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.

Accountability in close relationships

I hit a new low yesterday, after a week of feeling quite good and doing "something" at least. "Something" means that I did every "around" the paper without writing anything. I am supposed to deliver this tomorrow, but had planned on delivering end of July. Yes, I am a chronic procrastinator.

The worst part is that I started lying about my progress to my S/O and friends from University, and I was telling them I was almost done. (Since a month, so I guess they figured something.) The hard truth is that I have done a lot of research, but I have not written a single page. Not a single line even. I had to confess this to my S/O yesterday, and I have felt really depressed ever since. I also started to "hide" from everyone that might possibly ask, and nearly had a panic attack in the library when I thought I had seen the professor that I should be giving the paper too.

I came completely clean to my S/O, who has always been extremely supportive and wanting to help me in every way possible. All I did in return was to tell him "he is not my father, to check my homework like that". After yesterday, I asked him to check my progress in the evening from now on, so I might feel a pressure of sorts. 

Though this might really help, I fear of feeling aversion to the one closest to me...

Does anybody have any experience with accountability to people close to them and how to deal with this in a relationship saving way?

Hi again Studentessa :o)

I totally hear what you are saying! I can identify with it all! I know that I often project my inside stuff onto others in the wrong ways at the wrong when they are trying to help me and I am frustrated with myself...The parent thing...yes, I am a recovering people pleaser because my father was such a dictator...the start of me not listening to my own gut...the experience of "when they're gone" helps me process for my there are levels of recovery and I haven't contemplated that one yet...Altho, like I said I don't have a significant other, I do have people who accept me unconditionally...sometimes for certain, in effect, it is like an accountability partner...i can talk to a certain person about one thing and another person about another...this makes me think "OK, what is this person in my life for?" FInancial guidance? OK so we focus our discussions on that...I guess thats why I love this site...because I don't know anyone around me who is such a procrastinator like me so, I can tell all my thoughts, feelings, actions to this site via the daily check-in post and not feel judged...If I could find someone close by to talk to and see that of course would be preferable...just the writing it down that I am having a rough time seems to take some of the pain and shame? this safe place...AS I said a sponsor is soooo important and if I could find a sponsor that would be best but in the meantime, I have to really be self-aware and proactive and all that good stuff...I want to have my daughter be my accountability partner for financial...not, I really need to seek out someone I can trust that won't judge me...stuff the "normal" people think is so easy is so hardd for me...just like I think u r feeling like gee, I should love to write this paper...but something is blocking you...something is blocking me from making "normal" decisions about money...who can I find that is nuetral...but can help me succeed? Fear as a motivator totally makes sense to me! After awhile tho, I hate being always on that place of fear...So, it's finding a way to self-motivate before it gets to that point...not easy...I like the idea of breaking it down...but still for me, it helps to have a person or this website for me to "verbalize"/write whats going on...That book taht someone suggested sounds awesome! I hope some of what I said helps...PLease remember to take what you need and leave the rest!! And always remember to be gentle to yourself...Easy Does it!! Best wishes :)

student blues

i just had the same week. confessions to s/o and all. s/o is also super disciplined and generally thinks of me as quite organized (my house is cleaner), so can't fathom how i've been so careless.

i feel so mental when it gets this bad. if you find something that helps you through, i'd love to hear it. i am going to lower my course workload and see if i can build up my confidence. and i am going to try and read some books on adult add for strategies, cuz when im anxious, i am too jumpy to focus. i feel like i am at war with an overachieving self that wants to see big accomplishments and a loser self that can't do anything right or do anything on time like normal people. 

internal conflict

overdue, the way you describe the war within yourself sounds pretty similar to a kind of internal conflict that I often feel, between my self who wants to do everything honestly and right, and my self who wants to have a good time NOW. I have tried doing some "inner child" work about this, in the past, on the theory that my inner child wanted play at a time when there were real life consequences if my outer adult didn't get the job done. The idea being that the inner child self goes and does inner play and the outer adult gets on with things. I'd say that that process has been of limited usefulness to me, and pretty darn unsatisfying. I'd love to hear if anyone's got anything better to try.

