When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for man to roll up his sleeves and get the job done, he faces not only the aforementioned task but the challenge of conquering the distractions he will be so easily drawn to, for they provide an escape from an assignment that has become so daunting in his mind that climbing Mt. Everest would be of equivalent difficulty. Therefore, it becomes not a question of when he will finish, but rather if he will start.
Whether it be human nature or weakened will, something pushes us to run circles around what we’ve set out to do instead of attacking it head on. Ironically, we’ve tried to build a society on a foundation of efficiency, so as to prevent this from happening. We have created technology that can process information faster than we can, transportation that can bring us around the globe in a matter of hours, and food that can be prepared in seconds. It seems that with all of the extra time gained by these resources, time limitations shouldn’t be holding us back at all. And yet, we still find ourselves struggling to make deadlines and complete assignments, in part because the advances we’ve made allow us to.
The stress of completing jobs invariably puts our minds into extremely fragile states, and this pressure becomes so uncomfortable that we seize any chance to escape this overwhelming anxiety. The further we stray from the problem, however, the more intimidating it becomes, until suddenly we face a formidable monster that will surely destroy us if we get any closer. But the longer we wait, the more stressed we become, and the result -- an unforgiving pattern.
This daydreaming and time-wasting, these hours we’ve spent coming up with reasons why we can’t instead of why we should; they all build up. Projects that would normally take thirty minutes spiral into hours upon hours, simply because we allow our minds to wander around the irrelevant. By the time a person turns eighty, if they have spent only one hour each day putting things off, then they would have spent three years of their life doing absolutely nothing. Three years. This misplaced time has been stolen away by the one thing that we can train ourselves to avoid, the greatest enemy of the mind. Procrastination.
Such is quite the deceitful opponent, and it has set mankind back for generations. It twists one’s sense of logic so much so that priorities become optional. It skillfully deceives its victim into believing that there will be no consequences for delaying what must be completed. It fogs the mind with diversions of worthless thoughts, and it will only lift its spell when there is no hope of finishing with time to spare, leaving its victim scrambling for shortcuts. Even once one has finished what they set out to do, procrastination leaves a lasting effect. Exhaustion settles in, leaving the victim in a dazed stupor, and the stress of coming tasks only pushes him/her further into oblivion. This vicious cycle has beaten down far too many individuals, and we’ve reached a state of urgency that has made it necessary for this madness to end.
It’s time that we take back the years of our lives that have been stolen by this demon of distraction. It seems to strike most often when we are alone, so let us find strength in numbers and destroy this beast! Let us work together with the end in mind, for the rewards of reaching the finish line are far greater than any found when you stray from the course of action. Let us remove the splendorous distractions that have taunted us for so long, for though their outsides may sparkle, they are rotting within. Let us escape from this maze that has trapped us for so long, with our decisions to “take a quick break” leading us down another dead end. Let the days of “doing it later” cease, for a new age has reached us. Instead of fighting to finish, we will finish the fight, by destroying this beast once and for all.
We may have tried and failed many times to beat away this wicked being, but at last we will come away victorious. No longer will we be caught in the merciless hands of our captor, for we will expel its draining powers with our incredible efficiency. Just as water beats fire and light brightens dark, we shall use our sharp concentrations to dull and defeat its strength from our minds. For while it may come at us bearing weapons of intrusive interruptions and diverting detours, we will barrel full speed ahead with one word in mind: focus.