The Anticrastination Tip Sheet
From Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook,
The Clutter-Busting Handbook
Quote for December
The dread of doing a task uses up more time and energy than doing the task
--- opening lines of "The Procrastinator's Handbook" by Rita Emmett
Message from Rita
PROCRASTINATION, FRUITCAKE AND CHRISTMAS -- OH MY!!
My step-father often -- and loudly -- claimed that he worked best under
pressure. So his favorite shopping tip was to wait till 6 PM on Christmas
Eve to begin selecting gifts for his loved ones. If someone dare imply
that the choice at that late date might be mighty limited, he argued that
everyone ALWAYS loved the gifts he gave.
When I was eleven, he gave me a fruitcake.
My big brother Tom did not stop laughing until he opened his gift…. also
If you are ready to stop pretending that you work best under the pressure
of last minute holiday gift shopping, here is a Guide just for you. Keep
it and use it every year.
YOUR ULTIMATE GIFT SHOPPING GUIDE (to conquer procrastination)
- START NOW. Find it hard to get started? Did you
Procrastinator's Handbook"? Hmmmm, if not, consider buying it as a gift for yourself. Your life
will become SO much easier. (end of commercial)
- MAKE A LIST. Until you make that list, you will
feel overwhelmed. Once it's made, you will be more in control and can
make a plan.
If you discover you have way too many people to buy for, suggest a grab
bag. OR is there anyone on your list who might also feel overwhelmed
with too many to buy for? One year an aunt suggested that we NOT exchange
gifts anymore because her list was getting out of hand, and I was relieved
and grateful for her suggestion. Might that work with someone you know??
- RESEARCH. When possible find out what your friends
and family want ahead of time. Plan your calendar around getting those
must-haves before they run out. One way to simplify your gift list is
to find two or three favorite things (electronic gadget, sweater, book
etc.) and get them for multiple people.
Avoid getting the season's "hottest gift." They're usually the hardest
to get and therefore most expensive. This year, let someone else run
from store to store looking for an item that isn't there.
- TAKE INVENTORY. Before your start shopping, wander
your house, check your closets, under your bed or anywhere you might
have hid purchases you've made in the past. Think back. Did you buy
a ton of bargains during last year's Day-After-Christmas-Sales? Track
- SET UP A HIDING PLACE. Find a permanent spot for gift storage
-- closet, shelf, drawer or under-bed storage unit and make it your
year-round "hiding place". Locate all previously purchased gifts and
stash them in your secret location.
Now, make a file on your computer (or a hardcopy) and list everyone
on your gift list, plus all the gifts you've already bought. Match up
who gets what. Now every time you buy more gifts, add them to your list.
See how organized you will be? AND that overwhelmed feeling will melt
away. You might even enjoy the holidays this year.
Don't forget, as you buy more gifts throughout the coming year, keep
them all together in your secret hiding place.
- COMPARISON SHOP. Check Shopzilla.com to see who
has the best price. Plan out where you're going to go and what you're
going to get.
- SHOP ONLINE. The Internet is a great place to find
unique gifts. Once you know the "likes" & hobbies of people on your
list, go to web sites that address those subjects. For example, if they
would love to stop procrastinating, conquer clutter or prevent burnout
(ohhh nooo, another commercial) you can get books, DVDs, CDs and even
some online courses at www.RitaEmmett.com
And if you are looking for a great gift for teachers or parents, you
can purchase autographed copies of "The
Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting
Things Off" (retail $11.00)
at half price for only $5.50.
- FIND SHIPPING DISCOUNTS. Look for online web sites
that offer free or low-cost shipping. Amazon.com offers
free shipping on most purchases over $25. Overstock.com
has a flat shipping rate of $2.95. WalMart.com has a "Site to Store"
service where you can order online and have the item delivered free
to the store of your choice.
- HIT THE MALL. If on-line shopping isn't for you
or you don't have time for items to arrive (What's that?? You procrastinated??
OK, no commercial this time. I used to procrastinate and know how bad
you feel already.) it's time to hit the mall.
Avoid peak mall hours. Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. are the
worst. Go early in the day, preferably weekdays, or try dinnertime,
between 5 and 7 p.m. Monday night at 9 p.m. can be very quiet, even
- GIVE GIFT CERTIFICATES. Why not? Then they can
buy what THEY want. Many malls sell gift certificates that are valid
at most stores within the mall. And if you want to avoid the mall crowd
altogether, many local stores sell a wide variety of gift certificates
(besides their own)
Our local Jewel Food Store sells Gift Certificates for tons of stores,
restaurants, Fast food places and the Chicago Bulls. Call your local
food store or pharmacy to see if they sell gift certificates for other
- MAKE PERSONAL CERTIFICATES. This isn't just a money
saving gift, it usually is the most appreciated of all gifts. Write
a note that you will give an evening of baby-sitting, or help with clutter-busting
the basement or garage, or teach a new skill or shovel snow or help
someone clean their house.
If you have someone on your list who has a spouse in the military or
is a single parent, that means there isn't someone to take the kids
out to buy a gift for that parent. Can you offer? Or even just drive
the children around to look at holiday lights while the parent wraps
Too busy to do anything before Christmas for a parent? Don't forget
that afterwards children are usually off school for another week, and
they get bored. How about an offer to build a snowman or take the kids
to a museum?
- STAY WITHIN BUDGET. Start by considering your income,
savings balance, financial obligations, and hopes for your financial
future. Then set a dollar amount for each person on your gift list.
If you stay under budget, reward yourself by buying a little something
just for you.
If you have hit a point in your life that you don't need anything more
(don't laugh, it happens to many & might even happen to YOU some day)
contribute to your favorite charity.
- STOP COMPETING. Don't give a gift because someone
else in the family spends a ton of money on their presents. They might
be drowning in debt as a result of "trying to impress someone". Be careful
to NOT get lured into overspending and regretting it later when the
bills arrive. Take control and spend what you choose to spend, and forget
I haven't mentioned home-made gifts because I didn't want to give you
something to procrastinate about, but why not take a risk and make fudge,
cookies, a tree ornament, photo album or something that you are good
at? And for that "someone who has everything" what about a donation
to their favorite charity accompanied by a sincere note telling them
how much they mean to you.
- DO IT NOW. (nope, not another commercial. I just
didn't want to give a list of 13 tips to any reader who might be superstitious.)
In closing, I beg you not to give a fruitcake to an eleven year old,
unless she really, really, really wants one.
Trust me --- most do not.
However you celebrate the holidays, we wish you time with people you
love and the good health to enjoy that time together. And maybe a bit of
fun and laughter, too.
LOOKING FOR MARKETERS
Rita is looking for someone who would make calls (part-time) for her to
"Meeting Planners" who hire speakers. She will provide the call-lists and
training so you do NOT need any experience. Just a positive attitude.
You will be part of Rita's "Dream Team" working from your home, but you
must be in the United States. If you want to talk to Rita about this, send
an email to REmmett412@aol.com
DREAM TEAM in the subject line.
Please share this Tip Sheet with 2 or 3 friends who would be interested.
And feel free to use this message in your blog or newsletter, as long as
you include my bio and contact info:
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook,
The Clutter-Busting Handbook and
Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled,
Des Plaines, IL 60018
No trees were destroyed in the sending of this message,
but a significant number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.