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.

Lucky cold turkey

I've been thinking a LOT about what it means to 'quit' procrastination. This means thinking a lot about what procrastination is - and what it's not.

Taking a break is not procrastination.

Changing my plans is not procrastination.

Not completing my tasklist is not procrastination.

Not following a rigid schedule is not procrastination.

Surfing the internet (or any other 'non-productive' activity) is not procrastination. Can be, but doesn't have to be.

Even putting something off until tomorrow is not procrastination (except in a strictly etymological sense!) It can be, but it can also be perfectly appropriate and sensible.

Procrastination is when I lose control of my use of time.

This isn't as straightforward as it seems. I suspect there are moments in every addiction where you feel absolutely in control as you deliberately and defiantly do the destructive thing. But then afterwards you say ruefully, 'I lost control'. That tantrum-throwing, 'I'M GOING TO BREAK EVERYTHING' feeling isn't being in control, it's being out of control. So part of quitting procrastination is learning to tell an 'in control' feeling from an 'out of control' one.

It's just occurred to me recently that if procrastination is a real addiction, it can be broken like a real addiction. If someone suffers from alcoholism they shouldn't just be trying to drink less alcohol, they should be trying to stop. Same with smoking, drugs, etc. And if they do stop, they'll experience a period of withdrawal and need to fight hard to get through it, and then the cravings will diminish and eventually all but disappear. They'll always be a 'recovering addict' and need to keep an eye on themselves so they don't relapse, but basically, they'll be fine and able to get on with their lives.

So I'm going to see if this applies to procrastination. I'm going to shift my focus from trying to do as much as possible to trying to procrastinate as little as possible, i.e. not at all. Taking it one day, or even one hour, at a time and treating it as a proper addiction where 'just one' moment of procrastination is as bad as 'just one' drink or cigarette. I'm sure there will be hiccups as I work out what is and isn't procrastination for me, but basically, yes, I'm aiming to quit cold turkey! (With the full knowledge that I'll always be a 'recovering addict' and probably always need this site :) )

I've been 'sober' for the past 24 hours, mostly by dint of giving myself tons of planned breaks. I find that when I'm really resisting a task, doing 5m task and 5m break and repeating that over and over again works really well. I've actually been more productive using that method than I was when I was trying to work every second - which means that I was procrastinating over half the time...

Do let me know your thoughts... naysayers are welcome but please be gentle with any criticism :)

THANK YOU, Kitty, you've

THANK YOU, Kitty, you've become my biggest cheerleader! And everything you say is so spot on :)


*hugs across the pond*

Your posts teach me so much every day, too! 

Trying again.. with HP sauce

I lasted precisely one day without procrastinating! BUT that was the best I've done in ages. And after two days 'off the wagon', today I've been praying like crazy (trying Clement's 'Practice of the Presence of God') and just realised I've hardly procrastinated at all... Back to it!

((Go Lucky))

That's fantastic!  What you said directly reinforces what we just discussed in today's phone CI meeting--Promise #12...that amazing moment where you realize, "Hey!  I'm actually living my life, not procrastinating, and it feels wonderful."  

If we can keep focusing on having those good moments, the bad ones will start to dissolve little by little. *hug*

Thank you, Kitty! *hugs

Thank you, Kitty! *hugs back*

Day 1!!! update

Going okay so far... I had a bad start after thinking that since I was so full of motivation, it would be okay to look at an addictive website while eating my breakfast... Idiot! 20 minutes later I got myself OFF the website and into a day of not procrastinating, so my 'start time' is now this morning... I think the Haircut and Cheese Breakthrough hasn't stopped me procrastinating but it has definitely helped me to bounce back afterwards. The 'old' Lucky would probably have written the day off at that point.

Getting back to work after lunchbreak is one of my 'risky' times so I need to get a good run-up and clear this hurdle - here goes!


I'm going for giving it up again. I had hoped that feeling better and just 'sitting with' what Kitty delightfully calls the Haircut and Cheese Breakthrough :) would lead to natural, organic de-procrastination without the need for anything so rigid as 'giving up'. It hasn't! This is still going to take effort, which isn't a surprise really, but I feel a lot better about my chances of success.

It's late at night so all I have to worry about is not procrastinating between now and bedtime...

on cheese and haircuts

Funny, this. I decided after Dad died in March, to let my hair grow long again. J has asked me for years to do this and I resisted, enjoying my wash-n-wear power-cut. There's something profoundly transformative about a new hairstyle. I feel different.

I've had to recover from several addictions and in each recovery I've experienced several a-ha moments like you describe, Lucky...moments when I have new realizations about my past, motives, God-Child vs Ego-Self, and my lifelong perceptions/misperceptions of reality.  These are precious gifts from the Higher Power, and they do signal major progress. They rarely, however, signal an "arrival" at which we may stop and rest for very long (as you've discovered!).   :P

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful moment!

