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Procrastination, Deciding, Acting & Completing Things
Procrastination When we procrastinate, we are delaying, postponing, what we intend to do and in this gap we may often use displacement activities to delay things further. Rushing in & doing things straight away might not always be wise. Taking time to reflect & think about the consequences can have benefits, as can good planning, yet our thinking can go round & round in circles as we ruminate and we can become anxious, fearful, get stuck or go blank, pushing things to the back of our mind. We may have developed a tendency to put things off and things begin to fester. Our procrastination problem may have become serious at times. The more stressed we are - often accompanied by tension in our body, the less we may end up doing. Yet it can become circular for us to procrastinate, because the more we put things off, the more built-up tension, stressed we feel. Indecision may follow if we don't act (see Making Decisions, Making Choices - Indecisiveness). Just as we are on the threshold - whether we have trouble starting, achieving or finishing things, procrastination can be debilitating or paralysing at times - as if it has a grip on us, when it spirals out of control, yet another part of us may so much want to be in control. And this grip may include being in the grip of fear. When we over-think, or worry, our energy drains, we may lose our impetus, not really live the way we would like to. Some of us may close off, shut down, bottle things up, as if also procrastinating by putting our feelings off. We allow our often good intentions to get sabotaged. We can even make up our mind to do something, and a gap appears, where things may become daunting. This daunting feeling may go back a long time or also be connected to our esteem and can be explored in the procrastination counselling. And in this gap we may become reluctant, reticent, hesitant, hold back, stay behind, saying "It's OK to do it tomorrow" and when tomorrow comes "Not just now, I'll do it later". And when we keep putting things off, don't start things, we may make our excuses, look for something to blame (often us) or feel guilty, where for some it can become like a shameful secret. Our procrastination and almost addictive behaviour may have a self-destructive edge. We can find ways to sabotage things. Our procrastination can affect our life progression, work, friendships & relationships, stop us fully living, alongside our low moods. Avoiding things may go back a long way for us - we might have buried other problems and these too can be explored in the counselling & psychotherapy. By now we may be seeking some sort of procrastination treatment and while others (or ourself) might view us as woolly, lazy, uncommitted, there may be other considerations...
Procrastinate On Saying Things We may not only hold back from doing things but also from saying things - things we have to say, clarify, resolve or communicate or catch up with others, say "Hello" (see also Social Anxiety Or Phobia). We may say we will do things (sometimes automatically) often meaning it at the time yet forget, don't see them through which can infuriate others at times as if we can't be trusted and this may be related to trying to please others, avoiding confrontation or conflict, struggling to say "No". The counselling for procrastination can be a space to explore what is going on for us around this.
Procrastinating, Postponing & Putting Things Off - Our Mantras We may get into a habit of putting things off (especially things we don't like or enjoy doing), postponing for as long as possible. Putting off sleep may also be a concern for us. Not only do our actions have consequences, so too do our inactions. Hiding or running away from things, we may seek procrastination help now, because it's been blighting us for long enough. For some we can be OK in certain situations, e.g. work, yet not in our personal life. "I'll just wait till...", "I'll do it later" or "When the time is right", "I won't do it, complete it", "I can get away with it" (not doing it) may be our familiar mantras (see also Beliefs & Behaviours). Putting off anything difficult or challenging, the voice at the back of our head may persuade us "I'll just do this/that first - there is plenty of time". We will put things off under our illusion that they will get done some day, yet small things pile up & accumulate. Over thinking, we can imagine outstanding tasks much bigger than they are, which can become onerous, overwhelming and tiring for us. Depleted, most of energy can be expended on thinking of the daunting consequences of our actions, rather than acting. We may waste time, or struggle with the concept of time, as if our past, present & future merge into one. Making time for things that matter - time management may help us. Ironically, our thinking, stressing, procrastinating & doubting time may well exceed the time it takes to complete many tasks. Inside we can be in a tug of war, or feel a crushing, cumulative pressure of time, which affects our ability to make choices or decisions. Making any important decisions may become difficult. We may struggle to postpone our unhelpful thinking patterns, negative thoughts or have powerful separation anxieties, which may be linked to our early bonding patterns (see also Releasing Ourselves & Letting Go). We may now be seeking procrastination help and be more in the moment so our energy is freed up to put ourself into the task at hand.
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Choosing Whether Or Not We Quit Things Sometimes quitting things is the right choice. However, at the first inkling, when things get difficult or tough, we may readily quit & walk away from situations, which we can't really avoid, because invariably we meet them later on. We may be putting things off only temporarily. Being honest with ourself why we do this, acknowledging our triggers, working towards changing this, building up our strengths, so we are able to overcome similar situations, may be important. Counselling for procrastination can support with this.
You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.Henry Ford
Putting Things Off - Knowing What We Really Need To Do We may have a mental block or a bit of a monkey mind. The small things we have put off in the hope that they might go away, may have become bigger. Struggling to stay on top of things, we may have let things slip. There may be things we need to say and do (ranging from small things, like opening the post, to making big decisions and taking actions). And if we do start things it might be too late or we may fall back to our familiar place of not finishing them. We may also secretly hope people value us more for being indispensable. Most of us don't like doing stressful or unpleasant tasks, and we would like to avoid them forever by choosing pleasurable tasks and having fun. Some of us even put off doing pleasurable things, struggling to get things off the ground. Despite our procrastination, many of us know what our dreams are and exactly what we need to do, that when it comes down to it, we have the capacity to be fully engaged and do what we need to do. Others may have become a bit of a dreamer, struggling to focus. Procrastination Counselling & psychotherapy can help go into our own procrastination issues and ways of overcoming them, exploring what gets in the way of our momentum.
