Have you ever delayed doing something to wait for the right time? The story of how this article was not written for a long time, before being written, is a fine example of it.
By the end of last year, my blog was showing me a post count in the 240s. A few more posts and I’d hit 250. Somehow that was a big deal, two and a half centuries, a quarter of the way to a thousand posts. Clearly my 250th post had to be something epic!
In a rush to reach the fated figure, I wrote four posts in February, two (my 247th and 248th) in March. And then in April, May and June, nothing; I had no idea what to write for my 250th post. In July I wrote a perfunctory post to push me to the brink and then blankness. Here I was at the end of September and I had no grand ideas, waiting for a number which no one reading this could even see.
Have you noticed that very young children have no sense of the future? They’re very much about the now. Little kids do not get the concept of getting a piece of chocolate later, or in the afternoon, or in 2 days. Now is all they consider and everything else doesn’t exist. As grown-ups, though, we divide our futures into carefully curated boxes of time, neatly numbered and labelled, and soon we live and breathe in those boxes. The labels and numbers become more important to us than the rest. We become all about the future, ever living in it, thriving in it and being fruitful in it, but rarely now.
The challenge of planning your time is that the boxes and traditional time-management wisdoms do help in routine work and repetitive tasks. However, time-lines, deadlines and target dates can sometimes muddle the open-ended exploratory work you do, including most creative and long-term projects. When you are creating things, milestones and significant numbers can be our best form of self-sabotage.