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.

Timecard honesty and procrastination

I am responsible for monitoring my own work time (work at home mostly). I ping-pong between procrastination and work-bingeing.  Some weeks I nearly kill myself pulling all-nighters to accomplish the impossible on a clients' unrealistic deadlines...or to pull out of procrastination and still make deadlines.  There's definitely been improvement since coming to PA, but this pattern persists.

I cannot seem to do much billable work if:
         1) there is no deadline pressure, 
         2) I recently work-binged,
         3) family problems are in play
         4) my pain levels are high (physical or emotional).

But when I have to turn in my timecard, my thinking goes like this:  How honest can I be and still bill 8 hours a day? Can I stretch :20 minutes of work into a billable hour?  Can I count that incoming client email as billable time even though I can't be sure if it took a minute or an hour to deal with it?  But if I'm rigorously honest I can only count 20 hours this week and then I can't pay bills!  But what about all those all-nighters I pulled, aren't they worth at least time and a half?  etc etc etc

My employer does not allow me to bill more than 8 hours a day, yet we never say no to a client even with an unrealistic deadline. It is expected in our small growing business that managers go to any length to meet and exceed expectations.  Nobody ever says I'm expected to pull all-nighters, but there seems no other way sometimes due to our no-brakes business, my own procrastination and/or poor time management skills.

Those weeks, my timecards show many fewer hours than I actually worked. Then I tend to feel I deserve some slack time afterward.  But when it's time to turn in my next timecard, I feel dishonest reporting 40 hours because I know I slacked.  Sometimes I spend HOURS poring through Outlook Journal trying to recapture every billable minute, to justify my timecard to myself and anyone else who might question it.

Other times, I just lie and assume I'll catch up another week when the deadlines are crazy - even while I know I already justified my slack week based on my last work binge.

I am 30 years in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction, 12 years from eating disorders, and 5 years from codependency. ALL those recovery programs heavily stress the need for rigorous self-honesty.  Yet here I am, 3 years into PA, and only NOW realizing how fundamentally dishonest I am in my compulsive procrastination!

My basic dishonesty about time feeds the guilt/indecision/procrastination/shame cycle.  Yet, I can't see how to square this timecard issue under my present employment circumstances.  I welcome input from my PA pals. Thanks in advance.

Wow, Agnus -

That first paragraph and your list could be describing me to a "T". The working at home; ping-ponging between procrastination and work-binging; pulling all-nighters to my detriment; the influence of family, recent binges, pain and lack of external pressure - ALL fit me too well. =/

My job and home life are so intertwined that it's almost impossible to determine how many hours I work on any given day. A couple of times, though, I kept logs of where my time went for every minute of every day over periods of weeks and found that I did, in fact, work at least 40 hours per week if not more - sometimes MUCH more.

So now I am not uncomfortable carrying that average around in my head and getting paid accordingly. Fortunately, I do not have to deal with billable time issues. I just have to send in time/task sheets verifying that I did work 40 hours and that I focused on x-y-z. Can you bill using that same "averaging" approach?

In the end, I am evaluated by what I produce, overall, and by student and family satisfaction levels. And I usually receive great reviews. Sooo, I am the one who suffers most for my procrastinating ways. The binges affect my health. The procrastinating limits the amount of time I have to give to myself and others outside of work and home. I saw two movies all summer - no vacation, no dates, no trips to parks or museums. Nothing.

So, I gotta keep working on it. We're all in this together, eh? (((Agnus)))

Agnus inspiration

I'm not sure that I can give much advice or perspective as many of the wise people here have already done. But, I do want you to know that you are an inspiration to me. Your continuous posting and seeing how much you get done on the lists that you post are evidence to me that you have more power than you may believe.

 Thank you for being here and for your honesty...

re: billable hours

feel ur pain.

yeah maybe ur over thinking this. i am prone to that too.

what i relate to in this is that even tho i DID do 80 hours last week, and only 20 this week, and so the average is STILL over 40/week, i would KNOW in my heart that my 20 should have been 40 and it was procrastination that prevented that.

everyone tells me that everyone else in the real world FUDGES things. it appears to me that this is true. it appears that no one much minds, ie, not even the company that's paying out the money for those hours. it seems there's a bit of wiggle room that "normal" people assume in any system. This all seems anathema to me, but i guess that's just cuz of my perfectionistic mindset.

so i know this is ur problem, but if it was me, it would be stuck between true guilt of procrastination and apparently legitimate fudging. i would probably fudge some, because it's what ppl do, and then just pray for forgiveness for the guilt. I'm a big fan of that "my sins are washed away" thing ;)

the touch of the master's hand:

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


I welcome input from my PA pals.

Well, Agnus, I honestly think you may be mixing apples and oranges (worse, mixing apple pie and orange juice....both equally yummy and digestable but not when mixed into one big bowl as messy concoction!)

Your own emphasis on inner honesty is heartfelt and amazingly laudable.

But if you ARE in this crazy deadline-driven environment and you are producing/performing and company has the constraints, well then, I think you are doing as best as can be expected.  This is NOT, in my mind, compulsive procrastination/shame etc rolled in a blender.  Perhaps your reaction here and there to how to do a task may have procras. elements but that does not mean the awful REALITIES of billing are avoidable to us mere mortals.  You are assigning a role to the billing in your head which may meet your current view of things & yourself -- but is it accurate?

Assigning great emotions and intensity to things we value can be very useful but not if it only seizes to paralyze us even further. (I found I was doing that in over-thinking memories from past failures into new alleged failures...and stepping back and looking at was only being prejudged as new failure by me.)

Simply put, beat yourself up for the stuff you are doing not as well as you can (foolish for me to be pretentious by saying anything else, knowing your dedication) but don't roll anything else into it, i.e. "just 'cuz" teenagers would say.

More simply put, Serenity prayer -- first part.

Ok, enough gibberish by me. And more simply put, Lighten up, Agnus. You are finer than you realize Cool



thanks MD

Yeah, I am probably overthinking this - "assigning a role to the billing in your head which may meet your current view of things & yourself -- but is it accurate?"  Friends often tell me I am too hard on myself.  And I've been running a bit negative lately  - seeing what's wrong and forgetting to appreciate the many things that are just right - good observation, thanks.

Methinks I've just focused my "what's wrong" anxiety on the billling issue - this time.  Like the carney game of whack-a-mole, I'll smack this manifestation down with some stepwork - and after awhile it will likely crop up somewhere else! :rolleyes:

I like the idea of apply Serenity Prayer Part A - to pray for serenity to accept that imperfect is OK - in my timecard, my life, myself. Just for today.


My thought: We strive for spiritual progress, not perfection.

In my last job, you would be amazed at what people do. (or should I say do not do)

My prayers are with you (and me) I have similar issues. You are "taking an average" until you find some other way to bill, this has to be ok for now.

thanks vic

Thanks for the reminder that we seek spiritual progress, not perfection.  Actually if I think back to where I started on the path toward recovery, it's amazing to even be asking such scrupulous distinctions of myself.  Back then, I literally couldn't be trusted eith a library card, nevermind a timecard! :D


Thank you and thank you for your courage to share this issue. I think so many of us have these kinds of issues. Because we believe honestly to be at the core of our recovery, we become tormented about it at times.

It is nice to know we will never be perfectly 100% spiritually perfect and I really appreciated that you had the courage to write about what so many of us think about.

It helps put things into perspective for everyone. I have library cards today as well, I forgot about that. thanks.