When a task intimidates you, are you inclined to procrastinate doing it?
I admit, I do.
Usually it’s fear that stops me from taking action. Fear of the technology or the complexity of the task and so I procrastinate (for days, months, and yes, even years).
Invariably when I finally get to a point of doing what I’ve been putting off, I discover it wasn’t so hard after all. Then I want to kick myself for allowing that intimidation to control me for so long.
Sometimes it isn’t fear; it’s my dislike of the task itself (like doing webinars or creating promo videos).
Maybe for you those intimidating tasks are promoting your books or speaking to groups. Maybe it’s social media or website technology or email list servers or whether to blog or not.
And so you put off doing it or worse yet, completely cross it off your list of to-dos.
But then you look at dismal royalty checks or bleak platform numbers and nada email subscribers, and you realize you have to do something. So you tackle the task, you jump that hurdle. And maybe, like me, you realize it wasn’t as hard or as complicated as you thought it might be.
When I was in Marine Corps boot camp, if the drill instructor asked us a question we didn’t have the answer to, the DI taught us recruits to respond with “I don’t know, ma’am, but I’ll find out, ma’am,” and they expected us to take action and find the answer.
That tiny little sentence made me a lifelong learner, and if I need to know how to do something, I do what I can to learn.
But as I think about that statement now, some 40 years later, I realize it was the Marine Corps’ way of teaching us not to let our lack of knowledge stop us from accomplishing our tasks. We were to take the initiative, learn what we needed to know, and move forward.
In other words, don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know, take appropriate action.
For writers, that might mean signing up for a month of Lynda.com and viewing course videos on WordPress, or taking an online writing course, or investing in a coach or program such as Shelley Hitz’s Author Audience Academy.
I’ve been working harder not to procrastinate simply because the task intimidates me. Sometimes I commit to something that will force me to take action (like committing to hold my first webinar by the end of August). Sometimes, I get my toes wet by taking small steps—tackling one task within a larger framework of tasks.
In some areas, my procrastination has been due to deep emotional wounds like rejection. Maybe you have some of those, too.
But God doesn’t want us cowering in fear. He gave us a spirit of love, power, and self-discipline (see 2 Timothy 1:7).
And I’ve come to a place where I will no longer allow fear (or Satan’s taunts) to control me.
I want to live boldly for God and use my talents and skills to fulfill His destiny for my life.
How about you? I expect you feel the same way or you wouldn’t be writing the books you write.
Make a commitment to yourself and God today that instead of procrastinating, you’ll take action and move forward with Him.
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Your reason to procrastinate no longer exists. You are more than a conqueror through Christ (Romans 8:37)!