Triggers For Our Procrastination Getting to know our personal procrastination triggers, distractions, and having a plan to manage these may support us, so we don't feel so overwhelmed. Our procrastination triggers may include:
- Losing our time in familiar distractions, which takes us away from our focus
- Disorganised lifestyle
- A habit - that's what we've always done and we always will
- Certain parts of the day (which can end up becoming the whole day)
- Making things unreachable, too important, or putting things on a pedestal
- Certain tasks, events
- How we receive & interpret things in a certain way
- How dare the outside world try to control me (so I may become passive aggressive by procrastinating)
- The belief that we have to oppose everything
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Benefits Of Procrastination Putting our life on hold, our procrastination problem can go back years. Our procrastination helps us detour around things and be vague. Procrastination allows us to see both sides of the fence (see Sitting On The Fence). It can be our seductive friend, enabling us not to acknowledge our uncomfortable feelings or depression, respond to difficult people or chores, putting them in the "Too difficult" or "Not now, later", "At some point in the future" box. We can get seduced by the familiar message in our head, which tells us we don't have to do the things we don't necessarily want to do. We can imagine our "to do list" far out of our mind, as if doesn't exist. It doesn't threaten us. If we ignore things, we can be free of worry with temporary relief, and at ease. Procrastination is our familiar comfort zone, yet can be experienced as an altered state of our reality. We know how to do our procrastination well (see also Controlling Our Thoughts Affecting Our Actions). We don't have to face the fear of making decisions (see Making Decisions, Making Choices - The Agony Of Choice). Procrastination can give us the illusion of control, choice, and we don't have to worry about failing, succeeding. No one will tell us what we should do, and when to do it (not even us). Our procrastination can give us the illusion of safety. Fearing failure (or success) we don't have to take risks or responsibility. (We can for example persuade ourselves and others it's not that we failed, it's that we just hadn't enough time.) Before we can stop procrastinating so much, we may also need to acknowledge what the benefits are.
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Beliefs & Behaviours Procrastination is a behaviour - an action & can become our automatic response - a reaction, as if we have no other path to take. At the beginning of the day we may believe we will not fall into our old habit, yet we can fall back into our familiar ways of procrastinating, so we don't feel challenged or scared. Beliefs about us, some of them originating from our past (see also Self-Esteem, Confidence, Criticism, Insecurity & Assertiveness), may limit our motivation, choices or ability to complete things. We may also have expectations about how things are supposed to be. Our negative thoughts & beliefs, alongside our emotional reactions (e.g. "I hate doing this"), contribute towards our procrastination. We will do anything else - any distraction - however small, apart from the one thing that we should do or need to do. These can then pile up. We may become overwhelmed & immobilised with so much to do and little time to do it in (see also Making Time For Things That Matter - Time Management). We may make what we want to do or where we want to be so huge (see also Our Perceptions, How We See Ourself) that it becomes daunting, as if we are kicking and screaming when thinking about or doing tasks. Some of us may rush on - full speed ahead, and then collapse, procrastinate until our energy returns. We may regret saying yes to things, starting things, because we lose our focus, dedication & passion. Some of us may compartmentalise things as a temporary way of coping. The procrastinator inside of us may tell themselves or others:
- I'll get round to it, as soon as ... (yet we don't).
- I'll just finish other pressing tasks first (yet these tasks may also not get done).
- I'll do it later, when my mood is more creative.
- I can't deal with this now, I'm too busy, I'll start it tomorrow.
- I didn't find the time.
- I'll stop procrastinating in a minute
- I forgot.
- It's bound to be unpleasant.
- I will go silent.
- What's the point? I won't finish it anyway.
- He or she is not telling me what to do, so I'm not going to do it.
- I'm not as uptight as you are.
- I'll just do the fun & interesting things first.
- I'll become disorganised, so I can't work out where to start.
- Even if I did it, it won't turn out the way I want.
- Will I do it right?
- It doesn't feel right.
- There is more to life than working, doing this unpleasant thing.
- I don't know what to do.
- Half-heartedly agreeing to do something or saying "I know" yet not doing it
- The demands, uncertainties & responsibilities are too much.
- I'm lazy, stupid, irresponsible, worthless & uncaring and want to stop laziness.
- I'm not lazy, I just prefer to enjoy things.
- I'll distract myself by keeping busy or preoccupied.
- I am unable to get over past disappointments.
- It's bound to be disappointing.
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Laziness Laziness can often confused with procrastinating, struggling to prioritise things and the counselling can support you in seeing what may lay behind the label of laziness, being lazy. We may want to stop laziness. So-called laziness is often connected to being blocked in some way and the therapy can explore what your own personal blocks are for you.
Procrastination - Our Response To Others If our procrastination is spotted by others, we may try to distract them by changing the subject or laugh it off. We may find ways for others to lower their expectations of us, or get them do things for us. We may have developed ways of charming them, and when this doesn't work, we are at a loss. Struggling to be direct, express what we need, we can become well practised in negotiating for more time, apologising, bending the truth (or lying at times, saying we will do things or have done things when we haven't) & avoiding tasks to get us out of sticky situations. We may struggle to respond directly to people's messages, or doing things we said we would, and the later we leave it, the harder it is to get back to them. We can then feel worse, further trapping ourselves in inactivity. We may have let others down, feel embarrassed, ashamed (see also Letting Us & Others Down). Sometimes our procrastination problem may be connected to directly saying "No", rather than find ways round this. We may go along with things, yet not really be interested, fuelling our apathy. We may not want to upset others, our partner, not let others down. We may try to be popular, liked, please others, promising we will do things, even if they are unrealistic (see also Double Binds). Ironically we may let others down anyway, and may get into all sorts of trouble. We may continue to apologise, yet our procrastination continues. When it comes to changing something about us, or putting something into action, we may not only experience internal conflicts (what happens inside us), but also fear conflict with others. Procrastination therapy can look at how procrastination plays our in your responses to others.
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Doing Things The Last Minute, Moving, Pushing, Breaking Deadlines Pushing deadlines & doing things the last minute can work for some, motivating us to do things. Yet setting tight deadlines (see also Timescales), completing things by the skin of our teeth may not always be our preferred way and can put pressure on us, be anxiety provoking and we can become super-nervous. Doing things the last minute can have advantages, as it can help us focus & be creative. It can be exhilarating, exciting, a place where we find our passion. Yet some of us may struggle to complete things in our own good time, and end up rushing the last minute. Believing we have more time, we may usually be late for things, move, push or break deadlines, trying to squeeze a bit more into doing things the last minute. Having a deadline may fill us with fear, apprehension or dread, which can immobilise us and the task can then become a burden. Ruminating, whatever deadline we are given, we may always try to push it out or break it. It is as if we can't bear having to do things, being given deadlines (we may sometimes view & respond to them as ultimatums), that anything we are compelled to do, we have to react or rebel against. It can be as if we can't face doing things, then when we have to do it, we do it (or even then not do it, despite adverse consequences). Missing deadlines may have become common place. Sometimes, certain events or external elements, may force us to act. We may only finish things because we have to do it, based on externally imposed time scales. We may struggle to put our own time structures and timescales into place, find our motivation or ways to complete things when it suits us. Our actions & non-actions may inconvenience, frustrate & disrespect us & others. "Why prepare, when I can do things the last minute" may be our response (see also Planning Our Goals). Frequently we may put off things until there is a crisis or emergency. Procrastination help can be offered in the counselling & psychotherapy.
