June 2002 Anticrastination Tip Sheet

What's the opposite of Procrastination?
A monthly Idea and Tip Sheet to
Help You Avoid the Procrastination Habit
From Rita Emmett


Quote For The Month:

God created company so the house would get cleaned.

(Editor's note: Since this book was published, people all over the world have sent "variations" on this quote. Here are a few you might enjoy: God created company so the house would get DONE. Others have said "so the wallpapering, the bathroom tile, the kitchen floor, the landscaping, the basement, and the room addition would get done." Also, "so the clutter, the papers on the dining room table, and the stuff on the office floor would get sorted and put away." From Japan, a woman emailed: "God create company so husband would get going." I wonder - did he "get going" on a project or did she kick him out??)


Want To See Rita In Person? If you live in the Chicago area, and would like to see Rita's presentation on procrastination, here's the info:

Date: Monday, June 24, 2002
Time: 8 till noon (registration, coffee & networking 8 till 8:45) 
Program: Rita and another speaker, Jana Stanfield, will each
present a program during the 8:45 till noon time slot
RITA EMMETT: Blast Away Procrastination (8:45 - 10:15)
JANA STANFIELD: Everyday greatness
Place: Lindner Conference Center
660 E. Butterfield Road
Lombard, IL
To register & for directions: call NSA-IL
(National Speakers' Assoc. - IL Chapter)
or visit website: www.NSA-IL.org
Cost: $59.00

Rita usually speaks to corporations that do not welcome "outsiders" to attend, so this is a rare opportunity to hear her present. She promises to include the story of how she landed an endorsement for her book from Pulitzer Prize Winner Frank McCourt, author of ANGELA'S ASHES, plus quick, easy, proven strategies to break the procrastination habit. Everyone is welcome. Bring your favorite clients, your friends, your staff and your family.


At the end of this tip sheet are more great ideas from our Conquer Clutter Contest (Yes, they are still arriving.  Yes, the contest ended last month. Yes, these people are great at procrastinating) but first, here is PART THREE of our CONQUER CLUTTER CAMPAIGN:

Get Rid Of That Paper Clutter


To conquer paper clutter, change your attitude about your wastebasket. It is not an enemy who gobbles up all your important data. It is your friend who needs to be nurtured and fed. So feed your wastebasket.

In fact, buy several wastebaskets -- one for every area where paper accumulates. They come in attractive colors and styles, but don't buy little bitty dainty ones unless you have little bitty dainty stacks of papers. Mega-paper clutter requires mega-wastebaskets. Lots of them. 

As you start streamlining your paper accumulation, you can apply the same principles to computer clutter. You'll begin to find it easier to put old, unnecessary E-mail, files, directories, jokes, cartoons, and poems in the trash can. Once you accept that your world won't end when you courageously throw out paper clutter, you will no longer be overwhelmed, immobilized, and catapulted into procrastination by all that reading material coming into your life. And you will have something new to look forward to: the joy of feeding your wastebasket.


Eleven Tips To Conquer Paper Clutter
Another excerpt from Chapter 8: "Clutter Busting" in THE PROCRASTINATOR'S HANDBOOK by Rita Emmett

  • Feed your wastebasket
  • Get rid of what you don't need
  • Skim material as soon as it arrives
  • Don't even skim junk mail; just toss it
  • Pass on to the appropriate person any papers someone else can handle
  • Find a place for everything worth keeping and put the papers where they belong
  • Realize the world won't end if you get rid of it
  • Recycle it
  • Ask yourself: Do you really want to be caretaker of this paper?
  • Do you really want to devote precious space to this?
  • Handle each piece of paper only once
  • Get rid of it


Conquer Clutter Contest Winners

Here are more great tips from our readers. Each will receive a copy of the 2 newest tapes on the Product page of our web site (www.RitaEmmett.com):

  1. CONQUER YOUR CLUTTER - a one hour interview with Carolyn White asking Rita about all aspects of getting rid of clutter
  2. BLAST AWAY PROCRASTINATION - this is Rita giving a presentation that includes humor, stories and proven strategies to break the procrastination habit.

Plus they each receive a giant thank you from Rita, because many of YOU wrote to say you loved those ideas. So here are

More Brilliant Ideas From Our Readers To Help Us Conquer Clutter

Tip #1
Dear Rita,

Everyone in our Durkin family suffers from what we call "Durkin Disease", which seems to involve clutter of all kinds, especially papers. We spend hours shuffling through papers, moving papers from one stack to another, and then from one box to another.

My most successful "cure" so far has been this: Now everything I pick up, I either put it away or throw it away. Then it's done.

Bill Durkin. Professional Speaker

Tip #2
Hi Rita,

I love the clutter tips.

