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.

Ian's boilerplate "daily renewal"

Tinkering, as always, in hopes of improving the ability of routines and habits to support living in recovery. Instead of posting this in my daily to-do lists, I thought I'd post it here, where I can touch base with it every day and continue to tweak it as my understanding grows. And then I can make "run through daily renewal" an item on my daily to-do list. 

Hope this helps someone else, too!




  • I'm powerless over impulsivity in response to any sort of emotional tweak.
  • Without awareness — without appreciating how I'm connected, how I'm not isolated but am truly a part of all that is — my life is unmanageable. Caught in an illusion of disconnection and isolation, my life looks like this: 
    • I'm plagued by fear
    • I feel at some fundamental disadvantage that I'll never overcome
    • I make defensive, unskillful decisions.
    • My sense of what's possible shrinks, day by day, until I've painted myself into a tiny corner of eating, sleeping, avoiding risk and pain, acting out sexually. No dreams, no vision, no exercise, minimal hollow contact with other people. I become a ghost, a shade. 
  • BUT: right here, right now, I can change direction. I can practice trust that if I cease struggling, give myself to the current of the river of dharma, and row with it, I'll find that I am able to manage just fine, that I'm making skillful decisions. Each moment, that choice is with me.
  • Just for today: I'm out of management. I surrender. I'm not going to lunge for the mirage of control that self-will in all its forms promises. I'm listening for guidance and information from Higher Power — if every action produces a reaction (part of the law of karma), what feedback is the universe giving me? I'm open to doing whatever it might suggest for me, and I'm willing to follow instructions.
  • I want to be sober today. This is what sobriety looks like, as best as I can see it today:
    • Inner Circle behaviors - bottom lines, abstinence requirements. Just for this one day, I'll do whatever it takes to abstain from:
      • sleeping to avoid work/reality
      • using my sexuality to avoid work/reality
      • working without a clear plan -- a prioritized to-do list, a time-boxed calendar
      • staying in vague, unstructured time during business hours
      • impulsive, self-willed decisions about what to do, or work on, during business hours
    • Middle Circle (gray-area behaviors; potentially signs of decline in spiritual condition. Today, I want to practice awareness around these behaviors, and take positive action as necessary.)
      • not taking my ADD medication first thing in the morning
      • working without trying to define scope of a task/project
      • working without trying to estimate how much time a task will take
      • working without a timer and without recording hours
      • Isolating
      • dishonesty
      • not communicating with people when plans change, when conflict or potential conflict arises, when I've done something I feel shame/embarrassment about
      • staying up late for aimless TV/Internet
      • not getting ANY exercise for an entire week
      • perfectionism: making work a higher power. making approval of my
        professional abilities by others a higher power. Letting fear rule the
        day — seeking immunity from disapproval/judgment. Typically I alternate
        between (1) avoidance and (2) unbounded research, editing, rumination
        until I feel total mastery over the subject; together, these mean I can
        take 10x-20x longer to complete a project than a "civilian" would. I am
        so powerless over this; I don't know how to stop, and it really does
        look to me like it'd take a miracle for me to change. Just like far-gone
        alcoholics feel it'd take a miracle to stop drinking.
      • Corollary to perfectionism: denial/wishful thinking around time
        estimates for tasks and projects. I always underestimate; it always
        feels like a blind-stab-in-the-dark, utterly meaningless exercise. I
        don't know how to change this behavior. I do know I'm not sober if I'm
        exceeding my time estimates more than 3x-4x.
    • Outer Circle / top lines (not requirements, but positive actions that never fail to help me — today, I'll keep these within reach, looking for opportunities to do them):
      • at least 2 phone calls a day
      • getting up before the rest of the family does, for the daily renewal and quiet time
      • daily prayer
      • daily meditation
      • at least 5 minutes stepwork each day
      • at least 3 meetings / week
      • regular exercise
      • Putting at least a little time each week into business development
      • Looking for opportunities to love and support my family and friends
      • Doing whatever's necessary for me to experience my work process as one of choice and freedom.
      • An evening 10th Step - what did I do well? what could I have done better?
      • Choosing to read something — could be recovery, or professional, or a serious novel or history etc. — instead of watching TV
      • working, a little at a time, on a vision for myself, and then on concrete goals related to that vision, and then on objectives/milestones that will move me toward those goals
      • reminding myself daily of that vision, of what I want my life to be about.
  • Only higher power can keep me sober, but I need others to connect to higher power — and other people can help me see things I won't otherwise see, and can help me be accountable.
  • this is just for today. I can stay abstinent for the rest of today — I don't have to live in fear and despair today. And I can do my best on all the other stuff for the rest of today. Tomorrow's not my concern.
  • I turn my will and my life over to walking whatever path the truth — the dharma — reveals to me.
  • In the 24 hours ahead: I intend to write quick spot inventories if/when fear and anxiety arise, then turn them to another person and to HP.

ty for sharing

Thank you for sharing your renewal with us, Ian. I can so relate to using sleep, and sexuality to run away from reality and procrastiante. I would have been too ashamed to writed it down here. Thank you for your courage to share .