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 :)


Thanks for sharing as many times as I have read that passage, heard preachers use it as  sermon I never connected it to him waiting day in and day and not giving up. I thought more of a poor soul who waited for someone to help him someone who was helpless and could not do for themselves. Not someone strong in spirit who waited patiently with  shear will and determination hoping and waiting for his turn in the pool day in and day out. God reveals what he needs to reveal at the right time.

"There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2 

Dear Heavenly Father  How great thou art, you have given me life. A life that allows me to make choices.  Right  from wrong good from bad. I pray dear heavenly father that you will give me the knowledge and the wisdom to make these choices in a way that will glorify you. That when I make these choices your light will shine through me. And will allow me to touch the lives of those around me. I know my heavenly father that this is a tall request and that I do not know all the outcomes of. But I ask you my gracious heavenly father that you will give me the strength and  courage to see these choices through. Thank you dear heavenly father for the many and wonderful blessing you have sent my way. 

It is in your name that I do pray these things Amen.

I found it during our "Weekend Madness" Event while I was cleaning out some old paper work so that I could make room for my Christams stuff. I had written on two sticky notes. I am amazed at how much God has blessed me over the past 12 years.

One of those blessing is everyone here.


That's absolutely wonderful

That's absolutely wonderful - thank YOU for sharing. And you've definitely touched some lives around here :)

re: the pool at bethesda

i think you've explained why i connect with that passage so well also. He is disabled. I am disabled. And yet hope and help come from HP when i couldnt do it myself. It's so dang hopeful!

the touch of the master's hand:

"fall down seven times, get up eight" - japanese proverb

Day 6 quick update

I survived the afternoon at work, and the party (I ended up having several drinks, but still came home and did everything on my after-work tasklist and got to bed without procrastinating, and got up on time this morning. Really proud of myself!)

re: day 6

i feel we've completely under-explored the relationship between procrastination and alcohol lol :P

(seriously, tho, maybe that's because with our addictive personalities, alcohol is something we should be very careful abt)

the touch of the master's hand:

"fall down seven times, get up eight" - japanese proverb

Day 5 update

(Yes, my day-counting is all over the place - I put 'Day 3' yesterday because I was right at the beginning of Day 4 and didn't have anything to say about it yet...)

I'm still on the wagon! I've had some 'oh no, did I just procrastinate?' moments, but I haven't had one moment when I KNEW I was procrastinating - that helpless-angry, panic-pleasure, out-of-control addict feeling. Not since Saturday, and it's getting easier.

I'm interested and appalled to realise that some of my 'oh no, did I just procrastinate?' moments are over the smallest things - the favourite would be taking a few seconds to SQUEEZE A ZIT. Sorry to be graphic, but I'm astonished to realise how harsh I was being on myself, especially as those guilt-over-nothing moments are big procrastination triggers for me.

I'm being helped by Clement's comment on 'three circles'. In between procrastination and total productivity there are things like taking a few minutes to chat to a friend, or to make an unscheduled cup of tea. And you know what? THAT'S GOOD.

I've been getting up on time, I've been getting to work on time, I haven't lingered in the bathroom because I couldn't face getting back to work, I haven't goofed off on the internet when I was supposed to be working, I haven't just sat down on the floor when I was supposed to be doing housework, I haven't lost an hour and wondered where it went. I still have a lot of room to improve my speed and focus, but still, wow.

I've got a few challenges coming up for which prayers would be welcome:

Making it through this afternoon at work - I'm sleep-deprived after packing my housemate off on an early plane this morning.

Party tonight - I need to stick to one drink. Alcohol lowers self-control and the last thing I want is to get drunk and fall off the procrastination wagon.

The next few days - from now until Monday night I'll be alone in the house, and being alone has been a big procrastination trigger in the past (though when I cope, I cope really well - I seem to find a massive box of self-reliance under the bed.)

Speaking of things under the bed, I'd really like to use the alone-time to (at least partly) clear up my chaotic bedroom. Big challenge!

Yay, Lucky!

Yay, Lucky!  You've taken on a big challenge, and you're doing great with it!  I'm impressed and inspired!  Keep keeping us posted on how it goes. . .


Thank you, Falcon! I

Thank you, Falcon! I will :)

Let's keep tabs on each other Sat/Sun

Lucky, I've got my own thread, and sad to say, I'm having a tougher week than last week. While I'm trying something different than "cold turkey", I see we have the "alone in the house is a big procrastination trigger" thing in common.

So, how about we keep an eye on each other this weekend? Maybe agree to check into chat frequently during those two days to give each other pep talks and advice. I need to have a very productive weekend this weekend, so I'd be a very motivated/motivating partner for you.

It's just a thought...Whether you agree or not, no problem, just offering an idea.

Good luck with your method. I'm rooting for you!   Laughing



Two is company 3 is ....


Do you mind if I jump on this boat with you two. I too have alot to get accomplished this weekend and would love to work with you two this weekend.

I was thinking this am that I have not met my goal for the week. As I was reflecting on my accomplishment for the week, I realized that I have set my routines in place so that I could try and overcome procrastination. My routines have helped me do that eventhough I did not hit my goals.

One of the problems that I have that causes my procrastination is that I have so much to do that I do not know where to start so I do not start. (I really do not accomplish much on the weekends.) Well this weekend starting at about 7:00 Friday I am going to go back to my routines and try and complete the task that I was not able to accomplish through the week. As I accomplish them I can change my :-( to :-).

