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.

Feeling overwhelmed but with one bright spot

I'm back from vacation (which was wonderful and fun)and trying to get a handle on all the things that piled up while I was gone, as well as some things I never finished before I left, plus several urgent situations among parishioners all hitting at once. Then out of the blue--totally--my inlaws called and asked, "Have you taken care of your tax situation yet?" :O Wham! The mixture of astonishment, guilt, shame, despair, AND anger and rebellion has me on tilt. I think the universe is talking to me, because just this morning I was making a list of everything I am behind on, and I wrote TAXES in great big letters. I thought several times today of the stack of letters from the IRS that came several months ago and are buried somewhere on my desk (er, actually, the dining room table, next to the computer). I don't yet know what they say and I'm terribly afraid to look, even though I know the longer I wait the worse it will be. I know that my taxes count as unfiled for most or all of the last seven years because I just never finished them--filed extensions but never completed. And any that I have completed are wrong because there are some portions I didn't do right (after all that work, I read more about it and learned that there are entire forms I didn't know about). I've been splurging/stocking up on things a little with each paycheck for several months with the thought that once I really tackle my taxes I will be utterly broke. Anyhow, after thinking about taxes and then having my nose rubbed in them, I did some research online about delinquent taxes and using a tax attorney. I decided that's what we'll have to do. Then something wonderful happened: I got an email from my mom telling me to watch for a registered letter containing a very large check--an inheritance from my great aunt! I don't know yet how much the check is, nor how much, ultimately, we'll owe, and no idea what a tax attorney charges, but I am hopeful that it will at least be enough to pay the tax attorney and the current taxes (I've read that if you are behind it's best to tend to the current ones before tackling the past due ones). Of course-%#$@!!!--I guess there will be taxes on the dadgummed inheritance, too (sigh).:( How many of us on this forum, I wonder, have had tax problems due to procrastination? Any of you had experience getting it all straightened out?


I used to get my done by the very last deadline - I would just about avoid the fine, and I would just scrape it in in time by promising myself that if I managed to do it I'd give ~me~ the amount I would otherwise have had to pay in fines.

Last year I really started to make some progress on getting this sorted out, and this year was the first time ever that I managed to get it done early. There was a bit of kicking and complaining at the finishing post (I have problems completing sometimes), but I got there. So when I read this my first thought was I'd join you in getting taxes sorted, then I realised I'd already done it! I can't quite get used to it. I still have my self-employment accounts to do though, so I'll be doing that (they go together in my head because the accounts have to be done before I can submit the tax return).

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I didn't finish but I helped motivate pro

That feels good. And I got farther than I had. The CPA finally called me back. In the morning I will call her again and set an appointment to go dump my stuff.

I noticed two other things today. The first is that some of the things I procrastinate on are things I don't really need to be so anxious about. For instance,I did not walk and I felt bad about that. Yet my _goal_ is only to walk a lap three times a week for a month. I am demand-resistant partly because I fear that the better I do, the more will be expected of me, yet here I am doing it to myself--throwing in extra days and extra laps. :(

I also obsessed over getting to the hospital yesterday, when there was no need to obsess. It is usually sufficient that I visit people ONCE when they go to the hospital, depending on how things go (this satisfies their sense of piety--they've been officially blessed). If the person is lonely or scared, I'll go again, because then it's not just piety, it's spiritual journey and a genuine need for caring. If the situation is dismal, I might go daily, or I might just contact the family daily. I have two people there right now. One is a man from the nursing home. I am his chaplain, but not his primary minister (in fact, he's Jewish), so he is not expecting me. His wife really appreciates it, though, when I visit them. So if I go, it's one of those not expected things I get to score brownie points for. The other person is a member of my congregation, so I am her primary minister--and that of all her family (in fact, this is the woman whose dog always bites me). She, however, is on lots of pain meds and is never awake. When I go, I do pray for her--but I could do that from anywhere. Because she is in ICU, her family is not around (I go outside visiting hours so as not to hog family time). So the most efficient use of my time and my caring is actually to call her son and check in with him. Once again I am trying to score brownie points by being able to claim I went frequently. I think I am doing this in her case partly because there are some alligators (antagonists) in her family, and it might be strategic.

I am not saying I don't really care and fulfill my pastoral duties when I am there. Indeed, I think I can be a little too empathetic. Whether or not it matters spiritually is for another arena altogether. What I am trying to focus on here is the psychology that pertains to my procrastination problem, and one is trying to compete with some other pastors who I hear go every day, perfectionism in my performance (being more caring than the norm), demanding more of myself than is required timewise, and trying to wow those who make me anxious. No wonder I have an admixture of undermining, yucky feelings that predispose me to procrastinate.


It's interesting to read your analysis here. You sound absolutely wracked with guilt. You put a lot of unnecessary pressure on yourself, always worrying about doing the right thing, meeting everyone's expectations. It sounds exhausting. Really!

I think you can relax and do what YOU think is right, and all will be well. You have a good heart. You don't have to fake anything. Just do the right thing, and let go of the rest. :)

Outer Environment

Slider - you'll get through it :)
Can you imagine the papers/taxes as 'outer environment' and try to think that the 'outer environment of life can be rude, crude, and indifferent', but we can still function.

I have had so many piles of money things from ignoring it. But when I get to the point of not making the piles of stuff my persona, I realize that I can get through it and life goes on.

Actually, you are right - it's very average for people to have tax issues - why would there be a whole specialty for attorneys if there was not a need. One thing that you can look forward to is that you will meet someone if the future w/the same issue and say, "I was there before and I got through it" 8)

Hope this helps some. Do not be intimidated by the IRS, that is there job - yours' is to persevere :D