April 2018
The Anticrastination Tip Sheet

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

When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself. ~~ Isak Dinesen, author, Out of Africa

You will never find time for anything.
If you want time, you must make it ~~ Charles Buxton

Message from Rita


Recently, one of our perceptive readers emailed a description of the clutter in her house:
“I felt myself being pulled in a million different directions. I felt bombarded in my head with things that needed to get done, yet I became completely overwhelmed when I tried tackling them.” 

Do you relate to that?
overwhelmed feeling is a huge cause of procrastination whether your feel swamped by a totally cluttered house, or so much paper clutter that you can’t find anything, or a list of things-to-do that looks like it could not possibly be completed in this century or a million other overwhelming projects.

That's why the first step of clutter-busting or breaking the procrastination habit is SELECT JUST ONE SMALL AREA AT A TIME TO TACKLE.

Every time you feel overwhelmed, go back to "Select just one small area."
Not the whole house, just one counter top.
Not all the paper clutter, just one stack on the corner of your desk.
Not the whole “To-do list”, just the most important action to take now.

 “Success breeds success”. Instead of focusing on ALL you have to do, you can look at one small area you just de-cluttered, wallow in your success and let it encourage you that little by little you WILL conquer your clutter.

The second step – whether clutter-busting or doing anything you’ve been putting off – is SET A TIMER FOR ONE HOUR. Many times, we say, “I don’t have a whole Saturday or a whole evening free to do that.”

So we decide to put it off.

However, almost everyone can come up with one hour. Maybe not an hour a day but one hour per week. Advantages:

First, you don’t HAVE to set a timer, but the tick-tick-tick of it creates a sense of urgency.

Second, you might dread working for hours on a project but no matter how much you dislike doing something, putting in just one hour on it doesn’t seem too bad, does it?

Third, most people don’t have a clear idea of how long something might take. And of course, the teeny-tiny-est task can take forever if you start a gazillion other projects while working on what you’ve decided. But no matter how frustrating or boring the job is, you can keep at it and ignore everything else for just one hour.

A perceptive reader named Mary was struggling with clutter accumulated during a remodel project. So she selected one area to begin with – many boxes of picture frames -- and made good progress.
Then she wrote:
“I came upon another box of frames, which really overwhelmed me, because it felt like a setback. Since I was still in the clearing out mode, it went much smoother than I thought it would.

I love your method of setting the timer for just one hour. It really helps to start and stay with the job. Monday I reset the timer 3 times. I spent 3 hours clearing things out of my living room. You cannot imagine how good that felt, to see the room so empty (well almost empty) since it had become a storage place during the kitchen construction. Sometimes it's hard to get the timer started, but once I start it, it's almost as if something takes over and gets me going.  
I'm not as far along as I wish I was, but much further along than I expected.”

Why not try it?
Select just one small area to work on.
Time it for one hour.

You might find yourself accomplishing something you’ve been putting off forever AND maybe … just maybe … you might begin breaking a procrastination or clutter habit.

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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This is So much time, so little to do. Scratch that, reverse it! ~~ Willie Wonka