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.

Getting Unstuck from Procrastination

About a year and a half ago, I read a very helpful article about dealing with procrastination. For a two-week period after I read it, I experienced the total absence of the resistance that I usually feel toward work, chores, and most everything else I believe I have to do. It honestly felt like a miracle. While I didn't manage to maintain that total lack of resistance long-term, it has helped to diminish my resistance. The article is on a website about "Inner Bonding," a 6-step process of dialoguing with your inner child and higher power. Click Here for the Article

the article

For those of you who tried this, did you actually 'choose' your demand resistance as the author of the article suggested? I can imagine that it felt a bit silly, but even when I am aware that I am rebelling against completing a task, I still continue to rebel, even if I know that I will feel relieved when I get my task done.

Sometimes the demand resistance...

Sometimes the demand resistance comes from truly not wanting to be doing the general category of activity. I used to procrastinate a lot on my old job after it got to a point where it no longer was fun. It took me a long time to realize it was my soul screaming that I needed to be doing something else.

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

fear and loathing

if your soul is screaming no, when do you know it is time to listen to it? For instance, I could NOT finish my Masters, but if I do there will be all sorts of negative repurcussions that I do not want. At this point it is THE major thing that must be completed for everything else to work. But the fact that it has such importance makes me shudder at the thought of failing at it.

soul's wisdom versus procrastination

I think you have to just "know" when it's your soul speaking versus garden variety procrastination. I didn't finish my Ph.D., and I was right not to. I'd lost interest in the field. My mother was very upset when I left A.B.D., but I wanted to go in a different direction. Before I withdrew, I spent four years torturing myself over it - trying to get myself to write the dissertation and procrastinating. When I finally made the decision to leave school, it was a tremendous relief. I went in a different direction for my career, and I'm happy with my choice. I would not have stayed in that field, even if I'd finished my degree.

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

wow, that much fear and loathing?

I've been there too, and they still return sometimes here. Sometimes when we feel that way it's somethng's way of saying we're on the wrong track. We can change our minds and do something else. I hated college, and didn't do well at all. A few years later I went back for a few classes, and got an A average, and even liked it. All the things we talk about here about procrastination are true and valid, and we often do procrastinating behaviors to get short term gratification--rather than riding things out. It helps me to sit down with a piece of paper and write plusses and minusses down, alternatives, and rewards. Also it's good to talk with others about what's going on. Sometimes we find we're doing things we don't like, while preparing for an end we won't like. It's also easier to write down things we don't like to do than things we like to do. It probably shoudn't be that way! Anyway, thanks so much for sharing. It helps me too.

Where Did the Voices Come From?

As the article says, I definetely have the voices: the bossy “should” voice and the rebellious “I don’t like it and I won’t do it” voice.  The latter is my ingrained response to the former, even if the task was originally something I DID like.  As soon as the "should" voice speaks up, the "I don't like and I won't do it" voice is right there. 

My therapist has tried to get me to replace them with “I want to” and “I will when I want to” voices.  It only works intermittently.  The article seems to suggest that it helped the woman to understand where the voices came from.....  

The "Should" Voice: My parents and teachers certainly told me what I "should" do when I was little, but they weren't particularly domineering and I wasn't particularly rebellious.  Especially with my teachers, I got a LOT of rewards (attention, good grades, prizes) for doing what I was told.

The "I Don't Like It and I Won't Do It" Voice: It’s true that I don’t like rules.  I have a very strong opposition to rules for the sake of rules and I am proud of it.  I feel it is one of the things that defines my character – and helps me accept risk, which I also enjoy doing.  So making rules for myself, like “Do this, and you’ll get this reward” has never worked for me.  But I don’t think that explains why I am always saying, “I don’t like it and I won’t do it.”  My "should" voice isn't telling me to do arbitrary things....  I know why I, intellectually, want to do the tasks.  But there is still a voice saying, "I don't like it and I won't do it."

How do I figure out where the voices came from?

Maybe it doesn't matter where the voices came from

Similarly to you, StarSphere, I received a lot of praise for being "good" as a child and my parents weren't particularly controlling. It's not clear to me where my seemingly perpetual "should" came from. And while I'm very curious about it, I'm not sure that it matters. I mean, if I knew where it came from, what would I do differently or how would that help? I don't think it would actually make a difference. The thing I seem to find helpful, when I remember to do it and am not resistant to doing it, is to say--in my head or out loud--that I want to do whatever the thing is that I think I "should" do and therefore feel resistant to. When I actually do that, I usually feel different and I have at least some sense that I want to do it (if that is in fact the case, of course).

mollie, i think you are

mollie, i think you are right. knowing where that voice comes from doesnt really make much of a difference. i was ALWAYS in trouble when i was younger, all teachers made me leave the class, even when i was really young. my whole life i was "bad" and rebellious, unorganized ( which solicited comments that werent mean like the teachers' but ones like " you would lose your head if it wasnt attached" Undecided) anyway when i got older and started to see a good psychiatrist he told me i needed to get rid of that negative self-talk- the scolding voices. awareness is great, but most times i dont differentiate between who's talking- me or some other scolding voice- and if i do realize- i just end up trying to use "my" own voice to sugar coat the same thing. eg. first voice: " youre such and idiot! why the hell cant you just DO THAT? " and then i try to instead say "oh no sweetie, youre not an idiot, youre just tired, i understand-why dont ya just try a lil bit?" hahah its true. but that doesnt work either. 

Disempowering the Monster

I read some commentary about Tolkien's "The Hobbit" at some point....  Tolkien was saying something about the importance of naming the monster to break its power - in that case, the dragon, Smaug.

Our addiction is a monster - monsters are scary (and have power over us) more than anything else because they are unknown.  That is why naming it - admitting we have a procrastination addiction - is so important. 

For me, personally, I think that understanding the origin of the monster is another important way to reduce its power.  Kind of like, in the early morning, seeing some huge shadow of a creature, then seeing the rabbit hole and realizing I got scared of a bunny.  :)

Some ideas about the origins of my monster are starting to form in my head, but my half-hour is up.  More on this later.

Makes sense

I can understand that. I guess for me, I've spent so much time trying to figure out where it came from, without success. And I've come to see that for me it is just another means procrastinating, another way of legitimating why I'm not doing x thing that requires doing. But I think for a time, those attempts at analysis were certainly worth doing, and I learned other things along the way, if not what I was after.


awareness still definetly is necessary though. that is true, awareness is as starsphere said- naming the monster. if you dont know it exists you cannot fight it.

procrastination by choice

Seems the thesis of this article is that you should recognize that procrastination (or Demand Resistance - though she doesn't use that term) is a choice. I can see where that would be helpful. It puts the power back in your hands. When I'm procrastinating, I feel out of control.