"My boundaries enclose a pleasant land..." Psalm 16

A-ha moments

Agnus, that is so right.  I have been thinking a lot about the cheese and haircut issue (even had a dream about it on Saturday, in fact!) and trying to figure out what those moments do signify for me.  Agnus hit it on the head by saying :

"These are precious gifts from the Higher Power, and they do signal
major progress. They rarely, however, signal an "arrival" at which we
may stop and rest for very long (as you've discovered!). "   SO TRUE.  That's what's happened to me in the past--I get a big eureka! and then get lazy and think I don't have to do any more work/practice.  And you know that end disastrously!

In a meeting yesterday, someone quoted a line that today has even more meaning for me: Success is not final and failure is not fatal.

Thank you both for giving me so much to think about.  I'm having a bit of a breakthrough of my own about these things!

Thank YOU both! Wow...

Thank YOU both! Wow...

re:strange experience


"Bless the present. Trust yourself. Expect the best." --Steve Nobel

Strange experience

Well, my last attempt to give up procrastination didn't work :) I don't think I've truly tried for a long time. I've gone through the motions of trying but without really believing in myself and without doing obvious things like using the chatbox to give myself the best chance of success.

However, I had a weird experience yesterday which has really changed my state of mind. I was trying to do a meditation which involves asking 'who am I, really?' and realised that the last time I felt like 'me' was age 10, before I failed a scholarship exam that everyone (including me!) expected me to ace. It meant I had to leave my school, and I was devastated. I think I've been repeating the pattern of failure ever since - trying to get myself expelled or fired, and often succeeding.

This next bit is hard to explain, but having realised that I left myself behind in junior school, I realised that I was going to have to go back and get myself. I somehow went back into the mindset of that ten-year-old girl and I chose to leave. I imagined myself as I was then, with my hair in pigtails, picking up my satchel and my gym bag and freely and confidently walking down the long driveway and out into the world.

Somehow I feel as if I am that person now. With the body and the life experience of an adult, but still, that person. Me. I locked myself in the bathroom at work and cut my fringe and put my hair in pigtails, and there I was, in the mirror. Me. And the funny thing is that I still absolutely suit this hairstyle. You wouldn't believe the number of compliments I've got. I'm going to keep wearing it like this for a while, until I learn to look in the mirror and see me no matter what my hair looks like.

Last night I wondered what on earth I was doing without cheese in the house. I've been in the habit of living on breadline poverty food like porridge, rice, and lentils, for years. Suddenly my inner ten-year-old was loudly requesting CHEESE, APPLE JUICE, and all the other things that used to be my favourite foods on earth and still are if I actually bother to think about it. So I went out and did some grocery shopping. :)

I'm not sure I'm going to try giving up procrastination again today. I want a bit longer to just sit with this and go 'what's going on here?' But I think I will be shortly. My procrastination urges, work-dread and feelings of helplessness have gone way, way down, and while I'm not naive enough to think that I will now be perfect and everything will be easy... I think it should be easiER. :)

The Haircut and Cheese Breakthrough

This sounds like a major, major, major breakthrough.  Identifying a moment like you described, and having the emotional reactions you had in the wake of that eureka! moment, might just be a key turning point.  

Listening to the urge to nourish yourself is showing yourself respect. (And I've always thought that there is something so liberating about
changing one's hair -- in ancient times, people used to shear their hair
to express grief, and in my own experience I've always found that
haircuts can be therapeutic.  Cutting your own hair at  That's unbelievably intense -- and courageous.) 

My hat's off to you.  You really could be on to something big.  Giving yourself time to explore this, and really learn from the emotions coming up, seems like a good idea.  It sounds like the universe/HP/whatever-you-want-to-call-it is shouting at you very loudly. 

Wow, congratulations.

Thank you! ((Kitty))

Thank you! ((Kitty))

Trying to give up procrastination again

I've just (about) come out of a truly awful procrastination slump, and while I still don't feel sure of myself, I did manage to get straight out of bed at 6am this morning, into the shower, and then come here to check in. It's my first good start in a long time.

Over the next 6 days I'm going to be so busy I probably (hopefully!) won't have time to procrastinate. I have a houseguest coming tomorrow (and haven't cleaned the house yet!) and what amounts to an international fan convention over the weekend. So despite the post-slump rockiness, I think today is a good day to try giving up procrastination again, because it should be easier than usual to get those all-important first few days under my belt.

I'm also trying for a freer/more spontaneous way of doing things, with less reliance on rules and timetables - I'm tempted to call this 'The Bert Method' because I think I usually operate under the Mr. Banks Method...

refreezing that turkey again

As you may have guessed from my total non-appearance on the forum over the last couple of days, that attempt to give up procrastination didn't go so well. :)

I'm trying again and with a slightly different attitude this time. I think part of the reason I slipped up, and definitely the reason I stayed down for so long, was that I was viewing this as a huge test of my strength of character and ultimately of my worth as a person. So one slip was a huge failure and made me feel like a huge failure. Nonsense!

