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The Complete Idiot’s Guide™ to Overcoming Procrastination

Book Description

You're no idiot, of course. You know your life would be easier to handle and a lot more pleasant if you just stopped putting off 'til next month what you should have done last week. But when it comes to actually facing procrastination head-on and doing something about it... well, there's always tomorrow. Don't crash on the couch and flip on the TV again! The Complete Idiot's Guide to Overcoming Procrastination is a fun, easy-to-follow guide to reorganizing your life to get things done before they become a problem! In this Complete Idiot's Guide, you get:

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Foreword
  3. Introduction
    1. A Special Note to Readers with Disabilities
    2. How to Use This Book
    3. Extras
    4. Acknowledgments
    5. Special Thanks to the Technical Reviewers
  4. 1. The Whats, Whys, and Woes of Procrastination
    1. 1. The Procrastinator's Wake-Up Call
      1. The Case of the Missing $12 Million Lottery Ticket
      2. The High Cost of Procrastination
      3. Is Your Resumé Gathering Moss?
      4. Darin, Can I See You in My Office—Now?!
      5. Procrastination Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
      6. Relationships on the Edge
      7. Home, Sweet, Neglected Home
      8. Procrastination Is a Security Threat
      9. The Role of Fear in Overcoming Procrastination
        1. The Danger of Too Little Fear
        2. The Danger of Too Much Fear
      10. Things We Procrastinate About
      11. The Top 10 Things People Procrastinate About
    2. 2. The Procrastination Epidemic
      1. You're Not Alone
      2. Why We Love to Hate Procrastination
      3. What It Is
        1. What It Feels Like
        2. All Talk, No Action
      4. When It's a Good Thing
      5. You're Not a Bad Person
        1. It's Not Laziness
        2. It's Not a Question of Discipline
        3. It's Not About Ambition
      6. Why Procrastination Is Becoming an Epidemic
        1. Technology: Is It Really a Timesaver?
        2. The Pressure Cooker Workplace
        3. Nobody's Ruling the Roost
    3. 3. Blame It on the Environment
      1. I Think, Therefore I Do—Or Do I?
      2. Environmental Hazards
      3. Peer Pressure Has No Peer
        1. The Culture of Procrastination
        2. Just Do It Already!
      4. The Power of Discomfort
        1. Sitting in the Hot Seat
        2. Cubicle, Sweet Cubicle
        3. Shine a Little Light on Me
        4. Straightjackets and Neckties
      5. How a Cluttered Life Holds You Back
        1. The Leaning Tower of Paper
        2. The Collector's Curse
        3. Computer Clutter
        4. Commitment Overload
      6. Your 10 Life Roles
      7. Driven to Distraction
      8. So Is It Really Not My Fault?
    4. 4. It's All in Your Head
      1. The Psychology of Action
      2. You Think Too Much
      3. You Just Didn't Think
      4. What's Causing Your Procrastination?
      5. Fears That Hold You Back
        1. Fear of Failure
        2. Fear of Being Judged
        3. Fear of Success
      6. It Has to Be Perfect
      7. Letting It Get to You
        1. Feeling Overwhelmed
        2. This Is So Frustrating!
        3. The Adrenaline Rush
        4. I'm So Bored
        5. You Want Me to Do What?!
        6. I Have Plenty of Time
      8. Freudian Slips
        1. Attention Deficit Disorder
        2. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
        3. Anxiety Disorders
        4. Depression
      9. Is There a Doctor in the House?
      10. Don't Worry; There Is Hope
    5. 5. It's About Time
      1. Why You Can't (and Shouldn't Want to) Manage Time
      2. Your Relationship with Time
        1. Being Bullied by Time
        2. Who Controls Your Time?
        3. Making Peace with Time
      3. Don't Do More: Do Better
        1. Handcuffed to Your Day Planner
        2. Balancing Acts
      4. But I Just Can't Find the Time
        1. The Easy Way Out
        2. Doing What's in Your Face