Is there a therapy for chronic lateness, counselling for chronic lateness? What is chronic lateness?
Chronic Lateness We may go into a different time-frame in our head as if we are watching ourself from afar - present yet not present. Chronic lateness can be a problem for some of us and for a few this could relate to a associated condition, e.g. ADD/ADHD. Others may be chronically late as a way of expressing our need to be in control (or because part of us feels out of control) or feeding our narcissism - that our importance of being somewhere (and that we are needed, get attention) is so great that we choose to turn up late. Some may be chronically late as part of our passive aggressive behaviour or as if we have a rebelious streak running this part of our life. However, many of us are chronically late for a variety of other reasons - often unconscious. Depression, anxiety, ambivalence for some can play a role. Struggling to extricate ourselves, and pulled towards distractions, we may always have one last thing to do. When allowing ourselves time to arrive somewhere, we use an inaccurate accounting system without sufficient cushions for the unexpected. Time management skills alone may not help us and we may also search for counselling for chronic lateness. We may spend much of our time worrying, panicking, feeling guilty or worthless for being late, yet can't seem to change this. Our chronic lateness causes frictions in our relationships. We may have a library of justifications, reasons, excuses, be polished in making them sound reasonable. The counselling for lateness can explore this further.
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Cramming Things In, Lateness Believing there is plenty of time (and not allowing a cushion for unexpected things, delays), we may tend to cram thing in the last minute, waiting until there is very little time left. We may tell ourselves we are at our best when under pressure and have to prove this by cramming things in. And just as we are about to go, we may find something - some distraction, however small, because we find it hard to leave. Lateness may have become our default. (Some of us may fear being late yet somehow a negative or sabotaging response happens, creating things to make sure we are.) Firefighting or being late for most things can add to our stress, which could be compounded if we become chaotic, disorganised, and struggle to create order (see also Our Resilience, Hardiness & Protecting Our Personal Boundaries). Over-estimation the time we've got (and under-estimating the time it takes to do things), we would like to believe we have more time than we do, and get surprised or panicky when time catches up with us. We may have constant feeling of running out of time, which makes us anxious or overwhelmed. (Some of us may put the time forward on our clock in the hope that this gives us more time, yet our lateness persists.) Being late for things may have become our habit. Sometimes we can tap in to what springs us into action & gives us energy, yet our usual pattern may be different. We may struggle to plan, allow time to prepare (building in time for delays), including getting up on time in order to be punctual. "What can I get away with?", "What can I quickly do a bit more of?" may be ways of thinking. Taking things and time to brinkmanship, we would rather not make a choice or act, and if we do, it may be at the last minute, being forced upon us by an urgency, external circumstances or if we come up against something (and even then we may not do things). Getting off to bed early at night, giving ourselves permission to go to bed, or get up in the morning, may be difficult for us (see also Sleep Problems, Insomnia). Counselling for lateness can be offered. Control may also be important to us, yet a part of us may feel out of control. It can be as if we have abandoned our self, which can be explored in procrastination counselling & psychotherapy, alongside how we value & manage time, respecting ourself & others.
Making Time For Things That Matter - Time Management Procrastination can rob us of our time, stop us living our life fully. Managing our time differently may be challenging but first we may need to explore the relationship between our perceptions and attitude. Our relationship to time, whether we view time as our friend - that we respect it and make the most of it, or our enemy (that there is not enough time, time is not on our side and it works against us) influences our procrastination. Our attitudes & beliefs about time can greatly influence how we live and the counselling & psychotherapy can explore this with you. All of us have thought we don't have time to do things, and it may be true that we don't have tome to do everything. Yet often we can get caught, getting distracted, spending time on things that don't really matter, especially for difficult tasks. We may be stuck in the past, present or future. Time management skills, re-choosing to spend our time elsewhere, prioritising what matters, valuing our time, making good choices how we spend it, building & maintaining supportive habits, being in the moment & in touch with our purpose, putting our focus & attention where we need to without distractions, can be important for some. For others, valuing ourself and therefore our time, who with and how we spend it may be explored. Sometimes it can seem we have so much to do and have to do it all ourselves. Counselling for time management may be a need for some and this may include having fresh anchor points, motivations, rewards, to support us.
Timescales Being realistic, building in cushions for delays, unexpected problems, may help us feel more at ease. Some of us may have a different internal timeclock, concept of time, which can work for and against us. Allowing for the full length of time things will take, creating a realistic workable timescale (which sometimes needs to be agreed with others), with specific dates for all our detailed activities, goals, plans & tasks to be completed can support us as can marking the ones we've achieved, responding to the ones we haven't. Setting times for separate tasks to be completed may assist, though for others, we may struggle with deadlines.
Fear Being Our Driver To Do Anything Some procrastinate because we freeze, are fearful, terrified. Others only end up doing things because of our fear - fuelled by it, as if we can't comprehend the possibility of responding, acting, without our fear (and it is often fear that becomes worst than the deed). The procrastination therapy & counselling can explore what lies behind our fears and the possibility of doing things out of choice, compassion.
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Committing To Things Alongside wanting to stop procrastinating, we can hold on to unhelpful beliefs, worry about scenarios - usually worse case ones, which can be like a crushing energy. We can struggle to commit to things, decide things, make choices and then act. We may have problems making, keeping appointments. We can initially be optimistic about things, yet this dwindles, as we become uncommitted. Some of us may struggle either making appointments or honour appointments already made, letting us or others down. We may like to keep all our options open - right to the last minute, so we can tell ourselves "we have the freedom of not being trapped" and "we are bad at making decisions", "we are lazy". We may only want to think in the short term, and not about our future. Our hope may be in short supply. And besides, we like our familiar, risk free comfort zone, we don't want to hurt others or us, avoiding conflict at all costs. Committing to keeping appointments or making them may be one struggle, and a further struggle may be to do what we said we were going to do. Our commitment issues may not only affect our progression, our work, our friendships but also career decisions. We may also struggle with commitment issues in relationships. Procrastination therapy can help bring to light what else may lay behind difficulties committing to things, so we can stop procrastinating.
