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Hillary Rettig
Hillary Rettig's most recent book is The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer's Block (Infinite Art, 2011). She is also coach and workshop leader who specializes in helping people:

1) increase their productivity (especially, writing productivity), and overcome blocks
2) improve their time use
3) find jobs, and build more meaningful and satisfying careers, and
4) start and grow businesses.

She currently resides in Boston, where she teaches at Grub Street Writers and the Bridges to Business microenterprise program.

In a prior career, Hillary was a high tech consultant and journalist, in the latter role publishing hundreds of feature articles in magazines including Wired and Working Woman.

Hillary has spoken before hundreds of audiences across the nation in the activist, arts, community, small business and corporate realms; and in each realm finds wisdom and insight to bring to the others. She has also appeared on national and local television and radio programs, and been quoted in many national and local newspapers.

For more information on Hillary, including abundant free downloads, visit Hillary welcomes your emails at

Entries by Hillary Rettig

How to Get Over Procrastination in a Day

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2013 | 4:19 PM

On Tuesday I procrastinated worse than I had in months. I couldn't even approach my desk, and spent a large part of the day in bed. Not sick, just hiding.

I was unhappy about this, since I have deadlines like everyone else. And a part of me was thinking things...

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How to Live Your Summer Life All Year Long

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2013 | 6:14 PM

Summer is a time for play, but what does your play tell you about the life you'd really like to be living? During the summer, many of us:

• Relax
• Get more athletic
• Get more sensual (Shakespeare didn't write A Midwinter Night's Dream,
after all!)

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How to Be an Effective Decision-Maker

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2012 | 6:00 PM

I was recently interviewed by for an article on decision making. The writer's questions were excellent and thought provoking, and I wanted to share my answers with you.


Q: For leaders you've encountered or researched, how have you noticed that decision-making tends to get...

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Are Millenials Spoiled?

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 11:39 AM

In my workshops I teach the benefits of an anti-perfectionist viewpoint: one that is compassionate, empathetic, nonjudgmental of yourself and others, etc.

Yesterday, a 20-something participant raised the question of whether her and her generation had been too indulged (and thus weakened and infantalized) by excessive praise and...

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If No One Falls Over, We're Having a Great Class!

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2012 | 2:24 PM

One of my recent newsletters discussed a misguided essay (and now, regrettably, book) by a prominent philosophy professor on his notion of "constructive procrastination." I'm happy now to refer you to this essay, "I'm With Stupid," by a writer who is not, to my knowledge, a prominent professor,...

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The Rise of Non-Perfectionist Veganism, Part III: Solutions to Perfectionist Veganism and Vegan Activism

(3) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 2:09 PM

Last article in a three-part series. Read part one here and part two here.

How to Build Your Compassionate Objectivity

You can overcome your perfectionism and build your own compassionate objectivity using these techniques:

1) Work consciously to replace perfectionist thinking and speaking with compassionate objectivity....

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The Rise of Non-Perfectionist Veganism, Part II: How Perfectionism Disempowers Vegans and Vegan Activists

(0) Comments | Posted September 7, 2012 | 5:45 PM

Second article in a three-part series. Read part one here.

Procrastination, or the inability to do one's work or other important tasks (e.g., eat vegan) is largely a response to perfectionism. (There are other causes, including resource deficiencies and ambivalence, but perfectionism is usually the...

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No Such Thing as "Good Procrastination"

(1) Comments | Posted August 28, 2012 | 11:38 PM

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article extolling the benefits of what the author calls "structured procrastination." In "How to Be a Better Procrastinator" John Perry, an emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford University, says:

But are procrastinators truly unproductive? In most cases, the exact opposite is...
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All Your Work Should Be Sand Castles

(0) Comments | Posted August 13, 2012 | 6:19 PM

The wonderful and much-missed writer and writing teacher John Gardner wrote in On Becoming a Novelist:

"If children can build sand castles without getting sand-castle block, and if ministers can pray over the sick without getting holiness block, the writer who enjoys his work and takes measured pride...
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The Rise of Non-Perfectionist Veganism, Part I: Perfectionism as a Barrier to a Vegan Lifestyle and World

(5) Comments | Posted July 23, 2012 | 4:11 PM

First in a three-part series.

