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.

Embracing Our Inclinations

Having read John Perry's essay on "Structured Procrastination" -- -- I have a question about self-acceptance.  What if we simply took ownership of our own procrastination tendencies, accepting it as a permanent part of who we are (like left-handedness or sexual orientation), while learning to make it as functional as possible.  For example, we might choose to accept that any task we take on is going to be done the night before.  Rather than trying to change, we volunteer to take on many tasks, far more than the next guy, as a way of compensating.  The end result is that we have a lot of accomplishments on our plate (many or all of which that were completed at the last minute).  Of course, the quality of our work will be lower than our peers, but at least we will have done more than we would have otherwise.  In other words, we might choose to accept QUANTITY OVER QUALITY as a way of living with our procrastination orientation.  Consider this an extension of the structured procrastination approach (read the original essay, it's short). 

Is anybody with me?



I believe I must find ways to compensate for this issue, however, i do not believe in the "quantity over quality" theory. We have an endless supply of people who compensated for a disability and did not sacrifice "quality".   Anything is possible.

there's a logic to this, yet

there's a logic to this, yet I see that it doesnt address the underlying issues that I face--taming anxiety and fear, being mindful, choosing the right thing--still, I see how i might use it as a short term strategy


Whoa.... WHOA.... This SORT OF occurred to me a while ago, and I can't believe I didn't follow that idea to it's logical conclusion.... If I'm dragging my heels on doing X, and indulge in Y by way of procrastination, why not create activity Z, which is even more annoying and difficult than X to attempt to force myself to do, such that X becomes my procrastination activity of choice instead of Y????

No idea if that will work, but it's worth a shot!!!

Give it a shot

Let us know if it works, lol.

It doesn't work for me.

One of my problems is that I've got far too many tasks on my list already. I've already split them between ones with real deadlines, and ones without, and it's the ones with real deadlines that cause me the headaches.  So putting stuff at the top that doesn't really have a deadline doesn't work.


clarification of my post

What you're indicating is a limitation of the original structured or productive procrastination method.  However, what I'm suggesting is that you force yourself to undertake many tasks (that have some eventual real, external deadline) while acknowledging to yourself that these tasks will be done at the last minute.  Although many of these tasks will be done half-assed, at least you will have accomplished a larger number of tasks than you would have otherwise. 


In your case, this approach would advocate adding more and more tasks to your list (i.e. tasks with "real deadlines") even if your initial reaction is that you are taking on wayyyyyy too much.  That's the point, procrastinators always assume that we have too much because we've been procrastinating.  We assume that the solution is to do even less in the hopes that this will clear up some time to get starting on the tasks we've been delaying.  Unfortunately, this belief is simply self-deception because we end up still procrastinating (the time we thought we were freeing up to work is used to watch tv, surf the web, or write long posts on procrastinators anonyous).  I'm starting to think if we simply took on more tasks, acknowledging the most of those tasks would be done hastily at the last minute (and accepting that as a fact of who we are), than we would at least have a lot more accomplishments overall.

Anyway, just a thought.


seriously awesome article. in anxiety models, we are taught just to accept that the anxiety voice is there, to acknowledge it and cope with it.

perhaps rather than focussing on "getting rid" of the procrastination, we need to become at peace with. learn to laugh at ourselves and "risk manage" it better. for example, i KNOW if i don't wake up on tiime im hooped. but at the same time, i spend the rest of the day beating myself up for not making this the MAGIC GOLDEN DAY where i fixed my problems. i am probably better off if i say, ok, that was a pretty standard move to not wake up on time, but i know from my "best practices" that today will still be better than yesterday if i get dressed to the shoes asap and do any small task i can for momentum. i am watching that i can spend all day in defeat mode, when i would be better off giving myself permission to say "ok, keep going anyway!"

things i can predict:

i will want to quit

i will want to sleep

it will take me longer than i thought

i will hate starting but will typically feel better a half hour in

i will say i can't handle this anymore

i will probably be 5 min late


if i can learn to laugh at these things and expect them, rather than avoid them like terrifying thoughts that are evidence of how useless i am, perhaps i can manage the whole jazzmatazz altogether?


risk management of procrastination

I like the idea of risk managing procrastion.  I'm trying to identify some of the ways of doing this effectively.  For example, perhaps I should assume that I will never muster up the self-discipline to proofread a paper diligently before a deadline.  Therefore, I should just assume that I will always need to pay a professional proofreading/copy-editing service to do so.  Any other examples?

I do have another example:

I do have another example: I often plan that "golden day" or "golden week", in which I will do EVERYTHING right. And the golden day may be golden, and I plan to do it this way for the rest of my life. But then something interrupts me, other tasks I was procrastinating on, for example, or I just fall off the waggon, and then I am just stuck in that mode, till I plan the next "golden day". 
I think if I accepted that procrastination is just my illness, and I will always have problems with it, so if I fall off the wagon, the only way is to get back on the next day, instead of burying myself with feelings of guilt.
cannot run away from a weakness; you must sometimes fight it out or
perish. And if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)