Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Procrastinating 101: Slower Sounds Good to Me About Now

This week's Procrastinating 101 post will be short and, I hope, sweet.  Here, I will pass along the wisdom of Marshall J. Cook's Slow Down. . .and get More Done, Chapter Two:  "Can you really manage time?"  

Cook begins the chapter advising the reader to learn "when to control" and "when to let go."  He offers a portrait of one stressed out "clock-racer," whose life leaves little time even for loving.  (And my sons call me a hyper chihuahua on crack!)  He suggests we ask "Lakein's question"--referring to a modern father of time management, Alan Lakein, whose How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life is a classic in the field--"What's the best use of my time right now."  Because, says Cook, "the clock-racer books and tapes that followed Lakein," and the toys and tools that were supposed to bring us under control, have not helped.  
. . .[m]ost of us still feel no more in control of our lives than before.  Instead we feel wrung out, strung out and stressed out.  What we don't feel is good.  We still have too much to do, and we don't feel satisfied with what we're doing.  We're so busy, we don't even remember what we might like to do, if only we had the time.  We schedule instead of live.  Who has time to feel or think? [p. 21]

In response, and as a frame for the rest of his book, Cook offers these six fundamental principles for passionate, productive living:

  1. The first principle, which surpasses all principles and can set you free:  You get to decide how you spend your time.
  2. Telephones, faxes and beepers are tools, not forces of nature.
  3. Make possibilities, not plans.
  4. Give yourself a break.
  5. Whenever possible, put it off.
  6. Don't spent time, save time, or wate time.  Live.
He has more to say about these principles, of course, but for today, I will stop here.  Cook invites us to make our own principles, and to revise as necessary.  I think he's on to something.

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