Tag Archives: Feelings

Procrastination duality

This poem by a fellow #NaPoWriMo participant sums up the feeling of procrastination (and more) in three short lines. Brilliant! It also shows the solution… Now how to get there?


The mind is at war
Logic versus Emotion
Only one may rule

The mind is at peace
Planning balancing Impulse
Both ruling as one
Source and copyright: https://myauthoritis.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/duality/

May I add that the poem is probably about much more (or maybe even something different) than my interpretation ‘procrastination’? It’s just where my mind led me.

So how to get logic and emotion ruling as one this week? I’m grumpy and full of resistance, so emotion is running the show…


I’m going to be accountable for administration stuff again this week. My brain is already trying to avoid planning, by telling me ‘no need to make this concrete, you’ll do as you promised, in some way’.

So, first thing I’ll do is go back to my post called ‘I hate planning‘. I vividly remember the title. I don’t have a clue what I wrote there. It’s probably something I need today.

Then I’ll do the planning I need. Then, and only then, do I return here and make myself accountable. And hopefully share something I’ve learned as well. By linking up the post I was looking for, I’ve already learnt there is no post called I hate planning. Memory is a fickle thing 🙂

Looks like planning is my frog today!

A procrastination drama triangle

Let’s apply a theory about interaction between people to you and your procrastination tendencies. Just for fun. I’ll introduce you to the drama triangle – something that may be surprisingly familiar when you think about people you know. Mind you: you need only two people for a full triangle! Do you recognise any of these?

The drama triangle

The Karpman Drama Triangle models the connection between personal responsibility and power in conflicts, and the destructive and shifting roles people play:

  1. The Victim: The Victim’s stance is “Poor me!” The Victim feels victimized, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, powerless, ashamed, and seems unable to make decisions, solve problems, take pleasure in life, or achieve insight. The Victim, if not being persecuted, will seek out a Persecutor and also a Rescuer who will save the day but also perpetuate the Victim’s negative feelings.
  2. The Rescuer: The rescuer’s line is “Let me help you.” A classic enabler, the Rescuer feels guilty if he/she doesn’t go to the rescue. Yet his/her rescuing has negative effects: It keeps the Victim dependent and gives the Victim permission to fail. The rewards derived from this rescue role are that the focus is taken off of the rescuer. When he/she focuses their energy on someone else, it enables them to ignore their own anxiety and issues. This rescue role is also very pivotal because their actual primary interest is really an avoidance of their own problems disguised as concern for the victim’s needs.
  3. The Persecutor: (a.k.a. Villain) The Persecutor insists, “It’s all your fault.” The Persecutor is controlling, blaming, critical, oppressive, angry, authoritative, rigid, and superior.
[This explanation is copied from Wikiedia, from its page on drama triangle -> a social model that was conceived by Stephen Karpman, a student studying under Eric Berne, the father of transactional analysis.]

A typical example could sound like this:

  • Victim (helpless voice): I don’t know what to do
  • Rescuer (energetic): I have some greate advice for you
  • Persecuter 1 (blaming voice): Your advice doesn’t work for me
  • Persecutor 2 (blaming voice): You just don’t want to be helped
  • Persecutor turns to victim: I work so hard to help you and you just don’t appreciate it
  • Former Victim turns Rescuer: It’s not you, my problems are very intricate

Two people, changing roles, a full traingle.

Procrastination drama

Transactional analysis is an intereaction model, meaning it describes how people may respond to each other. I’ll try it out as an introspection model now, to see how I may respond to myself:

  • The Victim: For whatever reson, big or small, I feel victimized, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, powerless, ashamed, or unable to make decisions/achieve insight/solve problems/take pleasure in life. When I give into “Poor me!”, the procrastination dynamic starts…
  • The Rescuer: Procrastination to the rescue! ” Not doing something will feel like self care. Yet this rescuing has negative effects: It keeps the Victim dependent and gives the Victim permission to fail. The rewards derived from the procrastiation are that the focus is taken off of the the difficult feelings. It enables me to ignore what’s really going on, for example my own anxiety or other issues.
  • The Persecutor: (a.k.a. Villain) The Persecutor insists, “It’s all your fault.” The Persecutor is controlling, blaming, critical, oppressive, angry, authoritative, rigid, and superior. In this case it’s trying to whip the Victim into productivity. (You may have met this person before in my earlier posts, then named the inner critic.)


