Easy, Cheap Procrastination Killer

In this month’s Ho‘ohana, the Sweet Closure I’m going for is with my MWA3P loose ends.

There was a mention in GTD about how effective tricks and toys can be with your productivity, and since I’d read that I’ve relentlessly pursued honesty with myself on what cool toys I’ve bought in the name of productivity and actually use well, versus the stuff that suckered some money and dreaminess out of me but is nothing more than cool looking clutter.

The cool clutter designation has grown to embarrassing proportions, however I have to share this tip about a fairly new toy that is working magic for me. It’s the $14.99 Office Max Self-Inking Date Stamper.

07110798Let’s face it: Wasted time and duplication of effort can run rampant for us simply because we pick something up to work on it, then put it aside (yes, even back in IN when no one is looking), re-file it, re-tickler it, or renegotiate our agreement with it in “mind-like water” GTD head-clearing style, patting ourselves on the back for going through the decision process.

But the fact remains that we still didn’t DO it.

In my book, I have lied to myself.

In a lucid moment (one of my new favorite phrases, thank you Chris) a few weeks ago, I realized just how much I was fooling myself by calling my procrastination “renegotiation.” I also was having pretty good success with my new habit of dating everything — Ctrl C to save the days date, then a quick Ctrl V to enter it into everything digitally done; however picking up a pen for a piece of paper was getting as annoying as reaching for my mouse. So on another money-sucking impulse buy I purchased the Office Max Self-Inking Date Stamper.
Except this time I struck gold.

Every time I handle a piece of paper I date stamp it. 

Collect into inbox — Stamp!

Processing inbox — Stamp!

Reviewing tickler — Stamp!

Print anything — Stamp!

Delegate — Stamp!

Defer — Stamp!

Started to DO, but didn’t finish — Stamp!

Started to Read, but didn’t finish — Stamp!

Didn’t finish ANYTHING — STAMP!

Yes, I am still picking up something besides my mouse or a pen, but this mechanical wonder of old offices gone by is a toy for me, not an annoyance. Pure and simple fun to use … any need for more fun on your desk?

Now this is not a wimpy little dater: This one stamps a 2-line bright blue and red 1.5 x.75 image that screams at me,

Do you SEE this date?!?!?

I even date stamp post-its now, and slap them onto non-paper things I’ve picked up and not finished the job with. Having to see that line-up of dates on the number of times I have renegotiated a previous agreement with something has effectively killed my bad habits with procrastinating about doing stuff. If I just multiply the number of dates times 5 minutes, realizing the time I have lost in kidding myself about something creates BIG incentive with me for getting the dirty deed done once and for all.

It may very well be the best $14.99 + tax I’ve spent in a very long time. I’m even thinking of naming the little guy.

Related Posts:

October Ho‘ohana: Sweet Closure.

MWA3P; my October Action Cycle.



  1. says

    Rosa – I love the thought of adding more fun to my time at my desk. And as I started reading this post, I felt like – hmm date stamp, that would definitely be defined as clutter on my desk (along with all the other junk that’s on there at the moment). But the more I read of your post, the more the lightbulb went on – it’s all about showing you where you are procrastinating… and that is something I could sure use some help with! I put a lot of things in the ‘too hard basket’, retickler-ing, and deferring decisions indefinitely until I have time to think about it. And when is that? Never usually. I’m considering a visit my office supply store this week to invest in one of these little guys. Thank you and let me know what you name him!

  2. says

    Bingo Karen. You think you know your own habits and idiosynchrasies, however I started to see the dates pile up with time-wasters I never realized I handled so much, and delayed doing so unconsciously.
    I hate to so publically admit it, but I even caught myself cheating on that two-minute rule!
    His nickname right now is Gotcha! but I need to get more creative than that… I’m up for any ideas!

  3. says

    Ah-ha! So your equivalent to my glue stick fetish is a date stamp! I must confess that much of my technique for getting organised actually has its origins in my long suppressed desire to have a reason to own a bunch of glue sticks. I now own glue sticks and while I don’t use them everyday it’s nice to know they are there.

  4. says

    Great Idea Rosa! I can only think of one “stamp” I would like more and that is one that says “DONE” in capital letters. I’d like to use that one every day!

  5. says

    The date stamp is a wonderful idea.
    Thanks to my Grandmother Laura Rothacker, I’ve adopted her wonderful habit of dating anything I send to a person.
    Be it a gift or a card.
    I also date items that folks give to me.
    Grandma had a vast collection of porcelain
    figurines for every occasion, some just for everyday. She would pencil her name and the date on the bottom or backside and then
    go over it with clear nail polish to set it for good. Ha, those were the days before Sharpies.
    I have Christmas tree ornaments that were hers and I know exactly when she purchased them due to her dating of EVERYTHING.
    I’ve also turned into a ‘Sharpie-holic’.
    It started out as a way to put that
    permanent date on items, now it’s just gotten out of hand. I have thin ones, pastel ones, silver ones and the new clickable ones. Well, come to think of it
    I don’t have any of the mini ones.
    And on the naming of your date stamp.
    I think you should consider ‘Buster’.
    As in procrastination… buster. :)

  6. says

    Procrastinate— or not!

    I’m supposed to be packing for a Maui trip right now, but I took a break; another way to say I’m delaying the inevitable” is that procrastination? I’m really looking forward to the Maui coaching and the great people I’ll

  7. says

    OOh Rosa
    With all that catholic guilt stuff in my every fibre this one might just get me off my arse when i see all those endless dates.
    And it allows me to go to Officeworks (Australian Small Business heaven/stationary and every thing else store)
    I’m a-buying!!

  8. says

    I think that might work for me Rosa. Just one ker-ching on my forehead and I would be a marked man. A genuine procrastinator. It would be interesting to see how long the date would stay there :-)