There's an article here on why that attitude doesn't work:,8599,1868965,00.html

I had a great mental image today of my whole edifice of 'I can't, I suck, I'm a failure' as... a Doozer structure from Fraggle Rock :D For those who aren't familiar with the classic kids' TV show, that means a huge tottering pile of random scaffolding made from rhubarb, with no building inside it and no purpose. Having had that thought, I sat there and mentally watched fraggles eating the whole lot. :)


(((journey))) (((hope-faith))) (((Helen))) Thanks SO much for the support! I'll take the advice re not counting days in a row...

I managed to stay on the wagon yesterday, and this morning so far, despite a slightly dawdly start (I need to avoid 'having a quick look at my email' or other non-essential internet activities first thing in the morning - even though I did feel in control and did stop when I said I would, it just sets an icky precedent for the day and is too easy to screw up.)

Just need to stay really focused today, use the chatbox and give myself tons of planned breaks - I'm thinking I'll use Focus Booster and Get Back to Work (though I don't approve of the term 'Failures' on that second page - I've got a version somewhere that I hacked to read 'Late successes' :)

Trying again with the cold turkey!

I've decided to try again today. I really haven't been okay since my original fall off the wagon on Day 17. So I had 16 days without procrastination and then 16 days afterwards screwed up by that one fall - I've only just realised this, AFTER deciding to try again today!

I'm going to take this one day, one hour, one minute at a time but I really want to stay on the wagon for good this time. There's a lot riding on it - I can't even explain how much. Wish me luck!


@ Lucky - one day at a time

Don't be too hard on yourself - for this very reason, I don't count "days in a row" to build a habit, I just count "days".   So if I'm on time for 30 days - in a row or not in a row, I get my little reward.    If I'm counting days in a row, and I mess up just once, then I feel like I've failed and have to start over and it's hard to build the courage to face that starting over.   So I never start over, I just keep going  :grin:

"Bless the present. Trust yourself. Expect the best." --Steve Nobel

Good Luck

"Each time you lapse you learn something new about yourself and how you operate." I agree with this statement 110%, it is not just a fall off of the wagon but a learning process. Keep what was working and either get rid of what was not working or modify it so that it will work. And you may have to fall off again to find out that it still does not work, but since you have found a wagon to ride on it is no problem to get back on and go again.

"So I never start over, I just keep going." Yet another great statment that hit home for me. After following off and getting back on many times I finally learned that really all I had to do was to pick back up where I fell off (looking back to only gain insight into what happend, but not going back and starting over) Going back to my original plan and then tweaking it. I have done this many many times. It is worth it to get back on and pick back up. Don't look at the past as a failure but as a learning curve. Take what you have learned and apply to the next step of your journey.

You Can Do IT


Back on the wagon

It is really easy to lose momentum and backslide if you stop. However the important things are what you do NOT what you fail to do.  I think you are well past the stage of 'learning to walk' but perhaps you could think of this as 'learning to run'. You are bound to 'fall off the wagon' again at some point, you are human after all. The point is that you have and will again pick yourself up, dust yourself down and have another go.

That makes you a winner in my eyes. Forgive yourself your lapse and start again. Each time you lapse you learn something new about yourself and how you operate. 




Just the words I needed. Thank you so much for sharing the ongoing narrative of the struggle and victory.

Thanks Lucky

I thought that browsing this site and reading articles was procrastination too, but you helped me see differently.

Thank you.


Day 4 update 3(!)

Very strange and interesting evening.

I definitely did procrastinate this evening - I got 'stuck' in the bathroom - but then I quite naturally and easily climbed back on the wagon.  I decided that I'd let go of the tasks I was dreading tonight and just work on something I really wanted to do. After that I thought, 'Well, since I'm here I may as well have a shower before I do that', and then, 'Since I'm here I may as well clear the cobwebs from the bathroom' (one of the tasks I'd decided NOT to do!) and then I came in here and did my little bit of daily writing, and I feel fine again.

This was totally caused by giving myself too much to do. I need to learn that if I'm looking at a packed tasklist and thinking 'Can I possibly manage all this today?' I need to cut it down. I also seem to cope better with one big challenging task (like slaying the paper monster) than with lots and lots of little tasks that add up to a challenging mass. I guess it's the difference between fighting one big monster and fighting a horde of little goblins! I do find breaking the big task down incredibly helpful, but somehow one big task broken down is not the same as lots of little tasks.

Oh, I should also mention my writing project! This is my plan to sneak myself gradually into a habit of doing lots of writing each day. I'm starting with 100 words a day this week, then 200 next week and so on, until I end up writing 1000 words a day or more. (My dream would be 2000, but we'll see how it goes!)

Day 4 update 2

Okay, that was really not a productive day. Having written about giving yourself the benefit of the doubt earlier, I'm now being forced to live it! Did I procrastinate today? I'm leaning towards yes but trying to convince myself no.

