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.

Post-thesis 2013 Achievement and Self-Development Log

This new thread is to keep tab of what I want to achieve
during the rest of 2013. Since I have handed in my thesis, I have noticed a
tendency to slip into my old habits and not build upon and strengthen what I
have learnt.

What I am looking for is not just to finish specific
projects, but change how I approach all projects. What I see is a fundamental
change in how I approach my life and no less. I have all these dreams which have
been at the back of the mind, and I know if I do not make these fundamental
changes, the rest of my life will take the route of my research process. I want
my life to be a peaceful process, not the unnecessary stress and anxiety which
comes with procrastination.

In this thread, I will log every work day and keep tabs of
my projects. I am also reading Getting Things Done by David Allen, so I will be
trying to use those principles in making sure I stay on top of things. In the
last one month, I have already let things slide a fair bit and I need to pull
it back now. I have three major projects to deal with and other secondary
ones.  I will keep a log like I did
during the last few months of my PhD, and also keep tab of what strategies work
for me and how I continue to learn to deal with resistance.

The rest of 2013  2014 starts now. I am back!

P.S. This is the old thread where I tracked my thesis progress from desperation to completion:

P.P.S This is my introduction to this forum "Pulling myself back from the brink". I hit rock bottom before I had claw myself up slowly.  

1 -3 February

1 pomodoro each on saturday and sunday.


3rd February - Struggling on Monday with work and no sugar diet. I was working from home because I was not well. Did two pomodoros so far. Had a mars bar in my hand and I looked it for real long before throwing it away. I usually turn to chcoolate or something sweet when I am anxious. I was trying to delay the gratification for 5mts and then i decided to bin it. The root problem is the anxiety of not having finished any pomodoros so that I can add up to 9.

 I can do a few more but i'll probably have to scratch off today from the list of successful days. I dont think I can do 7 more. But i really should do a few more, the point is not to get 9 each day, the point is to become a better person and learning to move forward no matter what, even when things dont turn out the way I would have liked it to be.  

 Update: I only did 2 pomdoros. Today is a new day. 

30 - 31 January - a mini milestone

30 January - 9 pomodoros

31 January - 8 pomodoros of job application and 2 pomodoros of conducting interviews for research.

Yay it's the end of friday and i think this is the first Monday to Friday(Last week, i freaked out a bit on thurs-friday with that silly deadline)  where I have worked at least 9 pomodoros in all my life probably. Except maybe some periods in between but I would never know because it was always interrupted work. I should allow myself to relax this weekend and know that work is always rewarded. It's a big deal.

I will do one more week of 9 pomdoros and then I will switch to 10 pomodoros.

Tomorrow onwards, it is also the 2nd month of the sea change program that I have signed up for The first month was on mindfullness/meditation and the 2nd month habit that we are looking at is procrastination!

@ thesis

You are a SUPERSTAR! I feel so proud of you!! ( And inspired!!!) Thank you for sharing . Enjoy your weekend!!Well done again! xoxox


Jalla, im sorry I didnt stay to do some pomodoros yesterday. I was caught in a procrastination loop and was trying to run from things. In the end I did not get anything done. A pity, it feels like im suddenly sliding back all of a sudden. All the irrational avoidiing of work is back after a really good January. I will try and put it out of my mind and focus on the present.



@ Thesis

Dear Thesis. You are doing great - be kind to yourself!! Hang in there and just worry about today. You are an inspiration! Take care, keep up the fantastic work! xo

29 January

10 pomodoros. I also handed in my book porposal by around 8pm here, a few hours before it was beginning of work in Boston where my recepient is. I didnt make it extend till all the way possible i.e. midnight here, which was good. 

Let's hope something good comes out of it. i have been stressing today about finding a job. Although I should just focus on applying for jobs. My finances and professional life is not where I would have liked to be and this is causing some stress. I would also like to help out my family financially as they are going through a hard phase but I need to be earning to do that. I have got some teaching commitment, but that only starts in May-Dec. Which means at this point I am earning nothing. Strangely this is also the most consistently productive  I have been in years. 

For the rest of this week, I will focus on apply for as many jobs as possible. 

