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.

Tuesday, August 16 2011

Our errors are surely not such awfully solemn things.
In a world where we are so certain to incur them in spite of all our
caution, a certain lightness of heart seems healthier than this
excessive nervousness on their behalf.

William James

Journey 9:30

Working from home today and getting off to a better start.   I have a lot of work to do on my main project and I need to take a little time today to make a timeline to make sure I'm on track with it.  I'm kind of chipping away at it but I don't have the big picture in my head.

I have a training class tomorrow so I must get to bed and get up very early if I'm going to make it to the gym in the morning.   And I really want to go, so I'm going to try!


Avoiding the truth consumes great effort and energy. - Jim Loehr

wrkinprogrss: 08/16/11

I've been experiencing an unhelpful and uncomfortable amount of internal struggle. I want to accomplish more today than I did yesterday. But I also feel a pronounced inclination to avoid doing the things that need to be accomplished.

Anyone have tips beyond "start small"?

TODAY, I will:

check SR
post this at PA

check balance mindmap (in progress)

set up remaining needed SVN directory for next version
pursue answers to laptop Qs from 1:1 (in progress)
make progress on rough-drafting doc changes for review. Micro-steps to consider:

  • update files from server
  • pick an item to work on, lock the appropriate file(s), and start FM s/w
  • decide whether the item needs a new section--if so, create it (2x)
  • put "comment" notes in the appropriate section (2x)
  • convert comment notes to draft text plus questions for reviewers (10 minutes at a time, as needed) (2x)
  • commit the file(s) (2x)
  • repeat the four micro-steps above, for each item
  • start a manual build and inspect results
  • draft and send email to reviewers asking for immediate feedback

shower and eat (some eating done, but not very wisely)
make 20min kitchen progress
 reply to J's email

do at least 15 minutes of Qi Gong exercises
use the Balancer
be in bed w/o lights or audio by midnight

I PREFER to accomplish at least some of the following, too:

unload dishwasher
eat oatmeal
cook rhubarb

buy printer paper
think re &/or experiment w/ dance solo
start zine

Best wishes for your day!


Start small!  lol

Seriously, when I am stuck, I use Instant Boss

but any kind of timer will work - it's basically the pomodoro method.   You set a (short) amount of time to work and a short amount of time to take a break.   Then take the break when the timer goes off - even if you feel you don't deserve it, you MUST take it.  The upcoming guilt-free break makes it a lot easier to focus on the work, at least for me. 

It also helps just to check in here or in the chat box and say 'I'm stuck'.


Avoiding the truth consumes great effort and energy. - Jim Loehr


Thanks for the suggestions, Journey--I didn't know about Instant Boss, and am always glad to know about useful tools.

...It's really OK to pop into chat just to say you're stuck?  Hmmm...

Much appreciated!


My Day Today

I want to thank my Higher Power for this program, this website, the telephone and online meetings, and my life.

I want to thank studentessa for starting this trend.

Things I have done today

1. Went to the 8:30 a.m. telephone PA meeting

2. Went to the 9:30 a.m. telephone PA check-in

3. Went to the 9:45 a.m. telephone CLA meeting

4. Took shower

5. Went to the CLA Action Line

Things I will do today

1. Get dressed

2. Prayer and meditation morning and evening

3. Cook and eat brunch

4. Send out Al-Anon literature for today

5. Go to the CLA marithon meeting

6. Go to the 11:30 a.m. telephone PA check-in

7. Go to the 12 noon telephone ACA meeting

8. Go to the 1 p.m. telephone CLA meeting

9. Go to the 2:30 telephone PA check-in

10. Go to the 3 p.m. telephone DA meeting

11. Go grocery shopping

12. Put groceries away

13. Do homework

14. Make bed

15. Wash dishes

16. Clear up couch

17. Clear up tables

18. Clear up floor

19. Warm up and eat dinner

20. Test blood sugar twice

21. Go to the 8 p.m. telephone CLA meeting

22. Go to the 9 p.m. online EA meeting

23. Go to the 9:30 p.m. telephone CLA meeting

24. Go to the 11 p.m. telephone ACA meeting

Thanks for letting me share

Journey 10:45

I thought I had checked in already but I guess not.   I thought about checking in anyway lol. 

I am working from home today and getting a slow start as usual for a work from home day, but getting there.   I've exercised, read and responded to email, made my todo list and handled a quick request.   Now to do a task on my #1 project.