I'm editing my daily challenges as follows:

29.3.10 - All email, paper, tasks and contracts (except catchup files) up to date (didn't manage - 0 points for today) 
30.3.10 - REBOOT - All email, paper, tasks and contracts (except catchup files) up to date
31.3.10 - Divide contract catchup box into 2 batches, finish batch 1

6.4.10 - Finish contract catchup box
7.4.10 - Finish fully ex'd box
8.4.10 - Finish paper catchup drawer
9.4.10 - Finish paper catchup box

12.4.10 - Archive everything under desk
13.4.10 - Thin out contract drawers and archive those files
14.4.10 - Firesafe confusions
16.4.10 - Filing A-E (Remember extra files in drawers)

19.4.10 - Filing F-O
20.4.10 - Filing P-S
21.4.10 - Filing T-Z (+ recall files at end of day)
22.4.10 - Deal w/recalled files & files to create
23.4.10 - Sort archive bible filing into 5 equal batches, file batch 1

26.4.10 - Archive bible filing batch 2
27.4.10 - Archive bible filing batch 3
29.4.10 - Archive bible filing batch 4
30.4.10 - Archive bible filing batch 5


I sure learn alot from your posts. You're a great encourager. Thanks.

Aw! You're welcome, Agnus,

Aw! You're welcome, Agnus, this is wonderful to hear - thank you!

Day 4 update

Still on the wagon, though I had a really rocky start to yesterday because I skimped on sleep in an effort to get more done. Needless to say, it didn't lead to getting more done, it led to being incredibly slow, vague, and unfocused, and finding everything hard. Must remember the golden rule: Don't focus on doing as much as possible, focus on procrastinating as little as possible, i.e. none at all.

Another rule I've realised: If you're not sure if you've just procrastinated or not, say you haven't. Call it taking a little break, and then immediately get on with the task and resolve to give yourself more frequent and more clearly defined breaks. If you've really procrastinated, you will KNOW and you won't be able to wriggle out of the knowledge no matter how much you want to.

A huge reason why we procrastinate is that we think we can't help it - and a huge reason for THAT is that we judge ourselves too harshly. When you're 'on the wagon', if you judge yourself too harshly, if you label every pause for breath as procrastination, you will lose your momentum, experience the crashing despair of 'falling off the wagon', and probably take days or weeks to recover. So it's vital to keep rolling along even if it means excusing and forgiving yourself a bit more than you normally would. That's not a bad thing.

In other news, I've been thinking on how I can take some of the super-productive energy I've shown on my 'weekend madness' challenges, and apply it to my job. I'm currently slogging through an enormous work backlog, with a deadline of the end of April, and not progressing very fast.

It occurs to me that this might be because the backlog is a great big amorphous mass, rather than a measurable challenge to face over one or two days. So I've tried breaking it down into daily challenges:

29.3.10 - All email, paper, tasks and contracts (except catchup files) up to date
30.3.10 - Finish contract catchup box
31.3.10 - Finish fully ex'd box

6.4.10 - Finish paper catchup drawer
7.4.10 - Finish paper catchup box
8.4.10 - Archive everything under desk
9.4.10 - Thin out contract drawers and archive those files

12.4.10 - Firesafe confusions
13.4.10 - Filing A-D (Remember extra files in drawers)
14.4.10 - Filing E-M
16.4.10 - Filing N-R

19.4.10 - Filing S-T
20.4.10 - Filing U-Z (+ recall files at end of day)
21.4.10 - Deal w/recalled files & files to create
22.4.10 - Sort archive bible filing into 6 equal batches, file batch 1
23.4.10 - Archive bible filing batch 2

26.4.10 - Archive bible filing batch 3
27.4.10 - Archive bible filing batch 4
29.4.10 - Archive bible filing batch 5
30.4.10 - Archive bible filing batch 6

In addition to the daily challenges, I'll have 5 mini-challenges each day:

Leave desk tidy at end of day

Each daily challenge is worth 5 points. Each mini-challenge is worth 1 point. I have 20 days of work here, so that's a maximum of 200 points.

(Obviously, today is all about getting email, paper, tasks and contracts up to date, so if I complete the main challenge today I'll score 4 mini-challenge points by default!)

At the end of the 20 days, I'm going to count up my points and reward myself as follows:

176-200 points - One day off work
151-175 points - Half day off work
126-150 points - One day off chores at the weekend
100-125 points - Half day off chores at the weekend
Under 100 points - Look over everything I've achieved and make a post to celebrate what I did do :)

Sound good?!

I think I'd better cross-post this to Daily Check-Ins so people have a clue what I'm doing...

Day 2 update

I did it! I slew the post monster today!



Free Glitter Graphics


Ahh! Thank you!!!

Ahh! Thank you!!!

Day 1 update :)

Well, I wasn't the MOST focused and productive I've ever been today :) but I did just about make it through without procrastinating! AND I've got my internet access back!

This means my moment of procrastination on Tuesday morning ruined three days. Worth avoiding! I have to say, though, that even those three days weren't a complete washout. I still did stuff. It was just horrible by comparison with where I had been.

