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.

Day Dreaming and Procrastination

This may seem strange but I feel there is a link between day dreaming and procrastination, at least in my case .

I am a day dreamer since childhood. Even now I continue to day-dream though not as much but the moment I am finished reading the news or watching a movie or a TV show or sometimes even after talking to someone, my mind goes into the 'day-dreaming zone'.In my dreams I am the hottest model, the sexiest movie star, the greatest soccer player and so on and I am doing this and that and saying this and that and blah blah blah.... I am day dreaming while driving, while eating, at work... though not at all times. 

Thanks to day dreaming I have been told many times of not paying attention. And many times I am  day dreaming when doing some work which causes the work to be delayed or in-complete and then I procrastinate. Day dreaming also decreases my awareness because of which many times I am unable to deal properly with situations which in turn also leads to procrastination.

I am therefore determined to rid myself of the day dreaming habit. Though I must admit I have almost no control over this day-dreaming habit. The minute I wake up my mind automatically switches to day dreaming mode and  though as much as I try I can 'pause' it for some minutes but then it automatically begins to 'play'again.

I am not here to whine or sob about my day-dreaming habit. I am looking for other people who have similar problems are looking to kick off this habit and together we can work on kicking the day-dreaming habit and share our ideas on this.

I invite all members of the PA who have similar problems to join me! 

Together we can!

happened to see this article about ADHD gene & daydreaming

I was just doing a little research on dopamine (I use supplements that are dopamine precusors which is very helpful for my ADD/procrastination). I happened to come across this article and remembered this thread so I thought I'd share the link in case someone finds it helpful (hope that's OK):,0,6020143.story

Here's the first couple paragraphs:

Attention deficit-hyperactive disorder
includes difficulty with mental focus. People describe it as daydreaming
or mind-wandering instead of concentrating on the task at hand. Now
researchers think they have identified a gene that is responsible for
this specific characteristic of the disorder.

People who inherit two copies of a particular form of the gene called
DAT1 10 are thought to be at greater risk for developing ADHD than
people who inherit another form, called DAT1 9. Researchers found that
among people with two copies of DAT1 10 (which the scientists term 10/10
carriers), the brain produces excess amounts of dopamine transporters,
which results in less dopamine being available to reach brain cells and
pass on a signal. Dopamine is important for acting as a gatekeeper in
the transfer of information between regions of the brain.

So day dreaming could be

So day dreaming could be genetic quality. But still it should not be incurable. I will need to consult my doc on the dopamine stuff. I had got all types of scans and tests and they all were normal but never had any test related to dopamine.

Day Dreaming and low self esteem

Just as I had said that if I find something about the day dreaming and fantasizing addiction, I will put it here. I have learnt that day dreaming of the fantasizing kind is related to low self esteem developed in childhood.

If this habit continues into adulthood it becomes very difficult to cure, though not impossible. I am yet trying to find some real practical means to cure this habit.


hard work, but can be done

From about age 3 onward — I'm 44 now — I dealt with uncomfortable feelings (like fear, self-hate, pervasive anxiety, and other things I associate with low self esteem) by fantasizing and day-dreaming. That was my "drug of choice."

I've had some success changing this deeply ingrained habit. I've witnessed others have profound success changing this habit. The only thing that's worked for me — and that others have told me has worked for them — is to practice at: 

  1. Awareness: just paying attention to what I'm actually doing and thinking and feeling from moment to moment, trying to remain mindful and present instead of distracted and unmindful, forgetful, not present except in body. This is hard because I fail all the time, all day long — time and again I realize that I'm "checked out" and have to try to bring myself back to the here and now. But the more I practice, day after day and year after year, the better I get at it. 
  2. Acceptance: Yes, I fail all the time at the dead-simple yet not at all easy task of paying attention to what I'm doing and thinking. In addition, I tend to set impossibly high expectations for myself and constantly fall short of them. But each time I notice that I'm checked-out or that I'm in self-hatred etc, there's really only one first step that works worth a damn: accept the truth of exactly what I'm doing and what's going on — and, reminding myself of how I've tried and failed to fix many undesirable habits for decades, accept that I'm going to need a lot of help to change these habits; my life experience literally proves I'll never change trying to do it by myself.
  3. Action: Reach out to someone and/or to my Higher Power, admit exactly what's been going on (two phrases really help me when taking this action: "Lead with my weakness" and "tell the truth, and tell it fast"), and follow whatever suggestions are given to me as best I can. Repeat as necessary — sometimes that can mean dozens of times in a single day.
For me, this process is how I "practice [the principles embodied by the 12 Steps] in all of [my] affairs," as Step 12 says. Taking on a commitment to living this way, all the time, has been an incredible difficult discipline for me to adopt. But the harder and more consistently I work at it, the better I get at it, and the better my life becomes. It works, it really does — when I work at it.
Pages 86–88 of the AA Big Book provide an amazingly clear blueprint for how to live a single day in this way. Follow those instructions for just 7 straight days, and I guarantee that you will know in your heart that miraculous change is possible. It's not even necessary to follow the instructions well — all that's required is that you don't give up, that you keep coming back to try again, no matter how often or how badly you fail. I dare anyone to do that and then tell me they still feel hopelessness and despair.

