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.

Finishing my Thesis

Hi, I gave a (very long!) introduction in the introductions section - "Pulling myself back from the Brink". ( I am going to keep a log here of each day. So that I have some encouragement and record of how I am doing with getting to the end of my long due thesis. 

11 August 2012

Most of the day was spent procrastinating watching tv or on the internet. I was worrying about not knowing how to start my final chapter of my thesis. It is 9.30pm now. My behaviour today has cost me $71 in tuition fees today.  

I read the The Little Guide to Un-Procrastination by Leo Babauta. I am have decided to face my fears and conquer this problem slowly but surely. 

I will start working in 10min slots from now for one hour and go to bed by 10.45, so that I can wake up at 6.30 everyday from tomorrow onwards.

Any other academics in here? 


@ Thesis

Great to see you back here for the next step in your adventure! Good luck with the next phase!


Thank you PhDmom and Hooch

Thank you PhDmom and Hooch :) Just getting into stride now...wishing u both all success and determination!

This Journey is not over

Hi everyone,

I did not hand in my thesis by self imposed deadline. I had not slept for almost 2 days, I  had a flight to take that afternoon. It was 5.45am. I realised that I was not going to make it with the few hours left. I was not even making sense of what I was doing at that point.

As I gave up and sank into desperation and this horrible sense of utter defeat and shame sank in, I was just looking out of the window, having tears rolling down my cheek. There's no way I am going home witth another excuse I thought. I cant face them. Clearly, I was overcome not only by emotion, but lack of sleep.

I also realised that what my supervisors had me to for my last edits simply did not make sense as it made me overpromise in my intro and starting chapters and did not carry through into my arguments in my findings chapters. How I did not see it before, I dont know. But there wS no way I was going to finish it in a few hours. 

I wrote off a a miserable email to my supervisors saying it was all wrong and I wasnt handing it in and half blaming them for my position 

In the end my incredibly supportive partner, packed me onto the plane. I was so upset at that time but after I got home to my lovely family and had some sleep, I felt a whole lot better. My supervisors responded saying that they agreed my thesis did not some more time and it would be a pity to rush it because of a self imposed deadline after so much work. They said i should ideally take a few weeks to sort things out and hand it in, but it was up to me.

The only reason im averse to it, apart from financial reasons, is im very afraid that the weeks will drag into months and months and the past wiill repeat itself (although there is no reason for it to if I keep working carefully when I get back).  

Anyway, im in the midst of a break now with some marking to do for teaching related stuff. I am flying back only in another week. I am using this to take my mind off work completely (although im struggling to do so).

I was feeling a bit stressed out today for the first time after a few days. I have been trying to think about it like another life lesson. i was working like a mad person, following crazy timings, not eatinng/sleeping on time, the home was a mess, eating fast food. I think I needed one more lesson to complete this journey.

That this extreme is no way to get to your goal. I will work calmly and steadily, I will take the evenings off and one day a week off. And I will cross the finish like in calmness rather than this madness. This is the one last lesson for me.

I can look at this in a million other ways and spiral down and quit this whole freaking thing. But I will not give in. Not now. Not bloody ever. *Grits teeth*

P.S. I was also feeling so much shame posting here and writing to those who were waiting for my thesis which was almost ready. But I know i will never get judged by the wonderful community here. So here I am, with my soul bare.

Lincoln speaks well for for where I am now: I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go 


Oh thesis, I so feel for you, having been in the same situation. Sometimes I think you need to be in that absolute end state of a thesis to see it with the clarity you require to finish it - ie the promise and the conclusion- and then the reading it through knowing what to strip back and what to strengthen. It sounds as if you absolutely needed the break, that your supervisors recognise both that and the quality of the work. 

I do know the way all one's energy can be geared towards a specific deadline, and exhausted by the time that deadline is reached, so tha extending it feels as if you have another marathon ahead without any resources to deal with it.

