September 2008
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.
--- Unknown

In creating, the hardest part is to begin.
--- Anonymous

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 exchange began:

Dear Rita,
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.
I promise.
It will... won't it?

Dear Carol,
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 calls?
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 Wed.
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 this together.

Dear Rita,
I could say "I don't know what you're talking about..." ...but you've got me pegged.

Dear Carol,
A few more thoughts on your question:" It will. (settle down) .. won't it?"
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 got angry.

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 FAQ page

To register, click here