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.

The heavy toll of procrastination

Hi, I'm powerless over my procrastination habit.

My procrastination has affected my finances, relationships
and my self esteem (or maybe my low self esteem has caused the problem). From a
very young age I remember myself as a quitter. Anytime I faced difficulty of
any sort, the easiest thing for me to escape the issue, but things would always
get more complicated.

When I studied towards my bachelors degree I just couldn't
face the final papers. After graduating, I planned to fly to the US with my
husband for his studies in Boston, and stayed behind to finish writing the
papers, while he flew on his own. But I actually did nothing and joined him
later in the US after a couple of months with a strong sense of failure, but
could do nothing but ignore the problem. I signed up to another University,
this time in the US and once again just couldn't make it through to the end.
After 10 years I asked my first University if I could complete the degree. They
agreed and I managed to finish it 14 years after starting! It was an almost
impossible task and if the professors weren't generous enough to give me one
delay over another I would once again fail. Procrastination has also affected
my career. I would waste lots of time on the Internet or focus on unimportant
jobs. I always kind of pulled things through but could never build the career I

2 years ago, after my second child was born, I quit my job,
because I was not getting anywhere and was about to get fired. I signed up for a
masters degree in Communications. It has been just a few weeks after I gave
birth to my second child. It was a disaster. I was a new discipline which required
taking 2 introductory courses. One of them I had to repeat 3 times, just
because I didn't hand my papers in on time and this time the professor wasn't
so understanding. I finally got through this course. Now I'm finishing the
second year which should have been the last, but I will have to take another
year because the courses I failed.

Now, I need to write a seminary paper and two smaller papers
this summer and I'm just powerless. It's not that I don't try. I gave up on a
summer vacation with the kids (ages 22 months and 3 years) and send them off
every day to a caretaker in order to write my papers (paying a nice sum of
money), and I find myself just getting into anxiety attacks and escaping mostly
to the Internet (Facebook, emails and news) and feeling guilty and horrible.

The first paper was due 2 weeks ago. I received an approval
to hand in the paper late, but I've passed that date as well. I wrote about 10%
of the paper. My professor asked me how much time I need and I don't even know
what to tell her, because it's not really a matter of time. I have 2 more
papers to hand in. One at the end of August and the third at the end of
September. It's true the kids don't leave me much time to work. But I know that
they are not the problem. And if I didn't have a problem I could pull it
through with the kids.

In the past year I joined the 12 step program for
Co-dependency (CODA). It has been a great help in my life and in my healing
process. I searched the internet (as part of my procrastination problem) and
found this group. I think it would be good to focus my healing on procrastination,
because most of my anxiety and powerlessness these days is around my papers.

I have a great sponsor for CODA and recently I've started
sponsoring myself. I would love to find a sponsor that deal specifically with procrastination.
Is there a way to find one? Any advice would be more than welcomed.

Thanks anxious and powerless Ronit

hello ronit i'm new here,

hello ronit

i'm new here, your story just chilled me to the bone, i can identify with you so strongly

many of the 'failures' you state apply to me also, the career and education chances lost, the relationships messed up. i find that i spend a lot of time fantasising about the past and what i could have done differently. i can see that i made horrendous decisions and they were mostly to avoid things that i had put off that grew bigger then i legged it.

my biggest regret is that i have lived in a mess (i also hoard) whilst my child was growing up. these feelings of guilt, regret and anxiey debilate me. i have been trying to make a fresh start

i have been reading posts in 'the organiser lady', sandra felton, i find it very positive and motivating, even if only a bit of it actually gets through, some days i act in it, some not. i will get there in the end, my dream is to sort out my home into a space i can think in.

i also buckled in my dissertation, i never finished it.


well done to you, jay



Welcome and keep coming back. I use the PA site as my "sponsor".I ck in here.

I am also in CODA, etc.,etc. Always finding something new to work on...