Good daydreaming

I agree David, daydreaming can be good.  In fact I believe I need a certain amount of time every week to let my mind wander (or to drool).  It's sort of like the need for sleep--a chance to let the brain resolve all the thoughts, make those random connections, or just plain rest.

I have to allow a chunk of time for showering, because that's my best noodling time.  I've had some of the best insights and creative writing ideas while in there.  So why do I procrastinate so bad about getting started on a shower?  I think because it seems like a waste of time.  How nutty is that?

Shower Breakthroughs :)

I always thought I sounded crazy when I'd say something like "so I had the most BRILLIANT idea in the shower!" lol. Glad to see other people share the idea that something routine (yet pleasurable) like showering gives one a chance to do some good thinking :)

(though I procrastinate on it too as then my hair is wet for hours lol)

Day Dreaming - A coping mechanism

Julesk here has mentioned that day dreaming is a sort of coping mechanism for some. I agree. Some but not all of my day dreams are coping mech. Like when I was a kid and someone bullied me, I could not do anything in real world but in 'my world', I would thrash the bully. In real life no beautiful girl would look at me but in my world, every girl had a crush on me. I was a nobody in the real world and everything in my world.

Of course, now I don't believe I am a nobody but I am not 'the someone' either. I am just a ordinary plain guy. But I always wanted to be someone special. Though I know that what I see in day dreams is not real and never going to be true, it seems very real and makes me very happy, almost like a drink.

However now I am determined to get rid of this. I am searching for ways to do this and as soon I get my hands on something, I will post it here.


On being special

Alert:  Christian bias here.

I'm participating in a study called Extraordinary (book and DVDs) at my church.  The author talks about how we all have a God-given desire to be special, to live powerful and purposeful lives, that our lives would have meaning.  Its such interesting timing to be studying this at the same time I'm learning about PA.

The point is, that we cannot live that kind of life on our own power; it requires the power of God working through us.  That is also a 12-step principle, substituting higher power or God of one's understanding.  I won't go into further details about the study here because its religion-specific, but it's making me think.  It's not  a bad thing to want to be special, but to be effective I think it requires getting the focus off myself and onto God's will for me.  That is my life's goal, to please Him and serve others.


One thing that I find helpful--if I am in a meeting or class and need to pay attention, my hands want something to do.  I take notes, and doodle.  If I don't need notes, the doodling is enough.  It actually helps me to pay attention.  Maybe its something about having a busy mind; if I have to sit still, my mind wanders.  Humph.


Hi gang

Weighing in here, I am a big-time daydreamer, ever since childhood.  It was my coping mechanism (Titan:  Did you have a need for a coping mech as a child?  May have started there.)  At any rate, it then became a habit, then an entrenched habit, then a full-on addiction (if I understand correctly with a process addiction, your brain gets the shot of endorphins or whatever it needs, and after a while it just becomes automatic.)  Perhaps T that's why you say you have no control over it?  I feel like I don't as well...HOWEVER I now can use it as a warning sign of a slippery place - some one called it a yellow-light behavior - that works.

I am very interested in talking to others re: this topic.  However I think the main thing that binds us together is how it fits into procrastination.  Just as both binge-drinkers and early morning drinkers both call themselves alcoholics, e.g.



Action PRECEDES "figuring it all out!"




Since you have such a great imagination, I suggest that you use that imagination to visualize your success.   Make that imagination work for you!


'You become what you think about most of the time.' - Brian Tracy

The imagination is not in my

The imagination is not in my control. It goes on automatically!

fantasy can be an addiction - really.

This may seem strange but I feel there is a link between day dreaming and procrastination, at least in my case .


