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Sometimes it’s difficult to get things done, and no book or software or advice or alarm or sticky note or anything can make it easier. Even when you have a system in place for remembering things at the right time, in the right place. Even when you eat and sleep right, have enough energy, love the work you’re doing, and look forward to the outcome. Even when everyone is rooting for you.

For me, there are two reasons for that difficulty: curiosity and laziness.

Curiosity distracts me from doing things I have promised myself and others that I would do. On the other hand, succumbing to curiosity almost always energizes me and makes me happy; it is often the spark I need to get other things done, and occasionally produces life-changing results. The constant evaluation of each pursuit’s potential worth and cost is maddening, and at the same time invigorating.

Laziness is hitting the snooze button — an active unwillingness to overcome inertia and throw myself into the mental battle of curiosity and promises. But it’s also a kind of self-deception, a tide of my own making that ebbs and flows while things I care about — goals, trust — lay scattered on the shore, ready to be lifted and lost. Overcoming laziness can feel like moving the moon.

So I kiss my wife, hug my children, joke with my family and friends. I listen to music and stories. I read and exercise. I remind myself why I care. I think about people whose lives are much harder than mine, I imagine what real difficulty is like, and I try to withstand the inevitable oppressive guilt that comes with empathy. Then I try to get things done.

On some special days that live in the lore of my family, friends, and notebooks, it all works out. I move the moon, curiosity and promises align, and a life-changing spark stirs a fire inside me that warms every single aspect of my life. The real difficulty of getting things done is that I want every day to be one of those days, and the only thing in the way is me.

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