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.

How I procrastinate in eight easy ways

My bad habits and character defects associated with procrastination

I’ve spent some prayerful time reflecting on these over the last few days. I had finished a legal/business matter a few weeks ago and last week finished an important admin matter. I have no other pressing commitments to myself or others and am devoting my time and energy to working on myself which means getting on with things.

I’m sharing and inviting thoughts, criticism, advice or whatever as I want very much to change. So here I go:


1. Not finishing what I am doing

This is for me a continuing problem. I can see its origin in perfectionism and in being afraid to either succeed or fail also I can live in a life of eternal possibility.

Thoughts that occur are:

‘I can make a really good job of this’

or alternatively

‘I can’t possibly do this’

In either case I prevent myself from finding out and moving forward in my life by not finishing.

2. Always starting over again

This is clearly associated with not finishing. Not only do I often not finish but I leave things, notes or craft materials, in a mess so I don’t know where to start when I do start again.

3. Stopping when things are difficult and taking the easy way

When I was very young I learnt to swim breast stroke and swam well. When I was older I wanted to train in life saving and needed to learn crawl so that I could swim faster. Every time I tried as soon as it was difficult I reverted to breast stroke and never learned the crawl and gave up the life saving training.

4. Doing the hard work succeeding and not following through

A friend and I wrote a book which was published a long time ago. The publishers were interested in more work from both my friend and I. I never followed this up. Now many years later I want to write again.

5. Believing I have to do everything myself

I am now writing a book and it will have photographs in it. I thought I needed to scan the slides myself, to photo edit the images, to decide everything myself. I don’t. A friend is an expert photographer and we are doing a skill swap.

and I do need to do some things myself

What I do need is to be a better photographer as I shall be alone where new photos need to be taken. Again friend is teaching me this.

6. Excessive and inefficient planning, rigidity with plans and unrealistic expectations

So I plan a shopping expedition (note the word) I will go to the supermarket when it is not busy which is early in the morning. Only it isn’t other people have the same idea and there is only one till open. In fact it is quicker at busy times as more tills are open relative to the number of shoppers. Also how important is it for me not to waste a few minutes anyway?

I plan a piece of writing or a journey and read the information on the web and elsewhere but I don’t note it down nor where it has come from and so I waste a lot of time and energy going back to find it again.

7. Messiness and hoarding

I am untidy and in the past kept excessive stores of food, drink, stationery etc. This made it hard for me to find things and get on with life. I have improved a lot but still have a way to go. One of my common excuses for procrastination was that I needed to tidy up before I could do anything. By the time I had tidied up I felt too tired or there was not time to get on with the task.

8. When this is finished then I’ll

So when I’ve finished my; exams, holidays, painting the flat, this relationship, this project etc then I’ll start on...

At the present moment I have finished see above and am in a bit of confusion as a consequence.

There are more but these for me are the main ones at present.

Looking forward to thoughts

Yours in recovery



More thoughts- maybe it is just me but after some awareness, I need to do what the AA Big Book says- page 86:

"we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken. "

Otherwise I am in great danger, I will become resentful of who I am and the self loathing and the self flagellation begins. I cannot afford the foibles of normal people- I need to be vigilant about what I am thinking.
This takes much practise in the program- after 25+ years a day does not go by that I don't forget.But this is what works for me.

Rexroth and all: I suggest "Visions" pamphlet ~Debtors Anonymous

The Debtors Anonymous "Visions" pamphlet is very powerful.  It talks about the consequences of ignoring one's vision, and the benefits of living one's vision. I don't want to violate copyright by quoting the whole thing, but it's okay to quote a few sentences:


Sometimes one of the hardest questions to answer in life is "What do I really want?" We keep ourselves so busy doing what we have to do ... that we don't get around to asking ourselves what we want to do.

