Now Or Never

We were given a simple mission: make the short trip to Sheffield to visit Great Uncle Frank. We looked forward to completing it and reporting early.

Somehow we were distracted, and we never quite managed to free a weekend for the trip. We failed.

Great Uncle Frank died on Thursday.

We failed because we thought we had time, but we didn't. The number of open opportunities remains roughly constant; for every new one that appears, another disappears.

So we don't, we can't, defer anything. And as a result, we never have a spare moment. I still use David Allen's "Getting Things Done" system, but my "Someday" file might as well be "Never". This was a "Someday" mission. And that's why we failed.

On some level, I know this. When a good friend points at a flier and says "we should go to this", I agree, but I'm thinking, "we should, but we aren't going to". If we were going, we wouldn't be talking idly right now. We'd be buying tickets, working out logistics, clearing our calendars.

Even "never mind, we'll do it tomorrow" isn't safe. Tomorrow, something else is going to happen, we'll re-plan, and this will get quietly consigned to "someday". It's spin, a cop-out, to say "tomorrow". It's a lie.

At least there's something very freeing about this kind of merciless scheduling. I've heard "clutter" defined as "decisions you haven't made yet". With everything either nailed to dates or thrown away, my schedule is clutter-free and relatively predictable. I book things immediately, or I don't book them at all.

It requires a constant alertness to make every single choice into "now or never". But I have to. Because there's never any time. Never any time but now.

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