The Procrastinator's Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now

The Procrastinator's Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now

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by Rita Emmett
     
 

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Almost everyone procrastinates. For some it causes problems and strains relationships at home and at work. For most people, though, procrastination is a troublesome habit we would like to overcome. Rita Emmett will inspire you to get started.

Filled with useful advice and real-life stories of people who have overcome procrastination, and written with a winning

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Overview

Almost everyone procrastinates. For some it causes problems and strains relationships at home and at work. For most people, though, procrastination is a troublesome habit we would like to overcome. Rita Emmett will inspire you to get started.

Filled with useful advice and real-life stories of people who have overcome procrastination, and written with a winning touch, The Procrastinator's Handbook is as entertaining as it is helpful and rewarding. After reading it, you'll find that your self-esteem and your productivity grow.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Rita Emmett's light-hearted book is the kind you should have by the bedside as you await the arrival of a tardy lover.  For anyone like me, addicted to punctuality, you'll find The Procrastinator's Handbook an enticing piece of work." - Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes (which took 22 years to complete) and 'Tis

"Don't put off reading this book." - Jack Canfield, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802714190
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
09/01/2000
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 6.88(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Do you put off doing things that are really important to you? Do you sometimes feel anxious or guilty because you just can't get yourself to do what you need or want to do? Is your procrastination driving your family, friends, and/or coworkers crazy?

Procrastination can take a surprisingly high toll on your life, causing stress, illness, and low self-esteem. It keeps you from attaining your goals and fulfilling your dreams. If you're a procrastinator, you might answer yes to one or more of the following questions:

—Do you pay fees for bounced checks, late payments of bills, or high-interest credit card balances because you put off routine personal finance chores? As a result, are you paying so much money to "catch up" that you can never get ahead?

—Do you want to start an exercise program, or begin other healthy habits, or set up an appointment with your doctor or dentist, but you never do?

—Are you losing the battle against clutter on you desk, dining room table, counters, closets, or floors? Does the chaos in the space around you seem to create chaos in your mind and your spirit, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, out of control, and exhausted?

Well, there is hope. In this book about the frustrating, fascinating, and-yes-funny subject of procrastination, I will show you how to stop putting off things, become more productive, and develop priorities that reflect your personal goals and values.

As a professional speaker, I give presentations all over the United States, teaching principles and strategies for conquering procrastination. Years ago when I was presenting Time Management seminars, I heard several people saying they didn't sign up for Time Management "because none of that stuff ever works for me." After talking with them, I discovered that they were all procrastinators whose unique needs were not being addressed by time management books and seminars.

People who benefit from time management are like a group that has decided to go on a bicycle journey. They know where they want to go; their bikes are all ready, and time management principles are like the map or directions they need to set off on their adventure.

Then along comes the group of procrastinators meandering down the road. They haven't decided yet where they want to go, and they've forgotten to bring their bikes, which don't work anyway because they haven't gotten around to fixing the flat tire. Maps and directions (time management principles) are of little use to this group. They need something different, so for them I developed my Conquer Procrastination seminars and wrote this book.

When people take my seminars, often the first questions they ask are: "Can a person really stop procrastinating?" "How can people expect to change their basic personalities or characters traits"?

Procrastination is not an inherent part of your personality or character; it is simply a habit, an attitude. Can people change habits? Of course they can! Millions of people have stopped smoking, even though that habit is extremely hard to break. Can people change attitudes? Sure. Do you know anyone who used to think owning a VCR or sending E-mail was unnecessary, yet now - several years later-can't imagine living without either?

I speak about procrastination from personal experience because I used to put off everything. This is the book I wish I'd had when I was struggling to conquer my own procrastinating ways, and when I was designing those early seminars. The only "conquer procrastination" books back then were written for psychologists and tended to be quite dry.

For as long as I can remember, I practiced every delaying, guilt-producing procrastination tactic imaginable. When I was a college student many years ago, I married, got a job, and continued college part-time. But after our son, Robby, was born, I decided to interrupt my studies and my career and become a stay-at-home mom. I had only one semester to complete, so I was certain I could finish my degree fairly quickly as soon as he was older. However, being a confirmed procrastinator, I did not take even one class during the seven years I stayed home to raise Robb and his younger sister, Kerry.

Then I was hired for a job that required a college degree. The time to register for my last semester came-and passed. I did nothing. . .except wallow in guilt and make excuses to my boss.

People offered advice. I listened. Still I did nothing.

During this period of my life, I read a time management book, which said that we procrastinate for one of two reasons: because we are overwhelmed, or because the project is unpleasant. But I didn't consider one semester to be overwhelming, and I didn't find college unpleasant. From my own experience, I realized that there are many other reasons we procrastinate, starting with fear.

I was terrified of going back to school. And when I started to explore my fears, I realized I was scared of many things: Failure. Rejection. Looking foolish. Competing with nineteen-year-old students. Discovering my brain had turned to mush and that I was now stupid. Facing my kids if I received an F in a class. Having to find time to do my homework. Neglecting my children to make time for my classes and homework, and becoming a rotten mother.

These fears were a huge, unknown force that had the power to immobilize me until I started to identify them. Then I could sort through them, talk about them, face them, wrestle with them, come up with some answers, and ultimately move on with my life. I began to practice all the principles you'll read about in this book (including a whole chapter on fear).

Did it work? You bet! About a year later, I proudly joined my classmates walking across the stage to receive my bachelor of arts degree. Five years after that, in addition to raising a family and working, I earned a master's degree. Once you begin conquering procrastination, the sky's the limit.

Now I'm a recovering procrastinator and have been for decades. When I first started using the principles in this book, my only expectation was that they would help me stop putting off tasks, errands, chores, and maybe a few goals. But as I began to convert from my old procrastinating ways, over the years I started to make more and more substantial changes in my life. Eventually, my whole life turned around.

Yours can, too.

This book will enable you to:

-understand and modify some of your unproductive ways of thinking
-identify the games you play and behavioral styles you use for putting things off
-apply proven antiprocrastination tips
-develop strategies to move forward when you're stuck or reverting to your old procrastination patterns
-design your own personal action plans

You will recognize yourself in the real-life stories of people who worked through their procrastination tendencies. Each chapter also has quotes to inspire and motivate you. When a particular saying seems tailor-made for you, copy it and put it where you can see it often.

The "Extra Credit" section at the end of each chapter helps you take the information you've read and personalize it by applying the book's principles to your life. If you like answering questions and measuring your progress, this section is for you. If you'd rather skip the exercises, you don't need to do them; but at least look at each exercise. You might find them interesting, perhaps even fun.

Whether you procrastinate all the time, most of the time or only occasionally, this is the right book for you and the right time for you to be reading it. You're on the verge of climbing out of the procrastination pit. Let's get started . . .right now.

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Meet the Author

Rita Emmett is a professional speaker who leads workshops on clutter and procrastination. Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook (more than 150,000 copies sold) and The Procrastinating Child, Emmett has dispensed advice on NBC's "Today Show" and in Time, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Family Circle, and Parents. She also publishes a monthly online "anticrastination."

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