28 January

11 pomodoros. I had a meeting to go to at 6pm and I was really happy that I got in 10pomodoros by the time I had to leave. Feels quite alien to me. 

 I need to constantly be reminded that its best to get the pomodoros done as early as possible and as effective as possible so that you can have time off at the end of the day. You deserve it. There needs to be some reward for discipline. Dont cheat yourself out of that.

 Today, my proposal and draft chapters go to the publisher. It will be 2 days late. But I decided yesterday that I was not going to stay up trying to finish it and screw up my next day. I will just wake up on time and do what I have to do. I felt proud of myself for walking away and deciding to do it during the day. It's late not so much because of procrastination, but because of time estimation.

Usually as I slide past deadlines, I would be enveloped by dread and procrastinate on it more and it would be days and weeks late sometimes. This time I had to remind myself that my focus, my aim is to keep putting in those 9/10 pomdoroos a day. Other deadlines are incidental. I owe it more to myself to build a habit than worry about deadlines. 

- duplicate post

- duplicate post

@ thesis

" I need to constantly be reminded that its best to get the pomodoros done as early as possible and as effective as possible so that you can have time off at the end of the day"


I don't tend to work very late, because I have a DH who prods me meaningfully if I do, but I feel like I miss out on the opportunity to feel relaxed because I am always late starting, and always therefore catching up and feeling like I should be doing something else. Something I've heard described as the "Happy playground"* is a land not very familiar to me.

Well done on your achievement.

@knitfisher Happy Playground

Thank you for your thoughts and agreement regarding the need to finish it early and get it out of the way. I was reading this self created stress is actually one of the main problems that procrastinators suffer with. In fact some study is being done to check how many people with early stress related diseases like heart problems, blood pressure etc, identify themselves as procrastinators. The researchers assume it's a high number. 

Here's to wishing for all of us reaching that Happy Playground. Because we deserve it. 

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves” - Buddha 

27 January

9 pomodoros  - i only had 7 by the end of the day but I forced myself to do 2 more (or rather I wanted to) so that I could checkin for the day at the minimum of 9.


Reminder to self, click timer before sitting down at the chair to do work. If there is any admin/personal stuff to do early on, also use the timer for that so that the activity can be closed after 25mts max. But it's best to leave that for a break in the arvo and  get started on work right away.  

'@ thesis

Great work Thesis. Well done on the extra two!

Thank you Jalla I have to

Thank you Jalla :) I have to get to 9 pomodoros before I can check in on my app. I think once I get to 21 days in a row with 9 pomodoros (except weekend), I will increase it to 10pomodoros. 

24-26 January

24 - Only four pomodoros

25 (Sat) - Four pomodoros

26 (Sunday) - 11 pomodoros (9 - editing, 2 - work stuff) 

I am having to work on the weekend because of deadline I walked into which was really tight and also partly because of procrastination on 23rd and 24th Jan. I need to clearly see the effect procratination has on my life. We need time to switch off. Start early and finish early once this deadline has been completed.  

23 January - Encountering Failure

Only 3 pomodoros Cry That means I have lost my streak of successful days. This day felt very familiar. It was what kept happening to me during my PhD when I felt paralysed. I kept obsessively pushing away the fact that I needed to work by surfing the internet. 

What was different about this day was that I had a deadline coming up and also having to do deal something that I (felt that I) was not equipped to deal with. In my head, i was starting a new task that I was unfamiliar with and so to escape the sense of uncomfort of dealing with the unfamiliar, I turned to the familiar and that which can (temporarily) console. As I surfed the internet, my stress levels rose and which meant I found it harder to get back to my task.

How to deal with it in the future:

1. Realise that the more you do it, the more entrenched it becomes.

2. Realise that the only thing which will make me feel better, is to start on working on the smallest thing, one at a time. Choose to make yourself feel better!

3. Realise that the unfamiliar becomes manageable once you start doing a little bit of it. I have noticed this over and over during my PhD and I have to fully understand this.

4. Realise that it is not the deadline that you are working on, but yourself. As long as I keep moving forward, I am succeeding. If I freeze because of a deadline, it does not help anyone. And I will have to do it eventually anyway. Because noone else will. Forget the deadline and work incrementally according to a step by step plan and allocated pomodoros. 

