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.

On my journey to graduation

This is a copy and paste of my introduction... 

Hello everybody !

My name on the site is Perfectly_Human for I have just read The Now Habit by Neil Fiore and I liked the expression very much since I have always had a BIG problem with perfectionism. Since my early childhood, my mother has never been satisfied with any of my results. As a consequence, I became a very good student (but quite an unhappy one) and a great procrastinator... 

Currently, I am doing a PHD in an Asian country. I am a second year student. But my thesis hasn't started yet. Terrible, isn't it ? Well, the first year, I spent my time doing three major things : trying to forget the biggest love of my life (who dumped me the first month I entered the doctoral program) ; attending the compulsory courses of the first year (no more course from the second year) and asking myself what I was doing in a doctoral program (apart from the scholarship I got, I had not a clue).

Eventually, the second year started and I decided to give it a try. My motivation rose tremendously after reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and I started to work crazily, inhumanly, 11 hours a day, 6 days a week. The result of my workaholism ? I exhausted myself ! And I ended up doing nothing for nearly 2 whole months. So since the beginning of September, I am looking for a balance.

No more Jack Canfield's «Push it to the limit !» But Neil Fiore's «Play more - Work less, but better !»

I really want to make it. I want to complete my PHD and preferably... ALIVE !

As it is the biggest and longest project of my life, it is also the scariest. So any support will be more than welcome !

After reading The Now Habit, I tried to work 5 hours a day just as he says. It lasted 6 days. Then, it was followed by 4 days of procrastination and masochism (eating more than I should, watching desperately movies after movies, and so on). What happened ? Well, during those 6 days, as I was progressing slowly (but effectively), an inner voice would come and say louder and louder to me : «You are not working enough ; You will never make it at that rhythm ; You should quit right away ; No use ; What you write is not good enough...». And I quit... well, four days. This is when I decided to join you !

In personal development books, they say that it takes 21 days to install a new habit. So I would like to come and post everyday (on weekdays) after my 5 hours of work, for at least the next 3 weeks and maybe... till the graduation if it is working well !

So come and drop me a line anytime at the Special Projects and Master Lists ! I will definitely appreciate it.

Forgive me if my English is a bit strange from time to time. I am an European but English is not my mother tongue. 

Thank you in advance and good luck to everyone ! We can make it ! 

Checking time

I found this week harder to concentrate. I tried to count my time of REAL work with a timer, stopping it when I would take a cup of tea or talk with my fellows in the lab. As a result ?

Monday : 5 hours

Tuesday : 3 hours and a half

Wednesday : procrastination day

Thursday : 4 hours 50

Friday : 3 hours

Since I did not do anything on Wednesday. I plan to work on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday.

I think the timer is a good thing. I realized that 5 hours of real, intense, quality, focused work is quite exhausting... 

Going the distance

OK, I worked. I tried to do my best but for some reason, I did not appreciate my efforts as much as I should have. I wondered why. I guess I was not focusing on the most important. My professor asked me to move on, to move to the next subject. So I did what he told me but in the corner on my mind I could not help thinking about the articles I should write again. So I have decided to try again. Maybe my professor asked me to do something else so I can feel myself the urge to do it again... Have no idea, but will focus on my articles one more time from tomorrow.

Moving on

After my presentation last Friday, I took two days off for I thought I needed a rest. 

On Monday, I wanted to go back to work but I did not know what I should do exactly and I was depressed by all the critics I had received... So the temptation to procrastinate was great but instead of running away, I immediately went and saw my professor. We talked about the presentation and he gave me a clear thing to do for the next two days.

On Thursday and Wednesday, I tried to do the work, but was not really into it. I was certainly not in the flow state. I guess it was the consequences of the harsh criticism I had received so I did not force myself. But I seriously reflected on my compulsive email checking and decided to stop checking my email for 9 days. Just to prove myself I can live without it.

As a result, Thursday and Friday were great. I worked well and used my free time intelligently. It was actually amazing to see how much I could do in one single day. I want to take control of my time, use it on purpose.

Things clicked when I read about the marshmallow experiment. I want two marshmallows in 15 minutes ! In other words, a mail box full in 9 days ! And focus on what really matters the rest of the time. 

I read about the marshmallow experiment in the article «Breaking the Email Addiction» on Tony Schwartz's blog. For those who are interested...

thanks Perfectly_Human--a new tool?


