December 2002 Anticrastination Tip
What's the opposite of Procrastination?
THE ANTICRASTINATION TIP SHEET
A monthly Idea and Tip Sheet to
Help You Avoid the Procrastination Habit
From Rita Emmett
Author of THE PROCRASTINATOR'S HANDBOOK
& THE PROCRASTINATING CHILD: A Handbook for Adults to Help
Children Stop Putting Things Off
Quote For December:
Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you
miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of
where you are going and why.
~ Eddie Cantor ~ 1892-1964, American Comedian
Lord, help me to shop thoughtfully.
Grant me a spirit of gratitude for what I already have,
And protect me from being possessed by my
Attention Canadian Friends
Rita's Canadian publisher, Random House, will send her
on a media tour in Toronto some time around the last
week of January. If you want to schedule Rita to present
a program for your company or organization, call or email
her and request a packet of information about the topics
she presents. Her calendar fills up fast so (ahhh, you know
we have to say this) don't procrastinate.
Winter Special And A Great Holiday Gift Idea
From now till January 31, order either book,
THE PROCRASTINATOR'S HANDBOOK or
THE PROCRASTINATING CHILD: A Handbook for Adults
to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off from
www.RitaEmmett.com and receive a free copy
(your choice of a CD or audio tape) of Rita's two radio
interviews in Ireland. Each interview covers procrastination
issues and is about 17 minutes long. Whether you are
buying the book for yourself or to give as a gift, Rita will
be delighted to personalize it and autograph it. Let her
know whose name she should inscribe it to - yours if
you're keeping it for yourself or the name of the
person you are giving it to if it is a gift.
There's So Much To Do --- I Can't Do It All!
Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Especially at holiday
time? Like you have a million things to do and not
enough time to do any of it? This month's Tip Sheet
will teach you a strategy that will help you end that
overwhelmed feeling and help you feel like you can
breathe again. Possibly even relax! Maybe - heaven
forbid - even enable you to enjoy the oncoming
To start with, write down everything you have to do.
List all the little tasks that make up the big jobs.
For example, if you celebrate Christmas, don't just
write one big overwhelming sucker like "DECORATE".
Break it down to
- get out decorations
- put up outdoor decorations
- put up inside decorations
- assemble, buy or chop down a Christmas tree
- set up tree
- decorate tree
Then post that list somewhere that you can see it
frequently, at least once a day. Maybe
- on the refrigerator
- at your desk
- above the phone
- on the bathroom mirror
- taped to your car dashboard
Next, here is a five step strategy that will help you
take the STING out of feeling overwhelmed.
- Select one thing to do from your list.
Maybe select: make up card list or gift list, or make
phone calls to plan who you will see on what days.
- Time it.
Set an ordinary kitchen timer for one hour. Maybe
you don't have a WHOLE evening or afternoon free
to devote to this one thing, but you can carve out
one spare hour every so often, can't you? The tick,
tick, tick of the timer creates a sense of urgency and
gets you moving. During that one hour, there are two
rules. The first one is:
- Ignore everything else for that one hour.
Isn't this where we usually get sabotaged? We
decide we're really, really, really going to finally do
something BUT first, let's check on our email.
Then we'll make two quick phone calls, then I
think I'll just ... and all of a sudden, the day is
ending and we have 15 things started, nothing is
completed and we say "Well, I was multi-tasking".
Trust me, it's not multi-tasking if nothing is completed,
is it? For this one hour, ignore everything else. The
second rule is:
- No breaks.
As a "Recovering Procrastinator" I know I used to
start a one-hour task and have it last 14 months
because I was so good at taking breaks. So as
you're working on the one task you've selected and
giving it one hour, you might find yourself thinking,
"Hmmmm, I think I'll go make myself a cup of coffee,
or tea or a drink of some sort or a sandwich or a
salad or a seven course meal." You know how it goes.
Just focus on your task and know that the timer will
ding soon; THEN you are free to go cook up a storm if you want. The last step of this strategy is:
- Give yourself a reward.
Now you can go get that coffee or tea or whatever.
What do you love? THAT can be your reward for this
one hour of work. Do you love a certain TV show or a
favorite magazine or book? Or want to rent a new video
that just came out? Or exercise? Walk in the fresh air?
Ride your bike? Loaf? Relax? Nap? NOW you can do it
guilt free as your reward for doing one solid hour's worth
of work on something you were tempted to put off
because it overwhelmed you.
And if you are a person like me who has a problem
focusing or a short attention span, this might be the
first time you've EVER completed one solid hour of
work without interruptions, breaks or starting a bunch
of other chores. And you just might be AMAZED at
how much you can accomplish when you put in
one pure hour of uninterrupted work.
There you have it -- five steps that together form a
sure fire strategy that will take the STING out of
- Select just one thing to do.
- Time yourself for one hour.
- Ignore everything else for that hour.
- No breaks.
- Give yourself a reward.
If you'd like a visual reminder of this, click
can print out the five steps along with an illustration
of a cool little bumblebee with a smashed stinger.
Here's hoping these tips will not only take the STING out of feeling overwhelmed but will also ease some of
the stress that holidays can bring. Happy Holidays.
See you again next year.