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 dissertation is a 4 letter word

i'm new, and need a miracle to finish the dissertation. i have been struggling with it daily for such a long time, and i keep hoping to find some magic tip to make me motivated. i have so many reasons to want to be done, that it boggles my mind that i could procrastinate and waste so much of my precious time when i should be focusing and finishing. of course, i realize that procrastinating make me hate myself and being productive is such a good feeling. again, it boggles my mind that i cant just realize that and do the work. besides the fact that i'm probably lazy, i do believe that i must be a compulsive procrastinator, because how else can you explain the fact that there are real repercussions if i dont finish, like wasting years of my life. my only saving grace is that i may be ahead of all my colleagues who i started with, so that is validating, that it is not just me who procrastinates the dissertation, but this is just truly so hard.  i do also struggle with self control related to food and shopping, but it's not something that is out of control, whereas the dissertation resistance is. i must focus and finish. i must. and so, i ask you, fellow procrastinators, please tell me how to use this website to be helpful to me and not to just be something else to waste time on. i want to make a committment to log in consistently and be accountable, and i'm hopeful, but the fact is that my track record, not so good. so, i truly hope that i can figure out a way to make this work. so, where do i start? thank you all!!!

today is the day that i

today is the day that i start over. i have a new self imposed deadline to be ready to send in my work in preparation for my dissertation proposal of april 15th. i pray that i can do it, and i believe that i can. i feel a strong committment that i havent felt in a long time. i must propose this semester or else i will likely need an extension and i really really dont want that. so, today, i did one hour and forty minutes, which is a great accomplishment for me. maybe not for someone else, but for me, it is a feat. i also reached out to individuals who can help me along in certain areas like methodology etc which is not my expertise. unfortunately, we are required to do work that we are really not trained to do which bugs me, but whatever. so, i do feel that i made progress, and i believe i can do this. please God, i need your help.

now that i've started a new

now that i've started a new part time job, it will be a tough balance to figure out how to make the time to dissertate as well. but dissertate i must. the fact is that i've been such a procrastinator without the job that the job is really for my self esteem, to remember that i'm a valuable clinician, cuz i miss the work. the dissertation has been really hard on my self esteem and i felt that i needed this very part time job right now. ok, i'm rambling. how am i going to make it happen???

it's been so hard to get

it's been so hard to get back on track, but i'm so happy to report that i did 1hr20m yesterday. i was trying to figure out how to psyche myself into starting over with a clean slate without my track record, and the only thing i could figure out is to create a new hours spreadsheet and put my old one into a folder with previous dissertation drafts.

we are in a similar place

I relate to everything you write. I also want/must make this the year that I actually make real and steady progress on my dissertation. From where I stand a clean slate and 1 hour and 20 minutes' worth of dissertation work sounds really good. Let's keep it up! 

how can i make this year

how can i make this year different? i looked at my hours spreadsheet, and thru my emails with my DA and noticed that it is almost 3 yrs since i started the beginning process of the diss, the brainstorming stage, came closer to my topic in june and handed in my first draft of ch 1 in aug 2010. it's been too long.

sometimes when I haven't

sometimes when I haven't done something for a while that I started on ages ago I pretend that I am actually starting now. I have found that it is often the negative thoughts of what I haven't done that prevent me from doing something now or continuing with it. If I hadn't started on it ages ago and not done anything for a while I wouldn't have the negative feelings. If i pretend I am starting now it is like a fresh start and you can learn from the mistakes of the past

interesting suggestion, macphd

I will pretend that I am starting now. Thanks!


mac, you're so right. i

mac, you're so right. i totally realized that i look at my track record of having been so on and off for too long, and nothing has really worked for me, and the negative thoughts include saying, look at my track record, nothing is gonna work. it's a problem. i'm not sure how to give myself that fresh start. any suggestions?

Do you find that you will

Do you find that you will say to yourself "right today I'm going to do X or tomorrow I am going to sit down and do Y" and then not do it? I do that alot which builds frustration.