Thanks for that, Perfectly_Human. I thought it provided a really helpful insight, maybe one to work into a new tool here?

Something like--I acknowledge that e-mail and other internet activities are a 'hot' stimulus and I will choose to practice ways of consciously reallocating my attention. Turning off e-mail for set intervals lets me free my attention and will-power to focus calmly on important tasks...


Thank you Chickadee

Thank you Chickadee for your comment and posting the link (I wasn't sure I could do that on the forum...)

Usually, I take one day off a week but this week, I decided to take two. Felt like it. So actually, I opened my mail box yesterday after 8 days without opening it ! I survived ! And got 8 mails ! I was really happy and took a few hours to answer to them. I love it especially as I live far away from home. I enjoy having news from my family and friends so much !!!  

I strongly believe that not opening my mail box during my days of work really helped me to focus on what matters and spend my free time better than if I had stood behind my computer... It also reduced my aimless Internet wandering which I used to do after checking there was no mail... In 8 days , I only procrastinated 30 minutes on Internet. Two thumbs up !

I can't say the temptation wasn't there but I resisted it and intend to continue.

Facing the facts

On Friday, I presented the two articles I have been working on for several months to my three professors but they told me that it was unpublishable. This week-end, I took a break for I have been working a lot on it and I am tired. But I don't feel depressed. I remember Neil Fiore's sayings and tell myself it's part of the game, part of the process, that I can't do it right from the start, that I'm learning along the way... So here I go again. I will just write them again from the start ! Starting tomorrow morning !

Going well

OK, recently, I am not writing 2 new pages a week.. I am rewriting again and again two articles that I decided to send by the end of November. It is actually a huge work for the level is very high and I have to be published if I want to graduate, so I am rewriting again and again, long hours after long hours but it's getting better all the time. Some parts are ok now but others still have to be rewritten again...

I don't count the hours. I don't know if the log thing, the schedule or the unschedule work. I find I'm better without it. I think when you have decided from your own will that it is what you really want to do it, you just do it. It comes naturally. Before, I was scared, doubting and «in the confusion of the "have to" message» (Now Habit p.60) But I am out of that and everything goes well now, smoothly.

I also realize that it's important to distinguish procrastination from physical and mental recovery. When my body says NO MORE, I take a day or a day and a half off without guilt (for I worked really hard and I deserve it). I know, I am a workaholic. I tend to push it to the limit but I try now to listen to my body.  

Makes sense


Thanks JestRight ! And lot's

Thanks JestRight !

And lot's of love ! 

Going the distance

I am working very hard and enjoying it. I don't count the hours but try to be nice with myself : taking breaks, rewarding myself with what I like, whenever I reached an objective or just my limit of the day.

I know I am doing well and just have to keep the good work.

Today, I got a negative comment from my professor. I try not to take personally and tell myself that he only wants me to do better, that I can make my paper even better.

I will definitely get better if I keep doing my best every day like I have been doing these past few days. So that's what I intend to do.   

It's just that tonight I feel I surely have a long way to go...     

I am back !

I did not post recently, not that I was procrastinating but that I was studying ! Yep ! I am doing great right now and God, it surely feels good when you simply do what you have to do without asking yourself question, judging yourself or torturing yourself (with too much chocolate for instance...).  

So what happened ? Well, I truly decided that it was what I wanted to do. I also realized that I did not have any time to lose if I wanted to graduate in 2013. So I committed. I told my professor that I would write at least 2 new pages a week and asked him to read them. I am really blessed for he accepted ! Do you know many professor who would do that ??? So I will give him my 2 pages every Friday at our seminar and he will give me his opinion on Tuesday late afternoon, even very briefly.

So these past few days, I was quite busy. I actually wrote 3 pages.

I am not sure I will keep posting every day. Maybe once a week. Something like that.

I like to do some running early in the morning. It helps me to focus on my studies afterwards.

And I try to resist to check my mails in the morning for it doesn't help me at all to focus on my studies afterwards.

Thank you JestRight for your comments ! I appreciated it very much ! We have been educated a certain way but we have the ability to change and become the person we want ! I wish you strength and faith in yourself ! 

What a great plan!

I just read all your posts and wanted to say that your plan to give your prof 2 pages per week sounds great. I'm glad he's willing. I wish all the best!

Hi Mollie2007 ! Thank you !

