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Analyze icon


Analyze your time perspective.

Past Present Future

Use this tool to examine the overall balance of your time perspective. You'll analyze how your problem may cause you to think more about your past, present, or future.

This tool is most effective for those people who find themselves living in the past, obsessed with their problem, or constantly daydreaming about some ideal future.

Your past:

In what ways, does your problem exist in the past?

Do you feel like you are “living in the past”?

Why does this problem keep drawing you back into the past? Is there a common theme? Use the Five Whys technique to analyze the root cause of these recurring thoughts.

Does the problem give you the feeling that you can’t move on with your life without solving it first? If so, why? Use the Five Whys technique.

Your present:

Do you constantly dwell on your problem? Does your problem dominate the internal dialog you're have with yourself? If so, organize a time and place to work on your problem. Work on your problem very hard. Give it everything you've got, then plan for your next session. Now you can move on guilt-free to other things. You can rest assured that you're doing your best.

Your future:

In what ways does the problem exist in the future? Analyze these thoughts for their reasonableness and practicality.

Check the overall balance of your time perspective:

Is the problem creating an imbalance in the amount of thinking you're doing in the past, present, or future?

In the context of this situation, what can you do to create a more balanced time perspective?

Publications icon


The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life, Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD., New York: Free Press, 2009.