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.

Daily check-ins less and less effective for me

I really hate how difficult it is to break old habits. When I first joined this site I was doing very well especially because of the daily check-ins. I felt like I would be publicly embarrassed by my peers if I didn't get at least half of my stuff done. Lately, I have just stopped caring if I knock off stuff on the checklist or not, and my procrastination has increased. What have you all done to regain effectiveness from the daily check-ins?


What is a cure?

This raises the question of what it might look like to be free of procrastination. Unlike many or most or possiblly even all other complex maladaptive behaviors, procrastination resists definition, especially when describing a cure. Abstaining from alcohol and drugs is relatively straightforward. You can't abstain from food, if that's the problem, but you can define a desired weight or caloric intake. Procrastination isn't so easy. I can tell when I check off all my tasks for the day, and when I check off none or only some. But I'm not sure that checking off everything on my to-do lists means I'm not procrastinating. It's probably not possible to do every task in the order its priority deserves. Any thoughts on this?


waxing and waning

yes, i also feel that is a familiar feeling. I think this is a very interesting question, and while i am here today, i am not sure i have a firm answer.

i have waxed and waned here. i have waxed and waned in every improvement effort i've tried.

one change for me was that coming here changed my opinion of who i am. I now view myself as an addict, and my drug is procrastination. Having accepted that about myself, i no longer try to cure myself, rather just manage the inevitable urges and slip-ups. That has really helped me, to stop wondering oh why am i this way and how can i fix myself. That saves me a lot of energy.

the other thing it did for me is to stop trying new cures. this site helped me realize what i lacked was not so much the secret formula for the cure, but the followthru to take a technique and apply it consistently over months to years. I was persuaded by people on here that if i stuck to it, even if i failed a few times, overall, i would see improvement. This led to my relentless focus on "restarting" as an antidote to hopelessness after failure.

i marvel to this day that lowering the perception of myself helps me to get better.

the last component of what i see is God. Not sure where you stand on that. But i have plenty of times where i can not get myself started or out of my funk. And i feel i have to "wait on the Lord" to somehow, someway, get me started. and, so far, something external always happens to start me down the right path, to give me a spark to log in here or try one of the tools. I see this as God's Love, always watching out for me and nudging me forward. Helping me when i need it most.

I hope you will post whatever answer(s) you find!

the touch of the master's hand:

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



What a well expressed post. Thank you. :)


Sounds familiar

Yo, B, I have had a somewhat similar experience. I went for months doing well on checking off all or almost all my tasks. I can't say that life was going incredibly well as a result, but things were generally better than when procrastination was the rule. Then I hit a hiccup due to vacation and some other things and got out of the habit. Now I'm getting back into it, imperfectly. Here's what I suggest:

Try to figure out a little more clearly what you are getting out of procrastinating -- that is, why you are doing it, what the benefits are -- and what you were getting out of not procrastinating. At Smart Recovery Online, they call this a cost-benefit analysis but it's not nearly as boring and complicated as that sounds. You can do it in five minutes. Here's how:

Write four headings:

1) Advantages of Procrastinating

2) Disadvantages of Procrastinating

3) Advantages of Not Procrastinating

4) Disadvantages of Not Procrastinating

Then under each heading write down one or two or three or however many things you want to.

For instance, under Advantages of Procrastinating, I might write "Avoid boring tasks" and "Show people I don't have to do what they want me to." Under Advantages of No Procrastinating, you might write "Don't have to worry about what other people at Procrastinators Anonymous think of me" or something like that. 

Some people spend a fair amount of time dong this. Some keep working on it, a few minutes at a time, for weeks or even months later. They can come up with dozens of items under each heading.  But you don't have to do that to get some benefit from it.

The benefit you get is clarity around the issue of procrastination. I think when you stop kidding yourself -- when you get that clarity -- then will power and self-discipline become less important. When you are standing at a street intersection, you don't have to invoke willpower  to walk when the walk light comes on. And you don't have to force yourself to not walk when there are cars coming and their light is green. That's because you are clear about the fact that if you walk in front of a moving car against the light, it's likely to hurt. On the other hand, if you stand on the curb and do nothing, you may miss happy hour and have to pay full price for your refreshments.

Get some clarity and decide what you want to do. If you decide procrastinating is a better deal than not procrastinating, then you may want to continue procrastinating. 
I think a part of getting clear on stuff is being willing to decide to keep doing whatever stuff it is you are worried about. If you can be open to that, maybe you can be open to deciding to quit procrastinating. Does that make any sense?