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.

For new members who don't bookend

What keeps you from bookending and what would it take for you to start?

I'm Afraid of Lists

Two things keep me from bookending.

The first is that, no offense to you good people, it takes me a while to respect people.  I'm not saying that I spit on anyone....  I work to always be respectful OF people, and I think I do a pretty good job.  But I don't listen to their ideas unless I see some proof that their ideas have value.  

So I don't give any credit to strangers' opinions of me until I respect them.  This position is emotionally healthy in many ways, but it makes encouragement and consolation more difficult to come by for me.  In other words, knowing that a stranger doesn't know me, I'm not going to believe him if he tells me that "I can do it", etc. 

I guess as I get to know the people on this site, or I get into a face-to-face group, then the encouragement and consolation will be more meaningful and motivating to me.

The second is that I have a rather severe fear of lists.  Quite frankly, I don't know HOW to overcome this one, but I'm certainly open to ideas!

I've been working on my procrastination a long time and previous therapists have encouraged me to make lists, to eliminate unnecessary tasks from lists, to break lists down into manageable chunks, etc.  My list-making habits didn't get off to a good start, though.  I would put too many items and too large items on lists, and I would fail to complete the lists.

While I still get some satisfaction from crossing something off the lists, lists now hold the same psychological place in my head as the "should" voice.  No matter how manageable I intend to make a list, I don't.  And perhaps, scary thought, because the lists now have the same role as the "should" voice, my "I don't like it and I won't do it" voice guarantees that I will not complete any list I make.  In other words, although I don't have good control over my choices, I think it is possible I am choosing not to complete a list out of the same rebelliousness that makes me procrastinate without lists.

How bad has this become?  I like making lists, if not ever looking at them again, so here is a partial list of "lists" that cause me anxiety.  Interestingly, some of these limit the options of what I do when I procrastinate:

1) To-do lists (obviously)
2) E-mail (I have several folders full of stuff.... No matter how I unsubscribe or sort things, I ignore almost everything I receive, even important things)
3) TV guide (limits my television watching)
4) Restaurant menus
5) Bookshelves
6) Piles of anything - in fact, piles give me SO much stress that, if the piles get big enough, my stress overcomes my procrastination and I WILL wash the dishes, or at least file papers in some kind of logical order to look at "later"; so my apartment is always neat - but I still know where all the chores are hiding.
7) My daily calendar
8. Any category of entries in the phone book (if I'm looking for a tailor, for example)
9) Sadly, the 12 steps of PA

Some of these I push through, because I need them.  Some of them, I avoid as much as I can.  The truth is, I'm no longer able to keep more than 2 or 3 things in my head at a time. 

I saw someone else posted that she makes lists of only 5 tasks, which take no more than 8 minutes each to do.  That sounds reasonable....  part of me wants to try it, part of me is afraid of making my list anxiety worse.  (sigh)


I haven't been doing this very long, but it still sort of "goes against my grain" to post my life on the internet. This is a big problem and it's hard. Recently I've pretty much "hit bottom" with this, and had to become humble enough to admit I can't do it by myself. By doing what's been suggested here, it seems to be working so far.

Several years ago I had another problem that needed attention, so I ended up in 12 step meetings, didn't want people to know I had it, or to see me going into church basements. So far that's working okay.

There's alot of fear here in sharing my pain. The type of work I do is pretty unique, and I'm fearful someone will know it's me, etc. (I admit that's very unlikely, and ultimately I'm not all that important.) All I can say is so far so good for me. I can see my gameplan each day, answers to my questions just appear on my computer screen, and I don't feel like a worthless and lazy person right now. I hope this helps someone.


I very carefully guard my anonymity here so I can share what I need to share to get the help I need here. I don't even want people to know if I'm a man or a woman, so I'm careful not to say anything in posts that indicates it. This site was even registered anonymously so my identity could not be found that way. I've mentioned what I do for a living in general terms, but have left out all identifying details. I suggest you do the same. You may not want to hide your gender - that's kind of extreme. But you can disguise who you are if you're careful.