PERSONAL: Born April 12, in Chicago, IL; daughter of Tom Dorney (a businessman) and Helen Fischer (a waitress); married Bruce Karder (news video editor), May 21, 1994; children: Robb, Kerry Emmett. Ethnicity: "Irish, Ukrainian." Education: Northeastern Illinois University, B.A. (English, psychology); National Louis University, M.S. (adult education), 1985. Religion: Christian. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, writing, family, friends.
MEMBER: Chicago Speakers Alliance, National Speakers Association, New Century Club, American Society of Training and Development, Professional Communicator's Roundtable, Off-Campus Writer's Workshop.
The Procrastinator's Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now, Walker (New York, NY), 2000.
The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off, Walker and Company (New York, NY), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Rita Emmett describes herself as a "recovering procrastinator," and it is this experience that forms the foundation for her books. She has had a long career as an educator and in public relations. Emmett earned a license to teach Parent Effectiveness Training and has certification for Systematic Training for Effectiveness Training. She has been involved for several years in parenting seminars through a social service agency in the Chicago area. Motivated by a job offer that required a bachelor's degree; she abandoned her habit of procrastination and got a B.A. from Northeastern Illinois University in English and psychology. In 1985 she was awarded a master's degree in adult education from Louis National University. She is regarded as an effective public speaker and often conducts seminars on procrastination for various organizations. Her clients include: Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the American Lung Association, and Lucent Technologies.
Emmett's first book, The Procrastinator's Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now, grew out of her own experience with procrastination. In an interview published in the Seattle Times, she described chronic procrastination as a behavioral problem rather than a character defect. Procrastination as a stress-producing behavior is described in some detail. Unattended it can result in financial, emotional, and physical stress for the individual and have a correspondingly negative effect on the environment. Emmett argues that procrastination often takes hold as a response to an uninteresting or intimidating project, feelings of being overwhelmed and fear not only of failure but also of success. The author takes a practical approach to bringing about the desired behavioral change, spending a minimal amount of ink on the psychological explanations for chronic procrastination. She has many positive suggestions for attacking those jobs that are so often delayed. Approaching these activities in a structured manner, so that the task is broken down into manageable segments is emphasized. She uses a humorous, gentle tone and recommends rewarding oneself after the successful completion of an unappealing task. The light and unintimidating style is sustained by chapter headings such as "Clutter Busters," "Fears That Stop You Cold", and "How to Make Boring Jobs More Enjoyable". The book has been praised for the author's common sense approach to ending the paralysis of procrastination. The reviews have been positive.
Emmett, through her work as a parent effectiveness trainer, is familiar with the obstacles parents face when trying to help a child overcome an unproductive habit. In The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off, she addresses problems frequently faced by parents. The author, as in her previous book, uses a friendly approach to assist parents in understanding why children procrastinate. In a review of the book in Publishers Weekly Emmett was praised for making the observation that schools almost never include time-management skills in the curriculum. In addition to this, children are often confused and afraid to make mistakes. With these factors in mind, the author makes suggestions designed to divide tasks into manageable segments, teaching techniques of task and time management. Each chapter ends with a helpful summary. This book is a contribution to Emmett's work in the area of teaching parenting skills. In The Procrastinating Child, parents and children are offered the means to change a bad habit into something efficient and productive.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2002, Vanessa Bush, review of The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off, p. 35.
Christian Science Monitor, October 4, 2000, Jennifer Wolcott, review of The Procrastinator's Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now, p. 16.
Health Science, spring, 2001, review of The Procrastinator's Handbook, p. 33.
Publishers Weekly, August 21, 2000, review of The Procrastinator's Handbook, p. 66; August 5, 2002, review of The Procrastinating Child, p. 70.
Seattle Times, September 28, 2000, Mark Rahner, review of The Procrastinator's Handbook, p. G1; November 5, 2002, Stephanie Dunnewind, review of The Procrastinating Child, p. E4.
Time, September 23, 2002, Carole Buia, review of The Procrastinating Child, p. 83.
Rita Emmett Home Page,http://www.ritaemmett.com (December 17, 2002).