      5. Getting Your Priorities Straight
      6. It's Not the Right Time to Do This
      7. Creating the Illusion of More Time
  5. 2. Becoming an Ex-Procrastinator
    1. 6. Making Sure You'll Really Do It This Time
      1. Why Your Past Efforts Have Failed
      2. Why Change Is So Darn Hard
      3. Seven Stages of Change
      4. How Likely Are You to Change?
      5. Your Support Team
    2. 7. Rallying Support from the Pros
      1. Do I Need Professional Help?
      2. Mental Health Professionals
        1. What Do Psychotherapists Do?
        2. The Six Faces of Psychotherapy
      3. Career Development Professionals
        1. Career Counselors
        2. Career Coaches and Consultants
      4. Personal Coaches
      5. Professional Organizers
      6. Who You Gonna Call?
        1. Questions to Ask When Seeking Professional Help
        2. Finding Support Closer to Home
    3. 8. Lightening Your Load
      1. Assessing Your Clutter Crisis
      2. Rationalizing Your Clutter Habit
      3. Where Your Attachment to Stuff Comes From
        1. Guilt
        2. Value
        3. Sentimentality
        4. Time Capsule Syndrome
        5. Practicality
        6. Hopes and Dreams
        7. Identity
      4. Getting Rid of Stuff
    4. 9. Getting Your Act Together
      1. Organizational Rules to Keep from Coming Unglued
        1. A Place for Everything
        2. Paper Shuffling 101
        3. Why To-Do Lists Don't Get Done
        4. The Beauty of Routine
        5. Expect the Unexpected on the Way to Appointments
        6. Gluing the Pieces Back Together
      2. Balancing Acts
        1. Why It's Hard to Say No
        2. How to Say No
        3. Getting Out of Commitments You've Already Made
      3. The Organization-Procrastination Link
    5. 10. A Crash Course in Getting Organized
      1. Three Ways to Get Organized
      2. Find a Place for Everything and Keep It There
        1. Chasing the Wild Goose: An Exercise
        2. Why Things Don't Stay Where They Belong
      3. What to Do with All That Paper Jazz
        1. Ode to Stacking Trays
        2. Let's Get Stacking!
      4. The Wonderful World of Filing
        1. Pending Project Files
        2. Current Project Files
        3. Administrative Files
        4. Key People and Places Files
        5. Topic Files
      5. Setting Up Mission Control
        1. Monthly Calendar
        2. Daily Action Pages
        3. To-Do Lists
      6. The Gentle Art of Scheduling
    6. 11. Decision-Making The Root of All Action
      1. I Just Can't Decide
      2. Why Decisions Are So Hard to Make
        1. Too Many Choices and Too Much Information
        2. Not Enough Choices, Time, or Money
        3. You Make Them Harder Than They Need to Be
        4. Decisions Strike at the Core of Who We Are
      3. Major League Decisions
      4. Little League Decisions
      5. The Eight Decision-Making Styles
        1. Loner or Pollster?
        2. Forecaster or Bean Counter?
        3. Analyst or Feeler?
        4. Hunter Gatherer or Settler?
      6. What's Your Decision-Making Style?
      7. Ten Steps to Decision-Making Like a Pro
        1. Step 1: Assess the importance of the decision
        2. Step 2: Assess your readiness to make a decision
        3. Step 3: Define your priorities
        4. Step 4: Listen to your gut
        5. Step 5: Gather data
        6. Step 6: Revisit your criteria
        7. Step 7: Analyze the data
        8. Step 8: Listen to your gut—again
        9. Step 9: Deal with any roadblocks standing in your way
        10. Step 10: Take the plunge
      8. Don't Sweat It
    7. 12. The Secret Formula to Overcoming Procrastination
      1. Stop
      2. Look
      3. Listen
      4. The Stop, Look, and Listen Formula in Action
      5. Ten Sure-Fire Strategies for Getting Anything Done
        1. Strategy #1: Get fired up
        2. Strategy #2: Get organized
        3. Strategy #3: Prioritize
        4. Strategy #4: Find freedom in routine
        5. Strategy #5: Get comfortable
        6. Strategy #6: Get connected to people and information
