The Cure for Procrastination
by Earl Nightingale
Have you ever noticed that the longer you look at something you should be doing, the more difficult it seems to appear? That the longer you put off something you should do, the more difficult it is to get started?
A good deal of frustration and unhappiness could be avoided if people would just do what they know they should do.
The great newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane once wrote, "Don't exaggerate your own importance, your own size, or your own miseries. You are an ant in a human anthill. Be a working ant — not a ridiculous insect pitying yourself." Strong language, maybe, but there's a lot of sense in it.
Sometimes it must seem to everyone that things have piled up so high that there's just no way of digging out. But there is. Pick the thing that's most important to do, and simply begin doing it. Just by digging in, you'll feel better, and you'll find that it's not nearly as bad as you thought it would be. Keep at it, and before long, that pile of things to do that seemed so overwhelming is behind you — finished.
What overwhelms us is not the work itself. It's thinking how hard it's going to be. It's seeing it get larger every day. It's putting if off and hoping that somehow, through some miracle, it will disappear.
The Chinese have a saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. And that step accomplishes two things. First, it automatically shortens the distance we still have to travel, and, second, and just as important, it makes us feel better, more hopeful — it strengthens our faith.
If you'll think back, you'll remember that you've always been happiest, most contented, after having finished a difficult project or faced up to a responsibility you were worried about. It's never as bad as you think it's going to be, and the joy that will come with its accomplishment makes it more than worthwhile.
Work never killed anyone. It's worry that does the damage. And the worry would disappear if we'd just settle down and do the work.
I have not met anyone who claims to have never procrastinated. It could be something on the personal front, too busily engaged in work. The antidote is simple and known to us intuitively but we need periodic reminders such as the one above. Here's my resolution for today: I will finish one item from my list of long-pending To Dos before the end of this week. Not too ambitious but a start.