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.

How would we know if we were sober? Has anyone completed the steps?

I've just been thinking about how procrastination seems... more ambiguous, and harder than alcoholism.

If you're an alcoholic, you know when you had your last drink, and when you last drunk over-the-recommended at a sitting (3 or so).

You can know that, you can know how long you've been sober or in recovery. In AA, people who are sucessfully sober for long enough mentor newer AA members.


How would I even know if I was 'sober'? What's normal? Does anyone in PA consider themselves in recovery? And if so, for how long approximately?

abstinence from procrastination

i have been thinking about this more. I think there are a subset of behaviors that i can actually abstain from. I will state these as positives. Ie, "i will always..."

be on time for work
be on time for appointments / meetings
prepare for meetings
attend 12 step meeting
have quiet time ( prayer & bible reading )
go to bed on time
get up on time
make a schedule and plan my time
have a time limit when surfing and watching tv.

For all these i would not be perfectionistic. I think "average" people make mistakes in these areas from time to time. Dont compare myself to people who are above average at scheduling, time management discipline and / or productivity, but compare myself to the average professional.

looking at the list, maybe slipping up only once a month or once a week are good goals. less than that, and i am sober.

the touch of the master's hand:

fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb


procrastination bottom lines

I need to establish some in order to note my "sobriety" time.  Here are the bottomlines and toplines I think are important, I am setting these for just the next week, that is, through 3/22:

1) I must brush my teeth before going to sleep, just a simply pass of the brush, not the whole big affair with the periodontic brush and the floss and the listerine, although those are extremely beneficial, I want to get to the point that I am at least brushing nightly.

2) I must set an alarm clock to an emergency time (latest possible time) when I must wake up on school and work days, and this time must also be the one that I wake up at.  No snoozing. 

3)I must do 30 minutes of exercise each day.  Either part of my walk/run plan, swimming or walking.

4)If I am awake after 10pm and I am not working on school work or eating or drinking, I shall prepare for and go to sleep.

Top lines:

1)Writing down what I am going to do before I do it, and then checking it off, before I move on to something else.

2) Using the check-in board to do the same as above.

 3)Setting a watch to work for a set time period and holding to that time period, no longer than 30 minutes is good.

procrastination sobriety

i think this is an important idea in my recovery.

"Normal" people procrastinate from time to time. I am not sure at all how to define it, or whether i'll kno it when (if?) i get there.

But i want to list some changes:

About 70% of the time i use a 15 min timer. This makes me more aware of time.
- This alerts me back from distractions i didnt realize i was on.
- This alerts me to side tasks that reasonable if short (eg, < 15 min), but not if long (eg > 1hr).
- This alerts me to true MITs which nontheless are taking much longer than anticipated. When i notice this i have the opportunity now to: abort, re-scope, reschedule, ask for help, report the situation to people waiting for it

I used to feel productive if i was at least doing my 2nd or 3rd most important task, but the following sign "9. We suffer from Demand Resistance, causing us to do anything and everything except the one thing we most need to do." taught me that if i'm not doing the MIT, i'm procrastinating.

When i feel demand resistance, or stress or anxiety or balking at a task, i chat about it which usually decreases the feeling so that i can overcome it.

re-starting: I have broken the cycle of procrastination, feel guilty and MORE overwhelmed, so procrastinate again, by checking in with failures and trying again.

I use chat as i work, which puts me in a much more deliberate, decisive, aware mood, rather than being driven by the need to catch up.

(this is still new) On the largest scale, I am bringing god into my life in a more integrated way by listening to music during short breaks thruout the day, music that reminds me of the most important thing in life. This changes my perspective and lessens anxiety, and the overwhelming feeling.

wow, i did not expect this to be this long and i feel a little guilty for it since i shd be working. ironic.

fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb

procrastinating by studying procrastination:

Identifying 'sobriety' when it comes to Procrastination!

I was looking through Wikipedia's information on 12 Step groups, and I think I've found an answer to my own question...
and it's in some of the techniques used by the Workaholics and Sexual Compulsives groups.

I actually found the sex and love ones first. Surprising at first, but it makes sense - sex and love, are both things that we want to keep in our lives (usually), but it is the unhealthy compulsive behaviours that we need to overcome.

As a procrastinator, it is the unhealthy compulsive procrastination behaviours I need to overcome.

In both groups, you come up with an action plan.

 For example, in SAA -

You come up with three circles of behaviour. Ones in the first circle, are when you've 'fallen of the wagon', the serious behaviours you're trying to avoid. Middle circle, are actions that can lead to the serious behaviours, or not quite a relapse in themselves, and the outer circle, is what represents the healthy behaviours we wish to gain/maintain.

Other groups also discuss writing down/about when, and where, you are most likely to fall into compulsive behaviours (at work, once everyone else has left? Etc?).

This is very interesting to me, and I want to try working on it - because I just realised that I've never identified the specific behaviours I wish to give up, as opposed to the vague and impossible goal of 'stop procrastinating'!