        7. Strategy #7: Use positive self-talk
        8. Strategy #8: Focus on do dates, not due dates
        9. Strategy #9: Use the chip-away technique
        10. Strategy #10: Play trick-or-treat
      6. See? It's Not So Hard!
  6. 3. Tips and Tricks for Getting Things Done
    1. 13. Dirty Dishes and Other Household Chores
      1. Neatniks, Clean Freaks, and Slobs
      2. Why We Put Off Household Chores
      3. Home Economics 101
      4. Home Squalid Home
        1. Tidying Up
        2. Cleaning Up
        3. Clearing Out
      5. Laundry, Trash, and Other Dirty Words
        1. Laundry
        2. Dry Cleaning
        3. Trash
      6. This Old House
      7. Yard Work
    2. 14. Family Matters
      1. Marriage American Style
        1. To Nest or Not to Nest
        2. Saying “I Do,” Not “I'll Do It Later”
      2. Putting Off the Pitter-Patter
        1. It's Not the Right Time
        2. How to Know When It Is the Right Time
      3. Family Life
      4. Making Home a Safe Haven
        1. Fire Safety
        2. Keeping Burglars at Bay
        3. Childproofing
    3. 15. Get a Social Life—or Change the One You Have
      1. I Have to Get out More
        1. Finding the Time to Socialize
        2. The Importance of Follow-Through
      2. Socializing Online
      3. When Your Social Life Becomes a Chore
        1. Putting the Joy Back in Gift-Giving
        2. Taking the Rush out of Holidays
      4. The Dating Game
        1. Getting Past the Dating Roadblocks
      5. Dealing with Relationship Problems
    4. 16. New Year's Resolutions and Other Self-Improvement Promises
      1. Why New Year's Resolutions Lose Their Resolve
      2. Losing Weight and Lifting Weights
        1. The Day I Stopped Exercising
        2. A Losing Battle with Exercise
        3. Weight Lost and Fitness Found
      3. Making Medical and Dental Appointments
      4. Hobbies? What Are Those?
      5. Getting Back on Your Hobby Horse
        1. Learning Something New
        2. Keeping a Diary or Journal
        3. Reading More
    5. 17. Death, Taxes, and Other Important Stuff
      1. Why the Bottom Line Is Often Last in Line
        1. Where Did I Put Those Canceled Checks?
        2. Did I Even Need to Save Those Canceled Checks?
        3. Your Love-Hate Relationship with Money
      2. Paying Bills
      3. Budgeting
      4. Getting out of Debt
        1. It's an Epidemic
        2. The Symptoms of Debt Procrastination
      5. Planning for a Secure Future
        1. Saving and Investing
        2. Insurance
      6. The Annual Tax Procrastinator's Ball
      7. The Reality of Mortality
      8. Wills and Estate Planning
    6. 18. Put It in Writing
      1. Dear Jane, Thank You for the 1992 Desk Calendar …
      2. RSVP—ASAP!!
      3. We Want to Attend, but We Don't Know How to Tell You
      4. Writing Letters of Condolence
        1. Sample Letters of Condolence
      5. Postcards from the Edge of Procrastination
      6. Keeping in Touch
      7. Writing Letters of Complaint
        1. Getting Your Outrage Down on Paper
      8. Breaking Through Writer's Block
  7. 4. Getting Things Done at Work and School
    1. 19. Get a Career—or Change the One You Have
      1. A Career in Procrastination
      2. Why Careers Stagnate
      3. Finding Your Direction
      4. Changing Your Career Field
      5. Striking Out on Your Own: The Advantages of Self-Employment
        1. What's Stopping You?
        2. Making It Happen
    2. 20. Get a Job—and Keep It
      1. Get a Job
        1. Too Comfortable to Leave, Too Miserable to Stay
        2. Fishing with a Net
        3. No Target to Hit
        4. Job Hunting Mind Games
      2. Keep Your Job
        1. The Bare Necessities
        2. Write Like You Mean Business
        3. The Human Component of a Job
        4. When the Office Is at Home
      3. Make a Difference
      4. Get Ahead
    3. 21. Cramming for Exams and Other Fine Academic Traditions
      1. A Procrastination Breeding Ground
      2. Procrastination in High School
      3. Procrastination in College
