Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he
or she is supposed to be doing at the moment --- Robert Benchley
Message from Rita
Procrastination is a game - a game of putting off, delaying, ignoring, forgetting, simply not thinking about what you want to avoid doing. And one way many people play the game is with a style I call "Hypocritical Procrastination." It happens those times you have something important to do or you’ll be in big trouble. But you don't want to do it.
You can't put it off by simply being lazy because the task is too important. No, you couldn't face yourself or others if you procrastinated for no good reason; so you put it off by doing something noble instead.
Here's an example. Back in my procrastination days, I was assigned a typing job for a committee I served on. I hate to type - never took a typing course, use the Biblical method, "Seek and ye shall find", make a lot of mistakes, get frustrated, hate it.
After typing a while, I wandered into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. Heading back to my dreaded typing chore, I noticed something purple on the kitchen wall - maybe grape jelly, surely grape something. I have no idea how long it had been there. I grabbed a bottle of cleanser and squirted that purple blob right off the wall. The result? A very bright, very obvious, very clean spot on my not-so-clean kitchen wall.
I tried to blend in that clean spot with the rest of the wall; I figured if I "feathered" the dirt just right, I could eliminate that line of demarcation. It didn't work.
So I poured the cleanser into a bucket and washed all the kitchen walls and ceiling. Later that evening, a committee member called to ask me how the typing was going.
"How could I type that roster when I’ve spent all day on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen ceiling & walls?” I said, hypocritically. I couldn't have faced myself or anyone else if I had put off my typing duty in order to watch TV or take a nap, but it was okay because I had been busy doing something else that was… um…. important.
Most of us play this game of “Hypocritical Procrastination” unconsciously, and we have endless variations, such as the "Travelers". That is -- people who decided they have some very important chores to do elsewhere. Or they travel elsewhere hoping to find some very important chores to do. They'll travel anywhere: to the coffeepot, to the fax machine, to the basement, to the stock room, to the garage, to the mailbox. If they're near an elevator, they'll go up or down it. If they're near a window, they'll open or close it. If they're near a pencil, they travel till they find a place to sharpen it. If they are near food, they eat. If they are not near food, they keep traveling until they land near food ... then they eat.
If you don't resonate with this so far, here are a few more
To make a long Tip Sheet short, no solutions today. You get a whole
month to ponder and see if you recognize any "Hypocritical
Procrastination" in your life. Next month we will tackle solutions to
break this sabotaging habit.
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