Have a great and productive day on Friday.




Seconded - Hope, I'd love to

Seconded - Hope, I'd love to have you on board :)

Hi, sure join us Hope!

As I just mentioned to Lucky in chat, I'll only be checking there a few times during the day Fri, but from Fri night-Sun night I'll be on quite often. 

 Good luck to you and Lucky both! Laughing

Huma, that's a brilliant

Huma, that's a brilliant idea - I'm up for it :) Thank you!

So far so good. Please

So far so good. Very well done.  Please schedule some rest too.

gratz lucky!

Lucky said

"I've been getting up on time, I've been getting to work on time, I haven't lingered in the bathroom because I couldn't face getting back to work, I haven't goofed off on the internet when I was supposed to be working, I haven't just sat down on the floor when I was supposed to be doing housework, I haven't lost an hour and wondered where it went. "

Every time you get up and get back in the race, one more little piece of you starts to fall into place - (from "Stand" by Rascal Flatts)

Day 3 update

Just a quick note to let you know I'm still hanging in there! Sleep-deprived today, so this is going to be interesting... :)

Day 2 update - Made it through work!

Well, I made it through work with liberal use of the chatbox and 5 and 10-minute task bursts. The afternoon was a lot harder than the morning - sleepiness and phases of finding it incredibly hard to think, feeling confused and almost panicked by the simplest tasks - those were the times when I'd normally procrastinate but I managed to keep going, just more slowly!

Even so, those phases were quite short - I'd think well under an hour of the day in total - and overall the day was much MORE enjoyable and LESS exhausting than when I was procrastinating. Very early days, but right now, this is looking possible.

i'm interested in updates

well this is a fascinating experiment for you to take on and share with us. I'm very interested in how it goes for you.

If i were doing this, one of the HUGE problems i'd have to face is what to do with failure. "cold turkey" would be setting me up perfectly for trouble--one failure and the whole thing is blown! I'd have to prepare for that and handle it.

I always like the AA phrase "My name is Bill. I'm an alcoholic. It's been X days since my last drink." Doesnt matter what X is. 1 day (even hours, minutes!) or 1000 days. If i could get myself to believe in this, i think it would help me a lot with failure.

something i learned on this site: the non-cold-turkey *Anonymous'es use something called the "three circles tool." all i know about it is that they categorize their behavior around the addiction in 3 categories, something like:

ideal (center of the circle)
acceptable (middle ring)
addiction (outermost ring)

and their focus is to move from outermost to innermost. but in this case they accept movement from outer to inner, even if it doesnt fully reach the center.

i can see wisdom in that, and that seems to be what most people do here.

but to my knowledge, no one has tried the cold-turkey approach. Well ppl have gone cold-turkey on a single aspect of their procras, eg moving their computer out of their house, etc.

that's why i'm interested in this experiment.

May god's strength go with you!
the touch of the master's hand:

"fall down seven times, get up eight" - japanese proverb

I like the AA phrase and the

I like the AA phrase and the 3 categories idea - I am indeed going through fear of failure :) and that might help me if I do slip.

Thank you for being interested - and THANK YOU for that lovely blessing, prayer, or whatever it was at the end - Amen!

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

A great way of looking at it!   

Every time you get up and get back in the race, one more little piece of you starts to fall into place - (from "Stand" by Rascal Flatts)

Day 2 progress report

First morning at work has gone really well - I used the techniques I talked about in my reply to Falcon - it's actually been so easy and pleasant I'm wondering when the hard part is coming! Staying vigilant though because I know procrastination cravings are bound to hit at some point.

My worst moment was in the loo (bathroom) which is always a procrastination spot for me - I'm determined not to have a moment of 'can't move/won't move' and I very nearly got myself stalled in the loo (as it were!!) because I took a few seconds longer than necessary and nearly collapsed into 'argh, is this it, have I procrastinated and broken it?' Then I realised how ridiculous I was being and got myself out of there.

Keep us posted, Lucky!

Wow, Lucky, that sounds like quite an experiment!  

I've always thought of procrastination as being more like compulsive eating or sexual addiction, where one can't give up the behavior altogether (as one can with alcohol/drugs) but has to engage in it in a healthy way rather than a destructive one.

But with your definition, I can see where a "cold turkey" approach might work.

Let us know how it goes! 


Thanks for commenting! Very

Thanks for commenting! Very good point - I agree that procrastination is like compulsive eating or sexual addiction. But that's exactly it - it's like compulsive eating or sexual addiction. It's not a human need like food or sex (even though it sure feels like one sometimes!)

Compulsive eating is when I lose control of my use of food. Recovery is when I have a healthy relationship with food. 
Sexual addiction is when I lose control of my use of sex. Recovery is when I have a healthy relationship with sex.
Procrastination is when I lose control of my use of time. Recovery is when I have a healthy relationship with time.

I had a great day yesterday, completed everything on my tasklist other than the mammoth ebay-selling task, which turned out to be well over a day's work.

Today I'm going to face the challenge of a day at work without procrastination! I got through yesterday by giving myself very frequent short breaks, and I can't do that at work, so I need to think about my strategy. I'm thinking:

* Use the chatbox. If people see they see.

* Use frequent task-switching - only 5 mins on one task, 5 mins on the next, etc

* Work a 5 min break into the cycle after every 1/2 hr work (I think that's reasonable-ish...)

I think I can do this - wish me luck!!