It’s About Time
Ruth Wong

Friday, March 25, 2005

Small acts are better
than big ideas

Have you been observing the "Overcoming Procrastination Month" I proposed in my last column?

If so, I bet you're delighted to see some of your long-postponed tasks completed, and perhaps even surprised at how easy some of them were to complete.

In this column I'd like to continue on the topic of procrastination.

I've noticed that sometimes we procrastinate not because something is unpleasant or overwhelming, but because when we do it, we want to do it in a grand style.

For example, it's a given that after a wedding, each gift received needs to be acknowledged with a thank-you note within several months of the wedding.

One woman I met told me that she had been married for a year, and that she still hadn't sent out thank-you notes. The reason was not that it was unpleasant or overwhelming, but that she had a grand idea to enclose a wedding picture in each of the thank-you notes.

It seems she never got around to ordering reprints of the wedding photos so never got around to writing the notes.

I think that the saying, "The smallest deed is greater than the grandest intention" would apply here.

Wouldn't it be better to do the smallest deed (writing a simple but prompt thank-you note) instead of holding out for the grand intention that never materializes?

It seems there are lots of other examples in real life.

Being from the mainland, keeping in touch with old friends is important to me. I think that e-mail is great, but there's nothing like finding a handwritten note in your mailbox to brighten your day.

I once had the grand intention of writing my friends long newsy letters, but those long letters rarely got written. Now, I keep a supply of note cards on which I can jot a short note. It takes only about five minutes, and off it goes!

Exercising is another example. For months I've had the grand intention of starting an exercise program of working out for an hour a day, stretching and doing aerobic and strengthening exercises. Unfortunately, I have yet to start! What I realize I need to do is the smallest deed, perhaps just walking around the block regularly!

How about you? Is there anything you've been putting off because when you do it, you want to do it in a grand way?

If you've been postponing it for a while, I encourage you to go ahead and do the smallest deed.

I think that good intentions are fine, but in life, it's execution that counts!

See you in two weeks!

"It's About Time," by Ruth Wong, owner of Organization Plus, runs the fourth Friday of each month. Contact her at "It's About Time," care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail features@starbulletin.com

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