For my final final deadline , I chose a date that had particular personal significance for me, and so it became an internal reward, rather than a public imposition..

and as for feeling ashamed, a pox on that emotion, let it never rear it's ugly face.   For some gentleness visit 

all strength to you


Thank you Mole! that

Thank you Mole! that website looks really interesting..i hv bookmarked it so I can return to it. All that you said is still relevant to me, so it doesnt matter that your post was responding to an old entry.



Oh dear, thesis, I see that I have just responded to an old post and that you are well on your way again. apologies and good luck with it all.

Such courage, thesis!!!

thesis, despite all of the shame you were experiencing, you were able to reach out to the PA community and share your pain and disappointment and feelings of self loathing. That takes such immense courage. How could any of us be disappointed in you!? If you weren't you, you would be cheering thesis on along with the rest of us...

So proud of you and so hopeful for your future!


thesis enjoy youre break and be proud oif your achievements

Oh my gosh thesis - its so interesting how hard we are on ourselves. from an outsider perspective watching you put in an awesome brilliant effort day in and day out for months -even on the hard days- keeping going . being brave, plodding through it - I have felt so proud of you. To hear you speak of shame about a deadline not being met when YOU HAVE GOT TO HERE ALL THROUGH YOUR HARD WORK and effort - it just made me want t to tell you HEY be PROUD OF yourself. You are so nearly there. I think it is great what your supervisors said about not rushing it and fiinishing it right . If it takes a few extra weeks in the scheme of your life it will be worth it! I hope you have a great break away fromthe books and can come back rested and gentle with yourseld and pROUD OF YOUR ACHIEVMENTS!!!! You are nearly there!! Well done again.


Your post is an inspiration to me today. 

Thank you for taking the time and the risk in sharing with such honesty and vulnerability. I think your courage to sit with your discomfort while processing the whole situation is big (I have no better adjective for this one!) though your feelings may tell you otherwise. I see so many big wins in your situation coming through in your writing despite the disappointment you feel. 

Today you've helped me to grit my teeth and to keep going in facing the much smaller battles in my day.

Sending you hope and courage and moral support as you carry on. As others have said, it seems to me that you've come so far.  


you've come so far, Thesis

You have come so far since you first joined us; we're all rooting for you to get that thesis completed to your satisfaction.  You were right to put off submitting it, as shown by your supervisors reaction.

And there is no need to feel shame in posting on here that you haven't finished yet.  There are lots of us who have been in a similar situation, and we do understand.  Your determination to get this done stands out like a beacon.  Enjoy your break and come back refreshed for that final push.


You rock, Thesis!

This is such a wise post. Whereas I managed to conplete in frenzy with my Masters, a PhD is a whole other level, where -much like writing a whole book- it takes even more to go over the finish line. You indeed learnt another lesson, a very mindful and impressive one: calmth and steady progress will lead you to your goal. What a journey, dear friend! I am so very proud!!

When the times comes to continue after your VERY well deserved break (I bet you did more than ever in a month!) repeat to yourself the words that give you rest and focus for the one-burst-at a time appraoch to your goal:

"I will work calmly and steadily, I will take the evenings off and one day a week off.  And I will cross the finish line in calmness rather than this madness. This is the one last lesson for me.

We all believe in you, and this is by no means "failure".
It is a success because 1) your self imposed deadline worked: its goal to accelerate the speed of your progress has been reached! and 2) the realisation that something in specific needs more work is in itself another step of progress and 3) feeling it DESERVES more work because you commit to quality, shows not only your scholarly skills and dedication, but also your growing self confidence and direction as a writer that is moving towards the quality he envisions. You are brave and determined by choosing for that quality - instead of compromising your years of work for the sake of being rid of it.

I applaud you. Don't forget all the work in frenzy was not for nothing, you are SO MUCH closer now that in a few weeks you will be free. Just keep doing what works, planning one day, and one micro-burst with a specific goal, at a time.

