August 2014
The Anticrastination Tip Sheet

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

Waiting until everything is perfect before making a move is like waiting to start a trip until all the traffic lights are green --- Karen Ireland

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life. --- Anne Lamott

Unless you're willing to have a go, fail miserably, and have another go, success won't happen. ~~ Phillip Adams

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. ~~ Anna Quindlen

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

Message from Rita
Dear Readers,
After giving the Keynote talk at a conference several years ago, I sat autographing books and heard a woman say, "My house is a total mess…". Many people were nodding and agreeing, but then the woman continued "… because I'm a perfectionist."

A guy looked startled and said, "That sounds backwards. I'd think if you're a perfectionist, that your house would be perfect."

She answered, "Oh no, my mother taught me when you wash the floor, you move everything out, wash and then move it back. Same when you vacuum.
"SO if I don't have the time or the energy to do it perfectly…. I don't do it at all."

Did you ever experience that? If you don't have the time or energy to do it perfectly then you don't do it at all?

We're not advocating mediocrity here. We're just saying that striving for excellence is achievable. Striving for perfection hardly ever is.

And a standard of perfection often comes from RULES. But not rules imposed by someone else.They are Personal Rules that we've made up for ourselves and our world. And they have the power to immobilize us.
Rosa had over a hundred boxes of clutter all over her house and basement. After one day of clutter-busting, she had stacks of boxes lined up…each one labeled with who it will be delivered to.

She took clutter out of several boxes, reassembled it into boxes for specific people. Next she had to drive and deliver boxes to each individual recipient, plus pack up, label and seal several to be mailed. It took 3 days to dispense one day's worth of clutter.
Her Personal Rules dictated that this was the perfect way to dispose of clutter but it left her exhausted, and after 4 full days of work (1 clutter-busting and 3 delivering), she had hardly eliminated much clutter. She was discouraged and gave up.

If she could have deleted some of her Personal Rules, and just taken all the boxes to Good Will, or better yet, contacted a charity to pick them up, she could have devoted the four days to clutter-busting and seen some actual progress as a result of her work.

Maury has planned for years to start his own business. He is ready. Nothing is keeping him from it except his Personal Rules which say he needs to read another book on marketing, take another seminar to learn more about his products, buy one more bookcase for his office. Till then, nothing is happening to build his business.

Deirdre has an exercise routine that she has enhanced by adding pushups and other more strenuous steps to make it tougher but more effective. Now because of some family crises, she hasn't worked out in three months. Her Personal Rules don't even make sense. She isn't strong enough to do the whole strenuous routine, and isn't willing to simplify or make it a bit easier because that's won't give her the powerful results she wants. So instead, she isn't doing anything.

One of my favorite quotes is "Done is better than perfect." I've heard it attributed to Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerman but I knew this quote long before I knew them. Tried to find the source on line, no success. Would love to tell you who originated it, but am not willing to let that Personal Rule keep it out of this article. So please ponder "Done is better than perfect" and if you ever find out who was the first to say that, please let me know.

Meantime, when you find yourself wanting to do something but putting it off, see if there might be a few Personal Rules in your brain that are sabotaging your success.
Remember, right now is a great time to start.

Dear Rita,
Never has a book described me fully and so well. I just read The
Procrastinator's Handbook
last week and for awhile I thought you were
talking about me. I fit almost every procrastinator example in that book.

I pulled out my Jonas Brothers notebook (which my mom gave and always makes me laugh) and started taking notes of the important items and evaluated and planned what I can do to transcend from my old pro- self to a reformed anticrastinator.
Thank you for writing a book that is engaging, not scolding. This email is also proof that I have made some changes. Otherwise, the thought of reaching out to you would still be just in my
mind for now and possibly the years to come.
Isaya Mari Adefuin
Sydney, Australia

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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but a significant number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.