Tag Archives: procrastination

Today is the day

I’m going to finish my November project. Today. April 17 instead of the November 30 I hoped for (yes, that doesn’t say ‘I planned for, I know…). You’d think I’d be excited, happy, relieved. Instead I’m tired, full of resistance and desperately longing to not work on it today. Why? I don’t know.

So, again, this blog post is to make myself accountable. I WILL finish it today.

I’m not sure whether I want to look into my resistance and learn from it, or simply bypass it. I do know the resistance annoys the heck out of me.

I remember that I wrote about unmet needs as a productivity block. Maybe that post brings some insights.

I have gotten my poem for #NaPoWriMo done, so I can’t procrastinate by doing that. There are five sweet kittens in my house  that I could look at for hours. Maybe I can make those my reward for getting my first steps done: reading the blog post I mentioned, and creating a plan for today after that.


Paper pile monster



In the post I visited yesterday I wrote that I have low confidence in my ability to stick to a concrete plan. Confession time: I ran away from the post after I’d read it, and didn’t manage to get any planning done yesterday. Other stuff that needed doing? Yes. Planning? No. I even realised I’d sooner have worked on my horrible task itself, than the planning for it.

Yesterday I decided to let it happen. Today that won’t fly. I WILL plan.

Just now I realised my low confidence in my ability to stick to a concrete plan only matters if I believe it has consequences. I can’t play standing base. Do I care about that? No, since it has no consequences (apart from me not being in a psychobilly band, which I can live with).

So what about my perceived inability to stick to a concrete plan is such a drama? Obviously nothing, but some part of me is telling me differently. I’ll try to shed some light on the fictitious monsters under my bed. I’ll challenge them after I uncover them.

I believe I SHOULD be able to stick to a concrete plan

Now that I write that down I wonder: why? There are probably millions of people who don’t know how to stick to plan or who don’t care about planning or sticking to it in the first place. Why do I believe that I HAVE TO BE ABLE to?

If I can’t stick to a plan, I’m a worthless coach

Again, as soon as I wrote this down, I noticed this thought doesn’t make sense to me at all, even though it’s mine (hidden beneath layers of rationality, I’ve practised on those discoveries). In my thorough training for being a coach, sticking to a plan was never a requirement.

If I can’t stick to a plan, I’m a worthless procrastination coach

My brain is trying to convince me the thought makes sense, by altering it. I’m a worthless procrastination coach then? No, not true either. It’s probably the other way around: if I thought planning was easy, I’d keep believing it’s a solution or even a cure for procrastination.  If it only was that easy…

If I can’t stick to a plan, I’m stupid

I think we’re at the end of my reasoning here, because I feel the urge to stop writing this and simply make a planning. I don’t even care about refuting this thought.

To make sure I don’t lose my way: I’ll only share this post after my planning is done 🙂

Got my planning done. Got ‘rewarded’ with a deadline – it turns out my planning is absolutely necessary! Also, I have already done the first part of my planning.

The inner critic (the thoughts written in bold) is not winning today 😉

And my #NaPoWriMo post got done before anything else: Would you pray to me. Productivity wise, something could be said against that… Then again: I’ve had my fun, now I’ll get everything done 😉 That will be my motto today

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!

I hate accountability

… because it works! Yesterday I was ready to read a large number of National Poetry Month contributions, when I realised I had made my foolish resolution: to work both on #NaPoWriMo, and my unfinished November project. It was immediately clear to me that I had to get some work done first, and could use poetry as a reward.

So grudgingly and reluctantly I went upstairs to check on my Piles of Doom. I realised exchange a nice plan (poetry) for a wise plan (administration) didn’t feel that good yet. The sun was calling me, and I wanted to go outside. So I decided to combine my plan and my urge: I took my administration to my son’s room, opened a window, sat down with the sun on my back, and started working. Here’s proof:


Doesn’t that look like I’m really organised? 🙂 🙂 🙂 I shan’t bore you with why this project is such a big deal for me. It took me a while to discover it, and it feels rather private. Let’s just summarise it as: it ticks all the wrong boxes.

So I need my own advice to get it done. And, if I’m honest, some help from someone who helps me dig deeper in myself than where I’m willing to go on my own. When I look back at yesterday, I realise that I applied different tactics:

  • accountability
  • eat the frog (doing the thing you’re most likely to procrastinate on first)
  • rewards
  • making things more fun (did I not write a blog post about that yet? It really works!)

And I’m doing the same today. I listen to my own advice. So I read a bit of poetry before I started my day, to recover from the morning rush hour – self care. Then I decided that it was more important to me to report on my progress, than to follow the #NaPoWriMo prompt. (An easy choice, since ‘description’ is not my thing and that takes the fun out of it, and I wrote too many poems on day 2) – values to the rescue. Next, I made myself accountable on Facebook for eating a frog (making invoices). That helped me to get those done before writing this post.

I think I deserve a bit of poetry reading after writing this post, so that will be my next step. After that: more invoices. After those: publish my poem for day 4 and share it. Or take a break first. Saving the best for last 😉

If you happen to follow any of my links and wonder why they lead to a different Procrastination Coach site… Yeah, long story. Basically that’s my official one, and I want it to look good (spelling, grammar, lay-out). This is my old blog, which I treat as a playground: the motto is ‘done is better than perfect’. I write straight form the heart and don’t edit much. A quick spell check is often all I do.

Guess on which of my sites I’m spending the most time… 🙂

How kittens can lead to doing your administration

To my own surprise, I just realised that I’m working on my November project. How did that happen?