I was looking at an article wiith tip for my son who has ADHD (and so do I ) I think it is helpful for anyone.. esp pa'ers

1. Set up a few goals and rewards for the year before school starts.
The key is making sure the goal is reasonable and obtainable.
addition to rewards, provide praise and encouragement. Teach your child
how to feel good about achievement on his or her own. When success is
not achieved,
be their coach and teach or re–teach strategies and behaviors that can increase the likelihood of success. It’s
been shown in studies that ADD and ADHD kids respond much better to
positive reinforcement than to criticism, so try to play to their
strengths and catch them being good and remark on it whenever possible.

2. Agree on a morning routine and afternoon routine before school starts.
things to consider might include selecting clothes for the next day
before going to bed, making sure everything is in each kid’s backpack
and putting the backpacks right by the door.

3. Meet with your child’s teacher at the beginning of the new school year.
that you are interested and want to play an active, supportive role can
form a relationship that can help keep your child on track and make it
easier to work out problems if the need arises.

4. Work with your child to set up a study schedule based on what you learned from the meeting with the teacher.

5. Be sure to schedule “fun time” with your child on a daily basis.

is our reaction to fear. In this case there is the fear of the unknown
(How will things go?) as well as a fear of the past (Will there be a
repeat of previous school year experiences?).

best way to handle anxiety is to confront the fearful situation and
develop a plan to handle it in a way that will result in a positive
outcome. Then stick to the plan, revising it only it necessary.


Thanks Vic

This is very important advice


Hi Roab,

I am also in Coda but have not gone to meetings in several months since starting a new relationship (I wasn't supposed to, but met someone unintentionally and it feels right but I am in a bad place still in my life). 

I have relapsed completely since stopping Coda but I suspect the PA/UA issues I have would have caused me to anyway. Though continuing Coda meetings might have put me in a better headspace so I wouldn't have let myself be unable to pay my bills due to avoidance of job search. 

Anyway ... just sharing the Coda aspects of this. I essentially can be a card-carrying member of PA, UA, DA and Coda! 

I use the chatbox here all day and night, it gets me through a lot. I highly recommend it. Also posting in the daily check-in threads helps set intention for the day. 


"If you feel you're about to drown, remember Tool 1 and Break .. It .. Down"

Thanks Lavida

Lavida, I guess an addicts work never stops and even if we
make progress, we need to remember that maintenance is a very important part of
recovery (but maybe it's more difficult for a procrastinator to commit to a
daily work and group meetings). I wish you luck in your new relationship and
hope that the insights you've gained from CODA will enlighten your

My CODA aspect of PA: My husband is a procrastinator as well
(slightly different me, but in general we both feel overwhelmed by tasks). He finds
it very difficult to get out of bed in the morning and sits most of the day at
home playing his guitar. It's very difficult for him to do anything that
demands a little effort, whether mental or physical. Up until now I've always
resented him for this and blamed him for being lazy, not trying, not supporting
the family and not helping in the daily chores... In the past 2 weeks when I
admitted my own problem of procrastination +the work I've been doing in CODA
for the past year, have helped me understand that he is really powerless and
that only a higher power can help him and nagging or getting upset at him just
won't help. I still have feelings of anger and resentment towards his problem,
but also some compassion which I didn't have before and at least now I just
keep quiet when he's escaping/procrastinating.

I have two questions: what's UA and DA? Also, doesn't the
chatbox have potential for more procrastination? It's always more fun chatting
then doing the tasks. No?

I'll look out for the daily intention threads. Sounds like a
good thing to try.


what's U.A. & D.A.?

Thank you all for sharing your stories. I feel much less alone now that I know what's going on with me and knowing it's not just me, that I'm not just a stupid lazy sh*t Cry; but that I have a compulsive procrastination habit or addiction that I wasn't fully aware of much less able to take control of, and that I can finally find out more about this and hopefully start taking action. I've hardly come across anyone in my day to day life that will admit to having a procrastination addiction, much less share so honestly as people have in P.A.. At last I know it's not just me. I can start to see and breath again. 

