Monthly Archives: May 2016

Procrastination, Prioritizing, and Pleasure


Perhaps you can relate to Tim Urban, the master procrastinator.

ABC of procrastination

How would you conceptualize procrastination according to the ABCDE model?

A: Thesis is due in two years

C: Procrastinate until the last minute

Remember, it is not A that causes C, but B. So what might a master procrastinator be telling himself?

  • I must feel like doing it
  • It should be easier
  • I can’t stand the discomfort
  • I am an incompetent person unless there is pressure

Sound familiar?

Perhaps it is not so much about the pleasure or ease, but more about the anxiety pertaining to perfection. This person could be saying things like

  • I must get it perfectly right
  • Failure is awful
  • I can’t bear failure
  • I am an absolute failure so what is the use in trying

Disputation strategy

Now try replacing the thoughts:

  • I would really prefer to feel like doing it, but I don’t have to feel like it to actually do it
  • I would really like this to be easy and pleasant, but it’s okay if it is not
  • This task is uncomfortable, but I can stand it
  • I am human and allowed to make mistakes. I am also allowed to change and choose to NOT procrastinate. Just because I don’t feel like it doesn’t mean that I am incompetent.


  • I would like to get it right, but it doens’t have to be perfect
  • Making mistakes are bad, but realistically it is not the end of the world
  • Although it would be hard, I can handle it if I made a mistake
  • Making a mistake does not make me a complete failure

Important-urgent principle

Should you be reading this article in the midst of one of your procrastination breaks, consider the important-urgent principle to guide your time management:

Time management guideline if you are in post-procrastination-crisis


I dare you to try something new and actually DO something that you don’t FEEL like.  Do feel free to contact me and arrange a session if you find it difficult to manage the crazy monkey! Do it now – don’t procrastinate.

Confront those unhelpful beliefs

In a previous post, I explained the ABC’s of therapy. Today I wish to expand and teach you the ABCDE, specifically demonstrating the value of cognitive disputation to confront unhelpful beliefs.

Unhelpful beliefs

Firstly, let’s unpack how irrational beliefs contribute to the consequences. There are four main types of irrational (unhelpful) beliefs:

Demandingness: A rule about how the world should be

Catastrophizing: A prediction about how awful it would be if the rule was broken

Frustration intolerance: A belief about your inability to cope with it if the rule was broken

Global rating of self, others, or the world: Rating a unit as a whole based on a singular incident

I am sure you can imagine that a person who believes that

He (boss) should be fair and if he is not that is so awful I can’t stand it! If he is unfair, he is obviously a hateful bully

will experience feelings of anger, resentment, etc.

Cognitive disputation

Continue reading Confront those unhelpful beliefs

ABC, do re mi, CBT!


Even if you don’t believe that life is a musical, Maria taught the Von Trapp children a principle that also applies to psychology: ABC, do re mi, CBT!

So what are the ABC’s of therapy (specifically in CBT/REBT)?

A: Activating event

This is the trigger is you like. It can be an internal or external stimulus e.g. something happening, an unwelcome thought, or a bodily sensation.


B: Beliefs

I would like to call these IRRATIONAL beliefs, because they tend to create all kinds of unhelpful consequences at C.

C: Consequences

These consequences refer to the things you do and don’t do in response to the irrational beliefs. It can be behavioural (e.g. withdraw, avoid, fight), relational (e.g. strain on specific relationship), emotional (e.g. anxiety, depression, anger), or physiological (e.g. heart rate, breathing, trembling).

It is important to note that it is not A that causes C, rather it is B that causes C. We cannot always wave a magic wand and make A magically disappear. But what therapy can do is help you to change how you THINK about it.

For more information, do continue reading or book an appointment.

In the meantime, enjoy Maria and the Von Trapp children’s song! Use it as inspiration to practice ABC, do re mi, CBT.