‘Are You a Procrastinator?’ Huffington Post

People often ask me what they can do about procrastination.

The good news is there is something you can do. Let me share my secrets with you. It might not address your underlying issues for avoiding particular tasks but it will help you achieve your today’s task.

We only really use the term procrastination in a negative way when we are scolding, “Stop procrastinating” or annoyed with ourselves for wasting precious time: “I am such a procrastinator.”

The mere word can bring up feelings of anxiety or guilt for not getting to the task at hand. We instantly feel bad. It doesn’t need to be this way. Why constantly feel frustrated when we can instead use it in a positive way?

Here I will share with you my secrets on:

1. How to make procrastination your friend
2. How to move passed procrastination using The 5-Minute Rule

1. Making Procrastination Your Friend.

First let’s change the way we look at the word. Procrastination literally means “deferment,” “postponement” or “stalling.” We don’t need to feelbad. Let’s take back the control we often give over to the power of procrastination as if it actually holds some power.

It doesn’t, we do. Let’s use it to our advantage.

As soon as you notice yourself avoiding your task at hand and leaning toward doing anything but, stop and recognise it. Awareness is key. It may sound obvious but how many times have you wasted half a day watching television or on Facebook when you just meant to have a quick glance?

Recognize that moment. It is not a bad thing. Nothing to get frustrated over, just notice it. Rather than waste time (which is ultimately what we are doing), use this time in a positive way.

CHOOSE how you want to use this moment of procrastination. TAKE BACK CONTROL. Here is how:

1. Do something that will only take a short time frame (not a few hours).
2. Make it something with your hands; some physical and not mental activity.
3. Make sure the activity provides some level of satisfaction no matter how miniscule.
4. Use this time to clear your mind and start to focus on the task you are avoiding, so by the time you are ready — you are actually ready!
5. Mentally prepare to get to your task by using The 5-Minute Rule (we will get to that shortly).

As an author, my favorite form of procrastination is hand washing and I use it often. I might turn on my laptop to write and find myself looking at Facebook. So instead of “procrastinating” and wasting my morning, I immediately close my computer and grab my washing basket. The washing is a mindless task but allows my brain time to switch on and clear my thoughts.

Using my hands wakes my body up and brings me to an alert state. It may take me ten or twenty minutes but by the end I am feeling good that my clothes are clean and hanging to dry, my body feels awake and my mind alert. I also start to switch my mind to my task, what I want to accomplish in my book today. Clothes clean, laptop back on and ready to go.

So what did I do? I recognized I was about to waste my morning and hand my power away to procrastination and stopped it immediately. I CHOSE how to procrastinate. I made it my friend.

2. “The 5-Minute Rule”

So you have used procrastination wisely and prepared yourself for your task… but maybe you still don’t want to do it. Don’t find another form of procrastination — try using The 5-Minute Rule.

Maybe it is to start doing some exercise, replying to your long list of unread emails or writing in your journal. It doesn’t matter what it is, it is a mental game not a time management one.


So let me ask you a question, in a 24-hour day would you have 5 minutes spare? If I asked you to attend to your task for 5 minutes, do you think you could do it? Just 5 minutes.

Now you can begin moving through procrastination using The 5-Minute Rule.

“I am going to start at the top and go through my emails for the next 5 minutes.”
“I am going to go for a run for just 5 minutes.”
“I am going to write in my journal for the next 5 minutes.”

If I asked you to spend the next hour replying to your emails, chances are you wouldn’t even begin. But if I ask you to sit for just 5 minutes, you are much more likely to. You can always go for longer, in fact often you will but The 5-Minute Rule helps to get you there (I mean it is only 5 minutes after-all) whilst providing a level of satisfaction for achieving exactly what you set out for.

Try The 5-Minute Rule to get you to the starting block for any new activity or to attend things you just never feel you want to. The hardest part of anything is starting.

So start. Turn up. Open the first page. Stretch your hamstrings, do some sit-ups, open your emails. Whatever it is, start now. It is only 5-minutes.

Disclaimer: I didn’t hand wash in the writing of this article, however I did sweep the floor.


Romi Grossberg is a writing therapist, counsellor, facilitator of ‘Writing from The Source’ workshops and author. The theme of procrastination is part of her upcoming new book, titled ‘The 5-Minute Guide to Emotional Intelligence’ to be released in May 2016. For more information, go towww.romigrossberg.com

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform.

Source: Are You a Procrastinator? | HuffPost Life

‘Climbing the Walls,’ Griffith Review

Last year there was a call for submissions for the best new writers in Asia under 40.

