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.

What has helped you?

What has actually helped you with your procrastination? I don't mean a book that sounded good or made sense to you, but got you to actually do something?

Daily Plan/Journal and Evaluate

Apologies for not posting gor so long - it's a combination of being ultra busy getting things done (thanks to ideas here and elsewhere), and procrastination over having to sign in to post (not that it's that difficult, but I'm sure you'll understand!) So as you can see, I've not overcome procrastination completely, but I've come a long long way.

It has been absolutely invaluable to me to get ideas and inspiration from other procrastinators, ~and~ from asking people who don't procrastinate how they do things. I'd like to share with you what I've been doing recently in the hopes that it may help someone else, as a way of saying 'thank you' for the support I receive here.

I've not been coming to this board very long, but have had a couple of major insights - the most drastic being about time bingeing/hyperfocus, and bookending - this has evolved for me into a sort of journal.

I made a decision at the end of last year (following someone's post about developing habits) to consciously address my chronic lateness, and this has had the knock on effect of also addressing procrastination (I didn't realise it would do that when I started).

I have used journalling in the past (I don't mean long screeds like this!) for exercise and nutrition, and it works for me, but it seems to have taken forever to realise I can use the same technique for addressing my chronic lateness, and to develop the habit of 'being on time' (looking at the positive, what I want to gain, rather than looking at the negative).

In my journal I simply write down my plan for the day (writing it down seems to be an important part) in two columns 1) Time and how long I estimate it will take 2) What the task is. Then as the day goes along I fill in two more columns - 1) the actual time 2) what I did in that time. At the end I evaluate it - what worked well, what didn't; why things worked or didn't work out as planned; what can I do about it in future.

I can see where mistakes in time management happen (under or overestimating how long a task will take, for example), and can also get a realistic picture of what I can achieve within 24 hours.

I did this for about a week, then decided to draft out my daily plans a week ahead. This has saved me from a great deal of misery as I realised I wouldn't have time to do some essential tasks unless I rearranged things earlier in the week. I was able to assess my priorities and make sure all the essentials were covered.

I've realised I'm overcommitted in some areas and am working towards reducing lower priority commitments, and I have completely changed my schedule for a couple of days (still working on sorting out the teething problems for those days).

Anyway, I'm coming to the end of my planned board time - time to go! ;)

Congratulations, Normy!

It sounds like you're really making progress in your fight against procrastination.

I was really struck by the time bingeing article, too. It made me see how I spent time at the beginning of my work day in a time binge, checking e-mail and surfing the web. Even when I got through everything I wanted to do, I still didn't feel like work, because I had set up a sort of mental context that was more interested in surfing than in concentration and work.

So I rearranged my day -- instead of doing my daily tour of the web first thins in the morning, I put it off until after lunch. Now, I come in and begin with work, which sets a different mental context.

I get much more done than I used to (I've had mornings that were more productive than entire days used to be), and I even feel the desire to get back to work after my afternoon web stuff. I still have progress to make, but I've taken a step that made a difference.

Thanks to pro for his article on time bingeing -- it has helped both of us take a new view of the things we do, productive and otherwise.


Mental Context

I agree wholeheartedly on the 'mental context' thing. It's one of the reasons I find working in the evening so difficult - I just can't relax during the day if I'm going to be working at evening, so I end up working the whole day! I recognised this as a problem and have been trying to schedule more of my work during the day and less in the evening. The positive side is that we can work it to our advantage, as you pointed out, and plan tasks with context in mind.

Attention Deficit Disorder

Procrastination is one of the characteristics of ADD. I've been diagnosed for about a year with ADD, but the meds don't actually do anything for me as far as the procrastination goes. But if you go to there are many posts about procrastination, and maybe you'll find something helpful.

ADD, and depression, too

Yes, I thought about mentioning ADD. It's a major underlying cause of procrastination. Depression is, too.

Kindness and patience of Flylady

I am new to this forum. I found flylady thanks to this place, actualy a post here. The shiny sink thing is good, and I have a lot of suppoert from my husband too. I find my house is cleaner, and the serenity of walking into the kitchen with no dishes helps. Just knowing other people do things like me is helping.

I don't work outside the home, usually. My closet and a "hell room" downstairs are my worst avoidances. I plan to employ the 5 minutes a day for 27 days plan. T

There is a book called "Changing for Good" by 3 doctors: Prochaska, Norcross and Diclemente. In it are the necessary thought processes a person has to go through for lasting habit changes. It makes refernces to smoking, alcoholism, temper, overeating... all addictive behaviours. If in deed this is an addictive issue, (which sound accurate to me) then these methods for being effective may help a lot of people. I have heard this type of information referred to by therapists, too.

I am in the "conciousness-raising" stage of change right now. Discovering info about procrastination, how it has helped others, feeling what my life may be like without it.


That's given me an idea, WildPeace

I've got a book about changing habits - one of Pete Cohen's, and I've found his stuff very effective before. I think for the New Year I'm going to address my procrastination habit, but wondering if I need to do it globally, or one thing at a time (I've been focusing on getting to bed on time - I tend to habitually procrastinate about that one habit). Any ideas, anyone, about whether global or one-at-a-time would be best?


Forced interruptions

I've had good luck with forced interruptions, using timed breaks (when I remember to start the timer).