5. If I fail (at beating procrastination) and if I can learn something from that failure, I am still succeeding.  

6. You need lots of self-compassion and a whole lot of bravery. When things don't go away, do you curl up and wait to die or do you fight your way out into the light? 

@thesis- mole musing on your thread

I have just popped in to the site out of complete exasperation with myself, and found your lovely reflective and insightful thread, thesis. Here I am in the middle of a month in beautiful surroundings without any responsibilities except to write - write something I want to write. But what am I doing? faffing about on the internet, squirming in my chair, looking for the perfect writing software, meditating on mindfulness, walking, making mugs of tea...NOT WRITING. 

Three props i have at home are missing- these are:

working on a computer that is not connected to the internet.

having my lovely red egg pomodoro timer in front of me.

checking  into this site daily before I disconnect.

the last intrigues me, because there is nothing to stop me doing this when I am away from home. I realise now that at home I can put a whole lot of structured time - appointments etc in around the things I really procrastinate about- the things that matter.  But now, with the busy things removed, the idea of putting down 16 pomodoros for the day fills me with dread. I must try to break it down- or be more specific about what each pomodoro is.

my apologies for this stream of consciousness on your personal thread, thesis, but your reflectiveness really got me thinking. Thank you.


How lovely to hear from you. I hope your time away is pleasant even if you're a bit frustrated at the lack of writing progress.

The process of writing, especially a lot of words, is a bit alien to me nowadays. But I understand it's can be quite a challenge to sit and do it. So be kind to yourself, as you are to others. Having no other responsibility but to write is quite a scary thing for me to think of - no distractions, no escape. Perhaps setting a small word count each day, to be done first thing and then you go off to feed the mind with experience and inspiration is one way to approach it. I have no idea if that's helpful, it's certainly not original.

Either way, solidarity. And enjoy yourself. 


You are very welcome to write what you would like including stream of consciousness stuff on this thread :)

16 pomodoros scares me too. So I have been trying to do 9 on weekdays. Maybe after a month, I will go to 10, 11 and 12 and slowly. I need to also discipline myself to do churn out the pomodoros early and enjoy it so that I can have a leisurely evening that I hear productive people speak about so much. 


@ Thesis

Your insight is extremely valuable. Both to your own recovery, and to all of us you choose share it with. Understanding the mechanisms behind our self-destruction is a powerful tool in combatting it.

Thank you for sharing. And here's to better progress in the days and weeks to come. 

@ Thesis

Great post Thesis. I need to put these points up somewhere i can refer to them in future.

Good luck today,


@ Thesis

Solidarity Thesis. What great insights and wisdom in this post. You inspire me so much to keep going. I think that your streaks of fantastic continue and i especially love the part about self compassion, bravery and fighting your way out int othe light!!! Have a great day

@ Jalla, Hooch, Knitfisher

Thank you for your comments, fellas! :) One step at a time to glory, for all of us.

21. 22 January

21 January - 9 pomodoros

22 January (off day with family) - 1 pomodoro


20 January

10 pomodoros

Was reading about how latest research shows that self control is a limited resource. So what seems like procrastination can often be lack of energy. I have to make sure I am getting enough sleep, so that I dont expend my energy and willpower on just being alert, rather than focusing on what precisely needs to get done.  

January 18-19 (Sat/Sunday)

January 18 (sat)- 4 pomodoros

January 19 (sun) - 1 pomodoros 

Met weekend target of at least 1 pomodoro each day so as to continue with pomodoro streak. 

So happy I found this!

Hi Thesis,

I am in the exact state of mind.  This is fantastic.  I also finished my thesis and exams last June... I was just in the chat box sharing about how I would like to find some structure again now.  Self-care/improvement things.  I had given myself permission to be on "holiday" for a semester and now I am ready to try to get back to some structure.  I JUST had the idea to start something like what you have.  So now I feel very inspired!  Wishing you all the best.      

Hi Sarito...its really good

Hi Sarito...its really good to see another person in the same boat (or rather launching pad, for a more empowering metaphor! haha) 

Good luck and wish you all the best!  

