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.

Chronic procrastination of short, simple tasks -- and serious consequences

I'm new here. 
I have a serious problem procrastinating simple clerical tasks. They are usually jobs that require only a couple of minutes work, are not unpleasant, and have only positive consequences to being completed. Things like posting an already written letter, sending off a form, requesting or processing a payment. Eventually I often end up not doing the task at all, hoping nobody will notice.
This is something I've been living with for all my adult life -- about 15 years. Today the consequences of doing this have really hit me. I failed to process a request for a payment at work -- I just couldn't bring myself to do it for absolutely no reason -- it was a five minute job, if that. The person due to receive the money has complained (after mailing me about it several times -- again, I could not bring myself to action it). As a consequence all of my holiday is being suspended indefinitely. I was looking forward to the first summer holiday with my 10 month old baby, and my wife. So this simple procrastination is having serious consequences for me and people around me. There may be other consequences too when the dust settles. I was recently promoted but I'm not sure that will "stick" now.
I'm starting to realize that this is very different from the way most people procrastinate. I can understand procrastinating challenging or tiring jobs in favour of doing something more relaxing -- and I do plenty of that too -- but the behaviour I've described above is very different and extremely destructive to all aspects of my life. I'm hoping that there'll be others with similar experiences on the forum, who might be able to help.
Does this sound familiar to anybody else out there?

Chronic Procrastination



I have followed this column and I want to thank everyone.

Its good to know I am not alone. 

I find that after I use the column.  I can start  activitiesI

today I will do vacuuming

After that I need to do errands.

 Keep writing I love to read your ideas.





passive aggression

I realize this message was posted over a month ago, but just recently you are getting responses or just recently I saw it. What occurred to me when I read it was the role of passive aggression in procrastination - that not doing things can be a way of expressing resentment and anger. My mother used to express passive aggressive anger (which she denied vigorously) by being late. I don't know how you felt about the person whose money you held up by not taking the action, but were you angry at him for some reason?

I don't know you at all and I may be off base, but it's a thought. When the consequence of not doing something is to severely annoy someone around you, that may be the purpose of not doing it.


Big, small, important, trivial it is all the same. You are not alone...and that helps. Hug your kid(s) tell your wife she is beautiful and amazes you everyday. You may or may not get "things" and "tasks" done but feed words of love and encouragement into all and DAILY into those you love. It will help to heal the the self inflicted wounds of recrimination that procrastinating brings on.


After daily Prayer my Highest Priority is to SPEAK WORDS of encouragement into my family. No it doesn't check the task boxes but it sure as heck makes those around me feel and live more empowered better days.

"Swing Away"


Lovely reply, Vaio!!

Am going to copy and paste the first paragraph onto my a notepad to read, daily, for motivation.


Oh wow-I relate

I relate and have found that so many people here understand and relate to these issues.  I have tried to deal with my ongoing procrastination in many different ways, but nothing has helped me as much as using the tools provided on this site, and being surrounded by supportive members here.

Welcome and best of luck!! 



It happens

Hey Dave,

I suffer from both types of procrastination you've talked about (challenging projects and small tasks). I'm sorry to hear what has happened because of your procrastination but try to use it as motivation for change. At one point I read a book called "Getting Things Done" and one part of their system is "If you can get it done in 2 minutes, do it right now". So basically at some point you go through all your stuff and make a list of what you need to do, either write the task, delegate the task to someone else, or if it can be done in two minutes, force yourself to do it. We're all on this forum so we know how difficult it can be to actually do it but the feeling of accomplishment after finishing even a small 5 minute task is well worth it!


I put off all kinds of

I put off all kinds of small stuff: phone calls, laundry, bills, even taking a shower.  What you're describing sounds really familiar.



 Welcome. Yes, very familiar. I would try to explain to other in my other 12 step programs, and they would just say "Oh I do that too" but it did not seem to bother them.

The biggest jolt was I always believed when I stoped using food, drink,  big stuff, that somehow magically I would not procratinate. I always believed it was because... Not to say that I am not better, but still practise your above captioned examples, don;t know why and even if I did it would not make me stop. This isthe only place I found that is "safe", and "people understand" "especially the self criticism and suffering we go through" Keep coming back.


OH YES. I can do the big stuff -- sometimes -- but in last couple of yrs, these clerical things have been extremely debilitating and mesmerizing for me.  I let these things CONSTANTLY lately build up.  I have money in account and can't bring myself to just open the bill and pay it! You know the story, Dave. You are not lazy, Dave. You are not alone. I am one of you. Welcome to the recognition of the abyss.

Thank you

Thanks for your support. I feel beside myself at the moment. It's good to know I'm not alone but that doesn't make me any less angry with myself, or the consequences easier to bear. :( 

Hi Ukulazy

Oh boy, I think you will find a lot of people with that flavor of procrastination.  I definitely do it.   I will delay making a bank deposit that would keep me on top of my finances e.g, but I even put off doing things that are enjoyable!  There is no limit with me! 

But truly, I have found in addiction, it's like trying to label different alcohilc behavior:  Oh, I only get drunk on weekends.  I only drink wine and beer.  I only binge drink, I never drink in the mornings.  What matters is that you identify yourself as an alcoholic (or in our case, procrastinator) and just take the whole program as is.  Your specific issues will come up in different ways, but as long as you stick to the main game plan you WILL start to recover.  Try reading the book Alcoholics Anonymous and substituting the term "compulsively procrastinate" for "drink" - it's amazing.  That book is also referred to as the Big Book.



Action PRECEDES "figuring it all out!"




Thanks Julie. Of course I have had the desire to sort this out for years but never known how to do it. It'd be great if the 12-step approach can help. I've not thought of it as an addiction before seeing this site... but it does feel like that. As if there's something comforting in knowing that you've got things hanging over you, even though it's terrifying too.