Not strange at all — I completely relate to what you describe. For me, day dreaming, fantasy, etc have always been there: a La-La Land to escape to whenever I'm dissatisfied with my reality. Before I had more grown-up addictions, I had comic books and sci-fi novels ... and just my imagination.

I've learned to recognize that daydreaming is a "yellow-alert" behavior for me. If I'm doing that, it invariably means I'm troubled by some emotion (loneliness, shame, fear, generalized anxiety, simply a longing for things to be more interesting than they are at a given moment) that I don't want to feel — or that I've got my teeth into some pleasant emotion (anticipation, pride, a sense of power and mastery, whatever) that I feel I don't get enough of and therefore want to hold on to and binge on. Point is, I no longer have my feet on the ground and a sense of humility — and that's very dangerous for me; leads to procrastination and a lot of other things. 

What I've learned is that I can't control the first thought — that "wouldn't it be great if..." that precedes a stroll through fantasy — but I do have a choice about whether to hold on to and entertain that thought. There's literally always a split second in there where I decide that it'll feel good to dwell on the thought and stretch it out. Sometimes I make a commitment to say the Serenity Prayer in my head every single time I notice a "wouldn't it be great if..." thought, or when I realize I'm past that point and into fantasy. I call other recovering people if I'm really struggling. The Chatbox is here as a place to "lead with your weakness" — to just check in every single time you notice that you want to daydream. I'm finding that it helps to just put it out there in the Chatbox even if no one else is hanging out in there.

Anyway, I can honestly say that after years of practice I rarely engage in fantasy and daydreaming about certain topics that I used to think about obsessively. If I do indulge, all that practice has made it pretty much impossible to "lose myself" in that fantasy; I can't quite make that awareness go away — that small voice saying "dude, you're doing something that never works out well. You know you're feeding on a falsehood right now. You also know that everything you really need is available in only one place — reality, stone-cold reality." Kinda takes the fun out of daydreaming, that sober voice.

Thanks for bringing up this topic! 

Hi ian_wnc, You seem to

Hi ian_wnc,

You seem to have gone thru all this. Did u need to take professional help ? Was your day-dreaming due to any physical or psychological problem ? I have come to know that those suffering from anaemia or some weakness often remain in state of imagination. Then there are certain people who are known as control freaks, who constantly need to be the center of attention and they too keep day-dreaming.  Then lazy people also day-dream since they lie around doing nothing.

Did u do meditation ? Or did you change your diet ? It would be very great if you could share your experience on this forum

day dreaming

I think Ian has answered your questions, at least in a way that makes sense to me.  Addiction is a spiritual problem that requires a spiritual solution.  If I am truly addicted to a way of thinking or pattern of living, then my best efforts are not sufficient to bring about lasting change.  I need help from outside of myself.

For some people, therapy can be very helpful.  For others, not so much.  For me (with a different problem area than procrastination), therapy was helpful but working the 12 Steps was vital.  The Steps brought me in touch with my need for a Higher Power more than any other path, and it worked when I relied on that HP.  I trust that the steps will work in PA too, if I work them.

 I've always daydreamed.  For escapism, self-medication, pleasure, all the usual reasons.  I am currently in the middle of addictively reading a fantasy trilogy, spending every spare moment on it and staying up way too late.  It's such a rush to live the adventure.  But I have met my responsibilities and I have been available to others, so I am not willing to give it up.  Sometimes I think I should, because it does get in the way of my relationship with my HP.  But I'm not willing--I'm afraid it has to be all or nothing, and I am not willing to give it up entirely.  Part of me knows that balance is key to a healthy life, that I should not participate in anything in an additive fashion.  But in this one area, I don't care.  I'm too attached to it.  I'm afraid of losing touch with my HP, and that would be the worst consequence I can imagine.  I just hope HP will not give up on me :)  Geesh, I can see how skewed my thinking is.  Thanks for listening.

Hi ruthb, I re-read

Hi ruthb,

I re-read ian_wc's post again. I think he has given a brief of what he went thru. I think it would be very helpful to me as well as others with similar problems if he could share his story in detail. Just like the story of AA recoveries inspires others trying to deal with A addiction, so would his story provide inspiration to us with DD(day-dreaming) addiction.


Hi Titan,

Can't answer your questions now (I'd be procrastinating!), but I will when I have a chance. For now I'll say that the best solution I've found for all my issues — and I've tried lots of different things, include years and years of therapy — has been working the 12 Steps under a sponsor's guidance. And trying to bring the principles of the steps to bear on my daily living.