Say to yourself I am going to have a break..not do anything for a couple of days then my new project starts...maybe a break from having to do something may create the situation where the start is fresh?

Following on from my earlier post it I have found that I do myself more harm by saying I will do something and then not doing it than I would if I started on it at a later time..if that makes sense ! lol...there are no negative feelings built up then. In my case and a lot of other peoples I guess it can be the harm done and the negativity generated by not doing something you said you would than the actual harm done by not doing it.

i need a cheerleader

i havent touched the dissertation in over a month, and i just turned on my timer and did 5 min. the negative thoughts are jumping around my head, like, "5 min, you call that progress? what's wrong with you? you'll never be able to finish if you're satisfied with 5 min! where've you been this last month? how bout the last 2 years of working and struggling on the diss?" but i want and know that i should just be happy with dipping my toe in, and getting back on track, even if it's slow baby steps.

congratulations on taking one step, PhDmom!

I have let months go by not going near my thesis, so I know what it is like. My plan now is simply to "touch" my thesis on a daily basis. 5 minutes is infinitely better than nothing!

I totally agree...I often

I totally agree...I often use the "it's better than do nothing" approach to get me going and it is very true. I then tend to pick up a bit of momentum over time then. Good on you for taking the first 5 min step!


I also try not to fall into the trap of beating myself up that it is only 5 mins..should do more..5 mins is not enough is sooo much better than doing nothing and is a great starting point

the phony police

i've been busy recently, but when i logged on today, i noticed so many posts about fellow dissertators! funny thing, i mentioned to some friends today that i realized that my laziness borders on addiction, and they, who are stay at home moms, mostly who dont have college degrees, stared at me like i'm crazy. they couldnt imagine that someone who went thru a phd program could possibly be lazy/a compulsive procastinator. though there was a momentary good feeling that they dont see me in the negative light that i see myself, the fact is that they cant understand what that's like. i appreciate so much the community of PA to trudge along together.

i've been busy recently first with some family drama- my dh works for the family business and it has been so difficult, that he's made a decision to look for a new job. that is very scary, as he's 35 and we have 4 kids and i'm trying to get pregnant. he has a BA but because he joined the family business, he never went further, which he regrets. now, he has to make decisions about the future, and that is very scary.

i also made a decision to get a job. i've been struggling with the dissertation for too long, and i regret not working. i chose not to work in order to focus on the dissertation and graduate, but since it's so difficult to focus on the diss for long periods of time, i really do regret not working. my self esteem took such a hit from the dissertation, and i need to feel valuable in my clinicial work. i will be starting a part time job soon, and i have a great deal of anxiety because i've been out of the clinical scene for about 2 yrs. i bumped into a couple of colleagues recently and was shocked to hear that they havent started their dissertation. after internship, i focused on the diss, and they went out and focused on their clinical work. so, the PP are in full force. i hope and pray that i can balance my new job with the dissertation, and get it done. 

feeling so down

feeling so down. last week, i logged on PA on monday, tuesday and wednesday, but on wednesday, i got derailed by a serious situation with my dh and his work- he works for the family business and there's some very complicated conflicts that make it very difficult for us, that i wont go into now, but suffice it to say that i was preoccupied with some very emotional stuff since then, and still am now, but i must get back on the horse and not let this take over. i'm praying that i can get back on track, and i hope to put in at least 30 minutes today.

It's monday again- sigh

I had a relatively productive morning with my housework, though not on the dissertation, which is my primary goal. though i waste time on many many things, my main vice is watching tv shows online. i'm not proud of it, and i wish i didnt watch at all, but this is something that i struggle with and lack self control. i often hate myself when i waste alot of time watching, and feel better if i'm at least being productive while i'm watching, such as folding laundry, ironing, cooking, cleaning, doing exercise etc. i'm trying to decide if it makes more sense to push myself to dissertate first thing in the morning and then let myself be rewarded with watching, or to allow myself to watch and then set a time to start dissertating. i've tried both and i'm not sure which is better, both to being able to do more focused time as well as in creating better habits. today, i did allow myself to watch first, and i'm going to start dissertating now, please God.

