21. Defeating Your Fears: Requirements

The two main requirements you need for working on your fear-based procrastination problem are time and honesty.

First, time. You should expect to devote a few hours a week to working on your procrastination problem, at least in the beginning. This is time spent not just on the Fear Defeating Process, but also on Mission Management and Time Management, both of which, as you know, are essential to success. It can also include time spent journaling, or talking to a therapist or other helping professional.

The amount of time you will need to spend should lessen over time, as you become better able to cope with your fears and panic. While it may now take you a couple of hours of journaling to calm down after a disturbing or annoying event, it may eventually take only ten minutes or a few seconds. Eventually, your procrastination problem will mostly go away, and you’ll become one of those in-control, effortlessly productive people you’ve always envied. But don’t expect that result without putting in your time first.

Make no mistake: a few hours a week is not an unreasonable amount of time to devote to this process. In fact, it’s one of the best possible uses of your time. (It is the frantic people who feel that they have absolutely no time to do this who probably need to do it most.) The time you devote to beating your procrastination problem, you’ll get back many times over in the form of increased productivity over the rest of your career.

Next, honesty. You should be prepared to be completely honest with yourself, and with anyone helping you, about your thoughts, feelings, fears and insecurities concerning your work, life goals, current situation and procrastination problem. If you are used to censoring unpleasant or “unacceptable” thoughts or feelings, it may take you a while to learn to un-censor yourself and own up to your truth—for instance, that you are sick and tired of activism and want to take a break. Or that, while you want to continue to do activism, it is also important for you to lead a “normal” life with a house, kids, yard and car. Or that you have doubts about the validity of your movement, the motives of the people in it or the tactics they are employing.

See Part I, Chapter 4, for more guidance on truth-telling in difficult circumstances, and remember that anything less than total honesty sabotages the process, and may even make your procrastination problem worse.

What about Money?

Do you need money to solve your procrastination problem? Not necessarily—although it helps.

In Chapter 24, I recommend that all my readers see a therapist, which of course takes money. If you don’t have it, then creatively brainstorm around the problem. Group therapy sessions are cheaper than solo sessions, and support groups and twelve-step programs (if addiction is a problem) are cheap or free.

Want to take a self-improvement or leadership class or workshop but can’t afford it? Ask if the school gives a discount for activists, perhaps in exchange for your helping out at the event.

At the very least, you can always borrow a library book on whatever topic you’re interested in.

NEVER let a lack of money stop you from achieving your goals. Lack of money should always be an inconvenience, never a hard barrier.