Sunday, January 22, 2012

The First Ten Minutes

I don't know about you, but I'm really quite skilled at procrastinating. I have long lists of things I want to accomplish, projects I want to make, skills I'd like to learn. Yet it's so easy to let the days pass where I don't do anything to get closer to those goals and I'm beginning to realize that it all boils down to the first ten minutes. That's to say, it's all about sitting down and beginning.

I don't know why it's so hard for me to start a task. My guess is that there's a theory of physics which explains it all, something to do with force and momentum and mass. I'm sure Isaac Newton could explain it all in an elegant formula with many Xs and Ys. But I understand it best when I think of it in terms of minutes.

When I sit down with any project, whether it be a sculpture, a painting or something that I'm writing, the first ten minutes are always the most difficult. It feels like I'm pushing something very heavy up a hill, poor Sysiphus shouldering his boulder. But luckily for me, once I can push past those first few difficult minutes the work usually becomes a joy.

The trick is knowing that each and every day I have to struggle with those first ten minutes. It doesn't ever get easier, but at least I know what to expect.

How about you? Are the first ten minutes always the hardest?


  1. No doubt! And no matter how excited I am to start writing, I always find myself going through my routine of checking my email, checking my Facebook, checking my Twitter, and checking the headlines on my Google homepage first. I also have to fight the temptation to re-check all these places during my first ten minutes. And then... we're off!

  2. The night before, I lay awake making plans for the great accomplishments the next day holds.

    The morning of, I do not speak or move for TWO HOURS dreading the job of STARTING.

    It's the STARTING that gets to me.