One of the pitfalls of being a writer is that it’s too easy to become distracted when I sit down to the computer to write – especially if I feel stuck and am having a hard time crafting a particular scene.
Under the guise of “research,” I soon find myself surfing the Internet, looking for ideas to jump-start my creativity or I check my e-mail, just to see if a member of my writing group left a critique on something I submitted. Maybe I’ll just do a quick online cryptogram puzzle or work on marketing an article I wrote last week instead, because the ideas won’t come. Before I know it an hour has passed and I haven’t gotten any writing done.
It’s really called “procrastination” – putting off intentionally and habitually something that needs to be done. (Meriam Webster Dictionary) And most of us do it at one time or another.
Writer Raymond Chandler had an interesting way to deal with his procrastinating side. He set aside about 4 hours each day to write. Even if he didn’t feel like writing or was “stuck” on a particular scene, he would sit down to write anyway. He had two basic rules during that 4 hours: “A. you don’t have to write. B. you can’t do anything else.”
Chandler’s “do nothing else” rule is kind of like a mental time-out for chronic procrastinators Eventually boredom sets in and we do what needs to be done because there’s nothing else to do.
So here’s today’s challenge for all the chronic procrastinators out there: Choose one task from your to do list that you’ve put off. Set aside a block of time and implement Chandler’s rule – you don’t have to do that task, but don’t allow yourself to do anything else. No cheating!
Now, try applying that rule to your spiritual life. Is there something you know God wants you to do, but you’ve put it off? Like setting aside time for prayer or Bible reading each day? Or maybe helping someone else? Try applying Chandler’s “do nothing else” rule for that one thing until you can say like the Psalmist, “I will hurry, without delay to obey your commands.”
Father, help me make obedience a habit! Amen