Before all this went down, I had been planning to tackle my post monster this weekend.  I'm going to proceed with that plan, but cautiously, with lots of breaks and not expecting miracles of myself. Having the chatbox back will really help!

Clambering back on the wagon...

After a truly awful start today, I've gradually improved through the day - on the way to work I had one of those resolution moments where you're making the same resolution for the nth time, but for some reason it feels different and more real and you feel at least somewhat capable of keeping it. You feel like an individual with free will rather than a lump of sludge just lying there saying, 'I'm going to get up and run a marathon. I'm going to get up and run a marathon. I'm going to get up and run a marathon.'

Having said that, I didn't do perfectly today- I'm still getting used to the fact that I now need the same second-by-second discipline that I did when I started, and I did slip up a few times. But there's definitely been a sea-change, so I'm shooting for a procrastination-free evening and my first full day back on the wagon tomorrow.

Please wish me luck - I could do with some support right now!


I have fallen off the wagon and climbed back on many times. That phrase is in many of my past post. I am still here and plugging away and I have made so much progress.

You can do this, it is just a valley that you have to climb out of to get to the mountain top. Just remember that when you get to the top of the next mountain you will have to go through another valley. The good thing is that you have the moutain top insight. I happen to be in one now myself. So we can do this togther.



Thank you, hope-faith! This

Thank you, hope-faith! This is very much appreciated and just what I needed to hear. Oh yes, we CAN do this together. (((hope)))

Good stuff from

Even though I don't smoke, I was really inspired by a smokers' quitting website when I started this endeavour. I thought I'd revisit it today and felt the need to share this (slightly edited to cut irrelevant bits.)
Just replace 'smoking' with 'procrastination' and this is what I'm talking about :)

Many smokers fail at breaking free because they sell themselves on the lie that the mountain is just too big to climb.  Sadly, they've fed their mind such rubbish so long that it believes it as much as their name.  Still, it doesn't stop them from trying.  Every few years they'll take a few steps, stop and decide that the mountain is still too big.

It isn't that they are too lazy to climb, afraid of heights or lack the desire  It's that most convince themselves that there are just too many steps to take while having almost no insight into how many there actually are.  Not only do they not have a map home, they've forgotten who they were...  It's why those first steps into recovery are often taken on faith. But if faith is to survive challenge it needs to be nourished not starved.

Imagine loving to eat beef but thinking about dinner while picturing yourself having to eat an entire cow (actually a steer). That's about five hundreds pounds of beef. Impossible! It'd get pretty discouraging rather fast, wouldn't it! But that's how most new quitters think about quitting. The pit their dreams, desires and faith against the biggest mental meal imaginable, "forever", that success can only be achieved by quitting forever.

How does one consume 500 pounds of beef? One steak at a time. How do you navigate the most challenging period of nicotine detox and withdrawal, the first three days? One hour and challenge at a time! As for beef, the average American consumes about 60 pounds of beef per year and thus consumes an entire steer once every 9 years. But forget 9 years. As with ending a fine meal, celebrate each hour of freedom and healing for the full and complete victory it reflects.

We smokers are impatient people.  We want results now!  But it isn't our fault.  Our minds have been conditioned by our addiction to expect immediate relief from the anxiety of early withdrawal. 

Those successful at recovery all learned to control their impatience by ignoring the size of the cow and height of the mountain as they continue taking just one bite and one step at a time.  All lengthy tasks in life require baby steps in order to finish what we’ve started.  we can't build a beautiful wall with just one brick, receive a new baby after one month of pregnancy, obtain a college degree with just one class, or cook a delicious holiday dinner in seconds.  Imagine getting half the meal cooked and then leaving the kitchen or building half a wall and walking away.  Going the distance in life is normal.  Swimming half way across the river and stopping is not.

Do you dream of being free?  Is there any doubt in your mind that you can stop smoking for just one hour?  If so, you already have the building blocks needed break nicotine's grip upon your mind and life, but only if you fully accept the Law of Addiction, that just one powerful puff, dip or chew of nicotine and relapse is all but assured.

No subconscious crave episode lasts longer than three minutes but time distortion during recovery is as real as your name so be sure and look at a clock.  Keep your eye on the path and try not to look ahead and do your best to enjoy the hour, don’t dread it.  It doesn't have to be difficult and if you'll allow your dreams to flood your mind you may even find joy in it.  The hour could be flat and level or it might be a bit bumpy. Your subconscious mind might sense your calmness and dreams and relax along with you, or sense fear and begin issuing forth anxiety command that beg you to throw in the towel. 

Either way it’s just one hour, and so is the hour that follows.  See each hour of freedom as the full and complete victory that it is.   

With each passing hour you'll move closer and closer to that moment when the underlying current of anxieties (if any) begin easing off.  Be sure and get plenty of rest as a tired mind is easier to betray.  

Some of us have spent a large part of our life learning to be good little nicotine addicts.  Although it's not realistic for us to expect to learn to be a good little ex-smokers overnight, it is realistic to deeply believe that the next few minutes and that each is entirely doable!

