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 am a Chronic Procrastinator - Part I



I'm Alex and I'm a chronic procrastinator.  I just got fired from my job on Monday, due to what I'm gradually coming to recognize is problems with extremely chronic procrastination.  I work in finance (doing budgets and analysis), and I'm realizing that I may have picked a very bad career for a chronic procrastinator.  (How I got THIS far is a bit of a surprise).

Anyway, to give you part of my story: trying to be as honest as possible.  I've always had a lot of problems with getting things done.  My parents often called me lazy and I was clearly resistant to doing household chores.  It was always a battle between me and my parents - they owned several houses at a time, so the amount of chores seemed overwhelming to me.  My father especially criticized me very harshly for laziness, not doing my chores well and so on.

However, I was comparatively good at school - especially in subjects I liked.  I score well on tests, so I was able to go to a very prestigious college even though my high school grades were a bit lackluster. My parents HATED the subjects I liked (they wanted me to major in business and be pre-med), but I liked philosophy and literature.  I took the required pre-med classes, and procrastinated a great deal when studying for them.  I did mediocrely in pre-med, though not poorly overall (because I did well in my literature coursework).

I had sort of a crisis after graduating from college.  I couldn't go to medical school because my pre-med grades were mediocre. I didn't look for a job at the end of college, and I moved back home with my parents, unclear about what my future would be.  My parents were infuriated and took their anger out on me, including constant name-calling escalating to occasional physical abuse.  I was extremely depressed for many months, and semi-suicidal. I'm also very shy, and was terrified of interviewing (or even talking to anybody).

Eventually, I discovered a field I thought I might want to enter, and worked hard looking for a job for several months, eventually entering a paid management training program at a very large asset management firm.  I hadn't worked in an office environment before, and I was estranged from my parents due to my anger with them.  So, I made a lot of mistakes and it was a difficult transition. Still, I stayed with the firm for over two years.  We might get into the dirty details later.  To be honest, a lot of the time there wasn't enough for the trainees to do and I spent my time, instead of working, goofing off.

I was unhappy with the firm, partially because I thought they hadn't given me the chances I wanted (and I think my procrastination was hurting me even back then).  I came across a guy who was starting up a hedge fund (literally, in his garage - the pay was at an appropriate very low level) and joined up with him.  Initially, again, I was excited, but my reluctance to go beyond the minimal duties caused my advance to be limited. Real work was really quite minimal, and I spent most of my surfing the Internet. Still, my boss needed someone around to do these minimal things and I worked there for nearly three years.  Was I stuck there?  From year to year, my skills really didn't grow much.

I applied to graduate business schools, and was rejected from all the ones I wanted to attend.  Waiting for the following year, I was admitted to what's now the best business school in America (at least, BusinessWeek thinks so).  However, it was the beginning of the early 2000s recession, and the economy was extremely gloomy.  It was very depressing due to the extreme difficulty of finding a position.  I can't say I did better than mediocrely and I procrastinated like crazy.

More to follow!

I'm a chronic procrastinator, yep

Hi Agorelik, hi everyone

Your story touched me - as mine is quite similar. I'm 35 and a "constant" procrastinator. Having a little daughter of 2 didn't make me appreciate the little time I've got left to get things done more - I thought I would change into a responsible adult ... I've become a responsible mother though, which is great, as I (would) do anything for my kid, but when it comes to me, I'm still "same old same old ..."

I'm still in college (it has been 10 years now) because in my homecountry you can study till you literally drop dead due to old age ;-) Well, not quite, as this is about to change, students starting college this year are only allowed to stay for a maximum of 12 semesters to get their master's degree ... lucky them, I wish this restriction had have applied to me as this would have saved me years of my life. I wanted to get out of college in 2003 the latest, now it's 2009 and I still procrastinate the last three of my final exams which are due Jan. 20th, Feb. 22nd and March 16th. And this is where I need the help and support of this board, as I'm the incarnation of Addictive Escapism!!!

This is the first site where this problem is adressed in all its "horror". I've never read about it this well elaborated - all the books talk about "a little distraction" here and there, which one could fight by writing "distraction lists" while getting one's work done, haha! to help you NOT to switch on the TV, to help you NOT to check your email for the gazzillionst time, to help you NOT to surf the net, go shopping, whatever ... Those lists have not worked for me.

