Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sirach 22:2

As I wrote earlier, these past few weeks have been so busy that I wasn't going to be able to keep up with my regular blog posts.

Yesterday, however, I had a good swatch of time to organize my thoughts and write an essay.  I didn't get very far, because I spent most of that time playing Candy Crush on my phone.  Before I knew it, the minutes had evaporated and I was left with a half-finished article.

But that got me thinking about laziness.  I once talked with my spiritual director about how I struggled with sloth.  It is so difficult for me to get motivated into action.  I'm one of those people that wake up each morning for work and almost start crying because I love sleep so much.  I put off projects that loom because of the perceived dent in my time.  Friends have sent things to read that I haven't even touched yet.

It isn't that I don't have the time.  It's that I don't make the time.

I remember when I 17-years-old, Fr. Larry Richards told me to go to mass every day.  To my young mind, that seemed an impossible task.  I was too busy.  It would take too much time.  But as it turns out, I could easily fit mass into my day.  Eventually I came to build my day around the mass.  We find time for the things that are important to us.

But my spiritual director pointed out that my problem really wasn't laziness but what he called "inertia."  When I get involved in a project, it will eat up tons of time.  I will spend whole days cataloguing and reboxing my comic books.  I will take an entire weekend to re-watch the Harry Potter movies.  But are these things worth the time I give them?

So my laziness is a reflection of my selfishness.  I will spend hours playing a video game, but how many hours to I volunteer to charity or give to God in prayer?  The mistake is to think of my time as my own gift to myself rather than thinking of it as a gift to give to others.

Sometimes I try to overcompensate by multi-tasking.  I'll do my grades while trying to listen to the latest news.  I'll watch a movie with my wife while checking my email.  But rather than being the opposite of laziness, it is only another version of it.

Greg Gutfeld pointed out that multi-tasking is really just sloth re-invented.  It is actually a way to divide your interest and your mind because you are too lazy to give your entire focus to one thing.  When you divide your mind it means that you cannot summon the strength to do the best job you can on the task set before you.

So what is the solution?

Of course there is habit.  As I've written before, this provides a framework to help continue on when the will is weak.  It's one of the reasons I have weekly article topics on this blog rather than have it just be freeform.

Adequately understanding time is another.  I don't just mean managing it.  You can't schedule every part of your life.  But Scripture says that we should ask God to "Teach us to count our days," (Ps 90:12) so that we may know how to properly use them.  I work best on deadlines.  I'm running a project at work where we set the deadline next week.  Someone there asked if we could push it back until summer.  I said no because if we do not keep to the deadline, we will never finish.  All of us have a literal "dead" line.  And when we hit that, there will be no more time.  If I understand my time is an opportunity, I can use it better.

Finally, I have to see the value in what I am doing.  Some tasks I enjoy.  Some are drudgery.  But if I can wrap my mind around why this task is important and why it makes my life or the lives of others better, then I can give it my full attention and energy.

So now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some living to do.

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