Hump Day: The only truly perfect time to start a difficult project is now

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015
Moncton Times & Transcript

I have a weekly newsletter that goes out to about 600 subscribers. In it, I have a section that includes a number of inspirational and thought-provoking quotes from a variety of business, entertainment, community, literary, government and spiritual leaders. This leads me on a weekly search for some of the best things people have said not only recently, but throughout history.

One quote I used this week struck me. It’s a quote by Alan Cohen and it goes like this: “Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” If you’re like me and like to put off things you’re not really interested in doing,this may speak to you, too.

There’s nothing that guarantees a clean house more like putting off another project I don’t want to start. I’ll tidy up here and there, get some cooking done and then do some work before I tackle the unwanted item. I’ll wander around and do this and that – and that and this – and then a little of this and that again. The house would be spotless and long-neglected chores taken care of, but that one nagging little project is still sitting there waiting to be done.

Most of the time, it’s a writing project and I’m waiting to feel inspired. I hear that from a lot of writing friends. They have to write something, so they clean their house instead. It could be anything, really. Most of the time though with me, it’s a writing task as I wait for some unseen spirit to come down from heaven, stick its cold dead finger into my ear and inject me with brilliance from the great beyond. I wait, and I wait. But alas, I just have to get the job done.

I usually write this column on Monday nights. Most of the time, I have an idea of what I want to write about, but sometimes I’m sitting at my computer wailing like a banshee at 10:30 p.m. because I’m drawing a blank. Then I stare angrily at my pets. Why couldn’t one of the cats have done something silly so that I could write about it?

Why couldn’t the other cat cause some sort of unfathomable horrors to the house like in 2006 when Charlotte, a cat I used to own, did $10,000 damage to the house after she played with the filter on the aquarium and caused 35 gallons of water to overflow onto the hardwood floors and seep through into the basement? Now that was a thoughtful cat! Always happy to help her daddy with his column writing by causing havoc. Although I had to re-home Charlotte because the other two cats – Cindy and Casey – tried to kill her one day (that’s a whole other episode of Dr. Phil!), at least she gave me something to write about.

As for the dog, Milane, well she just sits there and looks adorable. What am I supposed to do with that? So selfish. Give me something to work with! Get possessed by a demon or something. Sitting there looking cute and sweet with those big eyes isn’t going to bring home the dog treats!

procrastination 2Once I start something, though, whether it’s a decluttering project, writing or shovelling snow, it’s never half as bad as I had made it out to be. It feels good to be accomplishing it. And the end result is never has difficult as I had imagined it.

Which brings me back to the quote at the beginning of this column. There’s never a perfect time to start anything. Just start it.

In the past week, I’ve made a bunch of decisions about the administration of my website, email and computer backups. It feels very good to have finally made them. I also got some new graphics designed for my website and newsletter headers. If I told you how long I’ve been thinking about doing just that – well, I’d be too embarrassed to tell you, actually.

Now, at least, all my precious photos and work files will be backed up into what they call ‘the cloud’ and I won’t have to worry about losing it all like I did many years ago when a computer crash led to years of work and memories gone down the drain. It’s no fun having to start over. And these days, there’s absolutely no need of it!

It’s funny. After I read that quote last week, it sparked something in me that got me going on a number of fronts. The timing will never be perfect. Sometimes, you just have to start – and that makes it perfect!

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