Do you deserve to see what it's like being "you" again?  If you don't remember what it was like inside your mind prior to nicotine taking control don't feel alone as can.  Believe in your dreams and believe in you.  Don't be afraid as you're leaving nothing behind and everything you did while enslaved you'll again do as well as or better once free! Baby steps to glory! Freedom is your birthright and there's only one rule no nicotine today.  The next few minutes are doable and there's only one rule if followed provides a 100% guarantees of success - just one hour at a time, no nicotine today! 

Day 18 (or should that be Day 1) update

My relapse continued this morning and I ended up leaving home very late with a pile of days-old dirty dishes in the kitchen and missing my train - all behaviours from which my life has been blissfully free for the past two and a half weeks! It was a salutary reminder of the life I don't want to go back to.

It really is striking how much one moment of procrastination can wreak havoc. This really proves my theory that procrastination is the kind of addiction where 'just one' leads to a spectacular fall from the wagon. Which also brings me close to proving that it's a quittable addiction. All I need to do is make this last for longer than 17 days :) not only for my sake but for everyone here who hopes to do the same.

I'm reminding myself of the basic principles behind this endeavour:

Forget trying to do as much as possible - focus on procrastinating as little as possible, i.e. none at all

Give myself tons of planned breaks

Use the chatbox for support

Avoid even one moment of procrastination

Quit one day, one hour at a time

Lucky cold turkey

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lucky, I am not a naysayer, but I am frightened. It's going to be hard work. I'm new here and not familiar with much of this other than I do have an issue with procrastination. Looking around at my room I see the results of taking on more than I can focus on but I don't see how I can live without doing the things that need to be done all at the same time. So I'm here seeking help. I am having a hard time thinking of my behavior as an addiction but I guess it's because I am not versed in the language of this site.

Welcome, Beckteria! Trust

Welcome, Beckteria!

Trust me, we all get frightened :) and it it is hard work, but it's worth it.

I personally had no trouble with the idea of procrastination as an addiction. Reading Pro's article on the front page was an immediate 'aha' moment - I totally identified. But everyone's different - maybe my procrastination is an addiction and yours isn't.

However you think of it, you'll still find the support here helpful. Nobody is going to force you to believe anything. I too have trouble with breaking down tasks into manageable chunks and learning to ask less of myself, and I've found the daily check-in threads and the chatbox really helpful with that.


Thanks a bunch for the encouraging words Lucky. Just to clarify, I am not against knowing if I am or am not addicted (Most likely I am, lol). I think I'm floating on the river of de-Nile. A lovely coping tradition.

 I haven't begun to know where to start on making myself accountable to myself here. I've seen suggestions of starting with one or two goals per day so I have been procrastinating on which two! Tonight I did two: washed all my dishes and made myself a healthy dinner. Hardly a plan but I am a bit hard on myself. The nights young. Thanks again. P.S. I've been checking out the links folks post for helpful sites in calendering, freemind, etc.

Oh, we've all been up THAT

Oh, we've all been up THAT river... and I'm sure many of us here have procrastinated on our non-procrastination plans as well :) You say you don't know where to start, but you have started- well done on getting those two things done!

Seriously, healthy eating is a GREAT place to start. We neglect it way too much, and being properly nourished makes work seem so much easier.

The article of Pro's that I was banging on about is here, not on the front page, sorry. Well worth a read if you haven't already.

Up that river

It's unbelievable! I had read that initial opening post by pro and honestly it didn't ring my bells. Today after reading it again I am understanding some things about myself. Because I keep doing the same things! I've always "understood" that procrastinating was some kind of character flaw, weakness, flighty personality and for awhile there even due to my astrological arrangements! I have to laugh and I am! I have an addictive personality. I have a question... is there anyone who doesn't? I mean, if we all have suffered from procrastination and putting off reality at some time or another does that mean that all humans have addictive personalities? Just a thought.

Wow, I'm blown away with this. How creative we must be to always find other things to do except what we're supposed to do. What's so horrible about being here and now that I would rather do something else? I'm not asking for anyone to answer (unless you want to share your view). I'm just throwing thoughts out but it's likely most of you have come to terms with these things previously.

I completed emails I had to send out to teachers because of this. Of course I did not confess my REAL secret. Not living in the here and now. I contacted my debtors. I was ill and have no sick pay and got behind on bills.

 I'm so glad I read the part on Pro's post about how we spend time finding new ways to organize and then procratinate by learning how to use the tools. That's me. I wonder if it's genetic? My parents are both the same way.

I'm glad to know that it's not a time management issue. like a weight off my shoulders for the past 50 years of being handicapped by not using my time wisely. Remember seeing that on my report card as a child.

 Well, anyhow. Thanks for your ears everyone. And thank you Lucky for pointing me back to Pro's post. Thanks pro for being here for folks like me.