Thank you!  I feel

Thank you!  I feel motivated by your posts!  Will keep checking in.  Good luck to you! 

January 16, 17

January 16 - 10 pomodoros

January 17 - 12 pomodoros - I had to put in a job application due at 5pm so I ended up working more efficiently than most days. Once I handed in, I noticed the same lethargy that happens open finishing something at the least minute. 

However, I was really stoked about finishing it before the deadline time. I had gotten so used to sliding past deadlines over the past few years, I have to slowly retrain myself to finish on time and respect deadlines for what they are, and then eventually get it done well in advance of deadlines.

Procrastination is not a joke. It screws up everything, even your head. Got to get better, faster, stronger.  

@ Thesis

Super work!! best of luck with application. Well done!Smile


Thank you buddy! :)

January 14, 15

January 14- 9 pomdoros

January 15 - 9 pomodoros.

Was getting the last few done very late which is not great. The whole purpose was to do these early in the day so that I can take the evening oif and learn to enjoy it so taht I realise and feel that there is enjoyment to be had in doing work early and effiiciently. 

 Anyway Ill try to get a 21 day streak with the 9 pomodoros (except weekends which are 1 pomodoro min), 

Thanks knit! Its the first

Thanks knit! :) Its the first time , even compared to my PhD days that i am getting some consistent work done. Hope you are well!

@ Thesis

That's a good load of work you've done there. Well done! 

January 13

9 pomodoros.


10/1/ - I cant remember

11/1 (saturday) - 4 pomodoros

12/1 (Sunday) - 1 


 So these are the habits that I have been tracking on the (

1. Wake up on time - 10 day streak

2. No videos/movies/youtube -10 day streak

3. No sugar - 13 day streak

4. Meditate twice a day - 11 day streak

5. Mindful eating - Just added this compenent last week - 5 day streak

6.  Check evernote daily - 11 day streak

7. Use pomodoro technique - Initially it was at least 1 pomodoro; From Monday onwards, I'll be only be able to check in if I have done 9 pomodoros during weekdays- 6 day streak

It is really useful to have a habit monitored because then you feel less inclined to break the winning streak.  

@ thesis

WOW!!!Well done on all the great work and streaks - fantastic work! Your an INSPIRATION!!Smile

8 and 9 January 2014

8 - 4 pomodoros

9 - 5 pomodoros.

Im making it a point do some pomodoors each day using the app to get to a 21 day streak. I am also spending more time on the seachange forum on zenhabits that i had signed up for.

We are practising mindfulness for this month. 2mts of mindfulness meditaiton practice for the last week and now adding mindful eating to it.  

@ thesis

Great job thesis!Cool Well done.

Thanks Jalla!

Thanks Jalla! Innocent

New Year and beyond

So I had a long end of the year break. I am back now.

I installed an countdown app widget on my phone to the date when I turn 36. And I have a 1580 days left. Í was imagining what it would be like to know that I had only 4 plus years left on this planet. And it occured to me that I would probably live with more urgency, life more fully and be a more considerate and enlightened person. Somehow we walk around in this delusion that we will live forever. Our mortality is concealed in this world where death is relegated to the funeral homes and old folks put out of sight. We worship youth and life, while hiding any signs of aging and death. I am trying to bring it to the fore of my consciousness and live while being aware of the imminence of death.

 Last year was good in the sense that quite a few landmark events happened. But this year, day by day, is when I can turn things around more. I have signed up for Zen Habits seachange program which focusses on changing one behaviour every month for 12months. It also comes with accountability teams of 7 people and a structured program. I hope this will be one of the highlights of my year. The 1st month is centred on mindfulness.

Prior to starting the program fully, in order to gain confidence in habit formation (as advised by Leo Babauta in the program), I have made a simple commitment to checking my evernote everyday (while brushing teeth, which will act as the trigger) and determining my tasks for the day.   Even if I don't do my tasks, I still committ ot checking and determining it.

Other changes that I have been working on are 1. Waking up at 7.30am, 2. Meditating, 3. No Sugar 4. No videos. - These are all things I have been trying to do in recent days and weeks, so I will try not to make a big deal of it and just leave it humming in the background (so that I dont get overwhelmed by so many supposed changes).

