Don't know why I've always been like this. It gets worse or better at times but finally I'm sick of being this way. Any good advice? (Please be kind. Thanks.)
(Posted by request)
This technique has helped me. The most important thing is breaking projects into very small, manageable tasks, and keeping a written record of your goals and your progress. Even 15 minutes a day is much better than nothing.
I've been a horrible procrastinator my entire life. My friends in college teased me about it. I never turned in papers on time and I was an English major! What helped me was reading The Procrastination Habit. I try to use the techniques the author came up with. He's a psychiatrist and he's really good. A couple of times a year I also review parts of the book that I've highlighted.
I'm a procrastinator, but over little, stupid and easy things. I wait to the last minute to pay bills. Before I had direct deposit I would let my account balance get really low before depositing my paychecks. Right now on my desk is the form to renew my auto registration. I dont even have to go to DMV, I can do it all on line. Its due on Friday, which is probably the day I will get it done.
Isn't there something else that you people should be doing?
Worry about it tomorrow.
I like you, R5.
I'll post what works for me tomorrow.
I was once a big procrastinator. A couple of things to keep in mind.
Procrastination is sometimes a sign that you are bored, highly intelligent, much more capable than you realize, and prefer the challenge of pressure that comes with having less time to complete the task once you get down to it. Realizing this may help you reorient yourself to buckling down and just doing it. With me, I found that once I was aware of this fact I no longer felt any kind of shame or laziness about my procrastination, feelings which were self-perpetuating and inhibited me from getting down to work.
Another thing to keep in mind is that for some of us, as we mature, we tend to prefer to just get things done rather than have them hanging over our heads. We much prefer to have our downtime without things hanging over our heads. And the idea of putting ourselves through the high pressure of having to complete under the gun things we've delayed through procrastination proves not worth it in the cost benefit analysis.
I don't say these will help with your particular issues, OP, but I offer them in case they do.
I also agree with r1 about breaking up tasks into small components. That has helped me a lot.
So the one thing you couldn't putt off was starting this thread?
"Procrastination is sometimes a sign that you are bored, highly intelligent, much more capable than you realize..."
I've heard this too, but it would be good to see supporting data. Any relevant studies?
You're only really a pathological procrastinator if you actually started this thread while wearing a Scarlett "Tomorrow is another day!" O'Hara green curtain dress.
Find ways to reward yourself, OP. For example, "When I finish the laundry, I will be able to watch my favorite program uniterrupted."
When I was young, my Mom, who was a wonderful cook, would make something I really liked (think roast beef, gravy and mashed potatoes) but also something I didn't (think lima beans). I would eat my lima beans first so that I could enjoy the taste of the RB,G and MP rather than have them be the LAST taste in my mouth.
Interestingly enough, I have made procrastination work for me. I do alot of presentations and I find that doing them just before deadline works for me. If I prepare too early, I tend to go back and revise it a hundred times before it is used. I'm something of a perfectionist, but that's a story for another thread.
I also found that my experience with procrastination had a correlation to my sense of perfectionism. If I couldn't do something absolutely perfectly and with 100% chance of complete success, I wanted to run away from doing it at all. I was insecure that I couldn't achieve that kind of success and my insecurity made me wanted to avoid the task, until I absolutely had to get down to it.
I've been meaning to post a thread like this, but never got around to it...
I believe all deadlines are unreasonable regardless of the amount of time given.
part of the procrastinators creed.look it up its funny.
It's great that I'm highly intelligent but that doesn't make my house any neater or less cluttered.
I have some great advice, and I promise I'll find time to post it soon.
Sometimes if you put it off long enough, it doesn't need to be done anyway.
I'm bookmarking this thread to read later.
What R17 said.
The key is getting started and then your brain's pleasure centers start to feel "reward" for doing it, so you continue. If you can successfully tell yourself "it's going to feel good once I get started" you are on your way.
Great thread. Me too, it really is the worst. And what was the worst invention that exacerbates this? Internet. It made essays ten times harder to do. You had to have tunnel vision and laser focus to use it solely for research.
I'm a pathological hoarder and it's mainly killing me because I saw my father do it and it is just crazy.
The only time in my life I didn't do this was when I was living alone in a foreign country far away from my family with zero friends (ie people who would come to my house). This country I perceived as gay-friendly at the time, and privacy for individuals is definitely respected there (different story in the media). It was in England.
I remember screaming silently at 2am because my life was so empty though.
Procrastination is a fault that most people put off trying to correct.
"I remember screaming silently at 2am because my life was so empty though."
The title is actually The Now Habit. Sorry.
I'm also terrible about it. I'll even do stupid shit like putting off a shower until it's 30 minutes until I need to be out the door.
As a child, my parents told me I was a procrastinator and wouldn't amount to anything. I always responded, "just wait!"
Hard work pays off eventually, but laziness pays off immediately.
Procrastinators are also super passive aggressive because they almost always inevitably try to make the fact that they are doing something at the last minute some poor service person's problem. It is linked with a huge sense of entitlement and learned helplessness.
Hideous procrastinator here (housework, mainly; aaargh.)(Putting it off right now. Yes, I know what time it is!;have people coming tomorrow p.m. and Sat early a.m., aaack.)
R35, that was very helpful! And the poster upthread who said, key is rewarding oneself; also breaking down tasks into very small units. Both things have been said to me by my shrink and therapist(not a "Mary"! mentally disabled. Well, Mary-ish, anyway, according to my family (if any of you EVER sort of "envy" someone who gets a monthly check without having to work? DON't. I would MUCH rather be working, not the $$ so much as some.fucking.thing.to.do.)
