Last Minute, Second Guessing, Scheduling, Reminders, Respect
Curated By
Dr. Joel Wong

Dr. Joel Wong is a professor and the director of the Counseling Psychology Program at Indiana University. Dr. Wong graduated with a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Asian American Psychological Association. His research interests are in positive psychology (especially encouragement and gratitude), men and masculinities, and Asian American mental health.

They Might Be Thinking:

  • I can’t seem to get things done.
  • Just thinking about the project makes me anxious.
  • I don’t know where to begin.
  • I’ve been wanting to do this for years… but I haven’t.
  • Why can’t I complete what I start?
  • I’m always coming up with excuses not to get things done.
  • I’m terrible at time management.
  • Why am I always scrambling at the last minute?
  • I’m not good at prioritizing my goals.
  • I have trouble meeting deadlines.
  • I’ll have to ask for a deadline extension... again.
  • Every time I try to start on this project, I end up doing something else.
  • I am easily distracted by trivial things. 
  • I don’t know why I end up doing the least important things first.
  • I worry that people think I’m unreliable.

Words That Might Be Encouraging:

  • I can see how frustrating this is for you – you have such creative ideas, and you really want to put them into action.
  • It stresses you out whenever you scramble at the last minute, and I sense you’re trying to figure out a better way to get things done.
  • I know you genuinely want to get this done on time. 
  • I know you’re trying to get out of this rut.
  • I believe you when you say that you want to get this done.
  • I admire your goals/ideas, and here’s why... (provide specific reasons).
  • I like your never-give-up attitude!
  • I can see that you care deeply about... [insert person's goals/ideas].
  • Tell me more about your passion for... [insert person's goals/ideas].
  • I do recall several occasions when you were able to get things done on time. (Provide specific examples.)
  • I’m rooting for you to complete this project.
  • I believe you can get this done. 
  • We can do this together.
  • I’m here to support you. What can I do to help you accomplish your goals?

Words That Might Be Discouraging:

  • It’s all in your head; you just need to get over this mental block.
  • The solution is to do just do it.
  • Tell yourself, "no more excuses!"
  • You should just put in more effort.
  • From my personal experience, I’ve found that it all boils down to hard work.
  • It’s all about action; good intentions aren’t enough.
  • Maybe your goals are too ambitious.
  • You’re trying to do too many things, which is why you can’t get anything done.
  •  You should just relax. Nobody ever accomplishes all their goals.
  • This is the umpteenth time you’ve said you will get this done.
  • You should be concerned about your reputation for missing deadlines.
  • Don't you know that you’re engaging in self-sabotage?
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