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.

Procrastination and housekeeping/hoarding/squalor

I've been to Squalor Survivors and Reclaiming Dignity over the last few years because of my hoarding troubles and while I've made considerable progress I seemed to have plateaued. It's been horribly frustrating, but now I think I've finally found the problem. Chronic procrastination. And of course the truth is that I've clearly known that all along.

Does anyone else here have troubles with simply keeping house because of this? And I mean to a pretty dramatic degree?

missed this thread!

How strange - I never saw this thread at all.

When I first left home (late teens, early 20's), my housekeeping... well, there was no housekeeping. Clothes were piled on the floor, dirty dishes piled in the sink... But that turned out to be depression. Since I got help for that, I haven't had trouble with housekeeping - though I still struggle with procrastination.

Missed threads

They're not showing up as 'new' when you look at the forum topics - only when you actually go into the forum. I've missed a few like that too.

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limitations to "Recent Posts" list

Okay - I'll start looking at the forum itself. Thanks for the tip.

can't figure it out

What do the various icons mean (closed envelope, open envelope with paper hanging out?). (I installed this software, and I'm asking! :?)

it's like spongiform brain cancer...

...all the crap that contributes to my procrastination. I guess I am depressed. I've been depressed many times before, and I've been treated for it. When I got to feeling better the last time, I got tired of paying for the meds, told myself I'm a big girl and I ought to be able to handle it on my own now (told myself it was simply a matter of taking good care of myself so I could keep going), decided regular exercise, journalling, meditation, etc., would be the apple a day to keep all the doctors away. But when I was on my meds I could keep at least some semblance of order in the house and in my routines. I could make decisions and prioritize better. I bet to those who know me I come across like a runner at the end of a marathon--still putting one foot in front of the other but nearly unconscious! And like a marathoner, I think all that matters is that I'm still on my feet! But life is not a race. It's a journey meant to be enjoyed. My personal mission statement is, "I am a vessel of God's delight." Ha--I can't find much delight in my life, don't think I am delighting the divine, and am not sharing delight in the divine with anyone else when I am like this. So guess I better put getting back on meds on my urgent list!

Meanwhile, the living room is full of boxes and bins of papers--some sorted, others just stacks of mail. The desk next to the computer is so full of papers I moved the dining room table over just to keep it from falling off, and now the table is equally covered. My laundry room is so full of laundry hampers (from everyone's rooms) that it's hard to walk through and there is no access to the closet or the water heater. The floor is deeply carpeted in clothes.

The kitchen is relatively clean (DH and DS do the dishes and clean the kitchen) but very cluttered with my long-abandoned crafts and supplies in one corner. I do not care for flylady's suggestion to shine the sink because the sink is ONE thing that is not my responsibility!

The bathrooms need cleaning, and the shower in one leaks and the toilet in the other is no longer attached to the floor. The dishwasher also leaks. I have been too ashamed of the clutter and mess to call a plumber.

All of our bedrooms are loaded with tons of junk that nobody has made any decisions about: whether to repair, toss, clean, reorganize, recycle, or give away.

What makes me really mad is that whenever I want to clean all this up, I get major resistance from everyone else, and even sabotage if I go ahead and do it on my own. They are equally involved in making and maintaining this mess. Then I get so hugely resentful I feel like I don't even love them any more and all I want to do is run away. In a way, I think my procrastination about housework is one giant passive-aggressive protest.

taking the medication you need

I'm glad you're going to go back on anti-depressants. It helps, so why deny yourself this? It's an important part of self-care.

It's also important to learn to reach out for help when you need it. I suspect you're the one used to giving help, and find it hard to ask for it. It's great you are participating in the peer support here - that's a big step forward. Antidepressants should be next!!

God's Delight

'God's delight' isn't necessarily ~your~ delight - there may well be a Grand Plan of which you are totally unaware. Jesus probably wasn't delighted all the time, the saints and the prophets weren't always delighted, and Job certainly wasn't delighted. Looks like God has got something other than delight in mind at the moment. Accept what God gives you whether it's delight or not - you can't impose your will on the divine. I don't mean you should never do anything delightful - just look on it as a test or a riddle to solve. Meds might well be part of the answer, along with the other techniques you've listed.

As for the shiny sink - it doesn't have to literally be a sink. In my bedroom my 'shiny sink' is my bed, in here it's my desk, in the Dining Room it's the table.

Just pick one thing - sticking to the sink theme if you like, as it sounds like you could do with some plumbing before it turns nasty! I've got two cracked sinks, and an odd cistern, and taps that leak, but it's all safe so that's OK until I can afford to change it. So, just pick ~one~ thing that will contribute towards your health and safety, or one thing that will contribute to your joy, and deal with it this week. Make a commitment - we'll support you!

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I'm not familiar with those

I'm not familiar with those groups and I'm not sure how well my experience relates to what you're talking about.. But I definately know what you mean by "hoarding". It's something I do and which is a major contributor to my living and working space being messy.

I have a hard time getting rid of things because they're often bound up with some future project. I have diverse interests and a pretty active imagination when it comes to thinking of possible uses of things, so that means I can (if I'm not careful) convince myself that Items X, Y and Z are potentially useful. I also hate seeing waste, and there's often no easy way of getting rid of something without throwing it out.