Letting Us & Others Down Often we can feel guilty, maybe ashamed, because we have covered things up, let us & others down, omitting certain truths or lied, believing or half-believing what we say at the time. We may have agreed to do something, but haven't done it. Our struggle with time keeping or procrastination can be interpreted by others as disrespectful and we may be seen as unreliable, untrustworthy on these issues. Sometimes our guilt in putting something off can be just as unpleasant as our dread for doing a task. Viewing what we need to do as a chore, possibly tedious or mundane (forgetting the bigger picture of why it is important, what matters to us and what we value) can stop us in our tracks. We may also forget that doing & completing tasks themselves can be rewarding. Worried what we have to face, we may loathe who we are, criticising our actions or inactions. Hating what we've done or haven't done, we may feel like hiding in a corner & giving up. We may also feel guilty when we are enjoying ourselves, relaxing, because we end up worrying about things we haven't done. Our guilt, loathing or dread may weigh us down, become a heavy burden to carry, preventing us from doing things. Finding inspiration again & following it through may be a struggle. Ruminating over lost opportunities, we may end up regretting what we "should" or "could" have done, beating ourselves up even further. Procrastination help can be offered.
Sitting On The Fence We can be comfortable sitting on the fence, as if we are doing nothing. We may even believe we won't have an impact if we don't decide something. We may enjoy the detachment from sitting on a fence. Fence sitting allows us to sit both sides, yet we may find it hard to come off the fence ourself & be proactive, unless we are pushed. Choosing to come off the fence may be challenging, and get in the way of wanting us to stop procrastinating.
Showing We Care Or Don't Care Some of us try so hard, care so much, yet are trapped. Others may find it hard to show that we actually do care, continuing to maintain a laissez faire attitude - that nothing really matters, which masks what's really going inside. We may try not to show to others how much our procrastination really affects us. Procrastination therapy can help uncover these procrastination issues with you.
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Procrastination Help After a while we may realise that our procrastination doesn't get us where we want to. When we procrastinate, it can seem as if we are coasting, drifting (often into our own world, finding ourself doing something else, yet wondering how we got there), switching off, hiding & withdrawing - our confidence & esteem can plummet, as we compare ourselves unfavourably with others. We may judge ourselves as cowardly or stupid, whereas in fact we may struggle with finding a way through being anxious. Becoming overwhelmed, out of control at times, we may be stuck in our head or develop "all or nothing" thinking (e.g. right/wrong, good/bad), which stops us. We may turn any anger inwards or onto others. Dawdling, avoiding what we really need to do, putting things off & cancelling things may not only affect us, but others around us, letting people down or backing out of things. People may end up giving us ultimatums. We may feel powerless to change and may feel helpless like a victim. Coming from our wounded, fearful self, we may have lots of reasons why things can't be done. Counselling & Psychotherapy can help with overcoming procrastination, deciding, acting and completing things. The counselling may also allow for your fears, beliefs about how things will turn out, past pain & hurts, your "inner chatter" & doubts, comparisons, perfectionisms, confidence, beliefs about who you are, sources of motivation & support systems. Counselling for procrastination can sit down with you and find out what procrastination help might be needed.
Organised, Disorganised, Being Messy, Maybe Chaotic At Times Our physical environment can be a reflection of our mental environment or emotional overwhelming and we may want to untangle things in our head, feeling a bit chaotic inside, which may also be linked to our earlier life, yet affect our current relationship. We can feel comfortable in our own clutter, often knowing roughly where things are, yet our untidiness can also be a symptom of delaying our actions in its physical & visual form. It can be as if we haven't found a proper place yet to put our things. It is as if we must keep things disorganised, messy. Inside we know we are likely to feel calmer & even more efficient when we organise our world, yet struggle to find some sort of order, where everything has a place & manage our procrastination. Procrastination counselling & psychotherapy may also explore with you your supportive personal boundaries, structures & physical conditions (e.g. locations) in which you can thrive, doing things you need to do.
Forgetting Things We may get caught up in familiar scenarios, like forgetting things if they are not done immediately. Things then mount up around us, we can feel pressure inside and a familiar anxiety. Things that really matter to us may have put away somewhere in a box, forgotten, and the procrastination therapy & counselling can help uncover these with you.
Lost Inside For some it can be as if we are lost, as if we are in a maze or haze and it can be as if we are waiting for someone supportive to be alongside us taking us out of our lostness, helping us and showing what we need to do. We may at times experience ourself as much younger, feel as if a part of us is like a child, overwhelmed. Despite our maturity there may be an aspect of us that feels very young, hasn't fully grown up, and it may be that this young part of us dominates our indecisiveness & procrastination. This same part of us may be lost inside, block things out, become easily distracted, waste time & opportunities. We may want to stop procrastinating, acknowledging we need procrastination help, yet our lostness may get in the way.
Stuck, Daydreaming, Fantasising Becoming stuck, we may experience inertia as if we are drifting in life. Confused or overwhelmed, some of us may struggle to find our way forward. Switching off, we may go blank or numb, safe in our cocoon, start daydreaming - getting caught in them, replaying things, becoming unfocused, bored. Our daydreaming, fantasies - visualising our goals on the one hand can give us the motivation to persevere, yet on the other hand, stuck or lost in this place bypasses the challenges ahead, sabotaging our efforts into making our dreams a realitySome of our thinking may have become magical. Missing reality checks, we may have left behind our desire to transform our dreams into reality by focusing on the tasks in hand to reach our goals. We may try to avoid things, believing we can't do anything about them, struggling to believe that solutions are possible, if only we allow them. We may become like an ostrich - burying our head in sand. It can be easier to remain stuck. Resisting our stuckness may compound the problem. At times we may feel low or depressed, downhearted, and picking ourselves up, moving forward may be a challenge. Counselling & therapy for procrastinating not only takes into consideration the nature of your stuckness but is also curious about what keeps you stuck.
Paralysis When we don't have the resources to do things, we avoid them & become paralysed in our actions maybe in a state of inertia. The familiar routines we follow may inhibit us. And the procrastination counselling can look at what other options may be available... We may experience paralysis at times, struggling to get going (see also "Freeze" reaction). We can lose hours, days, weeks. On other occasions we may go full speed ahead, with little in-between, as if we are fully engaged or disengaged. (Some of us may procrastinate by not doing things at all, if not able to do them perfectly.)