 Butr first, enjoy your holiday!!!!

Kiss In solidarity,

your friend Wolke 

ps. Your wife sounds like an amazing person! :D What would we do without them.. ;) 


Work today, win tomorrow.

Good luck Thesis

All the best for the last phase Thesis. I think you were wise to recognise you needed to re-jiggle things a bit and not to hand in a version with obvious problems. You would only get it back for corrections.

Good luck with it!


Thesis journey will be worth it

Hang in!  I'm impressed by your recognition that there was a conflict between the suggested edits and the content, despite sleep deprivation and feeling frantic and overwhelmed.  Your stopping to breathe will let you finish your thesis carefully, thoughtfully, and without time-binging.  It does make sense to keep to a deadline self-imposed or not...and it makes sense to cut yourself some slack, just the way you have.  Way to go!

feel no shame, thesis!

You are really very close and I see no reason for beating yourself up over narrowly missing a self-imposed deadline. I for one am still super impressed with you! You have made a LOT of progress in a short time and I think your supervisors are probably giving you good advice. 

hugs to thesis re: "This journey is not over"

I hadn't realized your deadline had been self-imposed.

Congratulations for being willing to let go and give yourself more time.

Yes, the steady approach is best.

We are addicted to the procrastination drama of highs and lows, of intense work and then avoidance.

But we *can* learn the steady approach, as part of a balanced life.

By the way, in my opinion, taking a reasonable planned vacation isn't "avoidance".  It's part of a balanced life.

May blessings go with you.

Good luck Thesis

All the best for the last push!

You can do it!


Thesis support

Hi!  I'm a former academic.  As a scientist, it was easy for me to write my thesis, since it involved essentially stapling papers together.  It is different for most other grad students, and I admire and support your doing what you need to to succeed. You can do it today.  You will do it today.  Kudos and applause, congratulations and relief all await.  You are breaths away from full return from the brink!


I just came across this thread for the first time today.  Congradulations!  I will be starting my dissertation in the comming year, and this thread is a real inspiration.  Keep up the great work!

28 December

So, I am a day late. I am not going to get that get to me. I will keep moving forward! Today by evening i.e. in 8 hours I will finish and print my thesis. I will i will i iwll.

I wont surf one random page today. I will believe. I will focus, I will step up. This is your moment.  

well done thesis!

So very proud of you. Keep going and cross that finish line!!! YAY!!! Well done - you have done an AMAZING job

how wonderful

how wonderful thesis!

 when this is done you will be able to do anything.  

Hang in there, thesis!

Just think of how long you've wanted to be at this very point with the thesis... Savor these last miserable, wonderful hours. You are SO CLOSE!!!

Thesis- sending you good juju!

That's exactly right, Thesis.  This is your moment! Live it!

YAY thesis

Laughing  May higherpower guide you

Dec 23

Dec 21 - 36 x10 bursts - i did not differentiate between productive n unproductive

Dec 22 - 33 x10 - productive bursts 4x10 unproductive ones.

Fight fight! Fight till the end. Never never give in.

Conclusion is done. It's late but it's done. Hopefully supervisors think it's ok., Now I have the rest of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday till evening for final edits and bringing down the word count to 100,000. I am a few thousand above. Ughhh.

Binding on Thursday. 

Go go go Thesis!!!!!!!! Vrrrrmmmm!

Jump on your bike and vrrrrrrrrrrmmmmm, this week your final destination is just at the end of the road!!

Let's get the precious package delivered!! :)

A NEW YEAR is coming..........................................WITHOUT daily thesis work!!!!!! 

GO GO GO! You can do it! Congratulations on finishing the conclusion!!

100.000 words, holy cow!!!!! 

 Hugs, Wolke

Work today, win tomorrow.

Fantastic news, thesis!

You have done so well to reach this stage! I really admire your persistence and willingness to change old attitudes. You deserve success, and I hope it all goes very well for you.

Thesis- sending you good juju!