First of all I blame the cat. She’s moved her kittens upstairs, and stressed me out endlessly by dropping one of them down two flights of stairs. Then she the chose an impossible place to put them. I put them in a box instead, and I’ve been spending the whole day upstairs to check if everyone is doing okay. So far I seem to be the only one who’s stressed. There’s lots of napping going on. (… are they warm enough in this room? Does everyone get fed? Why has she put one of them aside from the others?)


There seem to be two lucky things about this:

  1. I got bored and decided to work on my administration
  2. The anxiousness about the kittens left no room for other stress.

It was more than a coincidence though. Yesterday I realised what I needed to get back on track with the project:

  • Go through each and every pile to see if there’s administration on the year 2016 in there.
  • Put 2016 in a separate, clearly recognisable box.
  • Create two other boxes, to make sorting through the big piles fast but effective. One box that says administration older than 2015. One box that says other things to archive.

So I freed up some space to put the boxes in a place where they are easy to reach, and grabbed some piles. Meanwhile keeping an eye on the kittens and the cat. The sorting went quickly. One reason was that I found much stuff that was half sorted already. Another reason was that the three boxes worked perfectly!



All my careful observation made no difference for the kittens. Mum has just again dragged them to a spot where I don’t want them. She wins, for now. I have a customer coming in half an hour. I’ll go and brew some coffee, let the cat have her way, relax a bit, and enjoy how much I got done today! Oh, and thank Lisa for writing this book, for it sure helped my thought process yesterday: http://less-stuff.co.uk/product/piles-to-files-paperwork-book/


How to step out of the drama triangle – Victim

Yesterday I introduced the drama triangle, and applied it to the inner dynamics of procrastination. Today is about how to step out of the drama triangle.

Step 1: Don’t identify with it

When I wrote my example I was tempted to add ‘me’ in brackets behind the different roles: the Victim (me), the Rescuer (me) the Persecutor (me). I realised that was wrong, and actually harmful. They are not me. They are just parts of me that play up sometimes. They are modes, trying to help me through but having the opposite effect. Realising that is the first step in disentangling myself from their dynamics. I try to watch the actors play instead of believing I AM the play.

If you notice one of the roles pop up in your thinking: label it, and take a step back. When you fight it or ignore it, the effect will probably be reverse. It can increase the drama instead of make it go away. Don’t treat the roles as a problem, treat them as information. By taking a step back and observing the ‘actors’ you can find out what’s going on inside yourself.

Step 2: Use the winner’s triangle

When you understand what’s actually going on, you can create a solution from there. Which is tends to be more lasting (and rewarding!) than just battling symptoms. Unless you’re a real fan of symptoms of course 😉

Luckily, someone created a way out from the drama triangle: the winner’s triangle. Here’s what the wikipedia page says about it:

The Winner’s Triangle was published by Acey Choy in 1990 as a therapeutic model for showing patients how to alter social transactions when entering a triangle at any of the three entry points. Choy recommends that anyone feeling like a victim think more in terms of being vulnerable and caring, that anyone cast as a persecutor adopt an assertive posture, and anyone recruited to be a rescuer should react by being “caring”.[15]

Let me apply that to my own example, that I described yesterday:

Vulnerable – a victim should be encouraged to accept their vulnerability, problem solve, and be more self-aware. This asks something of me:

A) I need to be aware that I’m in victim mode. Clues are:

  • thoughts (like ‘this is too hard’, ‘impossible’, ‘everything is important’, ‘there’s no good option’, ‘I have to make the right choice’)
  • physical experiences (for example clenched jaws, hunched shoulders, very shallow breathing, fast beating heart, tense stomach muscles)
  • emotions (for example feeling drained, powerless, jittery, stuck)

Please note that these are my clues, yours may be different. But mine can be a good place to start looking if you don’t know your own yet.

B) Accept that that stuff is going on: I do experience irrational thoughts right now. I”m human. I suffer from improductive feelings right now. I’m human. My body is providing signals right now that something is going on. I’m human. Okay, things are the way they are. What are my possibilities?

C) Problem solve. If I’m in full on victim mode, I don’t even believe that I’m able to problem solve. It’s easier to pick up early clues and start from there, than to wait until I fully identify with the victim role. So I’ve trained myself. When I notice I’m procrastinating (or feeling the urge to start doing it) I ask myself: What’s really going on here? Luckily, the things I mentioned under A will help me gather ideas about that. I also have a handy checklist in my head. Is it that I:

  • don’t WANT to?
  • don’t now HOW to?
  • dont like the WAY I’m supposed to?

When I’m clear on the problem, I can start thinking about the solution. When the problem is simple, I ask myself:

  • What can make me WANT it more?
  • What can help me get clear on HOW to do it?
  • HOW can I change the way I do this?

If the problem lies deeper, obviously the solution may be more challenging. I can use some productivity tools (frog, pomodoro) to get me started straight away, while the back of my mind searches for a way to deal with the bigger problem. Fear of failure for example needs a long term strategy, and preferably a lasting solution. But I don’t have to wait for it to be solved to get my work done. I just need strategies to get moving again and create manageable steps, instead of procrastinate.

Wow, this blog post turns out longer than I expected. Procrastination is murky business. There are hidden monsters in the swamp. And often they’ll keep biting – unless you learn how to deal with them. If you ever wondered why all those articles on ‘10 ways to get rid of your procrastination for good’ never work, maybe now you understand.

All this thinking and feeling I’ve just described may sound awfully time consuming. Personally, I’ve found that they’re a lot less time consuming that procrastinating itself. Or the endless seach for the article/video/image that WILL help.

Rescuer and persecuter deserve their own post. To be continued…

drama triangle winner triangle

By Wiki-psyc (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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.