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Compulsions, Impulsions Some of us may have a compulsive procrastination problem, as if we have not to do things, so to stop procrastinating may be challenging. Others may switch from doing very little to suddenly being impulsive.
Our Internal World Sometimes it can seem as if something is controlling our life and it's not quite us and the counselling for procrastination can explore this further. We can be in touch with a stimulus or personal need, and then something happens. Sometimes, just when we get close to doing something, we pull back the last minute, so even when we make a decision, we may struggle to stick with it. Most decisions initially bring about an emotional response, and then swing to its opposite (this may include our last minute fear). We can do this automatically. This is a natural process, yet can be confusing, especially in a world, where we are supposed to be definite, but in fact we may be ambivalent. What goes on in our head, our thoughts, beliefs, self-critical voices, moods, can affect our procrastinating as can living as if only we count. Holding conflicting thoughts & feelings may hamper our ability to make choices & act. Yet we can choose whether to get going and complete things, learning to do things differently. Re-choosing things, moment by moment, may assist. Procrastination counselling & psychotherapy can help us reflect upon how one moment we want one thing, and the next something entirely different. As we become aware of, and integrate these contradictory tendencies as a whole, it may become easier to make choices, organising our world differently. Forever analysing things, we may be in a constant state of tension, struggling to relax, settle & be at ease with ourself, worrying about all the things we haven't done or should be doing, especially if we feel empty, scared or sensitive inside. Not liking change, we may have a voice gnawing away at the back of our head (and we may bury our head in the sand). The effects of bullying can also affect our procrastination. We may get in a familiar state, that nothing settles us, that whatever we turn to is not quite right. We may drift in and out of instant gratification, feeling motivated, states of apathy, low energy, low moods, depression, sleep problems, poor concentration, feelings of hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness. Managing our anxiety differently, and doing what we need to do anyway, may be our challenge as may being in touch with our self-worth.
Hesitation Some of us may habitually hesitate - even over simple things, which costs us time and missed opportunities. The counselling for hesitation can help us understand what makes us hesitant and why. We may also want to consider deciding or postponing - giving ourself a time limit to make up our mind, do something or not.
Making Decisions - Knowing What We Want & Clarifying Our Decisions Before we can persist with something and be determined we may need to clarify what we want.
Our Decision Making Process From the moment of rising in the morning we are making decisions - some intuitively, quickly - in a context of our current reality, some with consideration and thought - taking a long-term view. Making decisions can be seen as a creative process involving many aspects... Making decisions - small & large decisions, impacts on our life and decisions, options, which have a long term impact may require a careful assessment, checking if they align with our integrity, values, goals and purpose. Considering setting a time limit, putting a deadline on our decision making process, may support us. Weighing up our options, advantages, disadvantages, other factors which may be important, envisioning both the best and worst possible outcome and whether we feel good about a decision when visualising our future, can help move us towards deciding upon our choice. Valuing our mind (with its logical and practical processes, yet its sometimes unhelpful "Shoulds", "Shouldn'ts", "Oughts", "Musts", "Nevers", "Always") alongside our inner experience - our heart and soul and how it feels inside (right/wrong, does a decision make us happy, give us peace of mind) and what's happening in our body, when we think of each decision, can help inform us. The counselling may also include exploring our approach to decision making, our stumbling blocks - self-doubt, rumination, having too many options, complicating things, the unknowns, fear of making the "wrong" decisions, being overly concerned about what others think.
Making Decisions, Making Choices - Indecisiveness It can be understandable that we are confused, overloaded with choice from the moment we wake up each day (we can even choose different identities). From the moment we wake up we are making decisions, many of them on autopilot - even deciding not to decide things, and our indecisiveness can rule us, even in the simplest of tasks, as they queue up behind each other. Some can worry so much (what others may think of us) and about making mistakes, getting things perfect, that it stops us deciding things or influencing our decisions. Unclear inside or in turmoil we may habitually turn to others, seeking approval, validation from others, that we are doing the right thing. Overthinking, overanalysing things, our struggle to take risks & indecisiveness may be debilitating at times - indecision may rule us, putting us under pressure and we may struggle to listen to & follow our heart. Sometimes our indecisiveness can be not only with big decisions but about making choices, making decisions for the small or "simple" things, e.g. what we are going to do in the next 20 minutes, what are we going to cook, whether we get out of bed impacting upon our sensitivity. Afraid of uncertainty, doing the "wrong" thing (or feeling guilty for doing so), we may not know what decision to make (and some of the decisions we make may be through guilt). Stuck in our indecision, we may feel bad, worried or stressed. Being indecisive, some may withdraw, have become emotionally closed, others emotionally overwhelmed, affecting our esteem, confidence, centredness & groundedness. Psychotherapy & Counselling for indecisiveness can help uncover these issues alongside what matters to us and our own life direction, so the choices we make support us and how we can support ourself in spite of what's happening around us. The therapy may also explore how we make up our mind - do we choose rationally or also include the assistance of our heart & will, so how we see things becomes part of our choice.
Making Decisions, Making Choices - The Agony Of Choice Making decisions and not making them affects our future decisions. Making decisions, making choices can be hard, especially when our emotions are deeply affected or if we give over-importance to how others think about us. Sometimes we can feel stuck, stagnant, as if we see the world passing us by, and we can struggle making choices, making decisions, procrastinate, put things off or delay & postpone decisions. We may become overwhelmed by having too many choices. We may struggle with the range of options or consequences of choosing one. Avoiding things we don't want to do, we may continuously play out scenarios in our head. Making decisions may have become habitually onerous. Any momentum or impetus gets held back. In turmoil, struggling with which option is best, we can find it difficult to make the "right" choices between alternatives or find it hard to discriminate between what is good for us and what isn't. We may feel in limbo, worrying so much in case we make a "wrong" decision, yet hindsight is a wonderful thing. Choosing the easy right over the hard right may become second nature. Brushing things under the carpet, our fear & the pain of choice, failure or success, burden of weighing up all the options can sometimes overwhelm us. Confused, we may struggle to let go of other options. We may want to complete something, yet struggle to manage our fears & doubts about our decision or decision making process. Establishing what really matters for the highest good, what we will & won't settle for, focusing our resources on this may be a challenge, as may following through our intuition, ability to choose wisely. The counselling & psychotherapy for procrastination may also explore how free our will is when making choices, making decisions and to utilise our will to follow through our decisions & choices - no matter how difficult they are.
