When I was little and had homework to do, or chores to do, or needed to clean my room and had a serious case of the "I don't wanna's" my dad would say, "Just do 15 minutes" or "Just work on it for 30 minutes". Suffering from serious objections to any form of labor or productivity, I wasn't very keen on his suggestion, but knowing it had to be done, 15 minutes generally sounded do-able. So I'd wander out of the room and toward my necessary task. Generally spending the 15 minutes would get me started in a focused way that I could keep going and get the job done. Or sometimes it only took 15 minutes (or less!) to finish and I'd be done.
Today I employed my dad's tactic. As I hemmed and hawwed about writing my sermon and my lack of inspiration for so doing, I decided I'd shut down the email, the chat, and the phone, and just focus on the sermon for an hour. After that I could take a break, but only after the solid hour of work. Lo and behold it worked! (Good job Dad!) I read a number of helpful articles, refused to let procrastination take hold, and got a bit of inspiration. Then I treated myself to a nap! (Good, focused, effort deserves a decent reward, right?!)
Naturally, the sermon wasn't completed in an hour, even though I had done some work before, so later in the day I did more reading, and then set up another hour of email/chat/phone free time to work. Not allowing myself to use the means of communication as distractions (even if I really did need to call ________) allowed me to stay on track and get lots of work done. So now it's 8:20 and my sermon is written. (I know for those of you who aren't procrastinators, that's not really an accomplishment, but for me, procrastinator extraodinaire, who regularly works on sermons until 11 o'clock at night on Saturdays and then again on Sunday mornings, that's a big deal). It still needs some transitions and some cleaning up, but it's written, which in my book is fabulous; yet again--Thanks Dad!
All I needed was a little less talk and a lot more action! (Okay, so not quite the Toby Keith variety, but you get the idea...).