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.

Causes of my procrastination

Many months ago I wrote a long rambling post documenting my procrastination process but not really adressing the causes on it now in three simple bullet points I think I have the causes.

1. Not facing fears - In this case what fears? Fear of failure and fear of success, I would be afraid of starting tasks in case they resulted in failure or I was sucessful in which case people would have higher expectations of me. 

2. Lack of Self Acceptance - What was I not accepting about myself? That it will not always be possible to have an outcome that I am happy with, I would keep putting off tasks on the chance that a better solution would reveal itself.

3. Impatience - This sounds backward hey but I previouse experience often told me that finishing a task would be longer and more drawn out than I expected. This meant I would likely become impatient so I avoid doing tasks in order to avoid the pain of impatience.

Finally the reason for my impatience is because I did not have a strong direction in my life and would easily be guided by other peoples priorities. As I feel felt I was doing many tasks that I was not invested in myself the result would be that I would easily take avoidance activities over task completion.

Now I have this figured out I have decided to take responsibility for my tasks, drop the ones I do not judge to be important and try to become a compulsive task completer for a while, in order to bring balance back into my life.  


I hear you regarding impatience.

I feel that everything that I actually do takes far longer than I expect - often because it needs to be near perfect which takes a lot of contemplation. Not only do things take a long time, they NEVER finish - there's always some maintenance to do at the very least. Any wonder I'm scared to start anything.

But of course procrastination makes tasks take even longer. But I also need to learn to let go of things when they are finished, and let them deteriorate. That's the problem with cleaning - you do it and in no time it needs doing again.

So I think you've hit on something here; (for some at least) the self-expectation that tasks completed will need to be maintained near perfection, and that we won't have the energy to do that maintenance, is enough for us to avoid it altogether.

I wonder, is working on things that are continuously evolving (of their own accord) easier to do? Like teaching your own children - they are a work in progress, not a project with an end date.

You are both totally right on

The only thing I would add is something I just realized about myself.  It's that, in addition to being a perfectionist, I keep brainstorming ways to make tasks bigger and more complex, as I do them.  If I'm making a list of stuff I want to do tomorrow I might start trying to schedule the next day too...and maybe include more detail than is necessary or helpful.  This could also be construed as perfectionism of a sort I guess...  But I think it helps me to make this distiction.  I think I need to do a better job figuring out what a reasonable limit is for tasks and just stick to it.


"make tasks bigger and more complex"

I find myself doing that too, and end up doing none of anything because I created such a huge workload. 

That is the problem, for me, on making daily lists, it just seems such a huge thing to tackle, even though I am applying strategies learned here...visualing me performing the task, setting timers, taking small breaks, and especially the mantra 'progress not perfection'. 

Progress not perfection is something I was reading for a long time, understanding the words, and then I had the breakthrough.  It is ok to make the progress, and start that task, and it is ok that it is not perfect....and suddenly I started to do more and more things, and I was far happier doing those things.  Progress is an action....perfection is an attitude.  Start the action and revel in the joy of acting.  Perfection is negative thought, banish that thought and just keep acting to the best of your ability! 

Nothing is worth more than this day  - Goethe

Perfection is the enemy

Perfection is the enemy and almost always plays a part in the thoughts that cause us to procrastinate.

The root cause of perfection is the inability for us to accept our human frailty and that we will never be what people want (or more correctly think they want us to be).

The truth is that if we are truthful with ourselves and accept ourselves warts and all and let ourselves be led be our hearts in terms of what we want to be, this is the true path to being the best happiest most loving person we can be. And most importantly we can have the peace of mind that we crave so much.

By this route we can exceed the expectations of others as well as our own expectations for ourselves.    


That is really well said!  Stirkes home.  Thank you for taking the time to think that through and put it on the site.


Thankyou for taking the time to thank me for what I said.

While I have now finally reached a state of inner peace, where I do not feel the need for the approval of others for who I am and what I do, nonetheless I am still very greatfull when people express their appreciation of my efforts.Smile

Compulsive taskmaster - how so?

 This idea also sounds very compelling.  It rings with me.  

Do you mind my asking:  What do you mean by this idea "compulsive taskmaster"?