(oh, like housework, hee-hee!
Thanks for listening.
I've tried breaking it down into smaller tasks... that just makes more tasks I never get around to doing.
And I've tried rewarding myself. But then I just end up taking the reward without doing whatever.
My shrink told me that procrastination springs from perfectionism and the fear of not achieving the latter. That may be the case, but I never felt that explanation sat right with me as I'm the definition of just getting by or doing just enough. The perfectionist part doesn't fit me at all though I do admit fear of failure is probably not too far off.
I'd like to hear more ways that people have found to work with/overcome their procrastination. The jokes are a given, it's very easy to poke fun at people who are dealing with this, but it seems much harder to offer anything truly useful.
I'm not OP, but I have had an almost lifelong problem with this. I can't tell you how many dollars and deals I've lost out on because of my inability to do some of the simplest follow-up. It also is the source of a lot of stress, as the pile up of tasks eats at me every day.
I have a good day/week every once in a while, but I always revert back to the norm of procrastination. I hate it.
I recently became a consultant and primarily work from home. I'll wait til the day before a huge presentation to start the work, but I always deliver. No one knows I spent four hours on the project instead of four weeks. It's a great gig for procrastinators like us.
R36 here. Up all night cleaning! yes, pathetic, BUT:
I have cleaned my nice glass (cheap glass, I'm sure) coffee table for like the first time in (ashamed to admit: 2-3 months??!) and it looks lovely! Actually makes me feel a bit happier (suffer from depression.)
Yayyyy! (Okay, tackling gross kitchen next; byeee)
R39: lists are helpful, but LITTLE lists. For example, I have on 1 post-it right now, 4 things:
put dishes away
put few cans away.
(more lists to come, but will SPARE you, hee-hee!
Maybe is just me, but even ONE little thing done. Then the next. then the next (the key is LITTLE things.)
major procrastinator here.
I find just getting started on something small will take my mind off of beating myself up, which at the same time throws my resistance to doing what I 'need' to do off guard.
like in a lot of areas, it's getting over that initial hurdle of resistance that will lead to momentum, which will lead to actually getting stuff done, which leads to feeling better about yourself.
but after you get the wheel spinning, if you get distracted or tired, and start beating yourself up again, just remember you have to restart by getting over that initial hurdle of resistance.
don't try to jump back into the project at the speed you were at when you fell off the wheel. take some deep breaths and let the frustration subside.
Oldest advice in the world...
break the task down into smaller steps, starting with the most important.
That way your stress level, at the last moment, will not hit the rooftops.... and beyond!
When something you did wasn't perfect, did your world end? Can you even think of many times it was imperfect? You know there must be times this happened, but can you remember the specifics? There you go. I don't want to lower my standards, but a good result today is better than a perfect result TBD... I still do let things build up sometimes, but not like I used to, and really nothing that would affect anyone but myself. And I'm still 20 minutes early for everything, which hasn't changed...
Research has shown that children of alcoholics tend to be procrastinators. Explanations vary from a fear of failure to a fear of success. The idea is that the alcoholic parent was probably narcissistic and, as a result, created an environment in which the child could never complete goals. Eventually, the child begins to put things off as a protective mechanism. This turns into a life-long habit where the Adult Child subconsciously believes whatever he does will never be good enough so he may as well put off doing it. Often, the Adult Child fails to complete important milestones.
The topic interests me because my father was an alcoholic and I've always procrastinated. In my case, I think it was a result of dissociation as well as perfectionism. I always had a weird relationship with time and never developed a healthy, normal way of completing goals. I would either go all out to complete a task, to my detriment, or I would put it off and off and off. Also to my detriment.
I can remember that, as a child, nothing I did was ever good enough for my father. If I made straight As, he punished me for not making A pluses. If I won the regional spelling bee, I sucked because I would never be the exceptional speller that he was. I could go on but you get the idea. This made me both a high achiever and a procrastinator. Everything was a competition with him that I could never win.
I think that, even if one is able to overcome procrastination, you always feel unworthy because you know what's really in your mind and how you approached a task. So you always feel inadequate.
It's important to fight those negative feelings. Good luck to my fellow procrastinators.
Get off your ass and DO IT!
"The sun'll come out
So ya gotta hang on
Come what may
I love ya Tomorrow!
Your theme song?
I agree, R46 and have a similar background
I always procrastinate and hate myself for it. But then everything always works out for me in the end so I never learn my lesson. It's a vicious cycle.
For some, procrastination is a neuro developmental issue: impairment in executive functioning.
I am ADHD / Aspergish and am always late with things like paying bills, returning phone calls, even opening emails. This has nothing to do with perfectionism, trust me. I dive right in when things interest me. I am great with ideas, but have trouble executing them into action because I can't get the steps organized to make it happen. I also have trouble distinguishing between important vs unimportant tasks.
Some life coaches specialize in helping people like us create systems to get stuff done.
Bump for posting later.
r53 that resonates with me. I will not admit to some of the things I have out off, and sometimes I wonder if it's physically possible to complete all the tasks that have been waiting for me.
mostly it's paperwork, and because I work for myself, that includes billing, so my procrastination affects my revenue flow.
oddly, I love to organize and come up with systems but it's the practice that I need to work on. I've been slowly cobbling together some habits and sticking to them and that really helps.
For me,it is fear. Simple.
R14, I agree. My procrastination is often linked to my perfectionism and fear of under-performing.
But I also think procrastination is sometimes the wrong diagnosis for a plain old case of laziness.
"Procrastination is the Devil's chloroform."
Seen on church message board 30 years ago; it always stuck with me.
That's actually a very good saying, R58. I'm going to write that one down!