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Friday, September 23, 2005

Do the Next Thing

Elizabeth Elliot once gave this advice to young mothers feeling overloaded with diapers, dishes and delinquent Dads: "Do the next thing." What she meant was that panic and despair don't wash plates.
The Cowboy recently posted an excellent article comparing seminary work to mountain climbing. I like that analogy! Nobody climbs a mountain fast - but they climb it successfully as they keep on moving one limb at a time up the face.
Smart people are rare - and so are hard-working ones. But they often look the same. My advice is to learn to keep a good list of what you need to do, then finish one thing and go on to the next.
It ain't rocket science - but maybe if we spent more time "doing" than stressing "about" doing, more would get done.
Besides, there's nothing like that great feeling of scratching off your list: Learn more Greek vocab!


  • Great recommendation, Paul!

    It's like the old proverb:
    Q: How do you eat an elephant?
    A: One bite at a time.

    My only problem is with your last example. After all, when you scratch off "learn more Greek vocab", it ends up getting replaced by "learn even more Greek vocab"!!

    (To that end, to have at least one helpful section in this comment, I have found using vocabulary cards absolutely priceless when it comes to learning. I take file cards, cut them into three pieces, writing the Greek word on the front and the English meaning on the back. That way you can learn the English meaning for the Greek word, and when you're feeling confident, use the English words and try to remember the Greek.)

    By Blogger tomgee, at 4:04 PM  

  • I do like the advice, and have found it helpful in the past. I especially like the comment, "smart people are rare." Makes me feel a little better...

    The only downfall to this method is that when you have a list of 10 things to do and you're determined to "do the next thing," but the first three things take the whole day. Then it stinks, cuz at the end of the day you look back and realize that you now have 17 things to do tomorrow. Ouch.

    By Blogger JLF, at 8:26 AM  

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