My situation may be slightly complicated by the fact that I'm well into mid-life and used to be ultra-responsible about school and work. Some of the desire to play that I feel now may be reaction against not enough play, before. But when does the world ever hand us a situation with a premeasured healthy amount of play? Sigh.

Play vs responsiblity

Very interesting...How does the inner child play while the outer child is working? hhhmmmm? Is this possible? Kind of like a child in a playpen while the parent is at the desk working? But, both within the same sphere? Can it be done? How? I definitely have the issue of becoming a workalic and then rebelling and doing nothing! FInding that balance!!

inner conflict, divided will

some thoughts about that issue here:

Thanks for the link!

Thanks for the link, chickadee!

I particularly liked the idea that attending to the "still, small voice" might be a way to start creating large, good, changes.

And the following quote really stood out for me--I hadn't realized that I was regarding undone tasks as threats, but that feels really right!

'So long as the reactive brain regards [a] task as a threat, it will keep the brakes firmly on' 

So I guess it might be significantly useful to ask myself something like: "How can I break this
task into non-threatening pieces? Preferably ones that I'll be willing
to start and glad to have done?"

Although I am an agnostic, I'm also intrigued by "Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of His presence." I wonder how it would feel to dedicate work to causes I believe in, or to my effort to develop my capacity for inner peace, or something like that...

Thanks again--much appreciated! 

thx wrkinprogrss and chickadee

i found your posts both comforting and insightful :)

Journey 10:30

Happy Monday!  I was an hour late to work today because of a traffic jam, not a great way to start the day.   But I worked several hours yesterday on my big project so I am not going to worry about it :)  I'm still heads down with the big project for another month at least and today I will try to finish the list of coding modifications.



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

accountability to others vs self

I currently don't have a significant other altho I do have a very good friend who I tell a lot to...I currently don't have a sponsor for my 12 step program probably for the issue you are encountering...My experience with sponsors is that I would make them my parent and it would get to the point where they would have to "scold" me and I would get resentful...I would use them to figure out my problems instead of learning to listen to my gut...After a series of sponsors with this pattern, I finally decided to give sponsorship a break...which I don't recommend at all! It is very dangerous! But for me, I had to do it...It has been a very hard process, but I am learning to listen to my gut and to make decisions for myself...I have realized that I have traded one addiction for another in the recovery process...basically, all of the character defects that the 12 steps discuss are flaring for me...I cannot for example, get help with my procrastination in an AA meeting...but I can listen for the principles I need to apply to my situation...In the process, I am reaching out for help to other recovery based places like PA and DA, etc...ALways, tho, I need to remember that I have the personality of an addict of sorts...the "drug" of my choice, can vary...currently it is procrastination...I get something from it...comfort? I know how to "con" people by lieing that I am ok...manipulating them to help me add to my take a ride to the beach instead of stay home and deal with my project......I have to watch my hidden motives...So, I have been working a lot lately at looking at how I operate and why I operate and trying to operate in a more healthy way...and bottom accept myself and how and why I operate the way I matter what...When I look to toher people for affirmation or's dangerous territory for me...PA is a nice place to be because I can write what's going on and where I am at and how I am feeling and I really don't expect any feedback...I know at the end of the day what I've accomplished in my heart and I can decide to be happy, adjust accordingly, or stay stuck...It's up to me to move forward...for me, accountablilty to self is the closedt relationship I can have...ok and accountability to a power greater than myself..which I choose to call God...Hope this helps...