I was 39. At the Asia Pacific Writers conference in Singapore they changed it to 45 and I panicked! More candidates! More experience! Oh no. I wrote my story and hesitated countless times before submitting it. I almost didn’t do it.

I need not have worried… and received a ‘congratulations’ email which I read, re-read and then showed a friend to make sure I understood correctly.

Yes my story ‘Climbing the Walls’ was published this month in Griffith Review: New Asia Now. A huge accomplishment. A renowned Australian quarterly publication. You can buy it in book stores around Australia and some places in Asia as well as online at: https://griffithreview.com


You can now read my short story Climbing the Walls, Griffith Review

“Griffith Review49: New Asia Now showcases outstanding young writers from the countries at the centre of Asia’s ongoing transformation. They write about the people and places they know with passion, flair and insight.”

‘A Perfect Statue’, Imprint14. Hong Kong

‘A Perfect Statue’ is a short story published in Imprint 14 Anthology, Hong Kong. It is a modified passage from Romi’s upcoming book: ‘Hip Hop & Hope, from the slums of Phnom Penh.’

A Perfect Statue  by Romi Grossberg

And some photos that go with the story. Below is Kha during his solo performance and right is the last scene from the story.

Fahthai in business class

Stuck on an extended visa run in Penang Malaysia a couple of months ago, I thought ‘why not work whilst I am here?’ Geogetown is such a gorgeous town full of art and history and so I pitched it to Fahthai May-June edition.

After a great week exploring, writing and taking photos I finally headed to the airport to come home (yes on Bangkok Airways.. ha, plug). When I checked in I was told, “Sorry madam, there has been a problem with your seat.” Anyway I was given a new seat and got lost on the plane looking in economy for 1A… oh but it was in business class!

During my lunch served on a white table cloth with wine and all in business class… I opened the magazine to pass time and there was my article…. ha what fun!

Yep jungle pants, ankle socks…. a (cold) hippy in business class reading her own article…


The magic arrival of the book

I was sitting on the beach at the Hoop Jam listening to the DJ and hanging out…

…when my boss Michael rocked up in his dingy boat and hand delivered me a package.

Little did he know how exciting this package was when he handed me a book – ‘Imprint14’ – an anthology from Hong Kong with my short story publication of ‘A Perfect Statue.’

Having not made it to the book launch in Hong Kong this year (I went last year when they published my story ‘The Boy who Loved Bubbles’), this was a pretty cool way to receive my story in print.

You can also now read ‘A Perfect Statue’

My first article published in FAHTHAI magazine

The editor of FAHTHAI in Singapore contacted me in Feb and asked me to write a little something on some sites in Koh Phangan. And so began the next few years of writing articles for FAHTHAI magazine, the online magazine on Bangkok Airways.

It was a pretty exciting moment to open the Bangkok Airways (Mar-Apr 2015 edition) magazine and see ‘Resident Romi Grossberg gives us the lowdown.’

‘The Boy who Loved Bubbles,’ Imprint13. Hong Kong

My first short story to be published in a book was in the annual anthology ‘Imprint13’ through Women in Publishing in Hong Kong.

I jumped at the chance to attend the book launch and shared a room with my friend and poet Elizabeth who was also published.

I had written a short story ‘The Boy who Loved Bubbles’ based on my work at Tiny Toones Cambodia. It is the true story of a little boy ‘Bou’ who came from a family of such extreme property that his body odour sent me in to shock. It is a terrifying real story but did have a gloriously happy ending … of bubbles. The Hong Kong Women in Publishing Association loved my story and chose to include it in their anthology and invited me over to the book launch.

You can read The Boy who Loved Bubbles here.

Elizabeth and I were very civilised; shook hands with everyone, gave and received congratulations, posed for photos and drank a glass of wine or two…

but I believe some late night food was had 🙂

Read the short story here…

‘The Boy who Loved Bubble’ by Romi Grossberg.

Street Walls

WuPP #10, 2013

“… Introducing Cambodia’s first dynamic duo street artists, Pear Tarr and Lisa Mam…”

Em Riem, from reality to abstraction

WuPP #09, 2013

“… Growing up in the province tending to his family cows and hunting for frogs, Em Riem, a child survivor of the Khmer Rouge never knew what art was…”

You’ve got Talent Cambodia

WuPP #5, 2013

“… I have been on this path, this yellow brick road for such a long time , and now I am right where I am meant to be…”