July 2018
The Anticrastination Tip Sheet

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

Anyone can do any amount of work,
provided it isn’t the work
he or she is supposed to be doing
at the moment.
--- Robert Benchley

It is not enough to be busy;
so are the ants.
The question is:
What are we busy about?
--- Henry David Thoreau

Message from Rita


(Excerpt from The Procrastinator's Handbook)

Procrastination is a game -- a game of putting off and not thinking about what you want to avoid doing. One way many people play the game is with a style I call "Hypocritical Procrastination." It has to do with those times you have something important to do. But you don't want to do it.

You can't put it off by simply being lazy because the task is too important. No, you couldn't face yourself or others if you procrastinated for no good reason; so you put it off by doing something noble instead.

For example, back in my procrastination days, (don’t forget, I’m a “Recovering Procrastinator”) I was assigned the job of typing a roster for a committee I served on. I hate to type -- never took a typing course, use the Biblical method, "Seek and ye shall find", make a lot of mistakes, get frustrated … and cranky.

After typing for a while, I wandered into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. Heading back to my dreaded typing job, I noticed something purple on the kitchen wall -- maybe grape jelly, surely grape something.

I grabbed a bottle of cleaning stuff and squirted that purple blob right off the wall. The result? A very bright, very obvious, very clean spot on my not-so-clean kitchen wall.

What would you do? I tried to blend in that clean spot with the rest of the wall; I figured if I "feathered" the dirt just right, I could eliminate that line of demarcation. It didn't work.

So I poured the cleaning stuff into a bucket and washed all the kitchen walls and ceiling. Later that evening, a committee member called to ask me how the typing was going.

"How could I type that roster when I’ve spent all day scrubbing the walls and ceiling on my hands and knees?” I said, hypocritically. I couldn't have faced myself or anyone else if I had put off my typing in order to watch TV or take a nap, but it was okay because I had been busy doing something else that was equally… um … important.

The key to eliminating Hypocritical Procrastination is: start to recognize it in your life. Become aware of the games you (we all) play. Once you become conscious of what you are putting off and how you're doing it, you can watch for it -- those times you find yourself:

  •  cleaning out desk drawers when you planned on making that important phone call
  •  rearranging the linen closet when you promised yourself you’d exercise, meditate or write in your journal
  •  playing a computer game when something important is being pushed aside.

Hypocritical Procrastination masks our lack of focus. Once you start to focus by setting a deadline for a task or making a commitment by writing it on a to-do list, the “other important things to do” which generate this style of procrastination tend to melt away.
Try it! Heck, you don’t want to think of yourself as a Hypocrite, do you??

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