December 2003 Anticrastination Tip Sheet

What's the opposite of Procrastination?
An Idea and Tip Sheet to Blast Away the
Procrastination Habit
From Rita Emmett
& THE PROCRASTINATING CHILD: A Handbook for Adults to Help
Children Stop Putting Things Off


Quote For December

A rich person is not the one who has the most but is the one who needs the least.
--- anonymous

Sincere wishes from our home to yours that riches (like the ones in the above quote), love, peace and joy fill your holidays.


Watch For Rita's Tv Debut

"Starting Over" is the first "DAYTIME reality show". They put 6 women in a house together and help them re-invent their lives. Rita was filmed for a one-time visit as a Procrastination Coach for a woman named Teresa.

Her one hour & 45 minute session might be cut down to mere minutes or might be cut out all together, and as you can guess, Rita is NOT being cool, calm and collected about this.

Her husband Bruce was a video editor and keeps telling her how editing can make a person look either brilliant or like a jerk. She's asking everyone to pray that she doesn't look like a dewfus. She's also asking for prayers to help her refrain from strangling Bruce.

The show is on Monday through Friday in most cities. You can find out the time by going to, then click on "Show Guide".

Rita thinks she'll be on in the next two weeks.

ALSO, watch for Rita in the January issues of Prevention (page 158), Parent and Entrepreneur magazines.



Hi All,

In the last three & a half weeks, Bruce and I have spent almost a week in beautiful Guatemala and almost a week at the Fess Parker (remember him? Years ago, he played Davy Crockett and Dan'l Boone on TV) Winery in California, plus we celebrated Thanksgiving with the family at our house. 

It has been so much fun, but methinks we've been having maybe TOO MUCH fun. This newsletter is a bit late. Time to get back to work. Last month I promised a few words about how to handle it when YOU are not into clutter, but another person in your life is merrily strewing clutter hither and yon.

Well, the good news is that yes, you can conquer clutter in your life. The bad news is, you cannot change another person who is opposed to making that change. However, here's something that really has worked for many many people. You might want to give it a try.

One Possible Way To Convert That Clutter Culprit

Frequently, Clutter Culprits believe they are in such a hurry that there's never time to put things back where they belong. So what do you do with these spouses, kids or others?

  • Don't fight them.
  • Don't argue with them.
  • Don't nag them.
  • Don't yell at them.

Solution: Bore them to tears.

Buy them each their own little spiral notebook and keep all the notebooks together in one spot. Hand them a pen; get a watch that measures seconds, then tell The Clutter Culprit, “We have to go identify a problem. Come with me.”

Then you both walk to where the clutter has accumulated. Let's say it's the kitchen counter. Their job is to stand there and time you with the watch while you rinse out a glass they left on the counter and place it in the dishwasher. Then they record the time in the notebook. Next, you load anything else left on the counter. Or maybe you walk into the family room and time how long it takes to pick up that glass, walk it into the kitchen, and put it in the dishwasher.

The Clutter Culprit enters the activity (put glass in dishwasher) into the notebook and the number of seconds or minutes it took to load.

Remember --- don't fight, argue, nag or yell. Your goal is bore them to tears. Look sincere while you do this. Convince them that you are sincerely interested in exactly how long
each of these activities takes.

When finished, take away the little notebook and put it where you keep everyone else's little notebook.

Do this boring exercise every single time a Clutter Culprit leaves clothes on the floor, papers or anything else where it does not belong. It can become great fun for you. After all, think how hard it's going to be to keep from chuckling as they record how long it takes to put one sock in the hamper, now the other, etc.

One mom emailed to tell me her teenager became so exasperated with this silly exercise, that he announced, “Never mind. It’s easier to just put the stuff where it goes than to figure out how much time it takes.”

And apparently, he's sticking to it, because the mom wrote to me a month later that her “son who usually left a wake of chaos behind him is no longer tossing junk everywhere he wanders.”

You're not doing this to punish. It's for both of you to see how long these activities take. Display a sincere attitude of interest and curiosity.

At first they think you're loony. Then they roll their eyes and whine. Eventually, they find it to be so boring that they would rather take responsibility for their messes than have to spend time with you itemizing how long everything takes.

Yes, I'll agree that maybe it won't work with your Clutter Culprit, but how will you know unless you try?

And it HAS worked for many people. To find out how long it takes to put things back where they came from can be a startling eye-opener not only for your family, but also for you.

One Other Possible Solution: We can't change people who don't want to change, and some people just gotta' have their clutter.

In that case, give them one clutter spot that is all theirs and you will keep your hands off. It can be their room or their half of a room or a closet, or office. Maybe a section of the basement or garage. They may simply need one place where they can have all their beloved clutter together. You won't clean it, won't nag about it, won't touch it, but that means it has to be a spot where you won't have to see it, or step over it.

And if the clutter oozes out beyond the boundaries that you have both agreed upon, then you have the right to do with it what you want – toss it, give it way, hide it, whatever.

Next month: More on Stealth Clutter

If you are new to this tip sheet and curious about Stealth Clutter, go to and right on the front page is a place to click on to see the two past issues that have covered this mysterious subject.