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.

Procrastination, deadlines, and performance

This isn't a book, but is a journal article. It was mentioned on the blog Cognitive Daily today. The researchers studied three different kinds of deadlines, and which worked the best for beating procrastination.

"... the most interesting result of the study is that self-imposed deadlines don't appear to help procrastinators [as much as external deadlines]: they need rigid, externally-imposed deadlines in order to get the job done. And as Sebastian Bauhoff points out in his summary, even then they don't like it."

Here is a link to the blog entry:

The article on CiteULike:

You can find the PDF of the article here:

ah-ha! but...

This would explain why procrastination is not usually a problem for me in my work environment, but is in the less public areas of my life. Anyone know how to impose rigid external deadlines on the daily drudgeries I struggle with...?

Imposing external deadlines

I've tried having someone I don't like losing face in front of badger me and check up on me periodically to keep me in line, but that didn't work much. It just got me extremely annoyed, even though I asked the person to bully me in the first place! Insane, isn't it?

I think the best thing to do is to learn to stick with the self-inflic- I mean imposed deadlines and make a habit out of meeting them. I read somewhere that it takes 30 days of constant practice to develop a concrete habit. Worth a shot, no?

And the Check In area here really helps. There's no external pressure to achieve, but when you see everyone else doing their work, you push yourself just a little harder to keep pace. And the sense of "we're all in it together" is quite heartening as well.

The trick is just not to let yourself slack off, and no one can force you not to do that; you have be your own parole officer. You should also be your own cheerleader:-/ Takes a while to get used to, but it's achievable, I'm thinking.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Never mistake motion for action – Ernest Hemingway

rigid deadlines

For housework, as I said, I invite people in my house on regular basis.
I first let people in only 3 parts, the corridor, living room and the toilets !!! For some times they must have wondered why I was following them... :D

re:rigid deadlines

Yes, I've heard people say before "that's why God invented company, so we'd clean our houses once in a while!" Unfortunately, inviting company over is one area I REALLY procrastinate in, and my husband joins me here. I don't have great confidence as a host - I always feel my house should be decorated better, I should cook more gourmet stuff, etc. I know it's something I need to work on, cause it's difficult to maintain friendships if our friends feel they're always the ones doing all the inviting.

opposite strengths

Virtually all my procrastination is in my work world. Since we have opposite strengths, maybe we can help each other.

I'm out of town now and need to log off. Talk to you more later!

Good posting

I've only a short while, and will be back later--hope you will also. This is part of my rigid external deadlining: limiting trips through the internet. One thing I do is to simplify each day as much as possible. Write down the things which must be done today. Posting on the site helps. Break them down into smaller tasks helps really well. Then start doing them. While you're at it DO NOT do other stuff not related to it. I find alot of my trouble is going off on tangents. For example, I don't like house cleaning, and if I'm putting books away, it's not on the plan to read one of them. I'm self-employed, and it's really hard to keep things going, so I have a part-time helper. I then set "our goals" for the day, and ask him help keep things on task. Another trick I learned was to take coffee to the shop, so I didn't get distracted going to the house. Then it had to be modified to take just enough for coffee breaks, but that's another story.
Procrastinating is often like an alcoholic taking one drink. One sip, then another, and... For instance if I'm on the computer, and I say I'll just check such and such out (while I'm here), and the next thing it's an hour later and I'm looking at Roman artifacts--one tiny step at a time! Thanks. Hope to talk more with you.

learned that the hard way

I know only too well that rigid external deadlines are the only way to get me moving. I have a lifetime of living experimentation to support this result. ;)

Thanks for posting the links - I'm interested to read the article.