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.

Tips for Getting Started

This list of tips for getting started was posted by Procrastinator's Anonymous member, Milo (original post here). I'm re-posting it, with minor editing, as an article so it won't get lost:

1. Visualisation. Visualise the task being completed and how good it feels to have it off your list and out of your head.

2. Break it down into small steps. (But don't overanalyse; that's another form of procrastination.)

3. Exercise brute-force willpower. Grit your teeth and say, "I'm just going to do it, dammit!"

4. Use a timer to commit to doing it for a short period of time. For example, set the timer for 15 minutes and tell yourself, "I only need to spend 15 minutes on it, that's all - 15 minutes won't kill me." You'll find that 15 minutes gets you past the hardest bit (starting), and then you'll have less trouble continuing.

5. Recognise your own excuses and play devil's advocate. Tell yourself you're full of shit and you'll just make more work for yourself if you believe your own lies.

6. Eliminate distractions. Turn OFF that TV, take the phone off the hook, unplug your modem... whatever it takes.

7. Think about the task as an abnormal cell that, if left alone, turns to cancer. The longer it is left without treatment the more it grows and the more dangerous it becomes. Get to your tasks before they turn into cancer. If you prefer less dramatic analogies, try keeping your molehills from growing into mountains so you don't have to climb over the mountain when it grows that big.


Gary's picture

Milo & Pro - the above.

Thank you to Milo for taking the time to write and post this. 7 points that I will try to incorporate into my life immediately.
Thank you to Pro for the edit and repost insuring it wasn't lost.
I am very grateful. laughing


plan, then start before you're ready

I was looking at Milo's list of tips, and comparing that to the tips from the psychologist that I posted previously. I think both have something very important in common:

(1) Plan what you want to do, and
(2) Start before you feel ready.

I think when you boil it all day, these are the keys.

I have a secondary problem of veering off-track after I start, but I think that's mainly an ADD issue.

Getting started

These two have been of enormous help to me. I tended to think of myself as a planning type of person, but actually I used to plan to plan - I'd print out the spreadsheet/planner/whatever; work back from the deadline; colour-code it and block time out, etc, but I wouldn't actually work out what was the first piece of actual work that needed doing.

As for the 'start before you feel ready' I used to do all sorts of stuff to get myself to feel ready - but sometimes (oftentimes) I was just ~never~ ready. Some things are realistic and can be controlled - like clearing off the desk, but sometimes I've just got to start.

I veer off track too, so I'm not sure if it's an ADD thing or not(or maybe I've got ADD too and don't know it - is it the sort of thing you might not know you had?).

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ADD is something you're born with.

If you have ADD, then the signs of it were there from earliest childhood because it's something you're born with. People had been telling me since the mid 1980's that I had every sign of ADD, but I refused to consider it - wouldn't even look into it. I didn't like the idea that there was something wrong with my brain. I'm above average in intelligence and proud of it. Then my work life became so chaotic that I became willing to at least read about ADD. It was instantly clear that I had it. I'm a classic case.

First I tried dealing with it through awareness and planners (that's when I got into GTD). But it wasn't enough. Finally I became desperate enough to try medication, and that helped. First I went on Adderall, which was helped except that it interfered with my sleep, which wasn't good at all. Now I'm on Wellbutrin, which I prefer.

Pick up a book on ADD and read the description of it. If you have it, you will exhale a HUGE sigh of relief at finally seeing an explanation for the weird things you've struggled with your whole life. If you're not sure whether you have it, you probably don't.

My mother has ADD as well, though she denies it. I saw it in her when I learned what it was. I'm sure I inherited it.

Adults and ADD

I'd never heard of adults having it until I came here - it's not something you hear about much here, other than with scorn - I'll have a look on the net. Sounds like procrastinators and people with ADD can learn something from each other whether or not we have both conditions.

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adult ADD

There are a lot of books on Adult ADD. Children with ADD grow up to be adults with ADD - an obvious fact that people overlooked for many years. Also, many adults with ADD were not diagnosed as children because ADD wasn't well understood until fairly recently.

Ahh that's where it was!

I posted about ADHD/ADD on another thread because I started looking at websites yesterday. I'm glad you brought this one up again, because I'm having some 'getting started' trouble and I'd forgotten about these strategies.

As for the ADD, according to what I read some of the people who have it have kids continue to have it as adults. I didn't read anything about it ~starting~ in adulthood. It's hard to be objective but I don't think me-as-a-kid would have had enough of the ADD signs to have been ADD. I've got ~some~ of the signs now, but I think that's a cross-over with procrastination/conditioning (it looks like one may mask the other at times because there are overlapping issues). I think it will certainly be useful to look at some of the strategies for coping with ADD and see if they transfer to anticrastination (I've used some of them already, and I know at least some of them work).

It was also intreresting to see ADD in a positive light and look at the advantages. I think to a large extent I have chosen the lifestyle I have to fit in with the way I am, rather than battle against it all the time, and it may be useful to see if I can take this further.

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you're born with ADD

ADD doesn't start in adulthood - if you have it as an adult, you had it as a child. My ADD was very evident as a child. I remember procrastinating on my homework in KINDERGARTEN - even then I had trouble getting started. I was also a space-shot as a kid - many other symptoms of ADD too numerous to mention. If you didn't have it as a kid - if you can't look back and clearly recognize it - then you don't have it now.

ADD does have some positive aspects. People with ADD tend to see connections that others miss because of the non-linear way their minds work. It was a reason why I was so good in my former job. All those non-ADD programmers would come to me "unsolvable" programming problems, and I'd think of some way of approaching it that never occurred to them.

People with ADD are especially good at "thinking outside the box" - mainly because they are incapable of keeping their thought processes inside the box, even if they wanted to! :D

That's what I thought

'If you didn't have it as a kid - if you can't look back and clearly recognize it - then you don't have it now.'

That's why I said I don't think I have it now - I had ~some~ of the signs, as do many people, but I don't clearly recognise it as having been ADD. I still think some of the strategies for ADD will be useful for procrastination, and possibly vice versa.

I can think linear or non-linear, and I'm notorious at making connections. I say 'notorious' because my friends call it 'Norm's Organising Principle' - I see connections where there aren't any (not until ~I~ saw them anyway, LOL!).
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Good to know you dont have

Good to know you dont have it anymore, life must be much better!.online black jack forex trader on line craps on line roulette on line bingo