Hi Mollie2007 !

Thank you ! I think it is too ! You probably know the blog Zenhabits, don't you ? Well, according to this man, the motivation hack number 2 (out of 20) is to make a big public commitment, but I did not really understand what he meant because telling my friends I am going to write 2 pages a week or writing on PA I am going to write 2 pages a week did not change anything to me. I could do it or not. But telling it to my teacher is real commitment because he is REALLY busy and I can't afford to make him lose his time. It's what he calls «positive public pressure» on the blog. Now I have a promise to keep. I put myself into danger. It's not negative. Danger can be exciting. Besides, it's the only way to succeed in my case. Well, that's what I thought....

Love your cat's image Smile and thanks for commenting. I really appreciated it !

Love Zen Habits

Hi Perfectly_Human,

Yes, I read Zen Habits & Leo Babauta's stuff elsewhere as well. And I totally agree -- the way you've made that public commitment, to your prof, seems like it would be really motivating in a positive way. Good for you! And thanks about the cats. :)

PHD - Perfectly Human's Degree

Hello "Human",
Enjoyed your introduction. Just came from my Chinese doctor, so reading something from Asia seemed appropriate!

My perfectionism was created in repsonse to both parents, and was "perfected" in the academic environment. So I am quite familiar with what you are going through!

Btw, you are really on the road to health, being able to talk about the successes and the failures as clearly as you do. Good for you!


Procrastination ? No more !

Yesterday was a bit special, there was a presentation of the Master's students. It lasted about 5 hours and I had to attend it.

But I worked 4 hours after that on my plan ! It is not finished. I think it's going to take some time to finish it but it is taking shape... 

With or without procrastination...

Ok, yesterday was not so bad. I went to the swimming pool. I read the short story for my Friday seminar and did some exercises to improve my japanese.

But I did not start the most important... the rough plan of the coming weeks, months and years...

Today, I did not start either... I attended a seminar for 3 hours and a half and did a 2 hours exchange (one hour of English conversation against one hour of correction of my thesis). So it was 5 hours and a half of work but not real active work...

Anyway, I took an appointment with my professor for Friday so I would really like to do this plan tomorrow and talk about it with him on Friday.




I LIKE it!

No more

I don't want to spend another day like yesterday. 

Today, I want to make a rough plan of what I would like to achieve for the coming years, coming months and coming weeks. I think my main problem is that I do not have a clue where to go and where to start. It is time to roll my sleeves up. Because I surely won't make it if I keep doing what I have been doing for a year and a half.

Yesterday, I read something that really shook me up :




I know my japanese is regressing and I know I was really happy when I was working very hard. I don't want to regress anymore. I want to work again and enjoy it (so not like a mad man...). 

So today :  

  • a plan of what's waiting for me
  • a short story to read (I am a student in literature)
  • some japanese language exercices
  • swimming-pool (sport is important when you study all the time)  

Wish me strength, faith and peace !

Love to everyone reading this ;-) 

I procrastinated all day long

I feel terrified. I have this feeling I will never be able to do it so it's no use trying. Sometimes I want to go back to my country but I do not have a clear idea of what I would do there professionally. I am also afraid I would regret quitting... I feel like s... (sorry) 

Well, I did procrastinate on

Well, I did procrastinate on Wednesday. Why ? It was a bit special. I had two appointments. One at 4 pm and another one at 6 pm with a friend staying at my place. I could have worked until 4 pm but I noticed that I tend to stick to my routine when I have nothing special planned for the day and to procrastinate on days where there are some special events... I want to be more flexible.

Eventually, I spent the Thursday with my friend. I do not consider I procrastinated. It was more like a day off. 

I should have gone back to my studies on Friday but I did not feel like it. I do not want to force myself anymore. I want to find the desire to study again. I want to do it because I feel like it, not because I should. So, Friday was another day off. But in the evening, I watched Rocky 1 again (good for my motivation) and did some visualization before sleeping. 

I guess it was good for, this morning, I woke up early, did some running and worked about 2 hours out of 3 spent in the lab (the rest of the time I read for my pleasure).

Now, it's lunch time. Maybe I will work a bit this afternoon.

If I feel like it... 

Hello Human! <Always wanted to say that to someone ;)>

Nice of you to apply visualization to help you in your work. Keep going.

