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.

Things I have learned, and things I will hopefully remember...

So I came to this forum, because I was desperately trying to find a way out of procrastinating on my bachelor thesis. The good news is, that I have finished the thesis (3 months late) and though I am not out of all the trouble that got me into, I delivered just on time that will not make the next steps impossible.

Things I have learned: 

I am incredibly good at doing things under time pressure, but it cannot
be done in a healthy way (long nights, little sleep, no time to eat). So
I do not have a concentration problem, but a procrastination problem. 


I am a perfectionist, and the only way I overcame that was by waiting till the pressure was really high, as in swim or perish. Perfectionism also keeps me from doing things I would enjoy, because I hate not being good at something immediately and I hate being seen practising or failing. Yes, weird. So thats why I avoid people when I feel like I am failing and I hate it when someone asks about my work. What do do about that? I don't know...


I am afraid of change. The more change a task implies, the more I procrastinate on it. At the same time  change is inevitable and I enjoy new things when they happen.  I believe I know how that developed, but maybe I need therapy.



I believed the memory would start me going earlier next time, but when I
delivered the paper, I started procrastinating on the next thing


But how do I remember this breathtaking feeling of panic, of fear of failure and unhealthy, stressed out, jet-lagged feeling of writing 16 hours a day?

for studentessa

Hi, studentessa,

Congrats on finishing your thesis, and on recording these insights re your process!

I want to offer you an idea or two--as they say, please take what you can use, and leave the rest.

One idea is that learning is a valuable thing, and I believe that a mixture of experimenting and trying and failing and succeeding produces a much broader and deeper kind of learning than believing that there is one right way to do something and achieving it on the first try.

I think a certain amount of trial-and-error learning also helps us develop empathy/compassion for others who may be having to make significant effort to learn something and may be having their own failures.

I feel that a person who is strong enough to risk initial failure and/or imperfection while learning, and who is willing to be seen doing so, is a person worth admiring and emulating. No one is good at everything, but a person who makes it a priority to be good at wide and deep learning is a valuable person to know and interact with, because that kind of person is more adaptable to the unexpected things that life brings to all of us. And that kind of person also encourages others to be brave enough to learn things that can't be done perfectly right away.

Perhaps, rather than trying to remember the feeling of panic and stress you've recently had, you could find someone to work with on becoming both more comfortable with change and more comfortable at being seen while you are in the midst of a learning process. Can you imagine being more comfortable with those things? Would you like to be a person who is more comfortable with those things?

For whatever it's worth, I have found therapy very valuable. I would rather not have needed it in the first place, but I'm glad for all the learning it's brought me, and for the help it's given me in being a more flexible and resilient person.

If you decide to try therapy, you might want to to shop around for someone you'd like to work with. Different therapists have different strengths and different ways of working. It's perfectly OK to say, "I'm looking for someone I can work well with. May I make a trial appointment to meet you and hear about how you work with people?" If you want to put your toe in the water without making a big commitment, check whether your school has a counseling center that offers a certain number of free sessions to students. (Mine did, and that was my introduction to therapy.)

Best wishes to you! I hope something here will be helpful.