        1. Why College Students Procrastinate
        2. What Can Be Done About It
      4. Procrastination in Graduate School
        1. One Foot in the Ivory Tower, One in Real Life
        2. All But Dissertation, All Because of Procrastination
        3. Getting from A.B.D. and A.B.P. to Ph.D.
      5. Returning to School Before the Twelfth of Never
      6. Do Your Homework!
  8. 5. Living the Life of an Ex-Procrastinator
    1. 22. Your Procrastination Proclamation
      1. The Five Steps to Making a Procrastination Proclamation
      2. 1. Identify Your Life Roles Priorities
        1. Exercise: My Life Roles Rankings
        2. Your Procrastination Proclamation: Part One
      3. 2. Take a Procrastination Inventory
        1. The Procrastination Hot Spots Checklist
      4. 3. Choose Your Procrastination Priorities
        1. Your Procrastination Proclamation: Part Two
      5. 4. Make Your Priority B List
        1. Your Procrastination Proclamation: Part Three
      6. 5. Build in Balance
        1. Wish-To-Do Lists
        2. Your Procrastination Proclamation: Part Four
      7. The Procrastinator's Oath of Effectiveness
    2. 23. Dealing with the Procrastinators Around You
      1. Convert Them? Or Turn the Other Cheek?
      2. Do's and Don'ts for Dealing with Procrastinators
        1. Confronting the Procrastinator
        2. Trying to Solve the Problem
        3. The Recovery Process
      3. Procrastinators in the Workplace
        1. When You're Not the Boss
        2. When You're in Charge, but Not in Control
        3. When Your Coworkers Are Slackers
      4. When You Live with a Procrastinator
      5. Spouses and Partners
        1. Roommates
        2. Children
        3. Friends
    3. 24. Keeping It Going
      1. Four Simple Things to Remember
      2. Here We Go Again? No, Not This Time
      3. Keeping Your Act Together
        1. Prevent Clutter from Piling Back Up
        2. Put Things in Their Places
        3. Avoid Overload
      4. Make Balance a Priority
      5. Value Your Priorities and Prioritize Your Values
        1. Another Sort of Wake-Up Call
        2. Being Hit over the Head with Your Values
        3. When “What Did You Do Today?” Takes on New Meaning
        4. Sorting Out the Values and Priorities Confusion
        5. Getting It Done
      6. It's Up to You
    4. A. Recommended Books
      1. Careers: Choosing or Changing
        1. Bibliography
      2. Careers: Job Hunting
        1. Bibliography
      3. Careers: Managing and Advancing In
        1. Bibliography
      4. Change and Transitions
        1. Bibliography
      5. Decision-Making
        1. Bibliography
      6. Education and Study Skills
        1. Bibliography
      7. Financial Planning
        1. Bibliography
      8. Getting Organized
        1. Bibliography
      9. Health/Fitness/Diet/Nutrition
        1. Bibliography
      10. Inspiration and Motivation
        1. Bibliography
      11. Interpersonal Relationships and Social Skills
        1. Bibliography
      12. Mental Health
        1. Bibliography
      13. Personality and Behavior
        1. Bibliography
      14. Self-Employment
        1. Bibliography
      15. Time: Making the Most of It
        1. Bibliography
      16. Wills and Estates
        1. Bibliography
      17. Writing
        1. Bibliography
    5. B. Useful Organizations and Associations
      1. Careers
      2. Coaching
      3. Education
      4. Finance
      5. Health/Fitness/Diet/Nutrition
      6. Learning Disabilities and ADD
      7. Mental Health
      8. Organizers
      9. Self-Employment/Business Development
    6. C. Online Resources
      1. Careers
      2. Coaches
      3. Education
      4. Finance
      5. Health/Fitness/Diet/Nutrition
      6. Household Organizations
      7. Learning Disabilities and ADD
      8. Mental Health
      9. Planners
      10. Self-Employment/Business Development
    7. D. The Procrastination Survey
      1. Survey Method
      2. Who the Participants Are
      3. The Questionnaire and Instructions
        1. Procrastination Survey
      4. Survey Results