The Anticrastination Tip Sheet
From Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook,
The Clutter-Busting Handbook
Quotes for July
somewhere between sunrise and sunset,
two golden hours,
each set with sixty diamond minutes.
No reward is offered
for they are gone forever. --- Horace Mann
Live Life Today! This is NOT a dress rehearsal --- Unknown
Procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin. --- Victor Kiam, CEO
Message from Rita
MORE ON HYPOCRITICAL PROCRASTINATION
Last month this Tip Sheet covered "Hypocritical Procrastination" and one
common style of this practice, that of The Traveler. If you missed it, go
to our web (very cleverly named RitaEmmett.com), scroll to near the bottom
and find the section where you subscribe to this Tip Sheet. Below it, you'll
see a link for past issues.
Today we'll cover a few more "styles" of Hypocritical Procrastination and
solutions that work. One of the most common styles is The Preparer. This
is when you simply cannot work on a project until you've done more research,
obtained more information, read more books, attended more seminars. Some
people can spend years preparing to start a project. This is okay if you’re
putting off building a backyard deck, but if you work in sales and don’t
call on your accounts because you’re waiting for the next quarterly report,
your perfect preparation may cost your company the sale and you the commission,
if not your job.
Another variation is The Socializers. The mere thought of doing a task suddenly
reminds them to call friends and relatives they haven't thought about in
years. Or to have an in depth discussion with their spouse. At work, Socializers
visit co-workers, wandering from desk to desk, station to station, office
to office just to put off whatever it is they don't want to do.
Then there are The Straighteners, who suddenly decide that good quality
work cannot possibly be accomplished in messy working conditions. So they
organize and re arrange and dust and throw away and vacuum and file until
they can look at the clock and mumble, "Well, it's too late to start that
today. Guess I'll have to wait till I get the time."
One of the most prevalent variations of Hypocritical Procrastination is
The Happy Helper. It’s also the most subtle and insidious. Have you ever
put aside work you should do -- but you don’t want to do -- in order to
help someone … whether he needed that help or not?
When your help is actually necessary, it isn’t procrastination. But sometimes
“Happy Helpers” are being manipulated by people whose needs are not valid.
Beware of people who are experts at convincing you that YOU are in charge
of THEIR problems. They try to convince you that if you don't join their
committee, you will cause the whole project to fail. OR if you don't watch
her kids while they go away for the weekend, you might cause their marriage
I'm not advocating that you stop helping your family or friends. But be
careful when others put you in charge of their problems. Your help could
be preventing them from growing and becoming more responsible. Meantime,
you delay getting your own work done, which can create problems for yourself.
You may be lying awake at night worrying about other peoples’ problems,
while they are snuggled in bed sound asleep, carefree, because they've passed
their concerns over to you.
Often, Happy Helpers will say that they are happiest when helping others.
Perhaps that's true, but that help might be creating problems. If you regret
all the work you're putting aside while you help others; if helping others
means that you are neglecting your family or yourself, or putting your goals
and dreams on hold, or that you are not finishing work you were hired to
do; then it's time to set healthy boundaries on the help you give. To always
say yes to requests can lead to exhaustion, resentment, and downright hostility.
Understand this -- you can become assertive and still remain a kind, loving,
polite human being, and get your work done, too.
The key to eliminating Hypocritical Procrastination is first of all to recognize
that you are doing it. Watch for it - those times that you find yourself
cleaning out desk drawers when you planned on calling and expressing your
sympathy to an acquaintance, that you find yourself rearranging the linen
closet when you promised yourself you’d exercise, meditate or write in your
journal, or you find yourself spending time on the computer (facebook, anyone?)
when something important is being pushed aside.
Next, you have to MAKE A DECISION that you are going to do that job or project.
Hypocritical Procrastination and all its variations have one tendency in
common: lack of focus. Once you start to focus by setting a deadline for
a task or making a commitment such as writing it on a to-do list, the “other
important things to do” which generate this style of procrastination tend
to melt away.
FUNNY HYPOCRITICAL PROCRASTINATION COMMENT
You all sent many responses to last month's tip sheet telling me
about all the "noble" things you do in order to put off something you were
supposed to do. This one made me laugh the most.
A perceptive, good-looking reader named Linda wrote that she used reading
this Tip Sheet to put off re-upholstering chairs … which she was doing to
avoid writing the outline for a new class she planned to teach.
(Is that considered a "double"?)
ASPIRING AUTHORS IN THE CHICAGO AREA
Are you trying to write a book but have tons of questions about it? Hold
these dates. Sat. Sept 8 and Sat. Sept. 15
More info to come
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.