Of course, every object has potential benefit.. that is, would be useful for the right person, for the right project, at the right moment. But along with that _potential_ benefit there is the _definite_ cost which is the physical and mental space that the thing takes up. And, of course, we only get the benefit of an object if it is ever _used_. And it will only ever be used if its accessible at the time we need it - the chances of which gets slimmer with each bit of stuff we hoard. For me the most important step to improving in this respect is recognizing that each thing in my space, field of vision, or whatever has the potential to dimish the usefulness of every other thing. Keeping that in mind makes it easier to get rid of stuff.

The other habit I'm really trying to break is using physical objects as reminders or "stand-ins" for activities I want to do. For example, I take Book X off the shelf and start reading it. It's great, but I get distracted and start doing something else. Now do I put the book away? No, I leave it out as a reminder to continue reading it - keep it out in 'active space' on my desk. After all, it's a great book, right?

The mistake I'm making here is using a 8"x10"x3" physical object to stand in for what is essentially a piece of information. Information that I could equally well represent in ten characters in my To Do list: "Read Book X". So, for me, cleaning my space is intimately connected to having a permanent, centralized To Do list. I can still procrastinate reading Book X for two years, but at least I won't be tripping over it in the mean time.

As you might guess, it makes for a To Do list which is incredibly long! But a long list isn't nearly as unmanageable as a house full of hundreds of "Object-Tasks" fighting for my attention.

A lot of my thinking about this has been prompted by my mother, who is a serious hoarder. She simply can't seem to let go of things. She's constantly buying new little containers, baskets, tupperware, etc. because they represent the abstract feeling of being organized and on top of things. The root of the problem, though, is that she has just way, way too much stuff. She lives alone in a large, four-bedroom house which is just up to the ceiling with clutter. And the sad part is she's got lots of nice stuff, mementos and so on, which would give her lots of pleasure to see if they weren't buried in paper.

My own efforts to keep organized (as well as those of my siblings) are kindof a reaction to that chaos. I've been actively trying to combat my own hoarding tendencies. It's been a successful, if slow, process.
Maybe you've had this recommended a million times already, but I've found Organizing From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstein to be quite helpful.

Oh, my Gawd!!!!

Nonplus' remark, "She's constantly buying new little containers, baskets, tupperware, etc. because they represent the abstract feeling of being organized and on top of things," is right on the money! I am constantly buying organizing stuff which I never use. I ask myself why I keep buying it when I don't use it, and I knew I felt compelled but I hadn't been able to articulate why. This is it! And I totally relate to keeping "object-tasks" out in view as reminders. I have a real fear I'll forget all about them if I can't see them. The irony is that eventually they get buried, anyhow. And meanwhile I am handicapped by the entire pile of things.

I ~do~ forget things

I will totally forget a task if there isn't a clearly visible reminder of it. It's one of the reasons the David Allen system has helped me tackle procrastination, because instead of having all the paperwork, the books, the files, the ~everything~ out (and subsequently buried, as slider noted) I just have the Task in my ToDo list, reminding me to look at the physical object at the appropriate time. The old conditioning is really well entrenched though, because I do still catch myself doing it.

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Hey. There's a plethora of

Hey. There's a plethora of information and links about hoarding and such at Reclaiming Dignity. It's true, I own that site, but it's the people there who've got me as far as I've gotten. I've been busily adding information and links about procrastination too.

I think, after reading as much as I have so far on procrastination that hoarding is no longer my biggest problem. I think procrastination is the biggest one. I'm not hoarding dirty dishes, after all. I'm just not doing the dirty dishes.

I'm really, really excited about having found the two procrastination support boards. Do you have any favorite procrastination site links?

Reclaiming Dignity - Link Correction (?)

I was trying to find the "Reclaiming Dignity" website and found that the link isn't working (understandable - it's 5 years later now.)

I did a google search and found a website that appears to be what was described at:

I don't know for sure whether this is the original site moved to a new spot, but it looks like a good resource.

Many thanks to all those posting info like this to help everyone who can benefit from it.

thanks, py!

Thanks for the link, pyrotecher! I've bookmarked the site and hope to get some useful help from those resources in the near future.

Yes pyrotecher, that's where Reclaiming Dignity moved to.

Click on the "resources" link at left side of that page.

Procrastination Site Links

You've found my favourite two! Actually, I wouldn't want any more - sometimes I've been known to read the boards as a way of procrastinating (I think we possibly all do that here). Fortunately for me, activity is high enough to generate useful ideas, without generating too much to respond to in a reasonable amount of time.


I will check out those

I will check out those links.
I have two problems. I love the way you put it. The things are a connection to a future project.
Right now I have a pair of broken boots in the closet. I cant wear them, have to figure out how to fix them. They are a duplicate of boots I had as a young adult and therefore "valuable". So I really cant throw them out. I have to repair them and take them to the thrift store. I think I have had these broken boots for five years,
so they are a future project. I can fix them and sell them.
They are an emotional attachment. They are the boots of my youth.
I get bags of stuff for the thrift store and it can take me months to take those bags out of here.

Julie Morgenstein

And I need to check out that book. I've heard a lot about it in organising forums, and checked the website too. Looks good.