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.

David Allen on Procrastination chatting with Merlin Mann in their cool podcasting series about time management. They identify some emblems of procrastinating behavior and break it up in a way that can let you think about what might be a way to move forward onto a task, or in their parlance, the next "widget to crank."

Productive Talk on Procrastination
RSS of all Productive Talk podcasts.

It's a little "business-y" but I think the principles translate for me -- it's just a way to structure my thoughts to be able to start to get things done. Stay for the last 20 seconds. It's brilliant.

Thank you so much

Gwen thank you so much for posting this I found this pod cast and the articles on the site very useful. I also spent some time on 43 folders which I was not familiar with and found that just as helpful I am very grateful you posted this I learn and grow daily on this site.


what are some of the ideas?

Could you summarize the ideas - in particular, anything we don't have here on the site as a tip already?


A great deal of what is in this short talk has already been talked about, referred to, and intuited by all the folks on this site.

Here's my sketchy summary:

1. Make a huge long list of things you want to do so that when you're avoiding the really big imposing scary thing you can procrastinate by doing non-destructive things, things that contribute to your goals, even in a small way

2. David Allen's GTD (Getting Things Done) process advises being conscious of the blocks and what fears are at play. Sometimes identifying that you're ambiguous about the value of the task helps you to decide that it's not as important to you anymore as it was when you set out the goal.

3. Sometimes it's that you recognize there are decisions to make and thinking to be done about the big imposing task and you don't feel equal to it...

4. Just diving in and giving yourself permission to think and brainstorm about the problem, without having to be "right" about it can get the ball rolling, so that you can start to see what the "next action" would really be.

5. Identify a "problem" and turn it into a "project," so that the most valid first action is sitting down and exploring what might be the next thing you need to know or do to move forward. Getting out all the random ideas about it ("collecting" facts and ideas around the goal) is a valid first action.

6. The ultimate place you want to be is to feel that you are aligned, that what you're doing right now is exactly what you should be doing, that you're doing what you were put on this planet to do.

7. The last 30 seconds:
"If you're not feeling good that what you're doing is what you need to be doing, there's probably something else you should be doing, so you may be procrastinating about thinking about what you should be doing."

Reminds me I should be getting to bed now. Say that three times fast and call me in the morning. :)

Gnothi Seauton ~ Know Thyself

What this made me realize

Is that most of my procrastination is around fear but not fear of not knowing the next action rather fear of having to take the next set of actions.

I like the idea of turning a problem into a project mostly because it gets you started and getting started is a major thing for me. Once I am going I'm pretty much cool.

I also like the long list concept because even though i know I can't get it all done if I get some of it done i have less to do next. If it is a maintenance item it solidifies a routine that keeps me personally aligned. If I keep rolling it over someone will say something and I have to address it or I feel guilty and do it to releave the guilt.


summary addendum

I want to make clear that I know that what is recommended can maybe turn into a time binge. I did it myself last holiday weekend. I spent 6 hours sitting still and obsessing over the perfect list of things to do. (used Omni Outliner Pro for the Mac, by the way)

I felt bad for sitting still. But I also enjoyed it.

When I stopped listing and started to move out of frustration and desperation, I looked at my list and made my house really pretty. It took me the whole weekend and I might have been able to do it in a day, but I'm sure I was just seriously avoiding the freelance project that is lurking. The project is still not done, but it's really nice to have a clean house. And the list is still actually sort of comforting. All I can say is that this is all a process.

Maybe now that my environment is in order, I'll be able to work on the freelance project.

thanks for the summary

Thanks for taking the time to give us an overview.

>Maybe now that my environment is in order, I'll be able to work on the freelance project.

I definitely work better when my environment is neat and orderly. In fact, I can't do a thing when it isn't.