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.

similarity btwn procrastination and food issues

I have a history with addictions, and I still have what I would call a food addiction. Basically compulsive overeating, not quite an eating disorder. In the past year or so I have made progress with it by using a book called The Beck Diet Solution. It isn't a diet but a cognitive therapy approach to changing my thoughts about food and eating.

It has occurred to me as I've worked through the book that my eating behaviours and attitudes are very, very similar to my procrastination behaviours and attitudes. On this site I see (for the first time) procrastination is being discussed in many of the same terms as addictive behaviours. It therefore occurred to me that I might try the Beck approach to tackle my procrastination issues.

The book is set up as a 6-week program with daily tasks. Probably some tasks won't be applicable, but many or most are. I will post my thoughts here and I hope people will read along and offer comments if they find this interesting or if they have had similar thoughts about food addictions, or if they disagree. Here goes!

day 4: give yourself credit!

This task translates perfectly to my procrastination habit. Beck says to give yourself credit for every good choice you make, no matter how small. This really does help--it just takes practice.

I have a tendency to think, I don't deserve credit for writing this chapter (which I did today), because it was a short one and I should have gotten it done long before now.

 The Beck program has you write out those kinds of "sabotaging thoughts" onto 3x5 cards (or whatever) and then write out "helpful responses." My helpful response to my thought is that I finished my chapter, and it was hard for me to do, and I deserve credit for that regardless. Focusing on my successes is helpful and focusing on the "but ... " part of the thought serves no purpose whatsoever.  

day 3: be mindful of break time

The Beck task for this day is to eat sitting down, with the idea that you do not need to overeat if you really notice and enjoy the food you do eat.

My procrastination analogy is to "procrastinate sitting down," or to really pay attention and enjoy the time that I spend not working. I do think that much of the reason I procrastinate is a way to "steal" break time, because I feel like I always should be working, because I am always behind. When I am really in procrastination mode, I tend to do things that I don't even enjoy that much, like googling random trivia or playing solitaire, or obsessing over unpleasant thoughts. I think that if I spent my break time doing things I actually do enjoy, or if I felt like I really had permission to take those breaks, I wouldn't need to "steal" them.

I have written "break sitting down" on my bulletin board to remind myself to do this.

Thank you for sharing this -

Thank you for sharing this - I REALLY identify with this one (and I think the unschedule is a fantastic idea, will def try)

day 2: make a daily schedule

The task for this day in the Beck Diet is to pick two reasonable diets. To translate that to address a procrastination habit, I considered that a "food diet" is a plan for what you will or won't eat, so a "procrastination diet" would be a plan for when you will and won't work on the tasks you tend to procrastinate on. It's not an exact match, but I'll go with it. 

The approach that makes the most sense to me is one that was described in The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. He calls it an "unschedule" and says to block out time for the non-work things in your life first, so that you can see that there is plenty of time for them and that the time available for work is limited. I thought he made a lot of sense but I have never followed through with doing it. I think a plan that might work for me is to commit to sitting down each morning to make an unschedule for the day. It's less intimidating than to do it for a week, which is what Fiore suggests. 

 Beck says to pick two diets with the idea that if the first one doesn't work, you have a backup plan. I can't really think of a plan B, unless it's to make a regular schedule of work time, which I usually just rebel against. So for the time being I'll stick with Plan A. Suggestions welcome. 

Hallo Thondiel, I had a

Hallo Thondiel,

I had a food addiction for many years and all of a sudden I realized that it was gone.

However, I replaced compulsive eating with another addiction.  Whenever I am frustrated because I can't solve a problem or things go wrong, I start spending hours in the internet either visiting forums or playing games.

Apparently, it is not unusual for addictive personalities to replace one addiction with another.

Haven't found a way yet to get out of this viscious circle.



If you can't move the mountain, move a few stones.

Yes, I've done the switching

Yes, I've done the switching addictions thing too! It's crazy. Glad I'm not alone!

Really glad you've found a

Really glad you've found a place to start - and this is an awesome one! I'll be watching this with interest - I see a lot of similarities between procrastination and food issues as well.

thanks Lucky

I hope you will chime in when you have a thought, one way or the other. 

day 1: list reasons I want to change my procrastination habit

Beck says to make a list of reasons why you want to lose weight, print them on a 3x5 card, and read it several times a day, every day. My reasons for wanting to stop my compulsive eating are almost exactly the same as my reasons for wanting to stop procrastinating.

  1. I want to be able to trust myself to do what I say I am going to do. 
  2. I want to feel successful. 
  3. I want to get this burden off my back.
  4. I want to feel in control.  
  5. I want to feel proud of myself.
  6. I want to be able to earn more money by taking on more work.
  7. I want to feel confident and energetic, not sluggish. 
  8. I want other people to respect me.
  9. I want to free up mental energy for better things.
  10. I want to be able to relax.