Month 2013
The Anticrastination Tip Sheet
From Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook and
The Clutter-Busting Handbook

Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect. It means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections! ~~ Helen Keller

Ring the bells
that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack
in everything.
That's how the light gets in. ~~ Leonard Cohen

If what I say resonates with you, it is merely because we are both branches on the same tree. ~~William Butler Yeats

Message from Rita


Did you ever think that your life, your hobby, your taste in music, or interests or something like that is perfectly normal, until you look at it through the eyes of an outsider …. and you recognize a fact? This might not be "normal" for everyone.

Last month, I wrote about a super-busy time of my life and gave several tips that helped me get through and keep my sanity. They covered all kinds of what-I-thought-were-normal activities, including streamlining conference calls, omitting radio interviews, having systems in place so I don't forget anything when packing to travel, and most brilliant of all, informing our kids that no one is allowed to have a crisis while I'm on the road. (Note: My kids are normal … which means … once again… they didn't listen to me.)

Then an email arrived from a Perceptive Reader that said, "This really does not apply to normal life or help with normal demands." And it helped me realize that offering a tip of "omitting radio interviews" might possibly NOT be something for everyone.

Yet on the other hand, many people (who might lead other-than-normal lives) emailed to tell me how helpful they were. The biggest request from many was "Rita, you say you have systems in place for packing to make the process quick but complete so as not to forget anything. Details please."

SO if it's not normal for you to have to pack for trips, skip the rest of this Tip Sheet or adapt this for your vacation travel. And I promise to shoot for "normality" next month.


  1.  Every-Trip Necessities
  2.  Reading bag
  3.  Uniform for plane
  4.  Lists for long trips


In our smallest roll-along, I keep 3 containers/small bags. Even if we're not using that piece of luggage, I always make sure the first things packed are these three:

  •  any liquids or tubes of less than 3 oz. go in a zip lock bag to get through airport security.
  •  a small bag of pain reliever, cold meds, aspirin, stuff like that.
  •  small zippered container with duplicates of everything else I use for daily living (toothbrush, Q-tips, chap stick, comb, deodorant, nail clippers, small scissors, etc.)


Canvas bag contains a book, magazines, spiral notebook and pen. It can go in a roll-along or be carried separately. For some reason, I write pretty good stuff while traveling.

If they announce at the airport the plane will be delayed, some people moan, some get angry, I think "Oh good. I can finish that chapter". On the back page of the notebook, I enter thoughts on things to do or reminders for anything in the "Necessities" bags (above) that needs replenishing.


This seems silly, but I used to feel overwhelmed with all the decisions to be made when packing so now my decisions about what to wear on the plane are automatic. When traveling, I want to be comfortable but need to be in something that I can wear on stage to give a talk just in case my luggage is lost. So I came up with a "uniform".

  •  good quality slacks, always black in case I spill when the plane hits a bump in the air.
  •  black high-quality tee shirts I bought from Travel Smith that never show stains or wrinkles & can be easily washed & dried in a hotel room if needed.
  • over that, a short sleeved shirt with buttons (I have them in several colors). If plane is too cold, can take off and use as a blanket to cover my arms, but I don't wear long sleeves cuz' the plane might be too warm..

These 3 pieces give me a lot of versatility while at my destination -- everything from going for a walk to meeting with the client the night before the talk or even for working out.

  •  one more thing. In spite of all the travel I do, I'm still a bit of a fearful flyer. So I don't wear heels or even dressy flats; I wear black walking shoes. Why? Because when flying, I don't dress for fashion, I dress to be able to scramble out of a plane and survive a crash. (Did you not pay attention? Fearful Flyer here)

This uniform, along with the "Every-Trip Necessities" eliminate the need for a ton of packing decisions. So I finally stopped feeling overwhelmed.


Here's where you might suspect a bit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (Well, I've already admitted I'm not normal, so why not come clean that this, too, is a bit weird.)

Days before a vacation, I set up a file on the computer and every time I think of something I might need, I jot it down. When time to pack arrives, I edit out anything I can live without, and it is so much easier to pack with a list. It eliminates the feelings of panic that I might forget something outrageously important and diminishes that overwhelmed feeling.

Hope you find something that's helpful, especially those of you who feel overwhelmed when packing. Above all, realize even with these tips, your packing might not be perfect. The best you can shoot for is hope that whatever you forget isn't all that important.

Bruce's Knee Replacement

Thank you all who wrote about Bruce's knee replacement surgery that was briefly mentioned in last month's Tip Sheet. So many of you have been through this yourselves and advised him to do his exercises ahead of time (he didn't) and warned me that he might be cranky (he is) and encouraged that the rehabilitation process will end eventually (Will it? Really? REALLY? Promise???)

He is doing very well, great attitude and hobbling around with a cane and sometimes a walker. Thank you for sending your positive thoughts, good wishes and prayers. That means a great deal to both of us.

Subj: I finished my assignments!
Dear Rita,
This is Laurie from the Procrastination talk you gave yesterday. I just wanted to let you know I finished the two things that were hanging over my head. I feel so accomplished right now. You really solved the problem of procrastination for me. Seriously. With other self-help books or seminars, it's always just a goal to beat something. It's like a difficult process that you can't quite achieve. But with your advice, procrastination is beaten. It's not going to control me anymore. Your STING idea really leaves no room for failure.

Thank you so much for coming to our group. You were so warm and funny, and your advice is so practical. I wish you all the best.


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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