Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Doing and Not Doing

A friend of mine once asked her husband what he was doing as he busied about on a project in the yard.

He replied, "I'm not working on a legal brief. That's what I'm doing."

I often think of that story while approaching various tasks. Each one that gets attention means focus is not being placed elsewhere. That can be, of course, a good thing. (When I am on a walk, that means I am not eating cookies. When I am reading, that means I am not watching television.) It helps, however, if we've made a conscious choice, as had the husband, not to be doing certain things.

In many cases, we don't. We drift into activities that we'd not tackle if we were forced to consider a Miranda-like warning:

"You have the right to work on this project, but the time spent may be held against you and will be taken from other projects which may be of higher priority and which, if you gave them a few moments of consideration, might take you away from this one.

"Unless, of course, you just want to goof off, but then why not admit it?"

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