June 2017
The Anticrastination Tip Sheet
From Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook and
The Clutter-Busting Handbook

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. ~~ William James
Perfectionism is NOT a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough -- that we should try again. ~~ Julia Cameron

Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect. It means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections. ~~ Helen Keller
(All above are quoted in Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress by Rita Emmett)
Message from Rita


A few months ago, we dug into how Perfectionism causes Clutter. Today let’s explore how expecting perfection from ourselves, others and life-in-general can set us up for major stress.
Are your expectations ridiculously high for something you‘ve planned?
Roger, a plant manager, kept assuring his daughter as her wedding day drew near, “Everything’s going to be perfect.”

He was generating an expectation that was a set-up for disaster. On the day of the wedding, every little minor thing that went wrong turned into a major disappointment for the whole family because they were expecting perfection.

On the other hand --- in another family --- when Gina threw a bridal shower for her kid sister, Angelina, she asked everyone to write out their favorite wedding “horror story” and she assembled them all into a notebook.

The room rocked with laughter as they related stories of cakes falling, fights, police being called, rain, missing wedding rings, flower girls’ giggle-fits and ring bearers’ “potty needs”.

On the day of Angelina’s wedding, when her flowers couldn’t be found, she sighed and said, “I haven’t even walked down the aisle yet, and already I have my story to tell.” People in the family and wedding party were slightly upset, but not nearly as stressed as the family of Roger.

We can’t control most of the stressors that bombard us but we CAN control our reaction to them – especially by watching our self-talk – those messages we say to ourselves.

Imagine three people experiencing the same stressor such as being late for an important meeting because they’re stuck in the car by a long train.
While waiting, one might fall asleep. Another might swear loudly and throw a tantrum, and one might be singing at the top of her lungs or calmly checking Facebook.
What makes the difference?
That is: the message they tell themselves.
The “Sleeper” might say to himself “I strive for excellence and to do the best job I can, but there’s nothing I can do about this. ZZZZZZ”
The “Swearer” might say, “This is the worst thing that could happen. I expect everything to work perfectly for me. Why does this always happen to me?”
The singer probably said, “I need to be on time for this meeting but if this is the worst thing that ever happens to me, I guess I’m living a pretty good life. Lesson learned; next time leave earlier. Now back to belting out my favorite song.”

Certainly self-talk doesn’t apply to serious life-situations that truly need healing such as the death of a loved one, sickness, trauma or tragedy.
But most of our serious stress comes from the everyday demanding, inconvenient, imperfect experiences that happen to us but we have no control over.
However, we have total control over our self-talk. Yet we often convince ourselves that each imperfect happening in our daily life is a crisis big enough to shoot our blood pressure sky high. Next time you feel stressed, pay attention to what you are saying to yourself.
Are you expecting perfection … in this … an imperfect world?? A better expectation could be: Strive for excellence. That’s achievable. Perfection hardly ever is.

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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