Why It’s Important to Focus on Tasks, Not Time

Image by hojun Kang from Pixabay

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” ~ Earl Nightingale


As we contemplate the new year and reflect on the old one, it’s easy to become cynical and negative.

We get caught up in thoughts of what we failed to do and the many things that still need done. These can range from the twenty extra pounds we’re still toting around or the long overdue home renovation waiting to be started.

It may be a more emotional matter; an unresolved conflict with a friend or the desperate need to leave a toxic workplace.

But, whether it’s physical or emotional, time often defines the mindset in which we approach these issues.

In one instance we may procrastinate, feeling that there’s plenty of time. In other circumstances, we may believe there isn’t possibly enough time to get everything done. Procrastination usually signals those tasks that we perceive as hard or uncomfortable. If we feel time is too short that can mean we’re feeling overwhelmed and incapable.

The thing to remember is that the time will pass regardless of anything else. If we accomplish a goal in one week, the week is gone. If we fail to accomplish it, the week is still gone. We shouldn’t let the constraints of time determine something as a success or a failure.

Too often we give up on a dream because we feel there isn’t enough time. And this is certainly amplified as we grow older, when there’s more time behind us than what’s in front of us.

However, I’m beginning to see the wisdom in focusing on the task instead of the time it takes to complete it. So what if you don’t lose all twenty pounds before that special event in the spring? If concentrating on the time constraint ends up sabotaging the entire goal, then you accomplish nothing.

But, if losing ten pounds by the event makes you look and feel better, that’s a definite win! And you can continue to strive for the full twenty. Either way, you’re steadily working towards a positive outcome.

My fifth grade gym teacher told us that “quitters never win and winners never quit.” While I don’t remember much else from that school year, I’ve never forgotten her words.

As we strive to be winners we need to learn patience and compassion. Treating ourselves and others with encouragement goes a long way towards reaching a desired objective. On the other hand, negativity is guaranteed to undermine our best efforts and kill our chances for success.

As a new decade begins I’m going to make some resolutions and realistic goals, without setting a rigid timeline. Of course, procrastination is not an option. It requires discipline to welcome struggle and ward off laziness. If I’m allowing myself more time to accomplish an objective then I must be careful not to waste time.

Rather than focusing on how long it takes to achieve a goal, I’ll target the goal itself. The time will pass either way and I’ll feel good about my efforts and commitment to doing better. And that’s a great mindset to carry into the next decade!


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