Not being true to oneself might even be called a form of self-debting.  For some it may manifest in physical symptoms -- or in depression, anger, anxiety, irritation, restlessness.   Sometimes we find ourselves becoming involved in the lives of others as a way of fulfilling out own potential and vision.  This saps us of the energy we need to be "spending" on our dream -- and then we wonder why we feel aimless and annoyed.

Ignoring our vision and the promptings of our Higher Power increases our fear, reinforces our self-will, and eventually leads to a sense of failure and decreased self-esteem.

Are we really willing to go to any lengths to make our vision come true and do God's will?

It is when we live our vision, aligning our will with that of our Higher Power's, that we attain the peace, joy, emotional balance, self-worth, and love that has been promised.

By living our vision and doing God's will for us, we inspire others to do the same.  And so the never-ending chain of recovery and growth continues.


The pamphlet also talks about some of the paralyzing feelings that come up -- such as fear of failure, fear of success, and self-doubt.

The pamphet talks more about the confusion about what we want in life -- such as being deluded into thinking that someone else's idea for our life is what we should do.

And what we want, vs. what we *think* we *should* want.

And the pamphlet also mentions that as we grow, our vision may expand.

[The full Debtors Anonymous "Visions" pamphlet may be ordered here for 80 cents plus shipping. (it's at the bottom of the list of pamphlets) ]

. . . .

This reminds me of the "Signs Of Compulsive Procrastination" from P.A.
Specifically Sign #7:
"We are acutely aware of what we should be doing, or think we should be doing, and oddly out of touch with what we actually want and need."

I also remember reading somewhere in 12Step literature that sometimes we get very attached to what we *think* is our vision, but it might be "out of alignment with the Universe". It's really important to check in with Higher Power to see if our visions are in alignment with Higher Power's vision.

Or ... sometimes, we become attached to and overfocused on an old vision that *WAS* once Higher Power's vision for us YEARS AGO!!!  Higher Power's vision has since CHANGED with the flow of the Universe ... and therefore we need to seek Higher Power's newer vision for us.


Thanks movingalong

Thanks movingalong I've read and used most of DA's material but not this one yet. I'll buy one at my next meeting.


My "natural" way of thinking is to criticize myself. What helps me change my thinking before I spiral out of contol into that dark, dark place, trapped, I fight with Humility, humility, humility, gratitude, gratitude, gratitude, staying in the now believing in the promises (they have come true in other programs) - and knowing God is faithful, he has never let me down, and doing what I need to take care of myself.

"Promises of Procrastinators Anonymous":


  • If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.

  • Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

  • We will overcome our fears; and act with courage, integrity, and dignity.

  • We will release ourselves from worry, guilt, and regret about our past and present

  • We will move from hiding in denial to living in reality.

  • Where once we felt despair, we will experience a newfound hope.

  • That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

  • We will no longer need to rely solely on others to provide our sense of worth.

  • Healthy boundaries and limits will become easier for us to set.

  • We will realize that we are enough; we will value ourselves and our contributions.

  • We will trust the guidance we receive from our Higher Power and come to believe in our own capabilities.

  • We will be able to risk failure to develop new hidden talents.

  • Our Higher Power will now become our time manager.

  • We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

  • Though we may never be perfect, continued spiritual progress will reveal to us our enormous potential.

  • Are these extravagant promises? We think not!
    They are being fulfilled among us -- sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
    They will always materialize if we work for them.

-- Adapted from:

Thanks vic

Thanks vic

I've read some of these and I think that reading all of them and reading one each morning and/or evening with my prayer and reflection time would be a good idea

Spiritual Timing; and Al-Anon Promises

I just noticed that link for the archived copy of
The reflection on "Spiritual Timing" from Clutterers Anonymous may not load sometimes.
You can try the old URL at
or try updated link at:
(if it doesn't load, click on the word 'impatient' at right side of page)
I've now fixed the link on the other copy of the Promises.

The Clutterers Anonymous home page with links for literature
is now located here:

The link for the “Promises” of Al-Anon has moved to


to Rexroth, a suggested book ....