After my book The Lifelong Activist was published by Lantern Books in 2006, I gave a lot of talks to vegan groups and also spoke with many individual vegans and vegan activists. Whenever I'd mention what I'd considered the self-evident fact that some...

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In Which I Advise a Young Baby

(2) Comments | Posted June 27, 2012 | 11:57 AM

My friend and free software activist Ciaran McHale and his wife, Bianca, recently had a baby -- the gorgeous Toby. And they did something completely cool, which was to ask friends concerned with social justice to write letters to Toby, which they would publish in a book.

The book...

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Watching Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Work Anxiety Just Melt Away...

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 8:11 PM

Here's what the process of overcoming perfectionism and procrastination looks like:

1. You start from a place where you hate doing your work and avoid doing it at all costs.

2. Then you move to a place where you dislike it, but start showing up and doing it sometimes.


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Help Your Team Overcome Procrastination and Finish Projects

(0) Comments | Posted May 31, 2012 | 4:56 PM

Procrastination isn't laziness, lack of discipline, lack of willpower, etc.: it's disempowerment. Disempowerment means you aren't missing anything, but lacking access to that which you have. Remove or heal from the disempowering forces in your work and life and you'll "automagically" recover all the energy, discipline, willpower, etc., you thought...

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How to Avoid Burnout by Frequently Rewarding Yourself

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2012 | 11:38 PM

A friend and activist recently wrote to me about the difficulty she has with building "rewards" (fun, pleasure, validation, gratification, treats, etc.) into her life. She mentioned that a day trip that was supposed to be a big reward for her last month fizzled, and that left her very demoralized.

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Why You (Yes You!) Should Indie Publish, Part II

(4) Comments | Posted April 2, 2012 | 11:31 AM

In my previous article I discussed why all businesses should indie publish -- including non-writing businesses.

Here are some guidelines for doing it right:

Clarify your goals

If you want to indie publish for a hobby, or to create a memento for loved ones, then you can just...

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Why You (Yes You!) Should Indie Publish

(3) Comments | Posted March 26, 2012 | 2:20 PM

Indie publishing is for many businesses, not just writers! A yoga teacher earning $70 teaching a one-hour class who sells three students a $12 indie-published book, has boosted her profits more than 50%. And an independent software vendor who sells manuals for his system isn't just sweetening his bottom line...

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How Labeling and Hyperbole Sabotage Your Writing Productivity

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2012 | 5:18 PM

Perfectionists, being drawn to reductiveness, dichotomization and rigidity, love labels. But the labels they use are almost always harmful in that they either denigrate the writer or increase the pressure she feels around her work. An example of good labeling would be to call writing "my job," and the particular...

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An Open Letter From an Indie Author to America's Independent Booksellers

(13) Comments | Posted January 12, 2012 | 4:54 PM

Dear Indie Booksellers,

December wasn't easy, was it? As if steadily-declining sales and the threat posed by a new phalanx of holiday-purchased ereaders weren't enough, Slate's Farhad Manjoo published a widely-discussed article entitled Don't Support Your Local Bookseller: Buying Books on Amazon is Better for Authors, Better for...

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Ambivalence: The Career Killer

(0) Comments | Posted January 18, 2011 | 6:58 PM

Today's topic, appropriately enough, is ambivilance. We tend to think of it as a small thing -- "Should I have a donut or danish? I can't decide!" -- but in the realm of life choices, it's huge. The cliché that you can't move in two directions at once is absolutely...

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How Labeling and Hyperbole Sabotage Your Writing Productivity

(1) Comments | Posted December 8, 2010 | 6:05 PM

Perfectionists, being drawn to reductiveness, dichotomization and rigidity, love labels. But the labels they use are almost always harmful in that they either denigrate the writer or increase the pressure she feels around her work. An example of good labeling would be to call writing "my job," and the particular...

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