Beckteria, I'm delighted to

Beckteria, I'm delighted to read this :) and especially glad that you've got sone diffcult things done after coming to this realisation. (I KNOW contacting debt people is hard!) Well done and good luck on the rest of your journey - we're all here for you :)

Day 17 update 2

Even though it feels disappointing right now, it's actualy great that this has happened because it proves my theory. One short episode of procrastination is the same as one drink or one cigarette. Temptations I'd almost forgotten are back in full force. I used facebook during work. I got 'stuck' in the bathroom and had to hold my breath to force myself to move. I'm back at the level of needing constant vigilance.

So I'm going to go back to how I started. One day, one hour at a time. I can resist procrastination for the next hour!

Deciding right here and now to let myself off cleaning the rat cage tonight. It's something I find hugely challenging and in my current state I don't feel up to it. Everything else I'm going to work on as normal.

Day 17 update

Well, I can safely say I fell off the wagon this morning, just a bit. I had a couple of 10-minute wobbles over the weekend but this is the first time I've sat there and thought, 'Okay, I am definitely procrastinating' and not immediately done something about it. I was defeated by a pile of last night's washing-up. :)

As expected, this has had a knock-on effect and I've been none too productive on my commute and at work this morning. Just like having 'one drink'. 

However, I've done amazingly to make it through 17 days, I was expecting a lot more hiccups than I've had, and now I just need to reboot and go for it again, and use the knowledge I've learned to succeed even better this time.

I think over the past week or so I've made two mistakes: thinking, 'Okay, I'm capable of working now, so taking lots of breaks is a waste of time' (OOPS!) and not focussing hard enough on work when I am working. The two things tend to go hand in hand. Lesson learned!

I think my plans for the sleepiness project were a bit ambitious, but I have been doing a lot of the stuff I said I'd do and I have seen an improvement in my sleepiness. Haven't had the money to buy Slim-Fast, nuts, or anything else so far, but have finally got money today and am going shopping at lunchtime. On reflection, I'm going to try making up my own milk drink, which will be cheaper with more protein and less added sugar.

I had a hard choice to make between buying food and paying my internet bill - lack of internet has definitely had a bit of an impact on me - it's time-consuming to update my tasklist by phone and I often haven't bothered to check off things I've done, which leads to less motivation. But I'll be able to pay the bill in a couple of days anyway (YAY!) and I think it's just common sense that nutrition comes first.

I want to get serious about finishing everything on my tasklist. I'm tempted to view it as a quest - I usually have 5 sections to my day (before work, commute, work, lunchbreak, after work) and as some of you will know, knights tend to be obsessed with things that come in fives :) so let's say that each chunk of my tasklist represents one of five perils that I need to face in order to rescue a noble prince or princess. On days when I succeed I'll post a lovely picture of my rescuee. :)

Day 12 update

Day 12!

I don't know how meaningful my definition of not procrastinating is. I've definitely had moments. But it's always a moment, an 'argh, I've stopped, I'll start again', rather than 'argh, I've stopped... I CAN'T start again.' Definitely not had anything approaching a procrastination binge - touch wood!

I've actually not been using the chatbox at work this morning. I have two bosses who are in a position to see what I'm up to - one of them tends to be preoccupied and stay in his office, but the other - who's been on holiday since I started the cold turkey project - is in and out chatting to me all day long. She'd notice. She's back from holiday today and I just decided to see how I did without it. I've done fine, though I've had a really easy task this morning so no big challenge yet.

Sleep project: I'm going to try the following: (slight food/diet talk ahead)

Pray about it daily (how did I not think of this - ever?)

Glass of ice-cold water and one or two nuts for protein every half-hour (I need to work out a non-obtrusive reminder - play with phone!)

Do 1 or 2 mins of exercises in the bathroom whenever I go!!

Slim-Fast for meals and fruit for snacks (This kept me awake amazingly when I was on a diet a few years ago - I guess because the milk drinks are not only protein but liquid protein, so you don't have to do much digesting. Not going to follow the Slim-Fast plan strictly though.)

If sleepiness starts, PRAY and do several NLP swish patterns (this is where you make a mental picture of yourself having the problem and switch it with a picture of yourself as you'd like to be - so in my case, sleepy vs. wide awake and full of energy)

Self-hypnosis to fall asleep quickly at night > more sleep

Got a party in the office this afternoon, so need to resist the cakes and so on (though it's late afternoon so I might not get the blood sugar crash before home time - but not worth risking it.)

Going to do a bit of creative writing - I set myself half an hour but haven't left myself enough lunchbreak - I need to do my half hour at the START of lunchbreak, not the end!

Thanks, Falcon - you're a

Thanks, Falcon - you're a great supporter :)

You go, Lucky!


Souncs like you are doing great!

When you can't access the chatbox, remember that we are still here and on your side!


Day 11 update

I've found out that I can't pay my internet bill - I still have phone internet, but it's going to be about Day 20 before I can use the chatbox at home again. It's also quite slow and faffy trying to post my tasklist by phone, so I may end up keeping that on paper for a while and just checking in with a general 'here's how it's going'.