Yes, I know that accountability to oneself should be the ultimate goal, and I believe that this also gives you ultimate freedom.
But I noticed that oftentimes the guilt of having procrastinated and the problems following is often also an inward thing thats projected on others. As in I feel horribly guilty and I do not want to tell anyone, lest they be dissappointed in me like I am in myself.
And I also usually feel like I have let them down, despite the fact that they
a) know nothing about the matter, because I pretend everything is going fine.
b) want to help me/pity me/are indifferent when they find out.
Somehow the fear of having to tell eventually gets me to work, and finish it at last minute, if that makes any sense.

About the parent-child relationship. It reminded me of something.
When my parents were still alive I remember doing a lot of things to make them proud of me, because I loved them and I struggled through the tough patches "for them". (My parents weren't pushy at all, but they paid a lot for my education, so I wanted to be able to support them in age.)
But when they died, I was suddenly feeling as if I was without purpose. On the other hand, I changed subjects from law to sociology because the need to shine and earn was gone, and I could just study for the fun of it. (Which is why I understand my unwillingness to write this paper even less.)

So maybe searching for someone to behave like a parent might just be trying to get back that feeling of someone depending on me. But I definitely think that a partner is altogether the wrong person for this, and yes, I should try to do without this.


You 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)

Hi, studentessa, I don't

Hi, studentessa,

I don't have an answer for your relationship accountability question, but I want to mention another resource that you might find helpful for the specific issue of writing a paper. There is a very readable, sympathetic book called Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article, by Howard S. Becker and Pamela Richards. It's been quite awhile since I read the book, but I remember it as being very illuminating about the specific emotional and structural challenges of doing academic writing. It is not a recent book (1986), so check your library system or used book dealers for it.

Meanwhile, you could try saying to yourself, "OK, I will write whatever comes into my head about this paper for 15 minutes, without stopping to edit, just to get some ideas onto paper or screen and to get myself to write something."

Or you could say, "OK, I will spend 15 minutes drafting a rough outline or mindmap of ideas from my notes." 

If you are not familiar with mindmaps, Wikipedia has a good explanation of them here: My day job involves writing that can be very detailed. I use mindmaps (usually using FreeMind software, but also sometimes by hand) to help me organize information that I need to write about and tasks related to the writing. FreeMind is nice because it lets you drag items from one area of the diagram to another, if you decide to reorganize.

I hope something here will be helpful for you! Good luck with it!


Thanks so much for your reply. I searched for the book and we actually have it in the library. I fear it might be too late for this paper, apart from some quick tips, but since I will most likely keep on writing sociological papers for another few years, that will be a big help! 
I already have a mindmap, and sorted my stuff... I have done almost "anything" that I could do before starting to write it out. I think my biggest problem is starting to write, so maybe just writing down unsorted things will help, I will try doing that immediately. Thank you again!

Hi studentessa

You're lucky to have a significant other to talk to about your procrastination. I don't even have that.

Every time I post on these forums, I feel no sense of accountability since there is very sparse interpersonal communication.

 Every time I want to tell one of my good friends, I feel embarrased and don't want to put pressure on them.


I try to plan out my days but then fall behind and take a nap and then everything falls apart.

Each day I feel like I no longer have a purpose, and if I do, I'm not moving towards it, just stuck doing the same shit every day.


If I were in your shoes, I would use my significant other.

Hey hidden_motives!

I am very sorry to hear that you are so distressed suffering from procrastination. And I know that the lack of interpersonal communication here makes it hard to pull yourself out of the trouble. 
But you know, being able to talk about my troubles to my S/O has also taken me some effort, since he is very efficient and no procrastinator at all, and I felt like I was less than him, telling him that I lacked willpower for a lot of things. 
If you have friends that are close to you, it might pay off to confess them at least that part of your troubles where they can actually help. They cannot react any worse than, "Oh, you must organize your day better." and then you can smile and nod. Or they will tell you they know your experience and maybe create some sort of "office-hours" arrangement with you. 
I don't know what you do, but if you study, trust me, these problems are more common among students than anyone will admit. I am sure you can find someone who needs as much help as you.
And till then, I am here often, should you feel the need to talk.