August 2012
The Anticrastination Tip Sheet

From Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook and
The Clutter-Busting Handbook

Quotes for August

Time is not measured
by the passing of years
but by what one does,
how one feels,
and what one achieves.
--- Unknown

Emmett’s Observation:
God created company so the home gets cleaned. --- Rita Emmett

Time wasted is existence;
Time used is life.
--- Edward Young

Message from Rita
Drifting Along

Our last two Tip Sheets covered what is "Hypocritical Procrastination" and what to do about it. Here is another facet of that phenomenon. It's called "Drifting".

Did you ever look around and wonder "Where the heck did the morning go?"And sometimes you don't know where the whole day went and you don't have a clue what you did … because …. um …. it seems that … you sorta did… nothing? It's not like being a ship without a rudder; it's more like being a ship without a destination. Some drifters start several jobs and never finish any; others putter around without really accomplishing anything.

Drifting occurs under a variety of circumstances - when you're depressed, have too much on your mind, are feeling overwhelmed, are distracted or excited, or you haven't planned what to do with your time. It most frequently occurs during unstructured time.

What's that? Well, if you were living a day of totally structured time, you would know the precise moment to wake up in the morning, when to eat breakfast, and when to leave for work. You would know what time to start work, take breaks, and be finished for the day, and after that, the precise moment of whatever your evening routine is. We don't usually find ourselves drifting during a highly structured day. It's those unstructured days that tend to do us in.

Imagine a day of totally unstructured time. No alarm goes off because you have nothing planned. You get out of bed whenever you want; there's no reason to get dressed. You kind of hope the phone will ring soon, so you'll have an idea if anything is going to happen today.

Most of us live our days somewhere in between these extremes. Or we bounce from fairly structured workdays to fairly unstructured weekends. Some people function fine in either type of time schedule, while others deal better with one than the other. Many who are high achievers and never, ever procrastinate during the structured time at work, fall into patterns of "drifting" (and procrastinating) during unstructured time at home. And you know who you are, don't you?

Some occupations are particularly unstructured, such as homemakers, clergy, real estate and insurance agents, and people who work out of their homes. If they are prone to drifting, these people can find themselves wandering in circles and never getting anything done for several days at a time. Unstructured occupations call for more target deadlines, more planning, more dedication to list-making and prioritizing, and definitely more anticrastinating than a more structured situation might need. But every occupation and life circumstance has those goofy little pockets of time where people can become drifters.

The beginning of a cure for drifting is to recognize it. "Eureka! I'm drifting." The next step is to gear-up and finish one task. Just as the saying goes, "Success breeds success," so too "Failure breeds failure," and looking back at a lump of time spent on uncompleted tasks can make you feel like a failure and, sometimes, cause you to act like one.

In addition, realize that half-done tasks can create more work. For example, we used to have a grumpy cat who loved to roll around and wallow in freshly washed and dried laundry. If I didn’t put away the clothes before the cat got to them, I not only had to wash everything over again, but I, too, would get grumpy and feel like a loser for not putting everything away when I should have.

Try this: every day, write on a post-it the six most important things you want to accomplish that day. Smack it where you can see it from where you work. Then, when you get interrupted, (and you know you will) and lose your focus, you will see those six in front of you and perhaps -- instead of turning to facebook or texting or other forms of drifting -- be inspired to get back to what is important ... such as … oh … I dunno…. maybe work.

Drifting is a style of procrastination that not only wastes time and prevents us from getting things done, it also undermines our sense of self-worth, leaving us feeling stupid and disorganized … and grumpy. Watch out for it. Catch yourself when you're drifting. Turn yourself around by finishing one task. Then another. Then another.

I am always interested in Before and After photos of your clutter-busting projects. I have no idea what I would do with them, but if you have some good ones, please send them . I promise to neatly file them and not let them clutter up my computer …or office.

Attention: Authors in the Chicago Area

Frequently people call me asking about writing a book or getting published. They -- and I -- don't have the hours and hours it would take to explain what they need to know.
So here's my Weird Idea: I am inviting 5 to 7 authors to my home in Des Plaines for one or two full days of personalized, in-depth information on becoming a successful author.

We've done this before and it helped people to buckle down and finish their books. Here is what one attendee said:

This course is the "meat and potatoes" of book writing that every aspiring author should know. Rita uses her own experience in becoming a best selling, international author to present a practical plan that can be modified to work no matter your genre or writing style. She doesn't pull any punches either; we learned what to do, what not to do and what to look out for so we don't get caught in the traps and schemes that target new authors. -- Brenda

Here is a sample of some of what we will cover:

Saturday, September 8
10:00 AM till 4:00 PM

  •  strategies to stop procrastinating about writing your book
  •  a super-fast way to write & complete your book quickly and easily
  •  a system-that-works to MAKE time to write your book
  •  ten things you can do to jump-start your writing when you start to slow down
  •  a simple, quick way to lay out your book, especially for people who hate outlining and won’t do it (clue: They won’t have to)
  •  a great way to organize your ideas & feel confident you have included everything (People LOVE this.)
  •  a process to spot when you are sabotaging yourself
  •  the pros and cons of deciding whether to self publish or trade publish
  •  five secrets to start thinking like an author
  •  a trick to keep from "forgetting" about your book when life gets crazy & you tuck it away

Saturday, September 15
10:00 AM till 4:00 PM

  •  how to either find help & resources to self publish or get an agent/publisher interested in you
  •  why you might want an agent &how to select an honest, ethical, hardworking one
  •  how to write a query and proposal quickly and easily
  •  why you never have to be afraid or intimidated about writing a proposal
  •  what is a platform and how to develop one
  •  five promotion secrets to help you sell tons of books
  •  how to get endorsements from celebrities and best-selling authors
  •  how to be brilliant on radio & TV interviews (I will tell you what it was like being interviewed by Katie Couric)

Trying to cover all this in hourly coaching sessions every week would be difficult and not as effective (plus this will be a lot cheaper than coaching sessions).

The cost is $79.97 each or both for $137
Cost for one Saturday covers:
six-hour seminar
list of resources
snacks and
afterwards you will be allowed to join our Exclusive Author's Master Mind.
We meet by phone once a month, I am always on the call, and each meeting we answer questions and writers offer to read each other's work. Also, every month we set a goal for the next meeting and report on last month's goal.

This is for serious writers only. If you have not decided what you want to write about, this is not for you. To register, reply either via email or call 847-699-9950.

Also, if enough out-of-towners are interested, in the future I can offer these two sessions back to back, so that in one (two-day) trip, you can attend both.


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:

Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook,
The Clutter-Busting Handbook and
Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled, and Overwhelmed
2331 Eastview
Des Plaines, IL 60018

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