THE ANTICRASTINATION TIP SHEET
From Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook
The Procrastinating Child
The Clutter-Busting Handbook and
soon to be released: Mange Your Time to Reduce Your Stress
Now's the day, and now's the hour
--- Robert Burns
You will never find time for anything.
If you want time, you must make it.
--- Charles Buxton
What gets rewarded gets done.
In creating, the hardest part is to begin.
Those who want to succeed will find a way, those who don't will
find an excuse!
--- Leo Aguila
You can find all the above quotes and more in
The Procrastinator's Handbook
Message from Rita
Who Is The Saboteur Of Your Goals?
We make New Year's Resolutions in January, but really, isn't
September the time we decide to start new projects, or to
finally do what we've been meaning to do? Maybe it's because the
lazy days of summer are over, or the crisp autumn weather
energizes us or maybe it's simply we remember how great it felt
to start over each school year with new pointy crayons and a
fresh, clean empty backpack.
So you set aside a morning or a few hours to write your book,
start your business, paint, work out of your home office,
exercise, decorate, de-clutter, or whatever goal you've set.
Then the time-set-aside comes ... and goes ... and Life Happens
and a million other priorities pop up and …. you are bewildered
to wonder where did your day go?
When this happens to financial or insurance professionals who
were determined to make a certain number of calls and never
got around to dialing even one, they refer to it as "Call Reluctance". But
that's not a good word for it because often they are NOT
reluctant or afraid to make those calls. It's just they had a
million other things to do and no time to do it. I think instead
of "Call Reluctance" it should be called "Goal Sabotage".
Because whether you call them goals, resolutions, plans or
dreams, they can so easily get sabotaged. But who is the wicked
saboteur? Often we blame others or circumstances or life, but
when you come down to the truth of it, isn't it we ourselves who
have allowed that precious chunk of time to be torpedoed?
What can you do to protect your time in order to do what you
want to get done? Let me share an email exchange with a member
of our Dream Team. Carol is now a productive marketer who makes
calls to meeting planners from her home with hopes of them
hiring me to speak at their conference or training sessions.
When she first started, I wanted to warn her about "Goal
Sabotage" and she said she felt she had pretty good control over
her time in her home. But then a strange cat arrived and gave
birth to some adorable kittens … in Carol's garage. The email
My day has exploded again with the sick kitten and just as I was
sitting down to make calls, our vet called and wanted to bring
her family over to see the kittens. I'm going to shift today's
calling to tomorrow.
This will all settle down once (a) my other work settles down
and (b) the kittens are in their new homes.
It will... won't it?
You wrote: "It will... won't it?"
Wellllllll ... remember the first day we worked together? I
told you how --- nobody can explain it --- everybody seems to
have huge priorities that take over the time set aside to make
There are a few things you can do to protect that time. Like,
think to yourself -- if you were working elsewhere that day,
maybe you would have left work early when you heard about the
sick kitty, but it wouldn't have eaten up both all-day Tues and
So one habit to do is to always say to yourself "If I weren't
here, what would happen?"
Another is to have a sentence or script written out and
practiced. For example: "I'm in the middle of something right
now, can I call you back at 4?" or "I can't do that right now
but I can do it later."
Another is to change YOUR thinking to say TO YOURSELF "I would
LOVE to take care of this right now. It is so convenient. But I
made a commitment to work from ____ till ____ and I will."
This is the discipline you will need not only for making phone
calls but also for writing your book. The trick is to learn to
block out a chunk of time and honor it like a dental appointment
(the kind that if you miss it, you have to pay anyway)
To NOT honor that time is like scooping a bucket full of water
out of a lake. Life will Happen and the world will immediately
fill it in with their needs, wants and priorities (with the
exception of sick kitties. They always come first.)
But you said the sick kitty on Tues meant that your calls would
be done half on Tues and half on Wed. Did that work for you? IF
not, then welcome to the human race. Fear Not. We will work on
I could say "I don't know what you're talking about..." ...but
you've got me pegged.
A few more thoughts on your question:" It will. (settle down) ..
As I reflected on how I pulled myself out of the state you are
in. (Working out of my home. No control of my time. Everyone
else determined how I would spend my time. Set a goal that
"today I will do this". and it never got done) I remembered one
big, big issue with my situation.
Being an enthusiastic teacher, I had TAUGHT everyone in my life
that they could call on me any time -- day or night -- and I
would make myself available to them. In other words, they could
use me (and sometimes abuse me) all they wanted to.
And in the process of RE-TEACHING them, some of them got angry
at me. They felt that just because I was CAPABLE of driving them
to where they wanted to go (or watching their kids, or listening
on the phone as they talked about their boredom or depression,
etc.) that I was OBLIGED to do it. The funny thing was, it was
only the ones who were truly taking advantage of me who
That might not be your situation, but just wanted to share part
of my story with you.
And don't forget the Power of Rewards. I wouldn't let myself
have a second cup of coffee till after I put in one hour of
writing. OR I wouldn't let myself watch my favorite TV show
unless I had one more chapter of my book completed. Looking
forward to a great reward can be the perfect "push" to make time
for your goals
That's the end of our email exchange. Once Carol started the
habit of making a certain amount of calls two days a week, the
momentum or habit is there and she is rolling along. Here are a
few more tips that might help you.
1. Set up a BIG sign reminding you to PAINT or WRITE or EXERCISE
or CALL or whatever.
2. Make another big sign with your "self-protection statement"
that you plan to memorize: For example: I would love to help you
(talk to you, etc.) but I'm in the middle of a project right
now. Can I call you back at 4?
3. If you've been putting off for weeks or months making a call
or asking for help to get you started, don't let embarrassment
keep you from calling that music or art teacher, Yoga trainer,
client, prospect, etc.
if they are NOT a procrastinator, they will feel superior to you
if they ARE a procrastinator, they will feel glad that someone
else is a pathetic as they are
Either way, you've made them feel very good by admitting you
procrastinated so they like you already.
Here's to all you saboteurs out there. May you find success in
pursuing your goals and dreams.
Fabulous FREE October Seminar on AGING PARENTS
This Free Teleseminar will be presented on
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at
8:00 PM Central (Chicago) Time
Mark your calendars now.
Rita will interview Cheryl Kuba, gerontologist, humorist and
author of "Navigating the Aging Parent Journey without Driving
off a Cliff!"
Cheryl offers tons of insights, tips and ideas to help us find
"Eldercare without Despair."
For more information about what a Teleseminar is, see our
To register, click