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.

George Smiley's new routine

Hello all,

I'm going to try a new routine for myself to see if it helps me stay more focused. It borrows to some extent from The Now Habit, and it makes use of Outlook.

I'm laying out the basic idea here. Any feedback about your experience with similar efforts will be appreciated. And I hope my daily checkins will reflect how well I stick with this routine.


I've divided my workday during the week into alternating 30-minute and 90-minute segments.

The schedule goes like this:

7 AM: Check email , check in for the day at PA.

7:30: 90 minutes focused on editing/writing tasks--including, perhaps, outlining or even pre-writing planning.

9 AM: Check email and go through my email and my physical in-basket for 30 minutes.

9:30 AM: 90 minutes focused, first of all, on phone calls for projects. If I literally have no calls to make, use the time to review interview notes and focus on what needs to be followed up from past interviews on current projects.

11 AM: Unless the weather is bad, get out and ride my bike or walk to my business post office box. Come home and have lunch. 

The idea here is that this gives me some outdoor time, some exercise, clears my head. I think of it in the spirit of the Now habit as planned fun that can keep me focused because I know it's coming up.


12 Noon (after lunch): 90 minutes of work; might be calls, might be research, might be editing/writing. 

1:30 PM: 30 minutes of email and physical in-basket work.

2 PM: 90 minutes of work, again might be calls, might be research, might be editing/writing.

3:30 PM: 30 minutes of email and physical in-basket work.

4 PM: 90 minutes focused on reading, web surfing, checking my "read later" folders, etc. Again, this is "reward time" in the spirit of the  Now Habit, aimed at keeping me from being distracted during the day by web surfing especially.

5:30 PM: I'm finished for the day; go up stairs and help dinner started so my wife will have a jumpstart when she gets home from her work.


That's the daily routine. It would have adjustments for certain days to accommodate other specific recurring routines, but that's the big picture. I want to stick to it, but not feel that i have to follow it slavishly in the event that circumstances demand flexiblity.

I'll be implementing it starting Monday.

Again, feedback is welcome. My biggest concerns are that I'll rebel against it. I hope to use this place to keep me accountable and to help me stay focused.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Trying again to set up a schedule routine 12/11/08

OK... Once again I'm going to try to establish a standing routine.

7 AM: Quiet time in my office space, with spiritual reading and reflection, and NO COMPUTER

7:15 AM: E-mail review (quick), confirm priorities and tasks for the day, including P-A check in

~if I'm staying focused, just check in. If I'm having trouble focusing or if I'm needing more support/encouragement/accountability, go to chat box

7:30 AM: Outlining/Writing/Editing: Working off whatever is/are my most immediate projects.

9 AM: Email check, in-box processing, P-A report

9:30 AM: Phone calls, interviews, contacts.

11 AM: Email check, in-box processin, P-A report

11:30 AM: Lunch

12 Noon: Errands, post office, bank as needed

12:30 PM: in-box processing, other administrative tasks on my to-do list

1 PM: Work block assigned based on day's priorities

2:30 PM: Email, in-box processin, P-A report

3 PM: Work block assigned based on day's priorities

4:30 PM: Read, web research

A) Project

B) General/speculative

5:30 PM: Finish for the day w/ P-A report




The Hero's Code:

Show up. Pay Attention. Speak the Truth. Let Go of the Outcome.

Re: Trying Again to Set Up a Schedule Routine 12/11/08

Hi G,  

Looks like a good idea.  Will give my own variation of this a try, starting tomorrow (lol).  I really don't like anything too rigid, though, so we'll see how long it lasts!

BTW, Pretty good website, Pro!

More power to you both! 

setting up detailed schedules

For most of my life I've worked as a freelance writer, and I can't tell you how many schedules like these I've set up for myself. I never stick to them - they are too rigid. That's me - maybe it will be different for you. Let us know how it goes.

I think for me I need more general guidelines - not try to schedule down to the minute.

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

Where things stand now: 10/28

 I've really ignored this routine for the last couple of weeks, so I've deleted it out of my Outlook Calendar and I'm back to square one. I may reinstitute it with some tweaking, or may try something else.

The Hero's Code:

Show up. Pay Attention. Speak the Truth. Let Go of the Outcome.

that's helpful to see

reading your routine has given me a bit of help. I also work from home, with many projects on the go.

A particular challenge for me now is that I have trouble moving between projects. Your list gives me the idea that a clear routine for the whole day instead of the first hour would help me to avoid getting immersed in one task at the expense of others.

Moving between projects

I have the same trouble. And Schedules like I'm trying are no silver bullet. I've done this in the past but tended to ignore the schedules, or been too rigid so they became unrealistic. I'm hoping this approach is a bit more flexible. But my biggest reason for greater optimism is that this community gives me an opportunity to get feedback and be accountable outside myself. Which seems to be something I'm needing on this whole procrastination issue.

One difference here is that I reached back into my too-many-years-ago reading of The Now Habit and recalled the importance in his system of scheduling your fun first, so that one can be (it is hoped) more resolute about not escaping to "fun" (ie: Procrastinating) when one needs to be working. Because I keep my calendar in outlook I even color coded the personal time in Green !

I'm glad this is helpful to you, though.

I'm reviving schedule idea

and will put it at the top of this thread.


The Hero's Code:

Show up. Pay Attention. Speak the Truth. Let Go of the Outcome.