This is a test, given to me

This is a test, given to me by God, who loves me and wants me to grow. I accept that this is what God planned for me, and this is where i need to be right now. I admit that i am powerless without His help. I choose to persevere. but it is so damn hard.

i did 30 minutes today, which is a feat, and i'm so happy that i did, but i wish i'd done more. i'm constantly wishing that i'd done more, and trying to be satisfied with what i did accomplish. my friend who did finish, had marathon days, and i dont know if i'll ever do that, unless i have a real deadline looming. 

Hey PhDmom

Again welcome, I am procrastinating a bit and thought i'd do it useful by checking out your project. Thank for your response and I appreciate the difficulties you've had with supervisors. I had that in my BA with a supervisor changing jobs in the middle of my project, horrid! Perhaps you can meet with your supervisor and agree on interim deadlines? They could add pressure because he/she expects to see your work then... Just make sure they are realistic (i always underestimate the time i need)

 Where do you start on this site is up to you, but sounds likwe you made a good start and to help you along, this is what I do on this site:
- Spend time working while logged into the chatbox, where you state what you do, then do it, and then say how it went... adds pressure and makes it more real as people read it.
- Post updates and plans in my own "log" of how it's going (you already made one of your own, EXCELLENT!). Doing that even when I want to run away from the whole thing, makes me come back to business a bit quicker.

There are also PA meetings in the chatbox on Sundays as you might have read, which can help and other meetings (phone, but i have no clue about them) and other tools, but it's personal what you like working with most. A lot of people put a to do list on the forum topic named after the day, and when nobody comments on the list, you can continue to edit it throughout the day, to later evaluate if you got your things done. For some of us just having the website open helps to remember our tasks.

I'm sure there's more, such as the very important 12 steps that I still have to tackle, but that's for you to find out, I only focus on the aspects that are beneficial for me NOW as my deadline is quite imminent. 

Besides the website here, there is also a neat to do list here: that can help you (after you click "Ready") to see only the first task at hand. When you click "Done" the next task appears.

Besides that you will find that people actually don't often give advice, unless you ask them for it (especially in chat box). This is not because they don't want to help, but because some of the tools are used as means for reflection and working things out yourself by expressing it and working through it. In the chatbox you often also find people though who like to do bursts of work (for instance 10 minutes or 30 minutes) together and then afterwards report how it went. This can also add pressure and comfort, as you're not the only one attacking the task in front  of you. :D

 Gotta go now! Making it an early night so i can work from 8am in the UK morning.

Best of luck here and much progress wished. 

thank God, i did 20 minutes

thank God, i did 20 minutes of dissertating today, which is a feat for me, because i've been out of a good routine for some time now. one thing that i realized today after reading through this website, though i've thought about it before,  is that i have to pray more. if i recognize that only God can really help me, then i need to be praying and begging Him for help. so i did, and i feel really good about that.

my kids are in school from 8:30 to 3, and of course i waited till 2 to turn on my timer, but when i did, and i pressed the start button, i felt a tingle of something that i can't explain, but i think it was a bit of happiness of overcoming my test today. i think of this dissertation as being a challenge given to me by God who loves me and wants me to grow, and is testing me with my trait of procrastination and challenging me to overcome it. i feel as though i'm going thru Abraham's furnace, but today, i feel that i passed the test. even if it was for 20 minutes. of course, i could ruin my happiness by self defeating talk- it was only 20 min, that's nothing, how is that going to get me to finish the hours and hours that i still need, but no, i'm not going to go there. i did good today, and i hope to build on it tomorrow, with the help of God.

Well done for starting PhDmom!

Thumbs up for overcoming your test and feeling your happiness.
Let is be an inspiration for the days to come :)


and, of course, i dont want to forget to thank God for His help today.