The power of Now and Not

Photo courtesy of Herbalizer (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Herbalizer (Creative Commons)

I am discovering the power in the two words NOW and NOT when used separately, and how debilitating they can be when used together.

As I work to get my life in control and manage my time and commitments better, I am appreciating the practice of focusing on these two words.

This is my work and mission NOW. This is what I choose to start NOW. I am mindful of the present moment and learning to be less distracted by future or past.

What I choose NOT to pay attention to or commit to is just as important. I can’t do it all, so I can’t be sidetracked by activities that dilute my focus on my mission. It’s time to say NOT or NO to things so that I can be sure I’m doing the right things.

I’ve been thinking lately how counterproductive it is to use the words together – when I say “not now” to something, I’m putting it in a kind of holding pattern, so that it’s still sucking energy from me even though it’s not front and center. It’s still in the back of my mind, or on some kind of “maybe” list that brings it up periodically so that I can’t just let it go.

In his book and methodology of Getting Things Done, David Allen suggests putting some things on a “Someday Maybe” list so that you have captured the desire to pursue them at some point, but there is no next or immediate action attached to them. These are things that would be nice to do at some point in the future, but are not on the horizon just yet. But that list must be realistic or you’ve just delayed a decision that should have been made up front – or NOW.

NOW and NOT need to be used more frequently, and NOT NOW needs to be used more sparingly.