My only good clutter reduction tip is to make friends with all the veterans agencies that pick up donations every six to eight weeks or so. Last February, I had two scheduled to arrive the same week. For each agency, I had a "try this on and box it up if you're too fat for it" event, focusing on one portion of my closet at a time. I'd gained enough weight to lose at least a third of my clothing by the time the second agency was on its way. Seeing as how I would NEVER have a leaner closet than THAT, I decided it was time to rescue that slowly dropping closet bar (its central support had gone through the drywall and was now leaning on the stud) and get some serious organizing done.

I went to the Container Store's website - they'll help you make a closet plan online - and started to feed in my information. Only cut myself once on the metal tape measure. I printed out what I could and took it to the store that weekend. Come to find out, Elfa (the company that makes all those nice closet organizer thingies) was having a 30% off sale that weekend! I met with a planner and got a $400 closet for $280. I won't go into the crowds, waiting, etc. Seems there were many of us in closet panic just then.

I brought everything home, emptied the closet the next morning and got to work. The best part was that after I pulled down the old closet bits, there was just one rail that had to be mounted to the wall, and everything hung off of that. It was actually a breeze! And while replacing the stuff that lived in there, I unearthed another boxful of goodies for the THIRD veterans charity folk!

Now there are no "stray anythings" on my lean, mean, clean closet floor. Everyone is delighted, except the dog... who counted on dropped clothing as a place to bury his rawhide chews. And I'm proud to say it's STAYED that way for over six weeks!!

Carolyn Jonasen

Tip #3
James Viking Sanford, a Starlight leader in Las Vegas, told of helping to move some friends and using a dumpster (those big things that look like the back of a truck that construction guys use to haul away debris when they "gut out" or demolish a house).

This gave him the idea for a tip - rent a dumpster, park it in your driveway, and after investing all that money, you won't want it to go to waste, so you'll use it by filling it up with all the clutter that has accumulated at your house. 

I thought he was just kidding, but Patrick Murphy, the "Irish Oakie" down in Oklahoma City told me this story.

For his parents' wedding anniversary, his brother rented a dumpster for them and gave them a week of his time to work on emptying their basement of 40 years worth of accumulated "stuff". And - so Patrick claims - his parents were delighted. Hard to believe, but he swears the story is true.

Let me know if anyone out there actually does this some day. And of course a set of tapes have been sent to both James and Patrick.

Tip #4
(Editor's note: Now here's a variation on James and Patrick's tip from Susie in Minnesota.)
Dear Rita,

I was just looking through your tips on getting rid of clutter - we cleaned out Mom's garage for Mother's Day, and we had so much fun. I would say, "Specifically, Mom, what are you intending to use this for?" or "If you really love this, how are you enjoying it out here in the garage?" If she protested 3 times or more, we knew she really wanted to keep something, but if not - we'd throw it or put it in the donation pile. We really got lucky for about 1/2 hour, because she had a phone call - so we were all saying, "throw it quick - she'll never miss it!"
Thanks for all you do!!!

Susie Nelson

Tip #5
(Editor's note: We had many comments on the odd phrases used by Robert Jordan of Ireland. He talked about "to tidy clutter" and nailing up "a length of 2x1". One person emailed "We all call it a 1x2. Is Robert Jordan being dyslexic, backwards, or simply Irish?" The answer is that he is all three, and he's also a good friend who we enjoy teasing. So here's some more of Robert's unique phrasing. You're gonna' love his ideas about "dockets, spikes and credit card flimsies".) Here's Robert's email:

Rita, Rita, WELL DONE.
I have two tips about the office.

1. For Credit card receipts and petty cash dockets etc for out of pocket expenses I use a spike. About 5 or six inches long. It collects and holds all those tiny pieces of paper that blow around your desktop or drawers. So once a month (or whenever the spike fills up) I set aside an hour or a morning, and clear the spike, sticking (using a glue stick) the credit card flimsies to the monthly credit card statement, writing the out of pocket details into my "Petty cash book" and filing these by threading them on a treasury tag (piece of string with a stopper on the end.)

2. To encourage myself when the office clutter gets too bad, I get one plastic rubbish bag and say "I'll fill this today". then I sort, tidy, etc until the bag is full. Then it goes in the bin. Done.

There you go, Rita. All my secrets.

I trust you are well and that Bruce continues to grow stronger after his surgery. Tell him, he can try a different pool every day when we meet in Orlando!! I'm going to do that, while giving my pale white skin a sun-tan boost.

Love y'all.

Robert Jordan, Professional Speaker ("The Rut Man")


Next month: In July, we celebrate the creation of our nation. We will celebrate ways to power up our creativity for those projects we've been MEANING to create but have procrastinated about.