The timer I've been using is Minute Timer, available free for Windows at -- I'm sure there similar tools available for Mac and other operating systems. I have a shortcut on my desktop with a hotkey bound to it, and the timer defaults to 15 minutes.

Having the timer window pop up at the end of the interval makes me pay attention to the rest of the world and think about what I ought to be doing... instead of surfing the web, which is my usual avoidance tactic.


15 mins

Hi Flexiblefine. Good to see you here. I'm a 15 minute person too - got a timer on my desk, but sometimes I 'forget' to re-set it. I haven't got time at the moment, but I'll check out the software timer you mentioned.


good book I'm reading

I'm reading a very good book on time management now. This made me think of some stuff and I want to post another article but I don't have time today - I will in the next day or two - but for now here's the book: "Time Management from the Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern.

I like how she defines three broad reasons for procrastination:

1. Skills issues.
2. External obstacles.
3. Psychological problems.

She doesn't list addictive compulsive in category 3, but of course it fits.

I tried FlyLady, but all her emails drove me batty. The one thing I got out of it was "Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family." Housework procrastination is the least of my problems and I don't have a family, but it reminds me that I don't need to do things perfectly, which is a big issue for me. I spend an awful lot of time on stuff that simply doesn't matter much, and/or not doing things because I drive myself crazy with perfectionism when I do them. Doing something is better than doing nothing. Must not forget!

I also threw myself into David Allen's stuff. His time management ideas are very useful - I got a lot out of it. I now use Outlook to organize everything in my life - synched to my PDA. At least now I'm not constantly forgetting stuff, which I used to do in the past. It didn't address the compulsive part of my problem, however. And it also assumed a level of skill in some areas that I do not have.

I like the Morgenstern book because it addresses some nuts-and-bolts problems that I haven't seen addressed elsewhere, such as the great difficulty I have in estimating how long a task will take to do. I've only just started the book, but I'm liking it a lot.

Organising from the Inside Out

I have a little index card on my desk with some ideas for sorting out paperwork from that book - I haven't read the book, and I'm not sure where I picked this up from - I think it was from It goes over the same ground as many other books, but it was nice and concise which is why I've found it helpful.


FlyLady & internet support groups; DA; spiritual development

I started FlyLady just over two years ago and it really helped me too. The concepts were simple and easy to apply. I could never do wrong - 'just jump in where you are'. I don't think I would have had the motivation to follow it through, though, if it hadn't been for the associated internet support groups. We offer support and motivation, and set each other challenges. I limit myself to the number of threads I am active on, or the boards can become a form of procrastination too.

My 'DA' is David Allen. If I hadn't done FlyLady first David Allen' system would have been overwhelming, but I started last New Year by downloading his Workflow System for Outlook and have used it very successfully. I then went through the ideas in the website and read his books - they've really helped me to look at what's important and what can wait, and be more realistic about what I can achieve. That sounds pessimistic, but it has resulted in me achieving so much more this year that I would otherwise have done, and feeling a lot better about myself.

I practise (and teach) yoga and I am working at living by yogic principles. In more recent years I also became Buddhist which underpins those principles, and now I have a sangha (community) I can talk to about those aspects of myself that I'm working on.

I've also read the usual procrastinator's books (apart from one, that had to go back to the library for the obvious reason), but I've really had trouble finding anything that addresses the chronic lateness to which I subject myself (and others).

FlyLady, Jeffers, iCal, DA

When I found FlyLady two years ago, I was so relieved. The tone is just right. Since learning the "shiny sink" principle, I'm so much more likely to have a clean house now. I have to be careful to keep things maintained, and not wait til I need to crisis clean, but I seem to be doing well.

Around that same time, my father (a recovered alcoholic) gave me "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway," by Susan Jeffers. I'm not sure if was the book itself, or the fact that it was given to me by my father, that helped me see there might be a way out. I started to accept that I wasn't alone in my chaos about accomplishment.

iCal has really helped too. I sometimes ignore them, but I do set all sorts of alarms for myself that will interrupt me to remind me of an immediate task, or a forthcoming appointment. I make them make a noise and pop up. It's like my higher self is reminding me, so it's not too much pressure. I guess they function as touch down devices against time bingeing. I also have my computer announce the hour on the hour. The interruptions remind me that there IS such a thing as time, and I need to care. But I have to be careful not to spend too much time making reminders that aren't meaningful, or that I may be likely to ignore.

Having a cat has helped. He likes routine and I am glad to make him happy. It's tough for me to do all the time, but I'm much better about eating and sleeping regularly.

Debtor's Anonymous meetings have helped me get clear about my problem and feel some fellowship. I hope to make that ongoing, but I have trouble identifying myself too narrowly as a debtor or giving myself a forum for blaming myself some more, because I already am very hard on myself. It's definitely a fine line. Worth trying to navigate though. I think I am capable of seeing how working the steps will apply to me and my problem. I think making a committment to showing up and following a spending plan will have a grounding effect and by focusing on the specifics of money, I may incidentally handlie some of my problems with time.

This site seems promising too. I will come back. Hopefully not to procrastinate. Hopefully on a semi-regular basis to find community.

I wish everyone luck with their challenge. I have come to believe that change is in fact possible.