Source https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADramTri.png  By Cdw1952 (Own work) [Attribution, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Tomorrow I’ll follow up with a post on how to deal with the procrastination drama. Simply pushing through is not the answer. Sometimes it might be. More often (and if you’re looking for a life that works for you) it’s helpful to address the actual thing that going on – and THEN get your thing(s) done.


The difference between have-to and want-to

After meeting up with my friend yesterday I realised: I want a day off. When I wrote values to the rescue, taking a day off still felt a like “I need it, so I HAVE to do it”. Which set off the automatic response I’ve described in the horse shoe of have-to: “I don’t want to“. I needed a day off, but didn’t want one…

Some time to make me feel good
Because I was snooping around on Facebook and blogs, I realised I felt the need for connection. So I phoned a friend and we met. After that, I had planned to get some work done. I didn’t want a full day off, remember? Just some time to make me feel good.

Throwing things away for fun
Earlier that day I had had the weirdest experience. In the decluttering group, the prompt was to throw away something. At first I looked at it as ‘not my thing’. I had decided I needed fun today, and how much fun is it to throw something away? Then I realised I actually liked the thought of throwing things away. I was in an angry mood, p*ssed off that I was tired and had to adjust my plans Throwing stuff away was perfect for that feeling of anger. Mind you: the thing I chose had been on my to-do list for ages. It just never had priority, and I never had the energy. Now it was exactly what I needed. It had changed from something I felt I SHOULD do, in something I WANTED to do. Look at these before and after pictures:
Before, part 1
After part 1
I threw away a number of too small totally worn children’s shoes, and it felt great. They were just taking up space and nagging at my brain. I also threw away my once favourite red suede boots. I was sad to throw those away, but they weren’t wearable any more. I only kept them because they were my favourite shoes ever and I liked how they looked. It’s amazing what’s possible when you ditch resistance – throwing away things turned into fun!

Have to becomes want to
Back to my idea of getting things done. Meeting up with my friend worked really well. We talked, ate lunch and had fun. I stepped out of my stress zone. When I came home, it dawned upon me: I WANTED a day off. There was no good reason to wait until tomorrow, when I’d have exhaustion as a great excuse. I might as well take one now, and maybe get my things done tomorrow. Taking a day off had changed from ‘I have to’ into ‘I want to’. That felt so much better!

How to feel what I want
I’m guessing meditation could have had the same effect as meeting up with my friend: taking me out of my stress zone and reconnecting me with what I wanted.
I have known about the difference effect of ‘I have to’ versus ‘I want to’ for a long time. I knew how to substitute the words for each other (I have to → oh no, I have to want this → I want to). Today I realised that I have to search for I want to in a different place. Before I can feel what I want, I need to make room for my feelings.

I have too many inner people running the show otherwise.

I got a strange reward for taking my day off. Around dinner time a potential disastrous fight was developing in my household. I had patience, energy and clarity to deal with all the angry people (including my worried self). I stayed calm, took people apart, talked to one, then the other, and after everyone calmed down we had a nice evening together. I was SO relieved, and SO proud of myself for being able to do that. I know for sure that couldn’t have done it without my day off.

I’m sad about it

I think I’ve managed to write a lot more about my thoughts than about my feelings this far. Thinking is a great way of staying away from my feelings. Writing is a great way of sort of going there, but with a contamination suit on: I’ll witness them more than I feel them.

I don’t like to write about my feelings, but luckily there’s music. I’m still tired of a tough week, even though I took that break yesterday. I feel bad. And I’m sad about it.

Oh, I’ve just discovered an older version of this song!

No more writing, no more analyzing, no more dealing with physical or mental stuff today. I’ll treat myself like I have the flu, and listen to a lot of Lee Moses. I’ve only discovered him just now. What a voice! So much soul!

#NaBloPoMo day 11 (National Blog Posting Month = posting a blog post every day for the month of November)

Dear me, we have a problem

Old patterns die slowly. Yesterday I wrote that it really worked to do some thinking before I started doing. Guess what happened today? I started doing as soon as I had identified a chore I would work on. No limits set on the amount of time. Just a vague idea that the chore would be finished when the half empty box of half sorted administration would be organised into a binder (or watchamacallit).

Stupid. Maybe it’s something you’re able to do, because you know when to stop in time. I don’t.

