“Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.” – Tim Ferriss
It’s easier than ever to master distraction. There are so many ways to push aside the importance of a specific task for the urgent du jour that pops up as a notification or to the top of your inbox. What is life but the prioritization of important things over all the rest? And yet we so easily cave to distraction.
Important things fall by the wayside because they’re often uncomfortable. Or perceived to be. Certainly more uncomfortable than scurrying about in the familiar buzz of tasks and quick minutes. There were days when I’d look up, realize the time and see that I’d gotten none of the meaningful things I’d wanted to do completed. For those of us who want to feel accomplishment at the end of a long day, this can be a moment of painful self-reckoning.
So why do we succumb over and over to the relative ease of distraction and the unimportant? Because it feels like no big thing at that moment, because we put the important task in a box of “uncomfortable”. Because busywork feels like getting things done, but easier than the task we ought to be doing. Because, because, because…
“The biggest generator of long term results is learning to do things when you don’t feel like doing them. Discipline is more reliable than motivation.” -Shane Parrish
Uncomfortable has its own pleasures, just not always in the moment. Making a long term investment in ourselves through discipline seems more difficult in the moment, but deferred important tasks only amplify the longer you defer them. Pay me now or pay me later.
Ultimately, the answer is to know what’s important for the long term and to have the discipline to stick to the tasks that matter in getting you there. Which requires embracing the suck and doing the uncomfortable important things until you forget that it was ever all that uncomfortable to begin with. And that infers that you have a vision for the future you and a clear map for how you’ll get there. The rest is disciplined action. Simple, right?