Avoiding the truth consumes great effort and energy. - Jim Loehr

My Sisyphean Labor

So...the boulder has rolled back down the hill. Despite leaving work at 11 PM last night and getting to bed about 12:30 AM, I awoke at 6 AM and could not get back to sleep.

Once again, I have fallen dangerously behind at work. While getting a fair number of (typically shorter) case reviews out promptly, the stragglers have proliferated, so that I have unfinished cases strewn in my wake back to June. At work, the really difficult cases, or maybe just the most anxiety-provoking ones,
since I often have no real sense of what they entail before becoming
frightened by them, get put off indefinitely, until the fear of not
finishing them outweighs the fear of facing them. It's unacceptable, and it stresses me out. My procrastination is to blame, along with contributing factors.

I have come to realize that I am reticent and ambivalent about doing most anything, preferring to defer until later. I think it's because doing something makes me nervous, or maybe just making a decision makes me nervous. If it's something I really want to do, or really want to do well, that can paralyze me. What if it's really frustrating? What if I do a crappy job? Will I be embarrassed and exposed as a fraud? What if I try my best and still fail? How will I feel about myself? In general, I think I can deal better with being a procrastinator than being a
failure and having to give up yet another daydream. So the hardest things
for me to work on are the things I most fondly desire.

At the same time, I have multiple competing life scripts I am trying to read from. Once I get started on something, I doggedly want to finish. The problem is, as I have written here before, that if I have ten new cases to review and analyze, and I work on one half the day, I end up way behind, despite the sense of accomplishment at having finished one. Worse, I may discover that I can't finish it, because I require additional data, or have to do some research, or find some new twist I haven't encountered before that I have to ponder and try to reason through. 

I have tried to take a time-delimited approach to getting a "touch" on all my cases, so that all are progressing, rather than obsessing over one while the others collect dust. Knowing what each case is about and the status of each seems logically better to me than having no idea about some. The panic it causes me when I get a call days later regarding some case I haven't even looked at that turns out to be very important to a customer makes me miserable and damages my already fragile self-esteem. But I am not cut out to be a scientist. I have been unable to stick with the experiment. 

Another life script that confuses me is that of work-life balance. My marriage went to pieces in part because I was (and continue to be) unable to establish a work-life balance. I either leave work undone so I can go home, but am then preoccupied and worried about it, or throw more and more time at the work, flailing away with the idea that "once I get this done..." I will be able to go home on time like a "normal" person and live a life outside the bounds of work. But the latter never happens. And like the variously attributed quote about madness being defined as doing things exactly the same way over and over again but expecting a different outcome, my behavior borders on madness.

Finally, circling back to the beginning of this little exploration, just as I have a hard time starting, I have a hard time putting things to rest. Despite all I have said above, I also have a perfectionism life script that causes me to fear finishing tasks. When something is finished, it can be judged. Something unfinished still has "potential" to be really, really good. But if it can't get finished, it can never be any good.

I still think that the idea of working a little bit on everything - even if it's frustrating - makes more sense than becoming overly attached to one thing and neglecting all the rest. I have to develop a sense of "good enough" and accept it. It will cause me anxiety. But what doesn't?

Goal today: 16 "touches" x 30 minutes each. That means 16 cases get a maximum of 30 minutes of attention. If it doesn't get done today, I have to accept it. A case that is 45 days (!!!) past due has to move forward, as does one that is 7 days past due, as does one that is brand new. If I discover I have more than 16 pending cases, something I have willfully avoided knowing (because it would stress me out, of course), I will learn it in due course. After 16 touches, I can and will go home. The key is not to take breaks that will have me finishing at 10 PM. If I start at 10:30 AM and take two or three 30 minute breaks in there, I can still get out of here by 7:30 or 8 PM. It's not early, but it's not heinous, either. I must find the will. Back to report.



I do not really know how to

I do not really know how to help you, but I wanted to let you know that your story has touched me deeply, and I know all the feelings you described. Especially the part where you are afraid of your work getting judged in the end. I have also always been either a overperformer or not delivered at all. And that way, people actually expect me to do good, because the procrastinated parts are hidden, of course. And there comes the pressure. Sometimes I have actually been suprised if something was praised. But you know, when I reviewed the work I had delivered, most of it was really good by my standards. Maybe that will help you too, reviewing your work and finding out that it was not half-bad and then you will be the only person to judge the job in the end. 
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)

Thank you Studentessa

I appreciate your comments. What you say is very reasonable. I do tend to focus on the undone and dismiss what I have actually completed. Maybe a more balanced approach there would help me. Peace.

kromer 10:20 CI

OK, yesterday was a bit of a mess, but today can be better! I'm moving toward a slightly more reasonable schedule (I got up at 9 this morning, which is not great but better than 10), and am in lab and ready-ish to work.