Dear Rexroth,

I think you'd get a lot out of this book:
"Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement"
by Kenneth W. Christian, Ph.D
You can find the book at bookstore or library with the ISBN code:
ISBN-10: 006098872X
ISBN-13: 978-0060988722

The book describes a lot of what you've mentioned.

It specifically refers to helping
SLHPP's (Self-Limiting High-Potential Persons)
to learn how to cross through their self-created barriers.

(It also mentions many of the other mind-traps that members of P.A. suffer from.)

I've found the book to be very illuminating and useful.

I think that reading that book, in combination with Steps 6 and 7, would be truly helpful for you.

(The author also has an online course, but I haven't looked into that.
You can find it at
Apparently some of the website is free, and some of it costs money.)

(I prefer to just use the book in combination with meditation/higherpower
to help me get myself active.
Sometimes the low-tech non-glamorous approach works better for me.)


@movingalong re Your Own Worst Enemy

Holy crap. I know I've hit on something that really resonates inside when it's this painful to even read a few words about it. Sounds like a really good book for me.

Almost feel like crying, right now ... Googled "underachievers anonymous" and found that there is indeed a fellowship, Work Anorexics and Underachievers Anonymous. In the end, this is what I'm afraid of being, more than anything — and of course that is exactly what I am.

Telephone meeting Tuesdays at 2pm eastern. I'll be there, next week. 

@ Ian: Thanks for the info and ...

Ian, thanks for the info about "Work Anorexics and Underachievers Anonymous".  Intriguing.

FYI, the book is not just underachieving at work.
(Scroll down to see a post from me entitled:
"not just underachieving @work, but also about all of life dreams").


Your own worst enemy

Thank you movingalong, that website looks very interesting, and very relevant to me too.


More on the book "your own worst enemy"

The book can be ordered from Amazon UK at

or from Amazon USA at

(The author's website mentions that there are editions in other languages)

What I like about the book:

The stories and examples it gives of people who are stuck, and I read each one and said "oh that's me!".  Most of the first half of the book is these stories and examples, but well worth reading.  I needed to identify with the concepts so that I could proceed further.  Kind of a "Step One" for me.

The second half of the book tells specific ideas about how to break through walls and gives more examples.

It also talks about the "Stages of Change" and how we think about changing before we actually begin the process.

The book title "Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement" sounds a bit ... intimidating, but ... it's really an open and welcoming book.  I think he could have come up with a more positive title.

Ordered the book yesterday

Thanks again movingalong. I ordered the book last night after reading much of the free material on the website. I've finished reading the website today. I feel very happy with his approach.

For me buying something is a positive move. I have tended to wait worry and procrastinate before buying anything and this seemed a good time not too.

not just underachieving @work, but also about all of life dreams

The book isn't just about underachieving at work or school.  It's also about life in general.  It asks things like: Do you procrastinate having relationships or underachieve ("settle for less" with relationships or avoid them altogether?)  Do you procrastinate going on a long-dreamed travel vacation, or "underachieve" by just going to the park in town?  Do you procrastinate adventure or underachieve by playing some things too safe?  Do you procrastinate finding a new home?  Etc. Etc. Etc. Why do you hold yourself back from being a full human being in all aspects of life? Why are you stopping yourself from following these dreams?

It also talks about some of the issues that Rexroth brought up in his opening post to this thread -- why does a person get a longterm project or dream almost completed, and then fizzle out at the last minute?  Why is there a lack of commitment to following through all the way?

All of these symptoms relate to what the author calls
being a "Self-Limiting High-Potential Person"
because ... our potential isn't just in work or school but rather in all of life's possibilities.

The book thanks

I've nearly finished reading the book.

Thank you it is most valuable to me

I've booked swimming lessons for the crawl now apparently named freestyle

Friend suggested I might risk failure on my trek abroad by not finishing it. He pointed out that many journeys into unknown places do not succeed the first time. I felt relaxed about this and with his help started planning the journey.

Regards Rexroth


Those questions get right to the core of my history, my family of origin's history too.