After just 10 days on the wagon, this is pretty early to be stepping down my dependence on PA! I had a panic about it last night, and my housemate pointed out that if I'm that terrified I have a little problem with dependency on/addiction to PA itself. :) And she's so right. And I do think that things happen for a reason and my HP wants me to go through this learning experience, thinks I'm ready, and intends to see me through it. Put that way, it's awesome that he thinks I'm capable of so much. And when your HP thinks a thing then it IS true... :) 

I'm also thinking a lot abut my sleepiness problems. I get incredibly sleepy in the afternoons at work, and even when I can stay awake, I often can't think straight and take ages to get anything done. I've always felt terribly guilty about this, even though it's clearly a genuine problem and I'm not falling asleep on purpose to be lazy. The sleepiness and the guilt between them have triggered a lot of my procrastination.

I've been doing a bit of research and I'm formulating a plan for staying awake better:

Eat protein for breakfast and lunch, and carbs for dinner (I'm planning a protein-shopping trip for Friday lunchtime when I've got some cash)
Get up and get a glass of ice-cold water every half hour
No sugary food/drinks at/before work unless for an incredibly good reason
No caffeine (I've already given it up for Lent - need to stay off it)
Eat a bit less (I'm looking to walk the line between sleepy from eating too much, and spaced out from not eating enough!)
Get some fresh air and exercise every lunchbreak
Do my arm and stomach exercises in the morning/at lunchtime rather than in the evening before bed (exercise makes you wakeful) - research exercises I can do without equipment
Insist on at least 7 hours in bed each night
Start work on learning to fall asleep quickly at night and learning to keep myself awake in the day using whatever mixture of prayer, NLP and self-hypnosis works

I'll put a bit of this into my tasklist for this evening, as I'm going to have some waiting around time.

Also, I'm finding my 5 min and 10 min task bursts too small and fiddly - today I'm on 15 min bursts because that's what all the cool kids in the chatbox are doing :) but tomorrow I'm thinking I'll switch to the 'Pomodoro Method' of 25 min bursts and 5 min breaks. This will hopefully enable me to stick to a timetable - I'll let you know how that goes!

Day 10!! update - With spiritual bit!

As anyone who's been following the Weekend Madness thread will realise, I had an awesome weekend. Several of us joined together to cheer each other on in an all-weekend workparty, and I think we all REALLY felt the benefit of each other's support. :) I managed to achieve all this!

2 hours of creative writing - my dream is to become a professional writer and I procrastinate on it hugely. I wrote half of a little fairytale about a wizard and his fool. I cannot remember the last time I just wrote, wrote, wrote for two hours solid and had trouble stopping. I feel like I can do this regularly now, and that gives me so much hope for my future.

EPIC room-cleaning marathon, which took me about 18 hours over two days. My room hadn't been tidy and I hadn't even fully unpacked since I moved house about 18 MONTHS ago. The room-clean included:

Making my bed properly for the first time in months
Fixing the mattress so I wasn't SLEEPING ON A SLOPE for the first time in months
Cleaning the rat cage (my poor rats had been living in squalor for a while and I was miserable about it every single day - pet guilt is the worst!)
Hoovering up the drifts of rat bedding that were all over my floor
Getting my BOOKS out and putting all my favourites on the shelves above my bed
And much more!

And making a bouquet of paper chihuahua-flowers for my housemate as a present from her dog...  

I can't believe this is day TEN and I'm still on the wagon. I had about 10 minutes on Friday which, if I was being brutally honest, I might have to count as procrastination :) but that's it.

I have a couple of challenges at the moment - I'm still slightly tired from the weekend (was KNACKERED yesterday) and my internet's down because I didn't pay my bill, so I can't use the chatbox at home. Plus I've strayed from doing short timed bursts at work to just pootling randomly from one task to the next as I normally do, so I think I need to pull my socks up in that respect.

(If anyone hadn't worked out that I'm British, they will after reading that paragraph... :D )

My bible reading for today was this:

John 5:2-9

Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids-blind, lame, and paralysed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, 'Do you want to be made well?' The sick man answered him, 'Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.' Jesus said to him, 'Stand up, take your mat and walk.' At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.

It took me a while to work out why I was tearing up at that!

In one of the other gospels  (I forget which) it explains that people believed an angel came and stirred up the water in the pool from time to time (I'm guessing a hot spring?) and whoever got in first after that would be healed.

I got the impression that this person, who couldn't walk, had been lying there every day for thirty. eight. years. No carer, no wheelchair, no realistic hope of getting healed because every time the water moved, somebody more able-bodied would charge past him and dive in first. But he still kept showing up, every single day, getting disappointed every day, and still crawling to the pool every. single. time. For thirty-eight years. His life was one long wait for a day that never came. One long cycle of trying and failing and hope and despair.

And then an HP showed up.

You know, people had probably been saying the same thing to him for years. 'Why can't you just GET UP? Why can't you just WALK?'

And then an HP said it. And suddenly, it seemed possible.

And suddenly, it was.

And that's why I was crying during my Bible reading today. :)