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.

bookending - Fri, June 23rd

Good morning. Last night before I went to bed I did a lot of the things I usually do in the morning - showered, straightened the apartment, organized my work area, and washed all the dishes. So when I got up, I just had to make the bed, put on clothes, and make breakfast. I was sitting down to breakfast within an hour of getting up! Usually it takes me hours in the morning to clean up and get organized.

Morning is my most alert time of day - the time when I'm best able to do the hard stuff. Now I won't spend the morning cleaning. When I'm done with breakfast, I'll be ready to do my consulting work.

pro's check-in (4)

I finished clearing off the paperwork (after my badly needed 2-hour nap). This was a small pile, but more time consuming to handle than I anticipated. There were lots of billing errors and phone calls, etc. But now it's done.

And (::sigh::) it's the end of the day! I'm at least going to take a break for a little while. I can't believe that I (again) did not get to my consulting work. That is not good at all.

pro's check-in (3)

I'm operating in slow motion. I'm going through the pile, but at a snail's pace. Each time I lift a piece of paper, I stare into the distance for 30 seconds (or gaze at the TV).

I could finish this up in 15-20 minutes if I put my mind to it, but I feel like taking a nap. I didn't sleep enough last night - I went to be late and got up early.

I think I'm going to try taking a short nap, and see if I'm better able to function after that.

dealing with desk and piles

As I just cleaned my desk successfully, I would like to share some tips that I read in a book:

You have 4 sections on the floor (cleared ;-) ): the first one is a big wastepaperbasket: everything in there that you don't need anymore: old catalogues, outdated laters etc...; 2nd section: everything that somebody else can do (as I am a student, this section remained empty :-( ); 3rd section: everything you can do while you are cleaning your desk: like filing etc.; 4th section: all the things that are really important and that you choose to do soon.
The most important rule: touch every paper/ item ONLY ONCE -> decide immediatly. The second rule: nothing is allowed to stay on your desk.

Another trick to not have piles on your desk: buy a stand to put in those hanging folders (don't know how they are called in English): they have a littel window on the top where you can insert a little piece of paper that says what's in there. Then you put in e.g. all the stuff for your tax and write: "tax - due to 26th of July 2007". In this way, you don't have a pile where you can't find anything, but can an ordered and orderly filing system. I started it a couple of days ago and it seems to work so far.
It is important that outdated stuff gets filed - or even better- thrown out immediatly.
The good thing is, that the little labels are a kind of to do list. I feel much less overwhelmed by this system than by a big pile.

Maybe you can put on some motivating music instead of the TV, pro? That always helps me. I have special CDs for these occasions. I guess TV is too much of a distraction?!

Hey, but you have done very well so far!!

4 sections on the floor

Good idea. Sometimes I do this! And sometimes I just :5 pieces of paper" when I get stuck or overwhelmed.

What do you study?


Take a re-charging rest. And then before doing anything, think of all that you accomplished this morning and the preparation you did before going to bed - make a list if it helps to see the accomplishments.

People w/issues tend to not give themselves enough credit for performances.

Success begets success:)

NOT beating a tired horse!

I slept for 2 hours - very soundly, never opened my eyes. I was really tired. I feel a lot better now. I feel ready to work.

Thanks for the support, tl. You're right that often I don't give myself credit for what I did - I just focus on what I didn't yet do. Right now I'm feeling good that I rested when I was tired rather than beating myself up for dragging my feet (like beating a tired horse), which is what I usually do.

I want to make a to-do list before I get back to work. When I lay down for a nap, some things occurred to me that I'd been forgetting. Of course, I can't remember them anymore, but maybe they'll come to me as I make a snack and some tea. :P


The sleeping for 2 hours sounds soooo much like me. I love long naps in the afternoons. Have the weirdest dreams and feel pretty funny afterwards. And nothing makes me think about the things, I haven't yet decided I want to do ;-)

Enjoy your tea and snack: they are important to wake up again properly!

I don't usually nap!

Taking long naps in the afternoon isn't a habit with me. I just didn't sleep enough last night, and was too tired to function. I didn't get to bed until after 2am, and I got up at 7am - not enough sleep for me. Actually, I almost never take naps.

pro's check-in (2)

I'm back from my errands. I'm going to file the papers on my desk now.

pro's check-in (1)

I paid some bills, made some phone calls, and packaged up the shoes I'm returning to I still have the small pile of paper on my desk to deal with (mostly filing), but I'm itchy to go outside (working at home can give you cabin fever), so I'll go drop off the shoes, pick up my mail, bring a shirt to the dry cleaners, and pick up some stuff from the grocery store.

I'll check in when I get back. At that point I'll want to handle the little pile of papers (before it becomes a big pile of papers), and get started on my consulting tasks. (Anouk - notice I said "want to" rather than "should"! :))

start of bookend (task commitment)

Here's my first bookend post. I bought some shoes on that I need to return. I have to go to their Web site and do something or other. I'll do that. I also have a small pile of papers on my desk to take care of.

Consulting Work

Have you tried doing the consulting work first? Then maybe do the other stuff at lunchtime or weekends (like payroll/employed people do!). After all, if it wasn't for the consulting work you wouldn't be able to do the other things, and it ~does~ seems to be the biggie for you to get started on.

When I'm working I try to think of myself as doing a 'normal' working day (except I decided against doing 'normal' stuff at lunchtime - I just eat - because I've learned I'm too easily sidetracked). Like you, I like it to be tidy and organised, but whatever isn't done by 9.30 am is the next day's tidying up. Eventually you catch up (really you do! I'm sometimes even ready to start work by 8.00 am these days - I used to still be ~sleeping~ at 8am! And I mean dressed, fed, and everything!).

I think it's important for me to put a limit on tidying up time - housework really ~is~ never ending (if you include things like dishes, and laundry, and I do). And I also think it's important for me to start the business work before I do anything else and let myself get sidetracked (even by the jobs that need doing at some point - if something pops into my mind I just schedule it in on Outlook for a more appropriate time).

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trouble prioritizing tasks

I procrastinate on deskwork and the piles can grow enormous - I get late on bills, I've had my health insurance cancelled, etc. So I thought I'd do that first. Maybe it was the right thing, maybe not. In any case, it's done so the next thing should be consulting.

Maybe I should have done the consulting first because I'm late getting back to my clients, and that's wrong. I have trouble figuring out priorities.

I know that working seven days a week is unhealthy, but I think I should do my consulting over the weekend. Maybe. What do you think?

I think you should stop saying should!


I would do whatever it is that's going to make me feel best. If consulting work was pressing on me I'd probably want to get at least some of that done - you don't have to work the whole weekend (time bingeing!), maybe just a few hours in the morning, then the rest of the day is free. You could also look at how you've spent your working days. How many a hours a week do you work? How many ~have~ you worked this week? It may be you've already done some 'weekend' type things during the week (errands, TV/reading, socialising) so it's just a case of trading time, so you're not losing out.

Then in future you can organise your work/free time the way you want - do you want most of your free time at the weekends, or weekday mornings, or when? Personally, I like weekends because that's when everyone else is having fun and I don't want to feel left out! But if I can't get them I usually go for Thursday afternoon (this week it's going to be Sunday afternoon/evening). I'm also re-working my schedule so I can get more evening time to myself.

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