I think U.A. is Underearners Anonymous, and D.A. is Debtors Anonymous There are other 12-step fellowships that can also offer recovery support for different addictions, more info can be found searching the web and on websites such as &  

I guess in some ways it's more important to embark on a 12-step process with the right support in any problem area related to one's life with an awareness of the various different manifestations of one's addictive behaviour. 

I hope this helps and best wishes.


Welcome roab

Congratulations on admitting so much and on completing you bachelor's. It is inspiring that you earned it after all. Hooray for second, third, or however many chances one receives.

I feel that any advice is going to fall woefully short of being helpful. But one thing stood out in your testimony: putting yourself in situations where you must succeed and then procrastinating. There's a saying mentioned many times in PA, "motivation follows action;" and while that is true it seems to apply to smaller tasks. I have signed up for school many times only to be reminded of past failures once procrastination sprang up. I was content with no responsibilities because there was nothing to put off; procrastination had nothing to feed on. The cycle of accepting a burden and then avoiding it didn't end by going back to school; it started to turn around only by extremely incremental steps. Breaking things down minutes at a time; accountability partners, lists, avoiding procrastination triggers - all of these small steps synthesise into at least a bit more accomplishment. Surely someone here could be a sponsor/accountability partner; there are also online chats, phone chats, and other tools for breaking the procrastination pattern.  

- "A procrastinator's work is never done."

Thanks Vientir

Your advice is very relevant. It's such a great feeling to
know there are other people facing similar difficulties, who can understand
where I'm coming from, though I feel that I'm probably the worst case of them
all. I guess I need to learn the skill of taking very small steps at a time and
avoid being overwhelmed by the scope of the task ahead of me. I think this is a
lesson in humbleness as well. I always remember myself escaping even in thought
from the here and now.

Thanks for opening my eyes about the way I put myself in
situations that require deadlines and hard work and finding myself procrastinating
and not coping so well.  Funny, when I
signed up for my masters degree, I just didn't remember the hard work that's involved
and that I experienced when working on my BA. A true addict!

I'm not sure that I fully understand what you wrote. Are you
saying that it's better not to take upon yourself tasks so you will avoid
facing the difficulty of overcoming procrastination? or you should take upon
yourself complex tasks and learn how to cope, by working on them step by step?
Not sure I understood this point.

How does the count ability partners work? Can you explain or
perhaps refer me to materials discussing it? I envision some sort of program
similar to OA, where you have a very clear work program and you follow it with
the help of your sponsor and higher power, and group meetings.

I emailed my professor telling her I won't be able to hand
in the paper on time. She was generous enough to ask me how much time I need
and I really don't know how to answer that question (so I'm procrastinating on
this one as well). If it were a mere matter of time, I would probably have it
in by Sunday, but because of my problem, I just don't know what to say. Any

I'd like to end with a word of gratitude (think it's
important) - I'm thankful of my kids that don't leave too much room for procrastination
concerning their care. They need to be fed, bathed, put to bed and also fill
their emotional needs. I admit that I sometimes escape letting my thoughts
drift away with them, but always tentative to their needs.

Hi Roab, I know what you

Hi Roab, I know what you are going through. I am also trying to get through my postgrad work and it's been tough. It's been going for 5.5 years. I have made a lot of progress but now im at the home stretch. In the last few days, I started posting here under the Master List and Projects forum and im making some progress and feeling hopeful.

Try and not think of the whole amount of work. Can you do 10mts of work and nothing else? If so join me, im getting through a 90-100,000 word dissertation 10mts at a time. It's daunting, I have had anxiety, desperation, thoughts of quitting, missing deadlines with my professors, but we have to plough on. Make that, we WANT to plough on.

