I read quite a few blogs and articles on productivity and time management and have found them extremely helpful. Besides offering good information, they’re a handy avoidance technique. Reading feels productive. I’m educating myself. I can list the benefits all day long.

Getting drawn in provides a guilt-free excuse to avoid what I should be doing. What I need to be doing. What I actually want to do.

But am somehow, not doing.

I can futz around half the day doing everything BUT what I need to get done, and then, when the deadline looms, dive past the distractions and excuses and get some serious work accomplished.

I’d like to skip the procrastination stage. But how?

One of the things I’ve learned is to take a minute and listen. WHY don’t I want to do this thing I say I want to do?

Whether it’s a life situation or a story problem, it’s usually because some part of me knows:

a) I’m going in the wrong direction,

b) There’s a problem with a relationship, or

c) I don’t know enough about where I’m trying to go.

Once I figure out which one applies here, I can make the necessary changes. That frees me to take the next step.

During elementary school, I went to Pioneer Girls, which was like Girl Scouts for church kids. We started every meeting by quoting Psalm 119:105. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”

There’s lots of helpful imagery here. If you’ve ever used a lantern or a flashlight, you know it only lights up a smidge of the path ahead. The light never reaches miles and miles in front of you. You have to trust it and take a step. Then another, so you can see the next step.

So it is in creative endeavors and in reaching our dreams. If we could see all that lies ahead, both good and bad, we might never move from our safely rooted spot in the present.

We have to step out, into the circle of light.

Turn the lantern on. Take a look at the problem. And then take the next step.

Do it today. And again tomorrow. And the next day.

We won’t get there all at once. But if we make steady progress in the right direction, we’ll eventually reach our destination.

What next step do you need to take today?