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The Tinkered Mind
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May 4th, 2021
The equation for procrastination is often as follows: there exist two things, the one you want to do, and the one you should do. Doing what you want to do without first doing what you should do decreases the enjoyment. Any activity is more enjoyable in the absence of some lingering stress, and those activities that are purely for enjoyment are undermined. But instead of doing what we should do, we often go for a third option: some innocuous chore that has no pressing obligation. Or worse yet: we do nothing, paralyzed, locked by the binary options.
It’s at this point that a large portion of the local bookstore steps in, taking the form of the ‘self-help’ section. The very best of this entire literature boils down to: just do the thing that needs to be done. It’s almost the correct advice. For some it works, and for those they may shake their heads at the rest of the paralyzed bunch, not without an air of superiority. Better advice is just a smaller version: just start.
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, most goals and projects are accomplished through a kind of attrition. We slowly wear down the to-do list of large projects. They are never done in one giant swoop of effort. And if they are, perhaps projects of a bit larger magnitude are in order.