One Thing at a Time

I’ve been suffering from these little bouts of desperation. Brief moments when I suddenly feel helpless. Hopeless. Just lost in a swirl of conflicting pulls from as many directions as I can hold in my head at one time. In the middle of an online guitar lesson, I feel like I should be writing. But then I realize I still need to do my workout. And there’s those cookies I ate before noon, which are bad enough but it’s worse because I know I shouldn’t be eating anything before noon. I’m supposed to be doing the intermittent fasting thing and I’m failing at it so maybe I should watch a motivational video on YouTube.

And speaking of YouTube, it’s really high time I check up on the latest low point in woke culture that really sets my blood boiling. Just, you know, doing my civic duty–you gotta stay up and outraged on current events. But there’s no time for any of that because I haven’t finished the baseball book I’m working on with my 11 year old. I’ve been neglecting the project because I still don’t really know how to use the MacBook I bought to make the graphics work easier. And also for GarageBand–don’t forget about that. I was supposed to be learning how to use GarageBand so I can do audio versions of my books. Speaking of which, I’m still halfway through recording that short story I said I was gonna finish weeks ago.

Which reminds me, I really should be writing the next episode in that series . . . but I can’t because I’m frustrated that I don’t understand this guitar lick I’m supposed to be learning. Maybe my guitar’s out of tune? Or maybe I just need another one . . . so I switch over to eBay real quick to see what a new Stratocaster might cost me. And by then it’s already late in the day and I need to start thinking about cooking dinner. But that depresses me because I know that once dinner time arrives, any chance I had of getting something done is gone. And so now I’m doubly depressed.

This is how my inner life has been. Just a Tilt-A-Whirl of distractions, emotions ricocheting off my head like so many Skittles tossed into the air right when the big machine reaches full velocity. Full centrifugal force.

I’m embarrassed by it all. A middle aged man with a history of modest success should know better. But apparently I don’t.

But earlier today something finally occurred to me. It’s advice I’m sure I wrote about on this very blog at least a year ago. And it’s so simple I can’t believe I ever forgot.

Just do one thing at a time. Pick one thing, and do that. Set an end point to the effort, and don’t stop until you reach it. And while you’re doing the thing, don’t do anything else.

Remember that human beings cannot multi-task. That’s a myth. You can either do one thing at a time or you can fail at doing multiple things simultaneously. That’s the only choice. So let us all get on with it. Just . . . one . . . thing . . . at . . . a . . . time.

Published by New Bayou Books

JR Reed started New Bayou Books to spark a revolution in Louisiana literature. The goal of the company is simple: to great writers out of the shadows to carry on the Louisiana literary tradition.

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