Your progress inspires me!

Conclusion Finished, HURRAY

Congratulations!!!!  You are so close it is taste-able.  What a lot of work you've done!


Thesis CONCLUSION IS DONE!!!!!!!! AMAZING!!!!! Well done- you are nearly three now. Imagine how great it will feel on Thursday to have the bound copy in your hands, Best of luck with the editing and cut down in the next few days. You have done a FANTASTC JOB and the finish line is in sight! YAY Keep going - YOU CAN DO IT!!  

Finishing Thesis -Thank you!

Hi everyone, I am printing my thesis and getting them bound next Thursday. I have a lot more to do in terms of final edits. But I have been trying to keep myself in a positivve frame of mind which has really helped me.

I still have almost a week more to go, but I want to thank all of you today, just coz i feel like saying thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I know I am not finished yet. But thank you for being alive, and for being around even if I wouldnt recognise you on the streets :)

Also in mid january onward (after my holidays n travel), if anyone (esp doing their PhDs) wants to chat on skype every two weeks or so, id be glad to share the little silly things i've learnt on my journey which i think made a difference in the past few months compared to the YEARS before.

I was thinking this week that I wish someone had told me all the little insignificant things which made so much difference for me and I thought even if one word made some amount of difference to someone, i would feel like ive done my job. I'm no professional coach though, be warned. Oh and im on Melbourne time!

All the best to Thesis

... and wishing you good progress for the next few days! It is really coming together.


Seven days and you will be free!

What a great new year's present to yourself Thesis. I am massively proud.

Hang in there these last days. I know it's a stressful countdown, but just keep believing in yourself and work like a tiger. You will probably understand now how I managed to do 30 to 50+ x10min bursts every day with this amount of time pressure. 

I wanted to tell you, that even though I wrote my conclusion and more the night before the final hand in, and I was quite unhappy about some things still, I received my grade this week:

A DISTINCTION!!! (A distinction is any grade in the range of 70 to 80; the highest that you can get in the UK red brick university system) 

This story is just to remind you that we are our own harshest critics. And even though I was given several points of 'negative' feedback on how I could have done it better, the academics still recognised the amount of work put in, how meticulously researched the thesis was and my good main argument. In fact, the second marker ended with something like "However, every piece of academic research has particular points it can be criticised on. Overall this work has scholarly integrity, and is definitely worthy of a distinction" and more positive blabla. 

PLEASE REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOUR WORK DOES NOT HAVE TO BE FLAWLESS in order to be GREAT! - Just get it handed in on the day of the deadline.

Lots of hugs and positive thinking. If you want me to stay up with you for a while soon or to do some simple task for you, let me know, you have my email.

Big hugs,

the lady with a distinction. \Cool

Work today, win tomorrow.

Distinctly Wolke

Masive Congrats Wolke!


That is fantastic news

That is fantastic news Wolke! OMG! Congratulations!! :D You nailed it, just like I knew you would! And you have inspired me to give it my all in this last few days. Completion, not perfection, completion not perfection, completion not perfection..this will be my mantra!

I see you online sometimes but I always felt a bit embarassed to bother you with PA-related talk because u deserved the rest. Embarassed And i couldnt just come in there and go, lets burst together!! haha, after i finish, we will definitely catch up properly again! :) If i see u around and ill arm twist you into doing a few bursts with me though in the mean time since you offered :D

Hugs for the D-lady! 

What an offer, thesis!

Let me say again that it is really nice to see you being so close to the finish line. You deserve it! And your generosity inspires me almost as much as your finishing your thesis.

It is a very nice offer, and - if you still feel like extending it once you are back from your well-deserved holiday - I would love to take you up on it. Will contact you.


Hi Marcelor, will gladly

Hi Marcelor, will gladly contact you when im back after mid January :) In the mean time enjoy ur holidays and K.B.O! You can do it! 


Dec 17-20 - also on Incantations.