Starting today I consider myself an addict just like an alcoholic or drug abuser. I've never seen myself having that serious of a problem, but I do now.

I haven't been to a psychologist/psychiatrist in a long time, but after having found out about addictive escapism, I'm going to get an appointment with my old psychiatrist soon (I'm just procrastinating making the call a little bit ;-) 

I've tried a mild anti-depressant for a few months to get me off watching movies/TV to put off college work (I'm a literature student for heaven's sake! Why don't I read books instead of watching stupid movies/shows???). Anti-depressants haven't worked for me.

For a few months now there is a new book about procrastination on the market (only in my country so far, but I'm sure its going to be published in English soon, as it hit the bestseller lists over here. It is by Sascha Lobo and Kathrin Passig), and this book talks in a funny, ironic, anti-self-help-books kind of way, which was a great relief for me to read, as it's not about writing to-do-lists and getting perfect at time management, but about accepting and appreciating yourself as what you are, because in many aspects of life we procrastinators are more relaxed, we're not so ambitious, we can "let go" of stuff etc.

But the book is not just all comedy, it also talks about situations in life, like Alex's, when you're about to lose your job or your house due to major procrastination, and they actually suggest - for some people - getting a prescription for Ritalin!!!

So here comes my question: Has anyone here made good/bad experiences with ritalin and getting work done? I mean, it's highly addictive, and that's scary to me ... But as I'm about to flush my master's down the toilet when I've almost finished it (I passed my MA-thesis and one of the major final exams). 

I REALLY REALLY need to study, but I can't stop watching silly TV-shows, surfing the net, writing in forums, whatever ... I've tried studying in the library, which works for a few days, then I go back home to do addictive escapism FOR WEEKS!

Should I get a prespcription for Ritalin just to help me pass those exams which means everything to me as I've spent 10 years of my life to get a college degree?


PS: Please excuse my bad English ... but there isn't a board of this quality in my language ...

Constance,  Thanks for


 Thanks for your reply.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), I'm one of those gung-ho American MBAs who's university bills cost more than a small house, so you can bet I didn't take more time in school than required.

My story gets worse, by the way, MUCH worse.  I'm almost a maestro of procrastination.  And this is a VERY bad time economically here in the US (as I'm sure no one here needs reminding).

Hello constance, I know

Hello constance,

I know the book you are talking about.  After looking at the comments both at Amazon and in the German procrastination forum, I decided it wasn't for me.  Ok, if you have no other books on the subject, it may be alright but I have quite a collection already and nothing has really helped me so far.  Sure, I have gained some insight why I am procrastinating but none of the books helped me in any way to make any progress.

A few days ago, pro introduced the book 'Procrastination' by Burka and Yuen.  The way she described it aroused my interest and I ordered it from Amazon.  It arrived a couple of days ago.  I have only read the first 20 pages so far but I am impressed.  I had the impression that these people were able to put themselves into my shoes and understood exactly the way I felt about my problem.  A big thank you to pro.




Hey Amy, I just ordered Procrastination' by Burka and Yuen

as well and can't wait to read it! Thanks for your post, I finally found it,sorry that it took me so long, I'm kind of out of my head because of my final exams and being busy procrastinating to study ...


"The sands are numbered that make up my life" Shakespeare

Welcome here Constance. You

Welcome here Constance. You have come to the right place. I hope you'll keep coming and find some of the support and solidarity and learning that have helped me.

I'm curious to learn more about the book you mention--is there a blurb on for it?

 I went through a lot of books. None really helped me except The Now Habit and The War of Art--but using them also coincided with starting here, and I suspect that  the books I'd rejected could also have helped if I'd used them here. For me, checkins and the chatbox along with 12 steps were entirely new and brought hope. Oh, and about surfing: I found the site when i googles something like web addiction--a post here about leechblock was the link.

Thank you, Chickadee :-)

The only blurb in English about this hilarious/serious book I could find was from the publisher's. The foreign rights on this book are sold which means that it'll be available in English soon :-) 

I have also a history of reading hundreds of self-help books on procrastination, nothing worked for me except (sometimes) this (see below) and Werner Rückert's books. Haven't read Fiore yet,I should definitely give it a try.