The older I get, the heavier the weight behind the voice inside me that says "dreams are mirages; they dissipate and then you're clobbered by disappointment and the consequences of coming up short. Nothing ever works out." I used to try to outrun that voice, those fears; now my propensity when I feel like the bottom might be falling out is to just get it over with, crash and burn.

I can't outrun this. "...our personal adventures make clear (a) that we were [underachievers] and could not manage our own lives, (b) that probably no human power could have relieved our [self-limiting behaviors]...."

(I struggle daily to have faith in [c], "that a higher power could and would if it were sought.")

Here's some stuff from the literature of another fellowship, Underearners Anonymous, that really nails it:

What Is Underearning

Underearning is many things, not all of which are about money. Underearning is about underachieving, or under-being, no matter how much money we make. It is about the inability to fully acknowledge and express our capabilities and competencies. The visible consequence is the inability to provide for one’s needs, including future needs.   

Our underearning can result from many things, including not acknowledging our talents. It can result from living on the edge by not making enough money, spending most of the money we have, avoiding healthy risks that can move our lives forward, and not preparing for the future.  Underearning is about not living up to our unique potential, not following through on our dreams and goals. It’s about giving up on ourselves.

The Many Faces of Underearning

An underearner is a person who hides from life. Many of us hide for years in the dissatisfaction of our circumstances. We do work that may allow us to eek out a living but doesn’t truly serve us.  Even though we may be angry and depressed by our work, we feel powerless to explore other options and take actions that would enable us to change, grow, and express ourselves more fully.

As underearners we often live in a state of vagueness; vagueness about time, money, needs, expenses, and about our failures, even our accomplishments.  This lack of clarity covers both the good and the bad in our lives.

Many of us have the knowledge, and vested authority to provide a professional service but we compulsively shy away from promoting ourselves and avoid asking for enough money to generate a healthy profit. Others of us may charge a healthy amount for our work but we don’t manage our cash flow effectively. Still others create antagonistic situations with clients and travel from one explosive business conflict to another. Finally, there are those of us who feel the need for one more course, one more credential, or one more degree, to avoid taking action with the knowledge, skills, and experience we already possess. Formal training and credentials can be valuable, additional courses can be essential and worthy of the investment in time and money, but for compulsive underearners, our self-defeating symptoms subvert our ability to use our education and training to any marketable advantage. We remain unable to ask for the interview, the position, or the raise.

Even when we acknowledge these self-sabotaging behaviors, we don’t understand why there is only enough money to barely cover costs.  As the saying goes, “charging too little is like eating soup with a folk; you’re always busy, but always hungry.”

Because we fear being visible – becoming larger and more exposed –
we actually breed resentment toward the very community our talents could serve. This is the actor who resents the audience, the chef who resents the restaurant customers, or the painter who resents potential patrons. These are some of the reasons why many of us deny the need for continued and ongoing preparation and are unwilling to show up and take action. As a result, we live in a Grade-C reality, when we could live in a Grade-A reality. Grade-A requires visibility and presence.


your own worst enemy

That book sounds really interesting . . . I just put it on hold at the library!  


I know it's never too late to make a brand new start - from "Brand New Start" by Paul Weller

Thank you movingalong

Thank you movingalong for your help. I'm going to look at it tomorrow as it is late now.

Yours in recovery


thanks for sharing Rexroth!

Although I must say I see nothing wrong with hoarding stationery and office supplies (hides stash)  Laughing

Self-improvement is the name of the game, and your primary objective is to strengthen yourself, not to destroy an opponent. Maxwell Maltz

Thank you journey

Thank you journey

One day I shall have nothing left but that day has not yet come.

OMG (((Rexroth))))

Did you read my diary, I related to so much, especially starting over and over and over again. This to me is a 4th step and I hope it will produce many excellent results for you!!!

♥"Careful the wish we make, wishes are children. Careful the path they take, wishes come true..." From "Children Will Listen," by Stephen Sondheim.♥