Dec 17 - 2x10 - good work mate. very classy. HAHAHAA. ok i feel better after laughing at my failure. Hahaha im actually grinning now.

Dec 18- 10x10 productive work, 10x10 - stuck in an organising and reading frenzy which was unncessary

Dec 19 - 19x10 productive work, 15x10 -  stuck in a ridiculous obsessive reading loop when i knew i had to stop and i knw at the back of my head, it wouldnnt eventually be written about. Shocking...haha? hmm. 

Dec 20 - learnt lesson about totally unproductive bursts 30x10 productive bursts and 3x10 unproductive burst.

Today I also disovered the total power of incantations when I gave it a good go. Not affirmations, but incantations where you use total emotion, your body, every inch of your soul to shout out your incantation. Feels very powerful. I made one for myself and I found it incredibly useful to make sure that every single time i take a break, on the way back or just before starting to really put myself in peak state but working myself up into a frenzy chanting my incantation. It helps noone around here today. 

So that's what I learnt today. I also learnt that life's problems are like your tangled ipod wires.

Control the meaning - Control your destiny.

We can't control things, but we can always control the 'meaning' we associate to things.

I have found this such valuable advice that i feel  it lies at the heart of all improvement anyone can try to make. Since I took this seriously, I have failed several times, I have procrastinated, but I hv always managed to pick myself up and try again without the heartache and sheer terror i used to have even just a few weeks/months ago. 

I have changed the meaning that i associate with failure and how i see the cost of my procrastination on my life and the challenge i face because of it. When I fail, the first thing I try to think which helps me is, ok, this is an opportunity to grow. so how can i make it better. What can i learn from it? How can i turn this around in a way which makes me feel stronger, and more motivated.  

Before this every failure, every day gone was a stab in my heart, an assault on my self worth, an indiction of my 'pathetic abilities'. Turn ever rock in your way into a stone that builds the foundations of your character. Bring it on. The more I fail, the more I get to think, ponder and make myself better. 

Powerful thoughts

Those are great, powerful thoughts! :) Similar to other quotes I have found (not sure by who): "There are no mistakes, only growth", "Let your past make you better not bitter", "What defines us is how well we rise after falling"

 Your post below about changing yourself and procrastination habits (never again) came to mind when I saw this image by my friend, Anne Paré: Having said 'never again' many many times myself, I think this is something I need to stick on my walk and look at every day as a reminder to move forward and not fall into the shadows of procrastination.

 Now I need to follow in your footsteps and get a full thesis draft to my supervisor by the end of the year! Keep at it with your conclusions and be proud of all the work you've already done to get to the end! :)


What a freeing feeling.
I want to print this, frame it and put it on my wall.



"Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?"

-- Pema Chodron


Congrats!!  Congrats!! Congrats!!

December 17

December 16 - 39x10 thesis work. 4x10 teaching work.

Towards the end yesteryday, I figured I must be being incredibly unproductive to be spending so much time and writing not as much as i would like. Mostly because I was reading stuff which didnt REALLY need to be read. I should be getting words on Paper. 

I have 3000 words of the conclusion. I need to get  to 4600. Today I'm finishing the conclusion. I will.

So the technique that i discoverd yday night is instead of just keeping a tally of time, I am keeping two tallies, the ones which are really productive and the ones which are not so productive. I am thinking that by paying attention and documenting to what i am actually producing, the awareness itself might be curative and I can chalk up more coloumns of productive bursts than bursts which could have been better used.

I'll do 10minutes now and go and get lunch and after that deal with phone call.  


P.S. Sorry if i haven't replied ur comments personally. I promise to once this is done. Hugs for everyone! 

well done thesis!

I feel very proud of you!!!! Best of luck with the conclusion andwriting. You are doing a grreat great job! Well doneSmile

December 16

December 14 - 11x10 thesis work and 3x10 online teaching.

December 15 -  24x10 thesis working and 3x10 teaching

Ok today i hv to write 2500 words at 300 words an hour which is about  150 words every half hour. 

