A good read if you ever get around to it

Books are stacked high on your bedside table, falling out of shelves in every room, and even filling the passenger seat in your car. So many books, so little time to sort them, much less read them. Rita Emmett's "The Procrastinator's Handbook" (Walker & Co., 224 pages., $10.95), however, is one quick read you might not want to put off.

A self-described "recovered procrastinator," Ms. Emmett shares many of her insights on the road to recovery. For many of her adult years, she had intended to return to college, but kept coming up with excuses. Finally, when she was offered a job that hinged on having a college degree, she couldn't stall any longer. Procrastination occurs, she writes in her highly practical paperback, not only when one is overwhelmed or a project is considered unpleasant, but also because of fear. She had to face her fears, and eventually got that degree - and a master's five years later. "My whole life turned around," she writes.

In the chapter "Fears That Stop You Cold," Emmett dissects the most common fears - from that of success ("one of the more subtle causes of procrastination") to fear of making wrong decisions. If none of these resonate with a procrastination-prone reader, perhaps sections on "How to Make Boring Jobs More Enjoyable," "Clutter Busting," or "Dollars and Sense" will. Pithy quotes from such luminaries as Eleanor Roosevelt and Henry James, as well as lighthearted tips, break up a tone that can get a bit preachy in parts.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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