We are condemned to our own freedomJean-Paul Sartre
Making Decisions, Making Choices - Torn Between Choices Making choices, making decisions can be compounded when we become very torn between which ones to make. Worrying or over-analysing things, our thoughts can go round & round in a loop. Wanting to stop procrastinating, we may also have a dilemma of choosing between two apparently right or two wrong options ("damned if I do, damned if I don't). We may be faced with the challenge of choosing a "hard right" as opposed to an "easy wrong". (We may for example be faced with choosing at any moment between having to control to avoid pain, get love or to learn to be open about loving ourself.)In our indecisiveness we can become anxious about not knowing the best outcome. We may worry, become hesitant and ponder over things, and the more we do this, the harder to make decisions and make choices. We can spend much time deliberating, which stops us putting our ideas into action. And when we have made the choice, there can be a familiar gap between what we say we are going to do, and doing it. We can search for the right moment to act, but never quite find it. Sometimes we can become overwhelmed by the challenge of determining how to make the right or best decision. There are many factors to consider when we need to make big decisions - choosing the option most applicable to our particular situation and what we want to achieve, what's regressive, what's progressive. For some it can help to choose what brings us closer to our values & goals, what is of the greater good, and then act. For others, it can help to identify the benefits of successfully completing a task, having more energy & feeling less stressed. Procrastination counselling and psychotherapy can help address these dilemmas, the role of compromise with others, what drives our life choices, decisions, unconscious elements, alongside looking at any immobilising feelings or beliefs about control, perfectionism or the unknown, etc., which stops us making decisions or making choices.
Making Decisions, Making Choices - Widening Our Choices Some of us may be able to effectively help others make decisions, because we are more objective, not so emotionally involved. Stepping back emotionally, mentally from our own situation, so we are able to reflect, observe, gain perspective, consider the possibility of many ways, embrace alternative ways of seeing, doing things, learning what works for others may help us. Choosing to have trust and faith in ourselves may support our ability to choose. Sometimes in making decisions or making choices we may have limited our options. At times it is clear to us that we have a choice of only two options, yet this may not be the only way of seeing things. Choosing a different response to our dilemma of our choices may assist. If we are unhappy about the decisions we have made not working out, changing our decision may be an option, and if this option is unavailable, then we may want to consider how how we can make this opportunity work for us. Where we put our attention and how we choose to think can be influential. We can think & act in concrete ways, sometimes at a cost of our imagination, creativity. And when we think creatively, a range of other choices & possibilities can open up. Also, opening up to different perceptions can free our attitude. What was previously unconscious, can become conscious. Fresh insights can open us up in order to act. Sometimes our choices can be reactive, and on reflection we could have made different choices. Sometimes we may be in touch with, or follow, our intuition, gut feelings. Being in touch with our intention, our power, our values & life direction can inform the quality of our choices. Acknowledging what really matters to us, and listening to that voice inside (the one free of fear), can also support us in focusing upon the choices we make, as may listening to the heart, what inspires us and our own inner wisdom. Sometimes when we are clear what choices are important to us (maybe a choice to risk, choice to love, choice to trust, choice to act) the other choices we need to make can seem easier or less of a burden. Ironically, choosing not to do something - letting go of any indifference, may free up our choice to do something else in other areas and the procrastination therapy or counselling can consider this further with you. Choosing how we experience & respond to life, so our destiny and opportunities are not just left to chance, may matter to us. (See also Our Free Will)
Supporting Our Choices Choice (and freeing our will to choose) can be seen as expressing our freedom & individuality. Challenging any redundant, unhelpful, false beliefs, embracing what matters to us, listening to our intuition, what we value, being in touch with our integrity and the effects & consequences on us, others, weighing up the options (including the easy right & hard right), benefits & costs, may help support our commitment to the choices we make.
Thinking Through Our Decisions, Freeing Up Our Choice When making decisions, we may also want to listen to our intuition - does it feel right and verify our feelings with logic, consider our perceptions and attitude (and the role of any rationalisations we use to support our beliefs, e.g. searching for things that support our beliefs). Noticing any unhelpful loyalties, oaths, sacred cows obligations, we may want to free up our choices, decisions by being in touch with our free will. Making thoughtful decisions - seeking our truth may be important for us, to think clearly, weigh up the options, alternatives, so we can make the best decisions in that moment. Yet it may also be important to make swift decisions by not thinking too much, putting a time limits on our decision making process, acting upon our decisions.
Involving Others In Making Decisions We may be faced with a choice of whether and how to involve others in making decisions - especially if they are affected by the decisions yet in doing so they can feel more valued, involved. This can also improve the decision making process because of the different knowledge and skills. However the decision making process can be slowed down because of different personalities and opinions.
Difficulties Completing & Sustaining Things Some of us can initially get up & go, impressively keep busy, multitask, hopscotching around, flitting from one things to another, yet struggle to complete anything. Others may struggle to begin things, let alone complete them. The process of sustaining & completing things usually involves various stages: an emerging sensation or need (something occurs to us), recognising & clarifying it, associated feeIings (e.g. sense of anticipation or excitement, maybe an underlying fear) & thoughts, mobilising our energy, making the choice & decision, so we don't easily get sidetracked, putting our will into action, making contact & an impact, ability to be satisfied on the completion, withdrawing our energy & taking rest. Sometimes we can get stuck in this process. How we respond to each stage and setbacks can affect the outcome. Some of us can start with good intent, enthusiasm, yet this may peter out like a damp firework and we struggle to complete things. Others can complete things with ease, if only they could start. Our mind may wander, we may lose focus, get sidetracked, finding it hard to concentrate, forget our original purpose, switch or jump ahead to other tasks, which we may also find hard to complete. Letting go of what we no longer need to hold on to, may be a problem for some. Procrastination therapy & counselling can offer help with our procrastination, also addressing any unhelpful habits or addictions, which get in the way of you wanting to stop procrastinating.