Going to try and keep my list manageable for today:
*Collect 2 samples and mail and email (think I'm going to need to put this off until tomorrow, grr)
*Finish error bar check/check of J's genes (I'm incredibly close on error bars, but there's one bug that needs to wait until tomorrow)
*Email about comm. mtg, email DD, and prod about g. email
*Hand laundry (will do this after dancing)
*Maybe start expt corrections/brainstorming about expt.(didn't happen today)

ok, starting with J's genes

kromer next day CO

again, not a great day, but at least I did something


Thanks for the thread studentessa!

Work 8AM-5PM: 

-Figure out fix for low c (test low r, test high r, test add c)

-read 1 hr s 

-work with me 

-read 1 hr eeh

-do rpa 

-find out cause of issues [DONE]

After Work 5PM-Sleep:

-get real quote from homeowners ins

-check how good homeowners ins company is 

-send out 20 emails for rr

-make better password sheet [DONE]

-clean air filters 

-submit passport app

-figure out how to deal with cc refund and airline 

-pick up shoe rack [DONE]

-put ae shoes on ebay

-put b shoes on ebay

-remind rm to pay sales tax [DONE]

-remember prw [DONE]

-steam tie

-return other tie 

-take out patio trash

-mow lawn 

Scribbler's Tumultuous Tuesday CI 8:50 a.m.

Good financial luck yesterday when my lost glasses were found and returned. I have a few dollars in the bank and am caught up on bills. It's a nice feeling for a change. Now I want to bill a bunch more and stay caught up. So...


  • Get up at 6
  • Make bed
  • Exercise
  • Coffee, paper
  • Healthy breakfast
  • Check-ins
  • walk or run


  • Update Quicken
  • Q - AW, C
  • Send music email
  • Call 3 re: maneuver /
  • Call 3 re: claimtech ///
  • Call 3 re: homebased //
  • Call 3 re: food11 ///
  • Deliver Meals on Wheels
  • Deposit check


  • Healthy lunch
  • File carburg
  • Call 2 re: golfbank
  • Update 5 custom pubs
  • *Apply for health ins 
  • G inspection sticker


  • Healthy dinner
  • Rehearse for Friday show
  • Read, relax
  • Bed by 10:30 or so


Rexroth Check In

Thank you for the start studentessa and for the quote and bubbles

Up later tired and worried
Checked emails - one from driver confirming travel arrangements - good
No post to check
Out and bought some tape and food
Home and washed up a mess from yesterday
Loaded washing machine
Checked todo lists

Phone friend this evening
Do almost anything on my todo list

Regards Rexroth

Rexroth Check Out

Phoned friend and arranged meetup tomorrow and appointment for next week
Decided not to pursue two complaints - they were not worth the time and energy and in particular they were not worth my time and energy
Listed exactly what I need to do next - there is not very much but it still seems difficult
Checked emails and one from hotel confirming booking and pick up from airport so all is now arranged
Hung up washing
Wrote journal

A little time on the web
Prayer and reflection
Bed and sleep

Night Folks


Well I got quite a bit done

I think I got through quite a few PDFs, and though I went slowly through my chapters, I kept logs to refer to in the future. I just need a way of gettin up early now.


Tonight I need to

Do laundry: someone had a cycle in the wash all day yesterday, :( today I'm gonna move it out

Also clean stove


Ok, so some asshole came in on my laundry and just took it out of the machine before I was able to start my second load. I didn't make him wait, but I have made people wait in the past so I won't bring it up today.

Stove time!

Then I'm gonna try to get through chapter 3 tonight, and go to bed around 12. I went to bed too late yesterday... got to work 15 mins late.  


Edit: so I didn't do much reading... or the stove either. Internet for the loss. I'll do it now and try to get to bed around 12 Sealed maybe? 

Plans for today!

After a long weekend I am back on track, hopefully with more energy than last week.

Goal of the day (and the week):
Adopt a positive attitude towards paper (I want this, instead of I have to do this.)

Plans of the day:

Do morning yoga
Shower & so on
Wash dishes

Wash clothes

Work on Paper for at least 6 hours
Go grocery-shopping