I rediscovered this site yesterday, and I intent to start using it to fight my quite serious procrastination. Introducing myself is the first step.
I have been struggling with my behavior for years, maybe even the major part of my life (I am 30 now). However, it has never given me any real problems, until about a year ago. I changed jobs from an academic (university) to a business environment with more responsibilities. I am now a senior scientist at the research department of a large electronic company. I now have to fill in my own projects and make my own plans. Lacking a real supervisor who tells me what to do when I am drifting around, things started to go wrong. My projects never get finished, I don't take initiatives to start new projects and my written output is much too low. Also in my personal life things were a mess. In September last year I realized that I needed help, but I could not exactly pinpoint what my problems were. I visited my company counselor (a psychologist), and talked to her about my problems. By doing some test she ruled out some possible causes for my problems (concentration problems for example, which I thought was the main reason), and she referred me to a colleague of her, a psychotherapist. After four sessions, his main conclusion was that I had problems balancing my short-term and long-term desires. In Freudian terms: My 'id' was much stronger than my 'super-ego', and my 'ego' was not capable of balancing them. His suggestion was that I should have someone in both my working as well as my personal life who keeps an eye on my progress and with whom I can agree on goals and deadlines. Of course I postponed this for some time. At this moment, I have meetings with a colleague every two weeks to discuss my progress and my projects. However, I am still able to find excuses and postpone things. In a few weeks, I have an appointment with my manager, and if I cannot show him something finished, I am afraid I will be in trouble. In my personal life, nothing really changed.
My biggest time waster is the internet. Turning it off would be a simple solution, but I quite often really need it for my work. I check news sites multiple times each hour, sometimes play online games, update my personal home page, and even sometimes visit pornography sites at work. I hate myself when I am doing this, and often don't like what I am doing anyway, but I am not able to stop myself from doing it. I fear the consequences when people find out what I am doing. When I finally start working, I often do stuff that is useful, but not as important as the things I should be doing. My personal life is the same. There it is easier to ignore the internet (although still difficult), but I still find myself avoiding things that need to be done. As a result I feel almost always restless and tense, because I am continuously aware of the fact that I am not doing what I want or should be doing.
After my visits to the therapist, I tried to implement a time-management method to focus more on my long-term goals, but this turned into a time-waster itself a few times. I now have a method based on "getting things done" into place. It helps me a little bit, but I now realize that time management is not the real problem. However, without a time-management system, I think I would be completely lost. At least I now have a list of things I should be doing.
It was only until a few months ago, well after my visits to the therapist, that I encountered the term 'procrastination', in which I recognize so much of my own behavior. The 'diagnosis' of the therapist is of course quite compatible with procrastination, but it can be very nice to read that you are not the only one dealing with these problems. As a very down-to-earth person, I find it very difficult to talk about my mental problems with people I know and even more to ask for their help. This site might therefore be very helpful to me. I will try to use the book-ending tool, and maybe participate in some discussions. Of course, as always, I should be careful that this site does not turn into a procrastination-cause itself.
I have a lot of questions that I want to ask to you, about how you handle and feel about things. Here the first, I'll keep the rest for a later post:
I realize that it is important to set mid- and long-term goals to pursue. However, I am always unsure what my goals should be. If I set goals today, I start doubting tomorrow. I am afraid this is one of the more subtle procrastiniation mechanisms, but how to avoid this? How do you define your long-term goals and stick to them?