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.

Conscious and Unconscious Procrastination

Sometimes I ~know~ I'm procrastinating. A part of my brain will be saying 'you'd better start such-and-such' and another part will pretend not to have heard, or will stuff the voice down, or say 'I'LL DO IT AFTER THIS' (a common one, which tends to result in whatever 'this' is lasting a long long time - a time binge in fact!).

Sometimes, however, the fact that I'm procrastinating doesn't reach consciousness for a long time (or, by extrapolation, there are probably times it doesn't reach at all). The timer can come in handy for this, but if the part of me that wants to procrastinate has effectively managed to block the task from consciousness, then I won't even be thinking of starting the task, never mind setting the timer. When I'm doing a really big procrastination, I even neglect to look at my Task List, tickler file, and diary - and I don't even notice (these are normally part of my everyday routine).

Now I'm wondering if just having thought about it will help me overcome it, or if there is anything else I can do. Has anyone else here experienced this, and if so were you able to do anything about it?


lost in a daze...

I totally relate! Procrastination, for me, is a form of escapism (addictive behavior), and as such I completely lose myself when I'm doing it - often, anyway. It's when I'm so lost that I don't even realize I'm procrastinating that I'm being most addictive about it.

Unconcious procrastination

Well it's six months since I posted my comment so here's some feedback. Yes, having thought about it has had ~some~ impact. I'm certainly not doing it as much as I was, but I ~am~ still doing it some of the time.

What seems to have emerged is a pattern of procrastination which comes in waves. My life used to be such a mess, I procrastinated all the time and was constantly overwhelmed - I had trouble knowing where to start. Now (six months later) that is no longer the case. Most of the time I ~do~ have a good idea where to start (get up and get dressed works well for me!), and I rarely feel overwhelmed.

But now I go through procrastination 'phases' that last anything from a day to two weeks (the two weeks one has only happened once in six months). It can take me a few days to realise I'm even ~in~ such a phase, and it's difficult to get out of it, but it doesn't feel so bad because now I know that I ~can~. I had the bright idea of keeping a log of these phases, but of course if I'm deep in procrastination I don't keep the log (I think this is why The Now Habit hasn't been very successful for me).

So the upshot is, I still have it, but not as bad, and still looking for ideas to iron out the times when I get it. I have wondered if planned breaks may be the idea, and have started experimenting with taking them! I recently started to experience the 'guilt-free play' that the procrastination books talk about, so I think I'm ready!

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seeing improvement! - cool, Normy!!

That's WONDERFUL that you are seeing improvement in your procrastination. What a great post! :)

Seeing improvement

A lot of it's thanks to the techniques posted here pro. A lot of the time I think we procrastinators are looking for something really clever and deep and complicated, when really we could just start ~one~ simple thing and it would start to make our lives easier. Like bookending. Or stopping time bingeing. Or using a timer (and autoshutdown on the computer in my case). I've been adding one new habit at a time, and six months later they've added together to make a phenomenal difference.

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That sounds really encouraging, Normy.
Time bingeing - if I understood it correctly - is something I tend to do. Especially with the internet or TV or cleaning. With cleaning, it works to stop with a timer but with TV or internet, the distraction is often too big to be conscious of what I am doing. I could also set a timer? The question is, if I will really stop...


Will I stop?

When I use a timer, sometimes I stop, and sometimes I don't. But if I don't use a timer I just don't! Simple answer - use the timer and you'll do it at least some of the time! That's definitely an improvement.

And there are tips and tricks to using timers too - here are a couple:

1) I've got one in each room, because if I have to go into another room to find it either I don't or I get sidetracked.

2) Use a computer one that auto-repeats. I found myself 'cheating' a lot with a normal timer (took me a while to figure out what I was doing - crafty the mind, isn't it?). I'd set it for 15 mins, and then instead of re-setting it for the next 15 mins of whatever was next I'd leave it 'for a minute' 'just to finish this', and the minute would turn into a time binge. The auto-repeat one has the advantage that it doesn't stop for 'just a minute'.

3) Disadvantage of the auto-timer is that I know it's every quarter of the hour, but if don't note when I started I don't know at which quarter hour I'm due to stop (maybe I should use different tones for the different quarters?) so sometimes I set a real timer ~as well~. Sounds like overkill, but sometimes I got to pull out all the stops!

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what is "time-bingeing"

Anouk - I wrote an article about time-bingeing, if you're not clear what it is. If you click the Articles button at the top of the page you'll see a list of them.