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.

Phd thesis done after 22 years of procrastination ! my little story/solutions here

Hello NotDoingPros brothers, listen to my little story :


I've procrastinate on my Phd thesis for 22 years and recently in september 2006 I went on doing some meta-procrastination, I mean procrastinating surfing the web with "procrastination" as a Google search... I read info on the David Allen "Getting Things Done" methodology (GTD), downloaded the book (hum...) and yep! 4 months later had mine viva ! I'm pretty sure this come from the fact that there is no moral content in GTD, the psychological background and effect is very profound but the method is purely tactical, "mundane" as Allen says and that's essential for us procrastinator because as you certainly noticed, any moral content such as "you HAVE to" blocks ourselves like the emergency brake signal on trains and there is no ABS here, only the horrible brake noise and stuck sensation ! (in my case it's even worse : the single fact that I've already thought about something before, empty my mind and totally prevent me of working on it afterward. Think about such a disabling mechanism)

others things I have discovered by myself that works a little... when I do them and can help you : do the goal stuff (goals written on paper in present tense with a due date, listen to Brian Tracy and others guys), trash the TV (done for years, very important), trash most food and eat only before sleeping or outside home (if you are a real pro in procrastination you understand even such a bizarre necessity), structure your time with work/free time cycles (1h15/20' for me + 5' continuous ringing timer during work time for hanging off from mental distraction), continuously write down in the first person what you are doing on a spiral book, be absolutely rigorous on sleeping/waking up times or you will always have smog in your head and it's absolutely impossible to fight against procrastination in this state. Also :  if you are stuck in chronic/deep depression the mechanical cause of this suffering is your megalomaniac goals : you have to trash them (you will loose nothing : concrete work has nothing to do with internal megalomaniac psychic manipulations ; another tip : go deeply and seriously in your suicide ideas and you will find at the bottom that they have no truth, are a fake)

please note that I fall back in a procrastination state worst than before becoming a doctor, I'm really flat since my viva day and this article is nothing more than an pathetic exercise of procrastination, I mean an escape of reading back Getting Thing Done (let's see : I am on page 73, the brainstorming chapter. I'll tell you where I'll be before sleeping this evening !) an escape of my actual main project : putting all my life and projects in GTD methodology.

But I fully fucked this procrastination crap once and feel somewhat happy about that : that's what I wanted to say here. Hope this story has been of little help for you and hope you can help back too.


ps : another essential book to read, advised from David Allen, especially if you have a real artistic ambition and done nothing about it : "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield (re ps: don't waste your time and go directly to amazon, it's not on p2p, got it for only 8e)

re re ps : as you have guessed I've not been very serious before posting, I mean waiting weeks reading forums before posting etc... so this post may be of poor interest regarding the forum usual content, sorry !

Congratulations, renega!

Now that you have done it, you know for sure that it can be done.  A lot of people who procrastinate don't get to the point where they have something really significant they can look back on as proof that procrastination really can be beaten.

But as you know, even a significant event like finishing a Ph.D. is only one battle in the work against procrastination.  Building new habits requires sticking with them, and sticking with new habits is a "one day at a time" thing.

Go back to working, one thing at a time and one day at a time, and you'll find it doesn't take 22 years to do everything.  :)



I'm not sure if anything works I mean no matter what happens I end up doing things at the last min and beyond that. If as it anything that poses a challenge is postponed as much as possible vs things that can be easily done at the moment and highly addictive (exclude drugs etc.). Undecided I do schedules and have a planner but they are never followed to the tee.

One step at a time

Pro is right -- you have to keep believing that you can make the change.  As I've written many times, you didn't get into this situation overnight, and you won't get out overnight either.

Use your planner, set up schedules, but be realistic about it.  Changing your habits and ways of life will take time, and you'll stumble sometimes.  The key is to get up and start again when that happens.  Start small, but start -- and keep starting. 

Even little bits of progress add up.


Chronic - you have to believe

Chronic TB - I certainly understand your feelings of hopelessness, but try to believe that it's at least possible for you to solve this problem. If you don't, you'll sabotage all your efforts and make your pessimism a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's possible to change!

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.


It's my understanding that the GTD methodology is "event-driven" in computer-scientists' parlance. That is it's more suited to secretaries, managers, salespeople than to people who work mostly in isolation.

For me, many "approaches" work for a short while, while they have some novelty to me. Then they gradually stop working :-(