November 2016
The Anticrastination Tip Sheet
From 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

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. ~~ Charles Darwin

We each survive in our own way. ~~ Sarah J. Maas

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. ~~ anon.

Message from Rita


December brings holiday tips for gifts, decorations and ways to celebrate. But this month, let’s discuss different types of “tips”. For some people, upcoming festivities generate thoughts of overwhelmed stress, time crunches, and money crunches.
So to prepare for the holidays, many people develop “Survival Skills”.

Who can compare with the ecstatically happy families on TV singing carols while decorating trees?
Last year, our neighbor reported that during tree decoration, her husband bellowed, “If I hear that partridge pear tree song one more time, I’m throwing the Christmas tree through the window”.
Not something TV families usually say.

Here are some Survival Skills that can help enhance holiday enjoyment:

This is an imperfect world and we are imperfect people. Expecting perfection from ourselves, others, the holidays or life in general almost always leads to stress.
I'm not saying choose mediocrity.
Instead, shoot for excellence. THAT is achievable.
Perfection is hardly every achievable.

Can you continue to do what you love but possibly streamline some gifts, decorations, cooking or anything else you don’t love?
Maybe talk the family into a grab bag instead of buying gifts for everyone?
Maybe let others contribute to the meal so you don’t have to cook EVERYTHING?
Maybe use only part of your Christmas decorations (especially if your “after-holiday-bargains” fill fifty boxes)?
Maybe skip Christmas cards unless you want to send electronically OR how about sending New Year’s greetings when life is less hectic?

Many experience unexpected announcements from family such as:
- an adult child is celebrating with in-laws this year
- someone’s ex-spouse makes life miserable
- someone decides it’s too long a drive this year
You don’t have any control over family challenges, but you have 100% control over what you say to yourself.
Saying, “This is the most horrible thing that could happen. Those crazy, cruel people are deliberately destroying our holiday.” Simply adds stress, doesn’t it?
Instead, try:
“I don’t like that but there’s not much I can do. Let’s make the best of it.”
or “That doofus pulls something like this every year. I may as well learn to put up with it.”

Whose expectations are you living up to? Others? Yours?
One year, we were behind in Christmas prep, so I had the family drag in and put up all the decorations – including outside, assemble and decorate the tree, and wrap gifts all in one day.
As 13-year-old Kerry went to bed, she said, “I’m exhausted. Why did we have to do all this?”
I explained we’re making a happy Christmas for the family.
She said, “No family would want to do all this in one day. We did this for you.”
I was shocked but realized streamlining the preparations would have been a better kindness to them than pushing them to live up to expectations … that nobody ….expected.

If you have someone whose holiday joy is introducing topics that lead to arguments, coach the family on fun ways to respond. Maybe everyone replies with the same words: “That’s so interesting that you say that. What do you think of the Cubs winning the World Series?” or “What are your thoughts on flower arranging?” Or everyone can play dumb and say “I don’t know”. Often that shuts up the fight starter for a while.
You might also coach family on what topics to avoid.

Holidays are a time for joy, togetherness and celebration. If you try only one of these Survival Skills, you might enjoy more and stress less.

We have read Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid along with your audio . Our 4-year-old LOVES it! As do I! She was very interactive making bubble sounds with you and following along. This is a wonderful book teaching a great life lesson. ~~ Brittney

Rita --- Love the idea of streamlining to reduce stress. Please say more to people--like me--who keep saying "Yes" and keep complicating their lives. ~~ Kathy

Please share this Tip Sheet with others. 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
Come join our Clutter Busting Community on FB:

No trees were destroyed in the sending of this message,
but a significant number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.