Welcome to the Determined to Dance podcast with your host, Jennifer Hallmark.
Today’s episode, “Procrastinating When Life is Difficult” looks at why we put hard chores or tasks off until another day.
Are you ready? The world would have us march to its chaotic beat but God invites us to dance in His will and His way. Let’s take a moment to be energized, refreshed, and motivated to face the day, one spin and twirl at a time.
Show Notes: Procrastinating When Life Is Difficult
I’ve written a new novel and I’m so excited about the story, my characters, and a brand-new genre for me. Speculative. What kind of books are those? On my website, I call them books from off the beaten track. Weird. Eclectic. Fun. Think fantasy, science fiction, and supernatural. In terms of movies, Outlander, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, Dune, Game of Thrones, and The Shaggy Dog.
The Shaggy Dog? Yep. Disney released this fun movie in 1959. These are my favorite kind of stories. Since I finished writing my book, I’ve worked hard on a proposal and cover letter to hopefully persuade an agent, editor, or publisher that my novel will someday be on the New York Times bestsellers list.
This task? Think difficult. Lots of work. A great opportunity…to dance. Or procrastinate. The proposal is nearly done and I need to finish and send it out. But every time I think about doing just that, my heart sinks. I release a sigh. I go clean something or eat cookies.
Why do we put things off when they’re difficult or seem to be difficult? Here’s another example. There’s a big pile of clean laundry in my utility room. Yes, I know I’ve now moved to meddling. It needs to be folded and put away after I remove any winter items from said pile. The thought of attacking the mound of clothes seems difficult.
So, I keep the door shut where I won’t see it.
Hmm. Seems to be a pattern here. Why don’t I send the proposal and finish the laundry?
The possibility of failure or rejection. In the case of the proposal, what if they don’t like it or don’t want my book?
I’m tired. I don’t have the energy to deal with the pile or go through the agent, editor, or publisher’s instructions on exactly how to send my proposal.
I’m afraid. What if I never emerge from the utility room or someone laughs at my book idea?
I’m overwhelmed. I have so many other things to do. How do I put them in order?
These are all valid responses and we’ll look at some of them in more detail in the coming weeks. Fear, rejection, priorities, and focus are major causes of stalling or postponing something we should do or need to do.
But Jennifer, how do I get past this traffic jam in my day? My life?
I’m so glad you asked.
First, start with a deadline. For my proposal woes, I decided to send it by Wednesday, the day before we planned to go camping. That gave me a couple of weeks to work on it, then live or die, it would go out into the world. And the laundry? I wanted it done now. No more excuses.
Second, I work on these tasks in small segments. I’ll work on parts of the proposal each day for fifteen to twenty minutes. The winter clothes will be pulled from the pile first and put upstairs in the big cedar chest. Making the task manageable puts me in the “I can do this” frame of mind.
And now to follow through. There’s a great feeling of satisfaction when a job is completed. I’m dancing again because I’m not stuck in the whiny cycle of “it's too hard.” I may never get caught up on laundry in this lifetime but I can keep moving forward with the utility room door open once again. My proposal will be read by someone and it’s up to them to make a decision. I’ve done my part, conquering my tendency to put things off. Are you ready to quit stalling?
Let’s pray. Father God, putting the hard things in life on hold doesn’t make our lives better. Instead, it makes us tired, feel guilty, and out of control. You are in control and long to help us every day.