So, first thing I need to work on is my Recovery Plan. Well, when I've finished work that is.


A binge...

Well, I haven't been near 'sobriety' for a few weeks, I've been doing better for the prior two days, but today definately counted as a procrastination binge. It's 1.30 am and I'm sitting at work. What have I been doing? Watching 'Maury'.   Does that count as self-flagellation?

The question is - why? I had interesting and fulfilling activities at home. Once it'd gotten past my cut-off point, I'd realised I wouldn't get any 'real' work done, but I could at least finish up what I had, right?


What can I do differently next time? How can I not get myself to this point? Where am I trapping myself between 'shoulds', and where am I letting myself be distracted? Do I trap myself with procrastination whenever I feel responsible to others (... dang, I do) Do I not feel worthy enough to enjoy my life?

Because I am, I should, and I want to.


And my binge, so similar... I've been sitting at work since 8.00 and most of the time I spent on my Overeaters Anonmous Website (sober for 7 Days) and now on this site. 

Let me also think what I can do differently next time.

First of all, not bring my laptop to work. Work, when I am at work. ---- this is what I want. This is my plan, my sobriety. Since the time when I get in, until I leave home. I should be at work from 8.00 until 14.00. This is 6 hours, maximum until 15.00. When I am there, I should work. Within this time, I can spend up to 1 hour on my doctorate. At home, I can work for 2 more hours a day working in front of the computer, unless this is a day when I really have an extra job, such as teaching on Wednesdays or perhaps translation.


Thanks, Cammomile!

Thanks for posting in this topic, Cammomile -- I hadn't seen it, and I see that there are important ideas for me, here!

Note to self: research / think about the "three circles" idea in one of Grail's posts in this topic. Sounds very likely to be useful!


How does one abstain from avoidance?

Fascinating question. I have been thinking about this for a while, but I don't have "the answer".

I agree with some of the other comments, about following through on one's plans, releasing fear, and being self-honest about one's motivations.

Perhaps one is "abstinent from avoidance" when one changes one's plans ONLY when moving TOWARDS a "higher good" -- and not changing plans merely to avoid doing one's original plans. One would need to be really clear about one's motivations, though. Otherwise, one could easily fall into the trap of rationalization.

Good Question Grail!

Hmmm . . . I think I consider myself a recovering procrastinator but not cured by any means. 

It's more like dieting - everyone must have food, so you can't just give it up completely.   I feel like I'm eating a healthy diet when I plan what I eat, and eat what I planned, most of the time. 

Following that line of thought, then we are productive people when we:

1)  Understand our goals,

2)  Plan what to do with our time, and

3)  Do what we planned,  MOST of the time




"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." - Douglas Adams

Thanks for the comparison

Thank you so much for comparing it to dieting! That's something I have given a lot of thought to and can really relate to.

Well said...

...and fit the answer that was forming in my brain, but much more articulately than I was coming up with...

Progress, not perfection

This is an interesting thought. Chronic, or inappropriate procrastination is tough to identify till it happens, sometimes. In AA we speak of "defects of character" which we try to reduce when working the 6th and 7th steps. I think we procrastinate less when we learn way to be more organized and focused, and especially when our motives are more honest. Resentments really screw up alcoholics, and I've noticed is does chronic procrastinators too. But back to your question, I guess telling if we're being successful here would woud be measured externally. For example, paying debts earlier, not avoiding people as much if we've committed something to them, having cleaner homes, laundry, etc. and generally accomplishing more things. Any other ideas folks?

I agree with Lark

Hi Grail & all! :)

I agree with Lark, that it's progress not perfection. If I have even whichever percentage of improvement, it's better than I was doing before. And PA helps me keep orienting to the one-day-at-a-time plan. Even if "yesterday" I had some character defects spring up, this is "today" and I can start over.

Looking at My Account in the top left corner of the screen, I've been in here just over 22 weeks, so that's what I consider my PA "sobriety" to be, regardless of how well or how poorly I've done on any individual day or time period.

P.S. In one of my other programs, I do even more poorly than I do in here, so I feel good about my PA recovery and have a lot of gratitude for this program, this forum, and all of you Pro Buddies! Keep coming back, all! :)


Thank you, gals & guys, for being here! :)

lots to think about

I read all this and will come back to it to ponder all these thoughtful replies.

For myself on this path of trying to change old habits, I think there's a combination of push and pull, or do-s and don'ts. One thing I have been working on is rediscovering my positive motivation to do the next right thing. Talking gently to myself and rewarding myself. I hope to 'want to do what I am meant to do' rather than 'do what I wanna do'.

Although I see the point and the usefulness of calling procrastination a sickness of defect of character, I also see a way that that way of interacting with oneself reinforces some of the deep self-labelling that is part of procrastination in the first place. I do believe that change, with the help of HP, comes from a place of self-acceptance and self-forgiveness.