Saturday, August 1, 2009
Just Do It!
I'm a Newton's second law kind of guy. I tend to remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced external force. No amount of training in Getting Things Done or other time and task management techniques will get me out of my chair until I am acted on by some force or impulse. This afternoon was a case in point. I needed to mow the lawn. I intended to mow the lawn. Mowing the lawn was on my weekend projects list. My next actions -- Get out of chair; Put on shoes -- were duly identified and recorded. Yet I spent over four hours planted in front of my computer making excuses and manfully resisting all urges to get up and simply mow the lawn. It looked like it might rain and I probably wouldn't have time to finish. It was hot. I needed to wait until it was cooler. And so forth. And so forth. It's not like mowing my lawn is a really big and onerous job requiring lots of time and physical stamina. It's not. My house sits on a 1/5 acre lot along with six trees and three flower beds. Mowing the lawn is generally a 40 to 50 minute job. Neither is my lawn thick and lush enough to require great physical effort to push the mower through a dense carpet of grass. In fact, were it not for broad-leaf weeds, I'd have no lawn at all. Indeed, some portions only need mowing to chop off seed pods that the weeds insist on growing taller than the surrounding area. And some portions didn't need mowing at all. Rather, it was a matter of Newtons' second law. My resting body wanted nothing more than to remain at rest. However, there is a limit to the amount of indolence that a person can endure and late this afternoon I reached that limit. It was either get up and move or perpetually assume the shape of the chair. So, I got up and moved, and it felt good. I put my shoes on, and that felt better. I opened the front door and the air was soft and sweet, and that was the best of all. Then, since I hate exercise without a purpose, and having a neat lawn is at least a purpose of sorts, I opened up the shed, got out the lawn mower, gassed it up, and pulled the rope. I was answered by a pop that grew into a satisfying purr, and before I realized what was happening, I was happily pushing the mower up and down the front and then the side and back yards, humming as I went. In 35 minutes, the lawn was mowed. As I knew in the back of my mind while I was putting it off, I did a great job and thoroughly enjoyed doing it. Sometimes the only way to overcome Newton's second law is to just do it. You'll be glad you did.