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.

Elsi's page

This is going to be my hub, so to speak. It will be a place where I can write down basic principles and strategies for improvement, a place where I can come back to, to track the journey I'm taking, and to remind myself of past realisations and decisions. I will keep adding to it and editing it as I go. I may start other pages for minor or major projects, I don't know yet. But this will be the page for the biggest of my projects: my life.

I will come back to this page every Monday for the next six months. I will keep a log of my visits in the form of comments to this initial post. In those logs I will write my thoughts and feelings from the previous week and those about the week to come.

I would of course welcome comments and encouragement from anybody who has any to offer. I'll be open to kind suggestions and constructive criticism! But essentially this is a place for my own quiet contemplation and self-observation.



Keep telling yourself:

  • I'm not looking for success, I'm looking for fulfillment; I don't need praise, criticisms are merely helpful suggestions
  • Bite the bullet: fear is the only thing that's holding you back
  • Putting it off because you're scared of it is irrational. It will only make it worse and will prolong your anxiety
  • Putting it off because you can't be bothered is equally irrational. You won't be 'more' bothered later, you'll just have to force yourself to do it, which is much more unpleasant
  • Constructive criticism only!
  • Trust yourself
  • Non! :-D

And most importantly

  • *Doing it will make you happy*


  • to keep coming back every Monday
  • to work only between the hours of 8.00-18.30 Monday-Friday
  • to read my e-mail every work day first thing
  • to respond to every text message immediately
  • to always answer the phone when I'm able to
  • once a day, to visualise myself doing a task and doing it with confidence, starting with writing



  • devise a strategy for writing that includes planning, reading, breaking down into sections, drafting and timing, and that doesn't include biting your nails and reading it over and over again (like I'm doing now)
  • find an effective way to manage your time, which lets you see where you are in relation to what's to come and what's past

Monday 22nd June 09

Man, what a week! I'm so glad it's over. I've slept so much since Friday. Friday night I just felt completely done in. Half way through dinner I suddenly felt a wave of fatigue, could hardly eat any more and had this strange headache. I thought I was coming down with flu, but it seems to have passed.

I did the presentation in the end. H wrote back saying she understood but was worried I was probably imagining more was expected of me than actually was. And I felt so much better. So I thought to myself, yes I can do this. I've just about got time - I'll throw some stuff together now, and I'll have some time at the conference. This was after doing some 'freewriting' practice. That did work, but it still took me ages, spoilt the conference as well, as I couldn't relax until I'd done it, and was so fed up I left straight after. Well, it was my birthday. At least I did it, and I got some good feedback, but I know it was rubbish. And this isn't me just expecting too much of myself. It really wasn't good. I'm not sure what N will say. I never told him I was going to do it, because I wouldn't have anything to show him in time and I knew it was rubbish anyway, so what would have been the use?

I knew what I should have done to do it better. I knew I should have worked a lot more all through the year. I should have read a lot more, written good notes to turn to for help in writing something like this, and just written stuff, so that I could develop my ideas  and talk to N about them. So that's what I was going to do this week. That and start sorting out my data collection.

Yesterday the anxiety started setting in again, about starting work today. I decided to give working from home one last try. This morning I was ready to work at 9.30, and I felt panicky. Knew I had to start with checking my email, but couldn't do it. Avoided checking my uni account all through the conference, although I had access. Why is that? So all morning I've just been wasting time online. I know this is what I do, yet last night and this morning when I got up I told myself, no, this is a new start. And yet it wasn't. 

I don't know what's ahead of me this week. I've got a couple of fixed meetings but other than that I just can't see the week ahead.

First steps: have lunch, check email, act on emails (no more than hour), plan rest of week (incl. write down ideas about data collection - today, read chapter on structured writing, write up some useful stuff from the talk).

Feeling anxiety again, just because I have to check my email. Funny.

Good news: I've now got nails on at least 5 fingers! :-)

Monday 15th June 09 again


Had written to N by 13.30. Could hardly look at what I was writing. Pressed 'send', curled up into a ball and cried. I was so ashamed of myself. Phoned G. He said I'd done the right thing. Couldn't check my email for an hour, worrying too much what the reply would be. It came, and it was, as ever, supportive. He thought he'd put too much pressure on me, and said that was because he thought I could do it. He said he understood if I didn't want to do it, but that I should try to if I could. I didn't know how to reply. I thought of telling him how it was. That I tried to write but couldn't. I cried again. Uncontrollably. I don't know why. I couldn't think of telling him how it was. That's what I told him in the end, and that I'd take this week to try to figure out what I can do about it, and suggested we meet up next week. I didn't tell him about the procrastination though. So I've framed it as some sort of writer's block. Perhaps that's what it is. Perhaps it's both. I feel much better now though. I just have to write to H to tell her I won't be presenting. I feel terrible about it.

Have started to read 'How to write a thesis'. Aim to get some useful tips, and make notes on them, this week.

Monday 15th June 09

Working on my presentation for Friday. Tried to write. Completely blank. Had gone to the library so I could get more work done. Left an hour later with nothing. Workmen didn't help. But I could have moved to a quieter place. I gave up and came home instead.

U had sent her presentation. Read half of it. Sent me into a panic. There's no way I can write something to that standard where I am at the moment. I think I should pull out. I'm not ready yet and it's just stressing me out. Phoned G. He thinks I've still got something to say. But he also thinks pulling out may be a brave step. Says I should talk to N. I'm scared.

I'm pretty much resigned to pulling out. Am busy making plans in my head about all the other things I could do with my time. Like read 'How to get a PhD', or 'How to write a thesis'. And sort out my study. And finish that translation. And start writing. And do those interviews. And plan my time. And plan my data collection. And paint that wall. The time would be such a precious gift, because I would be stealing it back for myself. Why do I have to steal time to appreciate it?

Is it procrastination today, or do I have a problem with writing? I know had I not procrastinated so much previously I'd be in a much better position to write now. On the other hand, I could have read a lot more previously, but I'd have forgotten it all by now anyway. So what's the best way of going about it?

Good thing today: after nine months I finally told the car insurance company and mortgage company that I've changed my address. I almost didn't. I told myself that I'd do it tomorrow instead. Then realised what I was doing. So I just did it :-)  Not sure whether I was just using it to postpone starting on my work. But it had to be done.

[Should I not formulate it like that? - "after nine months I finally..." Is that beating myself up?]



12.51  Still haven't talked to N. I'm putting it off. I'm worrying. Doing it will make you happier.

elsi june 15

Strength to you.   I think you write quite well :)

Nothing is worth more than this day  - Goethe