Don't give up. We can do it. Please start a thread in the Master List section and commit to coming back here and posting everyday, even if it is about your failures. Explain why you failed etc. You eventually will start to pick up. I went through weeks where i couldnt dare to look at my work and tried to busy myself on the internet or tv. But the task is still there. I feel better after each 10min slots i do. I am keeping a tally count of all my 10mts. It feels good to add to it. 10mts is doable, isnt it? 100,000 words is not. 



you wrote is inspiring, and it feels great to receive advice from people who
are going through the exact same thing as I am. I wish you luck with your
thesis. It seems that you're almost there (this is probably the hardest phase,
because finishing a task is also very difficult). But even more than that, I
wish you and all PAs that this difficulty will not just end in completing our
tasks, but will result in recovery and connecting to a higher power, and that
we will learn our lesson and grow from this situation. From the 12 steps, I
understand that I will never get cured from the problem, just receive recovery
and learn to connect to G-d and friends in a similar situation.

I'll try the 10 minute time
slots. See how it goes. It does make sense. Another thing I need to do is to stop
escaping. If I'm behind a schedule and I feel people have expectations from me
and they're calling me to see what's happening. Often, it's too difficult for
me to face them so I just ignore the situation - don't reply the email, don't
answer the phone. Of course this makes me feel awful and does not solve the

I'm still wondering about a few

1. Do I build a timetable for
the day/week? or can it be overwhelming? How is it done?

2. Do I forget everything and
put my life on hold until finished with the task (besides my kids and running a
household of course) and just sit in front of the computer, making an effort to
study or do I continue going out and doing other stuff? For example, on
Thursday mornings I love going to a Zumba class. But with commuting and getting
ready it takes 2 hours. I can send the kids to a babysitter for 4 hours, which
leaves me 2 hours to work. Haven't gone to the class for a month, but also
haven't made much progress on my paper.

Usually I'd just not go to
Zumba, end up being very unproductive and feeling guilty and angry about
myself. I'd love to hear your take on this.

 Is there a list on the PA
site of accountability partners that are available? I'd love to find one. 

Thanks, Ronit 



I dont know the answer to

I dont know the answer to many of your questions. I am new in here actually. I have been struggling for very long and it is only in the last 4 days that I have got some respite although there were periods in between where I got work done. But I'm trying to change something more fundamental here. 

 It might be that we might not get cured, but still we have to BELIEVE that we WILL receive recovery. I think this is important. Admitting powerlessness is one thing, but faith that it will get done must be there. Otherwise, we are just bashing ourselves up and making things worse. 


You know, you do exactly the same thing that I do. I have gone weeks where I did not reply my supervisor's email. I get a deadline and when I reach near it to the point of it not being possible, I switch off completely and give up even trying. I have 5.5 years practice of doing this during my PhD. Recently, I have realised, its better to not worry about deadlines, but committing yourself to those 10mts. What else do we have but this moment right NOW. Worrying about deadlines just makes we want to give up. I will just do this NOW. 

I can't answer question 2 of yours. I also don't know anything about how accountability partners are paired or how they work together. But I would like to be your accountability partner if you'd like. 


Regarding question 1, I think the best thing to do is before you go to sleep, plan out what you will do the next day. Often starting the day on a good note is the best way to get moving. Don't think about the entire task or even the number of hours you will put in. But think about when you can START it, isntead of when you can FINISH it.

Keep starting, and we will bit chunks out of this big scary thing. I have read it before, but i didnt believe it or internalise it. But I think this is the only way to get things done when the sense of being overwhelmed is your main cause for procrastination.

 I dont know what people do as accountability partners, but I think what I would like and what I would like to be is, someone who wont judge. God knows how many times I have given in to procrastination and god knows how many times I have sat in a corner after almost a whole week of doing nothing and almost in tears. So even if you fail, just write in and document why you did. Normally I would try and hide away from the truth of my procrastination by ignoring it. But I think documenting it is highly therepeautic and after a few days of consistently documenting failures, your brain sort of wakes up and kicks you in the backside.  

