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.

work procrastination vs. home procrastination

Today I realized that the feelings I have when procrastinating about work are quite different from the feelings I have while procrastinating about things at home. At home I feel a fair amount of resentment towards my family for not doing their part and despair about the futility of housework in the first place. At work I feel anxiety and apprehension about what I have not yet done/am not doing--based on wondering how soon before anyone notices. I feel a little guilty for my work procrastination, but I have learned a secret: I often procrastinate about work things simply because I have not taken care of myself and desperately need to before I go off and tend to someone else's needs! This is my own doing, and I do not really feel any resentment toward anyone about it, though I do feel overwhelmed. I put off taking care of my own needs out of 1) perfectionism (can't quit till I get it perfect!), 2) guilt (because I still haven't gotten it perfect and maybe even did something wrong or, big surprise, I am procrastinating), and 3) codependently putting others' needs/wishes/whims ahead of my own most urgent needs--until I reach a breaking point and blow up, which triggers a repeat of the guilt and codependency. Aargh!

resentment about work

Slider, I think if you scratch the surface just a very small bit you will find resentment for your work as well. You've talked about it here - resenting having to do this work at all when you want to be doing something else, but your family (back to family) needs you to do that for the health insurance, etc. Are you the primary bread winner in your family?

Sometimes when we feel resentment it's not entirely rational, and when it's not entirely rational we tend to deny to ourselves that it's there. I had the insight a few weeks ago that I resent my clients. They didn't do anything, but I resent them because they have the money to buy my expensive services, while I could never afford to hire someone like me. Is that absurd!? But I have the feeling inside me. Feelings aren't always rational. Recognizing these feelings - irrational as they are - has helped me to overcome my procrastination in this area.

Different arenas

There is plenty I resent in my work, and that I resent in the church and in my individual congregation, but I mostly enjoy the nursing home. Above, I had the nursing home in mind. And sometimes I still enjoy work around the church, but mostly not, and especially not when people are acting mean. I received a comment Sunday that might be a veiled threat (I'll find out at the council meeting Wednesday), and I've been thinking about if I quit what else could I do and where would we go live. I've played quite a few scenarios in my head! I DID have a lot of daydreams about purchasing a few things for our comfort and convenience and pleasure with my inheritance money, and this comment threw cold water on all that. I went ahead and bought a laptop today*, and I will probably save the rest. I will need to work pretty quickly on the decluttering so I don't have to spend too much on the storage. Interestingly, the most compelling thought I have is trying to envision a fantasy in which I get fired in such a way that leaves me clearly in the right. If I could get unemployment for it for a few months that would suit me fine (though I don't even know if that would be possible from a church and if it would apply part-time). Still, the fantasy reveals the underlying issue: I want to quit but I don't quite dare. I don't want to be the heavy, with the congregation, or with my family. And part of me even wants to burn my bridges with the church in general, but another part doesn't. It feels almost EXACTLY like when I was deciding to divorce my first husband! One day he just walked up to me and said, "You're gonna leave, aren't you?" I felt trapped into expressing the truth, and I did. It was very awkward and uncomfortable after that, but it wasn't the end of the world. Why should I be thinking it would be this time? (Well, when I left that first marriage, I had nobody dependent on me. Now I have 2 kids, and my husband's job is precarious. Still, it wouldn't be the end of the world...sigh.) It's weird; I vacillate between wanting to escape my family and wanting to escape my job. There is some underlying conflict between them that makes me feel pulled in opposite directions. What I most want is for my family to be loving and supportive about my need to quit, but although they complain repeatedly about my job, I get an equal amount of pressure to keep it and keep the status quo. This makes me crazy! Now THERE'S an enormous wellspring of procrastination causes for ya!
*About laptop--this is mostly in support of my longstanding dream to be a writer. It's not necessary, I know--especially if I quit my current job--but it will be helpful and make it easier to have access to all my stories, working copies of which are all in my desktop, but the portable versions are in a large, messy stack of journals I have to pick through, and the paper copies are also kind of scattered around throughout several notebooks and are even intersperced. This would be much more orderly and convenient--not just for writing but for submitting!

Am I rationalizing here?

I was just thinking about how little I feel like doing any more work today. I didn't actually do much--spent 2 hours at payroll job, watered flowers, did some online research and ordered some books. Mostly I'm emotionally tired. I see so many things around me that need doing, and I thought, "Heck, maybe I AM lazy!" But then it occurred to me that I tend to way overextend myself on behalf of others. For instance, I rescue volunteers at my church from doing their jobs if they start to complain about it being hard or unpleasant--of if I just read that into what they say. If I do eveybody else's job, no wonder I don't want to do any work for myself! And stupid as it may sound, a large part of my clutter/hoarding is that I feel sorry for these objects and I am rescuing them from destruction. I am "saving" them (talk about a savior complex!). I know this goes back to childhood issues about fear of being discarded/abandoned by my own parents. But I have explored those issues before in therapy and thought I was done with them--so why should they pop up again now? I guess I know--I'd like to throw away my marriage, children and career. If I throw away the clutter I might get on a roll and toss them, too, after all! Honestly--I think that's close to the truth. So long as I procrastinate about one thing I can procrastinate about all things--like deciding what I really want in my life. Or don't.

analysis paralysis

Don't get caught in analysis paralysis, slider - that in itself can be a huge procrastination. I've seen you tend towards that a little bit. It worth giving the problem some thought, but in the end you can't think your way out of procrastinating - you can only ACT your way out of it.

Ultimately, you have to DO. If you really don't want to "do", then you need to get out of the responsibility - quit your job, or whatever you have to do to be happy. You have the right to be happy - it's a right that every human has simply by being on this earth. You don't have to sacrifice your life for others - be it family or people you work for.


No wonder you're ambivalent about decluttering! I do the thing with objects too - I've been known to buy wonky or broken things because I feel sorry for them, and think no-one else will buy them, LOL! It hasn't led to decluttering my home life though. You can ~choose~ at what point you want to stop decluttering - but if you get to the point that you decide to 'declutter' your personal life you'll be ready for it then, even though you are not sure now. How about you spend some quiet time with this issue - not even thinking - just give it space, offer it up to God and see if anything comes back? (((Hugs)))

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