The only things that reproduce faster than rabbits are excuses when you’ve got important work to do.
Everyday when I sit down to work, here are the excuses I make:
1. It’s too early too write.
2. It’s too late.
3. Do I have the right music to write to?
4. Didn’t I just shazam a song last night that I wanted to write to? I should look that song up on spotify and then explore that musician’s entire catalog.
5. I need to return some emails.
6. My inbox is a mess, I won’t be able to focus until I reach inbox zero and it’s tidied up.
7. Have I tweeted enough today?
8. Have I been tweeting about queso too much lately? It’s enough already. I probably need to find something else to tweet about. A new dip? Salsa? Is that going to be my new go to tweet dip? Do I need to go completely off the ranch and tweet about something like Grape Nuts cereal?
9. I should go see what my kids are up to. A better dad would be spending every waking moment with his children. Telling them stories, whittling them things out of fallen branches that have exited the tree but entered our lives.
10. That’s an interesting line, “exited the tree but entered our lives,” maybe I should write a poem.
11. Is that the mailman I hear? I bet walking to the mailbox would inspire me.
12. I’m thirsty.
13. I’m hungry.
14. It’s easier to start something at the top of the hour. Who sits down at 8:43 and does anything worthwhile? I’ll wait until 9:00. That’s a legit starting line.
15. Should I periscope right now?
16. Have I checked Facebook Messenger lately? It’s my least favorite inbox but I should still keep an eye on it.
17. Has anyone texted me today?
18. Let’s take a quick look at the Internet. Just for a second. Five minutes tops. I’ll just once one video and look at 7 funny photos. Get the creative juices flowing!
19. I should get a juicer. People do that lot these days. I should be one of those people.
20. What’s on Instagram today?
21. Am I talking about Do Over too much or not enough? Maybe some people are exhausted hearing me talk about it. Nah, screw that, that’s fear talking. I write one book every two years and this one came out a scant 6 weeks ago. It’s also my job! If someone says, “You tweet about Do Over too much!” I’ll respond, “Do you go to work Monday through Friday?”
22. That’s too passive aggressive to tweet. I wish I wasn’t so passive aggressive. What’s the alternative? Aggressive aggressive? Or just being honest? That’s probably a better approach.
23. “Aggressive Aggressive” would be a good band name, not as good as “Furious George,” but close.
24. I should clean my office. I’m pretty sure Ben Franklin or Abraham Lincoln or Solomon said something about a clean desk mattering. I can’t do any work of significance until this entire surface is clean.
25. Which is the best thing for me to work on right this second? Maybe if I spent a few minutes prioritizing, sharpening the saw as Covey would say, I could work smarter not harder.
26. Is that the UPS truck I hear? Oh, sweet music to my ears. Have I ordered anything from Amazon lately?
27. I should go running. It might rain later. Can I sneak in a run? I don’t want to have a dadbod.
28. Maybe I should stare out the window for a few minutes. I think that’s something writers do, it’s a moody thing. Grab a cup of coffee, maybe put a small exotic bird I own on my shoulder and just soak in the day as it unfolds over the horizon.
29. That actually might be a pirate I’m thinking of. They sure got big these last ten years! You know who has had it rough lately? Mullets. Man, of man, did they dominate the early days of the Internet. My kids will never understand the cultural power mullets and the discussion of mullets used to have.
30. What time is it?
31. I should make tea. Tea would help me get something done.
32. I’m a terrible friend. I should call some people just to encourage them.
33. “This track is fire!” Why is that thought in my head? I’m going to work that into a sentence. Maybe that will be my new catchphrase. When queso shows up at the table at a restaurant, I’ll shout “This track is fire!” and everyone will be pleasantly intrigued at these new things I’ve started to say.
34. That’s stupid. Who blurts out “This track is fire?”
35. I need to shower. If I was clean then I could probably get so much done!
36. I should eat something. Something paleo, I’m not sure what that means but it was fun to say. What if we lived the rest of our lives like cavemen? I’d probably throw a lot more spears during the average workweek and be mystified by fire.
37. Does anyone have a wooly mammoth throw rug? How rich would you have to be to rock that? Regular billionaires would come over and say, “Is that bear skin?” And you’d chuckle quietly and say, “No, that’s wooly mammoth. You’ve probably seen it painted inside cave walls by people who were on the paleo diet.”
38. I swear I really do hear the mailman this time.
That’s only a snapshot of my day. There’s more where that came from and there always will be.
The closer you get to work that matters, the more excuses you will encounter. Life has a tendency of offering us hiding places at every turn. That’s all an excuse is, a hiding place that promises to keep you safe from doing something difficult or scary.
Expect excuses. Make fun of them. Laugh at them. Share them with friends. And then do your work anyway.
Life is too short for hiding.