Procrastination Compounding Our Frustration It can be so frustrating for us, wanting to pursue things, do lot's of things, yet somehow seem unable to. Often frustration may be connected to wanting absolutes in an uncertain world. Often it is the frustration that stops us acting, and the therapy can find out if this happens with you. Our frustration may also be utilised as a driving force to act, to do our self justice, take up the reins of our life. Procrastination therapy and counselling can help find ways of understanding why we procrastinate, origins of our procrastination, what keeps it going, how else we can respond & act. (See also What We Do With Our Frustrations)
There is no certainty, there is only adventure.Roberto Assagioli
Waiting For Something Vacillating, we may be waiting for something, not quite sure what we are waiting for. As if we have a weight over our shoulders, some of us may have tried to avoid or ignore aspects of our life, we would rather not look at. We may have repressed or suppressed uncomfortable emotions in the hope that they will go away, yet events keep bringing them back and they never quite disappear. A challenge for some may be coming to terms with all of who we are, including the bits we have previously ignored or buried. The therapy can be a place to discuss your sensitivities or concerns around control & letting go, having to make everything perfect or get things right, accessing your resources, so you become less overwhelmed. Some of us may be waiting for permission, approval, affirmation, validation, recognition, appreciation from someone else before we act. It can be as if some of us are almost waiting for life to happen. This too can be considered in the procrastination therapy. The procrastination counselling may also explore how we make (or don't make) things happen.
Trying New Things Fear of taking a risk or making the "wrong decision" may be a concern for some. "If I make a choice, it might be the wrong one, so best not to make a choice." When trying new things some of us have a tendency to act (will) in order to know, yet others prefer to know in order to act ("How will I know that anything new will be different?"). Anxiety & uncertainty about the consequences of the outcome, or fear of failure or making mistakes can stop us acting or completing. Fear of success, freedom, perfection, responsibility & change may also inhibit us. In order to make an impact we may want to risk letting go of what we usually do, trying something new (maybe new routines, structures, venues, interests, friendships), and see what happens, which can be a transformative process, as our procrastination no longer defines how we are. Procrastination counselling & psychotherapy may help uncover how trying new things and taking risks may affect your procrastination. (See also Our Life Now - Clarifying The Present Situation)
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.Ralph Waldo Emerson
Double Binds We may want to stop procrastinating, yet be in one of many double binds. We may be in various double binds, because if we no longer automatically put things off, we have to think differently. One familiar double bind may be how we continue to procrastinate, despite the negative consequences. We may also believe that our old patterns of thinking will continue to go round & round in circles, as if there is no escape. The more we worry, become impatient, the less relaxed we are, which compounds our procrastination, and we can get emotionally overwhelmed. Thinking in different ways without making our scenarios so real or powerful may assist. We may be in another double bind because we care so much about our response to others, yet it inhibits our own decision making. Part of our procrastination problem may be connected to how we respond to others or any external authority. The second we re told to do something, we won't do it. If someone wants something or asks us to do something - maybe they didn't quite say it right (even if it is in our interest), we have to not do it. We can sometimes react to any obligations we are under by having to not follow them through. When we must do something, it is as if we must rebel against any imposed structures from others or even ourselves. A further dilemma may be that for any step we take, initiate or express the outcome is uncertain, unpredictable, unknown, which may bring us up against our own perfectionism or existential issues. Moving through this may be our challenge. Other double binds may be to balance being reflective with being active and to find and trust our own "Yes" to decide & act - accessing our own inner authority - sitting in the driver's seat. We may struggle to listen to our heart, intuition or our conscience, and act upon these. But before we can find ways to overcome procrastination and find our "Yes", we may need to get to know what prohibits us by finding out what lays behind our "No". Procrastination therapy takes into consideration these double binds with you, alongside any other self-sabotaging ways. (See also Life's Contradictions)
Very Busy, Balancing Competing Interests One further double bind may be that we are so busy juggling all the competing things in our life. Trying to find some sort of balance, so we are also able to reflect, make adjustments, make time for what matters most, creating a lifestyle & quality of life, which works for us, may be challenging, and this can be discussed further in the procrastination therapy & counselling.
Taking On Too Much We may want to stop procrastinating, yet our procrastination problem may be connected with taking on too much, overwhelment. There can be so many opportunities, possibilities, things we can do, yet it may be unrealistic to do everything. Preparing beforehand and prioritising things, simplifying & adjusting them, and saying "no", may support us. Some of us may struggle keeping on top of things, taking on more than we can handle. We may promise more than we can deliver or struggle to consider whether or not we want to commit to things, maybe saying "Yes" when we really would like to say "No", which may make us feel guilty. We may struggle to focus on one thing at a time. Our personal boundaries, developing supportive habits, may help us. The procrastination therapy can look at this further with you.
In Touch With Us, Our Values & Goals Some may be overly concerned about what is the right or correct decision or what others think. Confused or with self-doubt, we can tie ourself in knots, if we are unable to move forward. As we let go of our unhelpful, negative thoughts, the difficulty of our task may diminish. Keeping things simple, an open mind, following our open heart & taking responsibility for our decisions may support us. A challenge for some may be to have some long term goals. Our goals play a part in getting what we want. It may be important to specify our focused goals - how we achieve something. Sometimes our goals alone can feel hollow if not aligned to our values. And we may have forgotten or lost aligning our own values, our "being" in our doing, accountability, responsibility, and living them in our actions, so they support the decisions we make. Reminding ourselves of our values & goals, and the reasons why we have them, may provide us with impetus, alongside being in touch with supportive others. Having goals and working towards them are important because they give us direction. It may benefit us to look forward to our goals, anticipate achieving what we want - that they come to fruition. Procrastination counselling & psychotherapy can help us be in touch with what we value and what matters to us, and any important goals, which may help us.
Achieving Our Goals - What We Sacrifice Often to achieve our goals we have to make a short term sacrifice in other areas of our life. Determining what we are willing to sacrifice, what we are not and the duration may be important.
Changing & Implementing Our Goals & Plans Some of us may base our happiness or sense of worth on whether we achieve goals, which can be a burden and may be ultimately self-defeating if we struggle to enjoy the journey along the way. Letting go of this attachment may help release us. When we drop unhelpful, negative thoughts, our goals can also support us, like beacons guiding our course. Some of us may struggle with a work-life balance. Others may want to consider developing specific personal goals, which benefit, enhance us, e.g. staying focused as a goal, so when we are, we succeed. Sometimes we may want to adapt our goals, so they are in line with our life direction, vision.