Kathrin Passig, Sascha Lobo
How to Get Things Done Without a Spark of Self-Discipline


knows the feeling of finally intending to answer a letter you received
weeks ago, only to find it, many additional weeks later, buried under a
pile of unpaid bills. Or the dismay of discovering your tax return is
months overdue, while a fading Post-It note on your computer screen
reads: “Make a to-do list!!”

Some fifty percent of us are inveterate procrastinators. This book is for them. Passig and Lobo
show how to escape the pressure of to-do lists and sort out your life
without getting the sort of bad conscience caused by emails, requests,
tasks, plans and duties – and without having to trick yourself into
becoming something you’re not. A lot of things that stress us out
because they demand to get done are, in fact, not worth a second
thought. Passig and Lobo show readers how to organize life so as not to have be organized yourself.

the Author

was born in 1975 and worked as creative director in an advertising
agency. He is also an editor of “Riesenmaschine”. In 2006, he and
co-author Holm Friebe published their well-received book We Call It
Work. He works as a freelance advertiser.

more about this author (German)

the Author

born in 1970 and lives in Berlin working as a journalist, translator
and computer programmer. She has translated George W. Bush and Bob
Dylan and writes for major German publications. She is a founder member
of the Zentrale Intelligenz Agentur (an alternative artists co-op) and
is a major contributor to its weblog Riesenmaschine (Giant Machine),
which received the prestigious Grimme Online Award in 2005. Her short
story You Are Here won her both the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Award and the
Klagenfurt-Audience-Award in 2006.



"The sands are numbered that make up my life" Shakespeare

Welcome Agorelik

You will find support here.   Keep coming back! 


"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
- George Eliot

hi agorelik

i'm very sorry to hear what you've been thru. It seems really difficult. Others here have lost jobs due to procrastination. I have not, altho i've knocked on that door.

I would like to have a long discussion with you, and hopefully that can happen over time, but given my own work responsibilities, i have a few things i need to get done now on my schedule. So i'm going to try not to procrastinate and get them done.

There are several people hanging out in the "chatbox" (see top nav bar) and you could stop by and say hi. We tend to be a welcoming bunch. Of course, those people are tying to get work done, but we can chat a little off task while still staying mostly on task.

I also encourage you to read and use the daily check-in board which is in the right nav bar. today's, eg, is Wednesday 7 January 2009

I've found that one of they keys to my recovery has been followthru. So i encourage you to keep coming back and keep re-starting to work on your problem. That has really helped me, anyway.


fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb

procrastinating by studying procrastination:

I'm worried I will never recover


Yeah, I know, it's the old addict's lament: "I don't think I'm going to be able stay sober / clean for the rest of my life!"  and the old AA response to THAT: "one day at a time". But I've been attempting to deal with this problem all of my life, and it's been somewhat disastrous up till now. So, if anyone has affirmations that I CAN conquer my chronic procrastination, that might be helpful.



Welcome Alex

Funny you should mention affirmations as I was just asking questions about that myself.   But one thing I learned here was "Just keep starting"   I continually get distracted from the task at hand and get frustrated with myself.   In the past, I'd give up, but now I tell myself "I got distracted.   That's ok.   I will just keep starting"



"It is never too late to be what you might have been." - George Eliot

hi alex, welcome

hi alex, welcome here.


I don't know if this will help you at all, but here is one that helped me. When I have been utterly paralysed, I do one single thing. Maybe hang up an item of clothing or whatever, and say 'I can do one thing.' 

My mental model of why this helped me is that a long stretch of hard times had left me with the idea that I was a person who didn't and couldn't do a lot. So doing anything made a subconscious struggle against my ingrained idea that i couldn't do anything on top of the simple struggle of energy and will power.

Anyway, you are in the right place to find support and solidarity one day at a time.

recommend :)

Hi Alex!

Welcome! :) I recommend Chickadee's approach :)

Keep coming back! :)


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


Hi Recycler!  I just joined up and was scanning down the procrastinators topic when I saw your CORGI BUTT!!!!  That is a great image!  I have had Corgi's all my life, Wicket is snoring and grunting on the couch right now! 

Just had to stop and acknowledge!!






Thanks for your help!