My body will send a number of signals that I’m no longer alright. At the moment the main one is an enormous amount of tension between my shoulders. I quit sorting 20 minutes ago, but the stress is still there. This is why I need to monitor my stress: it builds up very easily, but it doesn’t go away. Unless I stop in time, when my recovery system is still functional.

Unfortunately I’m totally used to ignoring my body (yes, I’m working on that), but there’s a signal that I do recognise as a red flag: when I keep telling myself ‘just a little bit more’. Basically, that’s the sentence I use to ignore those signals. There’s a whispering voice somewhere in my head that suggests it might be time to take a break. This voice will be met by a loud choir of ‘just a little bit more’, on repeat. Just until the easy bit of the task is done… Just until I’m half way… Just until this bit is finished… The choir comes up with a bunch of suggestions to keep me going.

I used to think that these voices help me to get a job done. Now I know that they actually INCREASE my procrastination. This is how that works:

By not sticking to my boundaries, I end up feeling bad: too tired to feel okay. Too tired to feel any satisfaction about what I’ve done. Too tired to be nice to my family. I’ll feel stupid and like a bad person.

Expecting a bad outcome, is a trigger for procrastination. When it comes to sorting out my administration and decluttering, I have a long list of bad outcomes:
– I can’t find stuff and I’ll feel like an idiot for not being a tidy person.
– I’ll find things I did wrong (like invoices I sent out with the wrong date) and feel stupid: How hard is it to put the right date on a piece of paper?
– I’ll get really, really, really tired before I have the result I’m aiming for, and feel desperate.
– I’ll have to make decisions that are difficult to me(Shall I keep this or throw it away? Where can I put it so that I’ll be able to find this again?) and feel like a twat that all that stuff is so hard.

There’s probably more I could add to that list, but it’s enough for now. Somewhere during this writing process the stress in my shoulders has lessened. Does that mean I’ll work on my project now? No!

I’ll take that break that I need now that I’m able to enjoy it. I’ll celebrate that I managed to sort out a bit of that pile that needed sorting. I’ll celebrate that I managed to stop, even when it was a bit too late already. And I’ll celebrate that I dare to share all this horrible stuff with you.

Reality check… what I actually did, was another chore… bringing paper to the recycling station (a 3 minute walk). While I did that, I noticed I was too tired and doing another chore instead of the break I had promised myself. My brain is really good in luring me in, providing arguments like: It’s nice weather outside, it’s good to enjoy that for a bit. It’s physical exercise, that might help you relax. You’ll throw away some of the stuff you sorted, that will make you feel good.

Whenever I hear myself give me more than one excuse to do something, I’m probably in overdrive, denial, or any other mode that’s not getting me where I truly want to be.

After that, I did get some rest.

Now I have my third blog post for #NaBloPoMo done. There’ll probably be another post today, as I’m trying to make up for a late start.

Day 1 done!

It was really weird yesterday, to stop without doing any work at all, just thinking! And talking, because I talked about my plans (and fears) with my partner.

I was totally right about stopping when I still felt okay though. When I went outside for a walk, I noticed I was feeling some pride. I had started my project, instead of giving in to my longing to procrastinate about it one day longer. Just one day… You can guess what could have happened the next day: still not the right day to start, due to… (no matter what, there’s always something).

Instead, I faced my fears and started. And I started wisely!

You know what I normally do, which is one of the reasons I dread this project so much? I work until I’m totally beat. After that, I don’t feel satisfied, I feel frustrated. I don’t feel that I accomplished something, my brain is totally stuck on everything that’s not finished. It races like mad, it’s in total overdrive. I don’t know how to relax, and I feel stupid.

One of the triggers for procrastination is when one dreads the outcome of the task at hand. So it makes sense that if I expect to go slightly mad, I feel a lot of dread. Very uncomfortable dread.

I’ll use this blog to stay conscious of what I’m doing. And share what works, and what doesn’t work (for me, it can be completely different for you).

My first success: I started.

My second success: I stopped in time and was able to feel satisfaction.

My third success is that I got started with actual doing today. I’ll probably write about that tomorrow, it’s time to step away and relax now!

Lot’s of exclamation marks. I mean all of them 🙂 This is my second post for #NaBloPoMo, even if both were written on the same day. It’s now day 4, so I’m two post behind if I want to catch up.