So for now, it is about checking evernote and then following the monthly program on Zen Habits. Month 2 is on Unprocrastination, so I am looking forward to that and I hope to consoldiate my 4 hour a day work schedule during February.

P.S. Happy New Year to anyone who might have stumbled into this post! 

December 17 and 18

December 17 - 1.5 hours (3 pomodoros)

December 18 -  4 hours (8 pomodoros) - Getting up in the morning and going for a walk really helped put me in the correct mood. It might seem like a waste of time, especially when things area  bit tight, but it's totally worth it. 



December 16 (Monday)

Only 1 hour - I did 1 hour and then the next pomodoro, I got caught reading up about publishing instead of doing the writing. After that I had lunch and had to take the car to be serviced. I did not get back to my work. 

I told myself beforehand that I was prepared to fail. That if I fail to meet the 4 hours on any day, I wont beat myself up about it and just start again the next day. Failure happens. Failure is not me.  


December 14 (Saturday)

I did not mean to work on this day but since wife was working on something, I also decided to do my work.

So did 4 hours. or rather 8 pomodoros which is what I have been doing (2 pomodoros per hour).

Try try again - December 13

So I am back again here. I am serious this time. I was thinking about it and came to the conclusion that if I can get 4 hours of work done each day without any distractions for a month, it would be a great building block upon which I can build my future.

1. I will log here on all working days regardless of whether I get anything done or not. The point is to continue a winning streak of 4 hours for as many working days as possible (except holidays). Since I had quite a long unproductive period, I want to make sure there is a steady progress. So even if I accomplish 4 hours, I will try and not exceed that time, so that I can build confidence in my ability, rather than do over the limit and then go up and down without any consistency.

After a month, I will increase my workload.

2. I have also implemented the Getting Things Done system using Evernote. I will tweak it and start utilising it fully over this period to get all the clutter from out of my head and into the organised system.

3. I have started trying to get up early everyday at 7.30am for the past 10 days or so and meditating twice a day. It's only hard when I dont sleep early. I believe this habit is really good as it brings some certainty and routine to my life which would otherwise be all over the place. I will continue with this routine as I think it will be really useful to turn my life around.

Ok, Update:

I finished 2 hours of writing work and 2 hours of job searching. I felt like I should go on for more, but I made myself stop. I just need to do the same thing again the next time. Now I will go and read a book and watch some cricket.

@ Thesis

YAY thesis - well done on your 4 hours work today. That is FANTASTIC! Cool

Thank you Jalla. Really

Thank you Jalla. Really appreciate your constant cheer. Hope things are going well for you!

30 April - Making Calls Guide

30 April - 25 mins (pomodoros) x 5 = 125mins.   

I am going to work in pomodoros so that I can train myself to focus for longer, rather than the 10mts that i was using when i was doing my thesis.  

I made those calls which I had made bigger in my head than it really was. The key things to do were:

1. Stop thinking about myself. I am just a tool for this project/work/whatever, to be done. It needs to be done, if the call doesnt work, I have to make another call.  Might as well find out sooner. 

2. Write down clearly what needs to be done.

3. Remember that you are not asking for a favour. Noone wants to do you a favour. You are offering them something of value. This belief will carry through in the way you speak and how it is perceived. Strongly believe that you have something of importance (for them) to offer.

4. If you are feeling a bit worried about what to say, it is normal. However, once you prepare a script to work on, it is much easier and you can be much more confident. So if you lack clarity, write a script. It's worth it. 

5. It was actually easy once I started picking up the phones and making those calls. I could actually even begin to enjoy it, if I practice enough .

6. Ask myself: who do I want to become? what will the person I want to become, do? How will he deal with such lousy situations like making a simple call? This is an opportunity to become the person I want to be. No more running away from things which i have imagined (in delusion) to be scary. WHO AM I??


No more running away...

Oh, thesis! You are such an inspiration. Thanks for this post and for being so open and honest about your growing pains. When running away has become a habit (as it is for me), it's a challenge to catch myself before the running starts, much less convince myself to engage with the task at hand.

Wishing you all the best,

Making calls

I like it! I am going to try it out on those calls I have been postponing.

Thanks for posting Thesis.