You can join in my thread if you would like. I prefer not using email as it would distract me further. Everday write the date and your name on the post and commit to what you are going to do today i.e. at what time will you start your first 10 min slot. You can start with one 10 min slot. And then if you would like to do more, commit to more. I will definitely read your posts everyday. I believe we can do this.

You know coz of my procrastinatoion i have wasted so much money, so many possible holidays, so much personal time with my family etc. I MUST change. I know you are on the same boat.   

Let go and let God


not getting cured I mean that even if we learn how to cope with procrastination,
it will not leave us. This is what I've learned from the 12 steps, and by
remembering that we are addicts/chronic procrastinators, we will be in a humbler
and more aware place in our lives and also able to help others. This of course
does not contradict praying for complete recovery (step 7). I also don't think
that bashing ourselves helps in any way, just to increase our fear and
guilt. But maybe we were saying the same thing, just in different words.

I'll have to refuse your
generous offer. I cannot be your accountability partner. My first criteria is
that it should be a woman, and last time I checked your profile you weren't :-)
I pray for myself and for you that we find the best matching partners that will
help us in our journey towards serenity and happiness. I know my sponsor worked
miracles in the CODA 12 step group and my life has changed. This does not mean
we cannot use the forum or the site to communicate.

I can understand the way you
feel, the time and money wasted, but I believe that if you choose the path of
recovery, it will be seen as a lesson that had to be learnt. From the depths of
despair there's a potential for something good and God is there waiting for us
to seek his help. He has given us this difficulty so we "let go and let
God" as the 12 step program says.

Is this your thread?

Should I start my own at the
same section?

 Once again thanks. It's
good to know I'm not alone. 



Hey Well good luck, im sure

Hey :) Well good luck, im sure u will find a great accountability partner somewhere among the many people here :) Yeah definitely start your own thread..we are rooting for u!

Actually, I think you should

Actually, I think you should go to the Zumba class. You definitely should go. But make it a reward for some good behaviour on your part. Not for finishing the whole assignment or whatever. But committing to a few 10min slots and sticking to it. Then you would deserve to go out. A few 10 min slots is better than nothing. 

Deadline Update

My professor wrote back to me. The paper's due on Monday. I can't work on Friday and Saturday. So I have this evening left and Sunday and I guess I can hand it in late on Monday. 

I'm also having guests for the weekend and have to prepare three meals for 7 people and 2 toddlers.

I noticed that I think like an addict. After reading the email from my professor my first thought was, I'll hand it in on Monday at 11:55 PM. She wrote that the physical copy should be handed in on the 28th - so I thought I'll just do that. But I'm planning to hand in whatever I have, even if it's not much. In a way I also felt a relief that by Monday I'll get rid of it. 

Didn't go to Zumba Frown. Went to sleep at 3:30 AM and didn't have a babysitter for the kids. 

Re: roab

Sorry to be unclear. You seem to have gotten it already, but I will reiterate. Taking on large tasks is a bad idea, in my opinion. Putting yourself in a long-term situation doesn't force you do the work, it increases demand resistance.  You can take care of your kids because of how much you care about them and because the tasks are immediate. Feeding, bathing, and putting them to bed are quickly resolved, just as having a job that doesn't require take-home work is ideal for people like us. I suspect the same holds true for you and anyone else on PA who have held jobs that ended when the day ended (cashiers, library clerks, whatever). School is all about long-term projects, and the more time procrastinators have on a project, the more time is going to be wasted.  

Accountability partners are similar to sponsors. I have one myself, someone I trust and who has the same problem as I do. We assist one another by listing our goals for the day and sharing our progress every hour. The check-in board and chatroom on PA are great but I like having a close friend with whom I can confide in. Of course it doesn't have to be a friend, just someone who knows what it's like to chronically procrastinate.   

- "A procrastinator's work is never done."

Accountability Partners

Thanks. Is there a list of available accountability partners on the site?