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.

In UK, 9-10am riser, Seeking accountability buddy

I'm a (male) chronic procrastinator in the UK. I'm currently unemployed and have been for six months, after finishing a PhD which took more than 5 months to write up. It was a science PhD, so required me to be at work every day. Despite having generally terrible time management, I didn't actually procrastinate much while at work. It was hands-on work, which helped, and when I'm being paid to do a job (which it felt like) and there are people around to judge me for not working, I am well motivated.

I have two things I'd like to get sorted. The first is to get a job (ideally a career, not just a job, but at this stage I can't afford to be choosy!). I've been applying to quite a few and managed to get a handful of first-stage interviews, but never got beyond that. I'm now at the stage where my motivation to apply is draining away to nothing, and I'm lucky to get three applications off per week. The second is to do some writing and put that on the web; first as a website for my former lab, then maybe as some kind of science blog. I'd like to do the writing for my own well-being as well as something to point at while applying for jobs to say "look, I actually enjoy doing this stuff and I've not just been sitting on my bum the whole time... honest!". I've sat down and tried to write a few times, but am distracted disgustingly easily and have made very little progress. 

Basically I need to be held to account. I know I can be productive, I just need deadlines and oversight (and long-term I need to develop discipline, however that's done...).

For my part, I am great at being encouraging and making helpful suggestions for ways to go about things. I'm not so great at saying the kind of stuff I wish someone would say to me: "Stop talking/thinking about it and do it! Do it now! I want to hear from you before the end of the day, and it had better be done! If not, there will be consequences!" but if I commit to saying this kind of stuff in order to help my buddy, I will do it. I am very good at being motivated to do stuff on behalf of other people, and very bad at doing stuff for myself.

I'm seeking an accountability buddy who's got a project they're trying to get done and failing to do it. If you're having trouble writing up a PhD I would love to help you get it done. If you're jobseeking, this would also be great, and hopefully we can get some reciprocal encouragement going.

I can be available on email, Facebook, google chat or Skype. I would prefer, after we've got to know each other a bit, to set a maximum number & length for communications or schedule short times for availability/communication (2x 30 mins/day?), as at this stage I can see myself using 'accountability' as yet another way to procrastinate, and I really want to avoid that!



Hi Dave!

I was really interested to read your message. In fact I joined the group specifically so I could reply to you. Like you I am from the UK, am a chronic procrastinator and have a doctorate (which took me a _lot_ longer than 5 months to write up!). I am now procrastinating about finishing things from my current project as well as trying to look (not very enthusiastically) for my next job.

Anyway, I would be very interested in an Accountability Partnership, or maybe just some mutual support. I am also quite good, I think, at supporting others. It is with myself I am at my most unreasonable. 

I hope you are making some progress with the Blog, that sounds like a great idea, and with the job applications.

Very best wishes,


re: type of accountability needed

Dave said:


I wish someone would say to me: "Stop talking/thinking about it and do it! Do it now! I want to hear from you before the end of the day, and it had better be done! If not, there will be consequences!"


Just an FYI, many of us compulsive procrastinators don't respond well to that. In fact, for me, that sort of prodding makes it much worse. That's because I suffer from "Demand Sensitivity" and "Demand Resistance", which is explained here:

For me, what works is gentle encouragement, and redirection out of anxiety to the next small action step.  Somehow, that's more effective to help me to be accountable.

However, I recognize that we are all different!

What matters is that we all want to stop procrastinating, even if we each need different methods to reach that aim.

Welcome! :)

I applaud you for knowing what you need.  It's great that you're saying what works for YOU, because then you'll find the kind of accountability partner that will match your needs.

re: type of accountability needed

No worries, movingalong, and thanks. I should have emphasised more that I'm not very good at giving that type of motivation; I'm better at being a cheerleader and trying to be helpful.

I was caricaturing the 'consequences' thing a bit - if someone on here threatened me with 'consequences' I would run a mile! What I meant, really, was that I need to feel there could be consequences, even if it's just mildly disappointing a relative stranger. I am best motivated by feeling responsible to others, and I'd like an accountability buddy who will feel free to challenge me (good naturedly!) if I fail to deliver, though I personally don't expect to do any challenging unless I'm specifically asked to be like that.

also try the chatbox for accountability

Hi David,

You might also try the chatbox for accountability. It's especially excellent as a tool for getting started. We commit to doing something for x minutes, then come back and report how we did. Often people work together in "bursts" (short bursts of work) - 10 minutes, 15 minutes. If we failed to do what we said we'd do, we try again. Second time people usually succeed. Once we're started, we might go for longer - perhaps 30 minutes.

Because there are people here from all over the world here, there is almost always someone in the chatbox. There are no threats of "do this or else" - not like that. It's very gentle and forgiving when people get distracted. Then when you succeed, people cheer like crazy. That is amazingly helpful. Try it!

- pro