Planning Our Goals Sometimes we may act on our feelings, impulses, and not have planned at all. Being aware of what we need, our passions, strengths, what we believe in, our purpose, can support our planning. A goal in the absence of a plan may remain a goal. Building, maintaining supportive habits, developing a good plan, ideally one that excites us, supports our success in achieving our goals. Breaking our goals down into manageable steps and taking these steps, making each plan detailed, realistic, flexible and easy to achieve helps support our goals. Sticking to our plan when we need to with perseverance, self-discipline, being flexible in touch with our resilience & personal boundaries may also assist. We may also want to consider being realistic about setting deadlines and the amount of time & work involved it takes to complete tasks by allowing for all the steps & challenges, the unexpected, and giving ourselves a cushion which incorporates a level of flexibility. This can give us space to take pressure off us and make the process more enjoyable - supported by a planned reward system.
Our Goals - Simplifying Our Tasks Making huge tasks onerous can put us off immediately. Breaking down big tasks to small manageable, achievable chunks, using timescales, can help us build a sense of achievement, and this momentum can fuel our body & mind to proceed step by step.
Our Goals - Visualising Our Success Including both negative & positive feelings, visualising what it will be like when we achieve our goal, the successful outcome of what we do, the benefits of our achievement, can support us, as we see ourself progressing, overcoming difficulties, confidently moving ahead till we finally achieve our goal. (See also Manifesting What We Need)
Getting Our Goals Back On Track Through whatever reason, unforeseen circumstances, distractions, etc., we can lose track of our goals. Identifying what got us off track, learning from this, deciding if we still want to continue our goals, clarifying what our next steps might be to get started, engaging our will and move in the direction of our goals may help us. (See also Building, Maintaining Supportive Habits, Routines, Patterns)
Taking A Break Resting our mind & body, eliminating thoughts which are anxiety provoking, being aware of our emotions can help replenish us, enabling us to return to the task in hand and re-engage.
Reward System We may experience a reward in itself by simply completing a task - especially a difficult one. Some of us may give ourselves treats, rewards to cajole or comfort us before we carry out tasks (yet we may not get round to completing the task). Exploring, changing this to rewarding ourselves after we complete our task can be rewarding in itself. Yet it may also be important not to define our identity or happiness by goal achievement.
Viewing Obstacles As Challenges We may think so much about everything, which needs to be done, that things pile & stack up, so it may be understandable that we become overwhelmed. We may end up viewing obstacles as mountains, overwhelming to climb. As if we are looking at the problem from above the mountain we may be able to see the bigger picture, devise a strategy to overcome these challenges. Very practical solutions for some may mean identifying what the obstructions are, what we need to do, devising a plan to reach our goal, overcoming whatever is in the way, things we consider far too difficult. And the procrastination therapy can consider these issues with you alongside your own personal stumbling blocks, obstacles, reluctances. (See also Freeing Ourself)
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.Edward Hale
And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.
Mobilising Our Resources To Act Before we can mobilise our resources to act, the counselling and psychotherapy may need to explore the part of us that stops us. Missing out on things, procrastination can stop the flow of our ideas, imagination, inspiration & creativity, being in the moment, as if we are holding on to past regrets and future concerns. Deliberating and not taking action can eventually lead to problems, and our procrastination can hold us back, weakening our resolve, will & motivation. Lost or stuck in our indecisiveness, when we procrastinate, after a while we can become anxious, which in turn can reduce our desire to take action. Despairing or dark at times, our hope may become elusive. Some of us can wait for someone to push us (or we wait for their permission, approval, affirmation, validation, recognition, appreciation, confirmation), because we find it hard to act without these, as if our passion & personal will is immobilised. We may lack momentum. No longer needing permission from others, our challenge may be to give permission to ourselves an no longer just going along with the flow of things. An additional challenge may be to mobilise our resources & take a small or large leap - sometimes of faith (for details see Freeing The Will). "What resources do I need?" may be something we want to address. We can be so busy thinking about small or unimportant things, going off tangent, getting distracted easily, that our focus, attention, concentration and ultimate destination becomes lost, we lose impetus, so important tasks may be missed. We may want to change some of our familiar rituals, which have been set up to enable our procrastination to continue. Avoiding our habitual distractions may be a challenge for others. Persistence, perseverance, determination, being in touch with some passion may be a challenge for others, that no matter what, we will find our way through our struggles (see Willpower - Finding, Having & Following Our "No" Or "Yes"). Connecting to our inner direction may be important. Opportunities in life can sometimes be brief, and we may struggle to see or act upon windows of opportunity. And as we are willing to respond positively to these opportunities, our capacity to do so can grow. At the core of our actions & what drives us is our motivation, and when we are motivated with what matters to us, our confidence is raised. The therapy can help us discover why we get round to doing some things and why we don't (changing things if we want to, are ready & prepared), our sources of choice, desires, decisiveness, resolve & motivation (some of them conscious, some of them not so). Re-framing any negative motivational thoughts so we do things towards and for something positive, rather than against something negative, may support us. Before we try to get things moving, we may also need to pay attention to what we have invested in not changing - what we get round to doing, what we don't and what stops us. It can be as if we know we are putting things off, see ourselves doing it, yet seem unable to change. In the procrastination counselling & therapy we may also address the role of free will and where we put our investment, intention.
The journey of a 1000 miles begins beneath ones feet.Lau Tsu
Counselling & Psychotherapy can support you in overcoming procrastination problems, so we can become more in control, no longer neglecting aspects of ourself. Yet first we may need to explore the part of us that is invested in continuing to procrastinate supported by our unhelpful beliefs and thoughts or overwhelming feelings. We may look at your templates for procrastinating, neglect ourself at some level. Some of our responses may be about simply being at peace with ourself, having more energy. Daring to be definite may be a further challenge and being in touch with our own energy.
We must act out passion before we can feel it.Jean-Paul Sartre
Counselling Questions About Procrastination & Indecisiveness We may have certain questions about procrastination & procrastinating, decision making or time management, e.g.:
- What is procrastination? What is procrastinating?
- Procrastination help - how to beat procrastination? How can I stop procrastinating? Is overcoming procrastination possible?
- Why do I find decision making so hard?
- What can I do about my indecisiveness? What are decision making techniques?
- Good time management - what is effective time management, what are time management skills, time management techniques?
- Overcoming laziness - how to overcome laziness, stop laziness?
- Is there a difference between laziness and procrastination?
- What is procrastination therapy?