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.

future orientation

 in my research on procrastination, it seems that we procrastinators have a high 'past-orientation' and a low 'future orientation,' i.e. we tend to ruminate on past events (either positively or negatively, it doesn't matter) and have trouble being 'forward thinking' or visualising things in the future....this is certainly true of me.

 does anyone have any suggestions for concrete things to do that have helped you have a greater 'future orientation'? i am terrible at meditating, and i have a short attention span.  and i realize that i've never had hobbies like knitting or drawing or anything like that because i cannot picture what things look like in advance of making them...i'm very good at pointing out what's wrong with things already in existence. but i have a hard time imagining anything in the future, no matter how big or small...and i think that is part of my problem.

 any suggestions?...




a few ideas

I certainly have this problem too!

I haven't had any stunning breakthroughs, but here are a few things that have helped me somewhat:

*I set aside time to think about "what are my goals for the next week/month/year/decade". If I explicitly set aside some time (say 30 min) and try to write down some goals, I can usually come up with something reasonable. Then, I'll try to come up with a step of really short-term steps to get me there. This is a struggle...but then the rest of the time I don't need to be visualizing my future goals, I just need to follow the short-term steps. (For example, I decided a goal is to present at a conference in the next year--so this week, I'm supposed to go to Toastmasters, attend some seminars, and make a list of a few important conferences in my field)

*I try to attend planning workshops/seminars that will be relevant in a few years. For example, I just started grad school, but I attended a "job search for grad students"workshop. I'm not anywhere close to looking for a job, but going to the seminar forced me to spend some time imagining my plans after grad school.

*I try to spend time around people who have achieved what I want to achieve. (For example, a really good dancer when I'm taking a dance class, someone who's just graduated when I'm trying to finish my thesis)--that way I don't have to imagine the future, I have a concrete example of it.

*A friend suggested to me that procrastinators often have a problem keeping track of time--I think that part of why we have trouble imagining future events. Her suggestions were to keep a big calendar on the wall, celebrate holidays, have routinues Sounds silly, but has given me a better sense of time and I think has helped me focus a little better on the future.

great, thank you....those

great, thank you....those are all intersting ideas. i like finding people who represent concrete examples of what we want to do/be, and spending time around them.  easier said than done, but good to thing about/plan for!...also, the seminars way in advance of need them is a good idea too...i'll have to think about what that would be in my case.'ve given me some food for thought(and hopefully action too!) :)

 any other ideas out there??? anybody else who's been successful at this??

I've never thought to

I've never thought to analyze my problem in terms of past vs. future orientation, so this response doesn't reflect any long and deep consideration...however, it seems to me that sometimes I spend WAY too much time worrying and thinking about the future:  what will happen if I do x, what will happen if I do y, what will be the best thing to do, will I be able to do a good job of it, should I study it just a little bit longer, maybe there are better alternatives I haven't thought of yet, etc., etc.  The end result being the usual paralysis.  I think I spend most of my waking time worrying about whether, what, when and how to do, rather than doing.  Then, it all seems too overwhelming and consequently much easier (even WISER!) to do nothing.                   

If, instead, I became more aware of my past behavior, maybe I could recognize this kind of "spin cycle" thinking and nip it at the outset.

Maybe this isn't what you meant by future/past orientation, and I apologize if I'm taking this thread off on a tangent.



La Sorciere