I have about 1500 words now and want to get to 4500 to finish this conclusion. Yes yes yes! The end is nigh! 

First target - 6x10 - 300 words by 1pm.  

Dec 13

Hello see-saw! 

back to 14x10 for the day. 4x10 teaching work

Mucho procrastination. I think there are some underlying issues 

Basically I think procrastination is meeting some of my basic human needs (in a confused manner)

- my need for significance (or more precisely to avoid insignificance) as i am worried about what i will do after phd, having never worked in a proper job. Doing PhD sounds significant as opposed to the potential world outside

- need for certainty (starting a new piece of writing, chapter, dealing wth confusing bits etc all making me uncertain and then i switch off when its too hard/too different/new tc).

- am i meeting a need for connection with my close ones who keep encouraging me??


None of these logically make any sense. But i am must be getting something out of it at a core level if i keep repeating these patterns.

I have reframed these issues in a more empowering (and indeed TRUE) perpective on my note pad so that I dont go on that path. It helped me focus late in the evening a little bit. I will post it up later when i have some time

p.s. dammit i think i am also meeting my need for significance through this board. lol 

And you are meeting our need for significance... letting us encourage you and celebrate with you. :)

OK, enough chatter from me today. You rock, thesis! Just as you are right this very moment, insecurities and all. Your authenticity inspires me. 

Amen brotha!



"Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?"

-- Pema Chodron

December 13

I don't know whether i gave the wrong impression to everyone, but i am not done with my thesis yet. I have sent off the final draft but hvnt written the conclusion which is about another 4500-5000 words. I want to finish the conclusion by Saturday and sort out everything to submit end of next week. There is a lot which hangs in the balance, depending on how things go with my supervisors (who have been exceeedingly obliging and sweet) and how much final editing remains. 

But I am learning to focus on the outcome and the process, rather than the difficulty of it. Today its 3.40pm now and I hvnt not started writing yet because I got some sleep and then had a lot of admin related issues to deal with online (for my students) who are trying to submit assignments. But now that is sorted. I intend to work from now untill 1am and then go to sleep.

Things which work lately



  • Chunk it down. To small manageable bits. Act like there is a deadline always, even for the smallest task. Imagine it's a real deadlline and there is someone waiting.
  • If possible work at least 6 or 7x10 before taking a break, otherwise you never get into a flow state and you end up struggling to motivate yourself to come back after breaks.
  • Start before you are ready. You dont need that one smoke before you start, Otherwise, when you get back demand resistance is still there and you wont start. So start first and then have a break. Plug in and open your files before doing anything else. 
  • Ask for courage and determination and invite Him to work through me. I looked back at the draft of about 350 pages and I was more thankful than proud.
  • Print out my time line and reflect on it and visualise completing it, vividly and in bright colours. As you do it, feel the certainty within, the unquestioing belief that it WILL be done. Imagine it already done.
  • Remember completion is the AIM/OUTCOME, not perfection. I kept giving up and accrued so much time/money/stress because 1. I couldnt start (which i hv less of a problem in the last month) 2. Because I couldnt persist (it would seem too hard (to get it perfect) and I would give up and do something else. 
  • Remember the pain of procrastination - financial and otherwise. Remember, how you felt when you said, NEVER AGAIN. Feel it.
  • Visualise the person I want to be, know that I can be him NOW. Use body effectively and powerfully to break out of patterns and to put yourself in state. Ask empowering questions. 
  • Powernap to recharge when the words dont seem to make any sense anymore! Thank you to the PA member who taught me that it is indeed possible to sleep for 15mts without waking up after 2 hours of deep sleep!!


hi thesis

hi thesis

this is great, i will use some of this

it's a long time since i had to hardcore study, i met a lot of the challenges you have but i lacked in sight, i've learn't a lot about my behaviour later in life

have you tried using a whiteboard

good luck