastination... but what I can offer is some insights. I think that relapses are normal and part of the course. Have you ever thought that life is always smooth and without bumps? Well recovery will be full of ups and downs.. its bound to happen. Don't beat yourself up if you are going through a down phase and relapse into old behaviour. The thing to try to do is to minimize down times. It might be difficult to pull yourself out during these times.. but it can help if someone is there to motivate you. Maybe post on here and we can provide encouragement. As for the up times, make sure you continue to apply sustained effort and momemtum. It's tempting to revert to old habits.

The thing about mind over matter is nice, but often we forget that our mind put us into this situation in the first place. Don't rely on will power alone to help you out. It's counterpart the addiction (old habits) does fight a nasty fight and can easily wear your will power down. Remember that will power has down times when you least expect it, and addiction is always there waiting to strike. 

I will be here each step of the way for you. I know you can beat this, and I will help you in whatever manner I can.  


You are only motivated to do what you feel is important to you.

Check out P.A tools for recovery

Hi Plo,

I've just started here myself, but I'll be looking out for you. One thing I've read, that makes perfect sense, is to need for persistant starting. In other words, it's human to slip up and get back into old habits.

Have you checked out the tools for recovery on the home page? Look at the list to see if it helps you. Then check in every day if you can/ even just to say hi, If you go to the forums, and set up your long term project and daily check list.

I've done this today, and so far I've kept up with my plan. I can't tell you about tomorrow, but today I feel good so far about what I'm achieving.


Hi worst procrastinator

Everyone here has procrastination problems, you're surely not the worst.

I was also told at high school that I was the best student of the year, yet I skipped many classes and didn't study. I passed my exams without so much as a day's study but obviously at a much lower level than predicted. So I'm guessing you might have a similar problem; if we actually work, people might realise that we're not so smart?? It's self-handicapping, giving ourselves a reason not to try.

I'm still exploring this forum myself, but the first thing seems to be breaking the big tasks into smaller ones we actually achieve.


Hey thanks for the quick

Hey thanks for the quick reply.

Whenever I tried in school I always made 90s without much trouble. I don't know where I fit on the intelligence scale, but I know most teachers have told me I'm very smart and that I would go far if I started taking initiative. This was years ago, but the marks I've gotten back from that math course have also been 90-100s (fwiw math is my weakest subject) so I don't see a reason to doubt myself. I guess I'm still guilty of it though, I just don't know how to be honest with myself. Maybe my opinion of myself is too high? I don't know, I'm pretty introverted so I don't know how to compare it with other people's.


you are in the right place. There are tools here to learn from, lots of supportive procrastinators, people who fall down and then get back up again. This is not like NOT doing something, ie, not smoking, not drinking, etc. this is about just the opposite: doing. I remember admiring my friends in high school who could not study all semester, walk into exams and produce aces. I emulated them myself, frustrated that I could not pull it off and that I should have been able to. I felt 'less than' them, because at times I could do so. But finally, it all comes down to just doing it (thanks, Nike).

I am embattled by that. I am also embattled by perfectionism and fear of failure: if I don't get good grades it shows I am not smart, but if I don't try I can blame it on simply being lazy. Neither of which is good for someone whose self-esteem is based on the valuations of others.

For today, I do what I can when I can. The first thing that helps is coming out about what I am up to: when I am procrastinating I am doing something that in OA, we call 'eating behind our own backs'. If I cannot say it out loud that I am screwing off, then I am not likely to be able to stop doing so.

For me, and for several others here, I have found salvation in setting microsteps. I bargain with myself, and practice self-praise: a huge change for the chastisement I give myself for not acting. This tends to build momentum for me.
If I say here: I am now going to go brush my teeth and then I do it, (without rebelling at myself - ie, being demand resistant/bucking authority figures even if it is me!)I feel enormous satisfaction. Even though all I did was brush my teeth. The best place to encourage such microcheckins for me is the chatbox. There I can post as I go, saying, as I want to do right now, that I am going to go hang up the wet laundry that has been sitting in the basket for a few hours.

And wanting is important: language makes a difference to me. When my spouse says, we NEED to do something, it becomes an OUGHT and then I feel dread at having to do something, even if it is fun. (Like putting off booking the free cruise we have!)
I digress...
Welcome, congratulations on coming to the right place.