Thank you Vali

Thank you Vali for your encouragement ! It is supposed to work so I intend to do it tonight. I hope I will be able to turn it into a habit... That would be great.

By the way, I went back to the lab in the afternoon. I only worked a full hour but I made progress in my work ! 

Well Done, Human

The act of getting in there and getting started is ALL. How long one works past the first 1/2 hour is a separate matter, unrelated to procrastination. Congratulations on a GOOD day!

I procrastinated all

I procrastinated all day... 

Yesterday night, when I went to bed, I heard this voice saying me louder and louder to me : «You should stop ; No meaning ; Think of finding a job instead of pursuing this thesis». And it was there in the morning too... I was so confused. Should I go back to my country immediately ? Should I go back to my country at the end of the scholarship (after a year and a half) ? Or should I go back to my country after the graduation no matter how long it takes ? Could not find an answer... 

Day two I was tired today.

Day two I was tired today. It's a consequence of last week's procrastination since I stayed on Internet, going randomly from one site to another, very late every night... But I did work today.

In the morning, I wanted to do 3 hours, but I really worked 2, putting in order all the ideas of my second part. The third hour was more a time of preparation, collecting the quotes I will use from books or files on the computer. I did not procrastinate.

In the afternoon, I wanted to do 3 hours, but again, I did about 2, reading the first part again and correcting it before starting the second one. I tried to write the beginning of the second part (three lines and a clear idea of what's coming next) but I stropped after 30 minutes because I was forcing myself and I do not want to resent my studies anymore.

Now I am at home posting on the site and I feel good because it's nice to have something to report ! But mostly because I was deeply touched by your encouragements !


Thank you for coming ! I will keep posting ! Be sure of that. Today, it was a bit the reward of the day !


I am glad I have on the forum a «senpai» as the Japanese say (an elder, a former doctoral student in this case) and congratulations on finishing your doctorate ! About 30% of the students quit... So congratulations ! Even if it's a bit late... And thank you for cheering me up ! I will come and post everyday. I can already feel it is going to do me good... Thank you from all my heart.


Congratulations on finishing you Master's thesis ! I know this fear of the whole project. I am still struggling with it everyday. But I will keep in mind your idea of completing one sentence after another. Like you, I can be pretty serious when I have to read lots of documents for hours and hours but when it comes to writing, it's a different thing. I can spend hours and hours in front of a blank page... Thank you very much for all you encouragements ! I tend to be very hard on myself so thanks for reminding me not to !


Welcome, keep coming back. Vic

It is Monday, the first day

It is Monday, the first day of the week. Good resolutions... Will they last ? Yes, yes, they will.

Ok. So far, so good.I worked three hours in the morning, wrote about 25 news lines of 40 characters.

Yes, I am counting and I will keep counting lines ! to see my progress but most of all because in the country I am studying, you need to publish 2 articles of 16 000 characters (the Asian ones) before anything else. Otherwise, no diploma ! Even if you have finished writing your 300 (at least) pages thesis...

I was not focused a 100 % all the time but I am satisfied with what I did.

In the afternoon, I worked two more hours, finishing writing the end of the first part of an article and doing some reading for the second part of the article.  

I should be satisfied, feel good about what I did, but I don't. Well, not really. Why ? It's not linked to the quality of the work itself. I know it's psychological. Well, at least, I am glad I came here. I hope it will help me to go the distance...

See you tomorrow !

Welcome Perfectly_Human

Glad that you were able to find this supportive community.  I only wish that I had it when I was working on my PhD (which, astoundingly I finished!). Anything that you can do to recognize your progress is a wonderful step. Be it one letter, one word, one line, one paragraph, one whole paper!  Do whatever you can handle at the time.  I wish you all the very best success in your program. Just keep posting and trying!

You're doing great!

I really think you do! I recently finished writing my Master's thesis, it took me ages! In the end I realised that I was just so scared of the whole project (not so much the working-it-out part but the writing-it-down) that I never started writing, really dreading it. So I started focusing at finishing just a single sentence instead of thinking about the whole chapter that was waiting to be written or even worse, the whole thesis. Having written that one sentence I was usually able to expand it to a couple of lines and eventually a whole paragraph. I think it's perfectly sensible to focus on how many lines you've written! Working several hours in a row and getting back to work after taking a break is also a great achievement. Many of us struggle with that! You're making good progress! Don't be too hard on yourself.