Just Shut Up and Do It

My mother gave me some advice a number of years back. Like… back when I was the age of the heart-wrenching children I like to put in my stories. Seven or eight, perhaps.

Regardless, I had to make bread. (Yes, we’ve made our own homemade bread for as long as I can remember. Long enough we don’t appreciate it like everyone else seems to. Or maybe we all just have picky tastes.)

But I didn’t want to make bread. Like really, really didn’t want to. Procrastination comes young, trust me.

I’m not sure that I actually complained about it; it was probably more a world-weary declaration of the fact. The sort of ‘doneness’ that only those who haven’t faced much of life can pull off.

What I do remember is that Mom gave me a tip for something she’d done after she’d been married and didn’t want to do something.

Don’t think about it. Just go do it and it will be done before you know it.

shut up and do it

Not really a valid solution, especially for most children. I guess my brain worked in timetables and formulas and logic even then, because I took it to heart and never forgot it.

Because it made sense.

Just doing something doesn’t make that something magically fun. But moping and complaining internally only makes it worse.

And worse.

Eventually you’ll have to do it anyway, and by that time your mental attitude is complete shot as well as hours (or days) either wasted in procrastination or tainted with the knowledge that, at some point, you’ll need to buckle down and write that article or plan out that launch or make that meal (well, food can be optional, assuming you don’t have family depending on you. But if you put it off for too long, you’ll end up feeling weak and exhausted and your hands might start shaking. Just a kindly word of advice.)

So here’s the deal.

If you have something you need to do, or that you want done, but don’t actually want to do it, don’t think about it.

Don’t mope and groan and make the rounds of your friends to make sure they all know. (Not that a little complaining doesn’t happen now and again. Especially depending on the situation and how well you know your friend. It can be a good way to deal with emotions. Although, a good friend is likely to pet you for about a minute, then slap you and tell you to pull yourself together and get moving.)

They’d be right.

If you don’t want to do something… it doesn’t matter. Since when has life been only about what you want? Or even about you, for that matter?

Don’t wait. Don’t mope.

Just go do it.

You’ll be done in much less time than your procrastination would have taken.

Because guess what?

Fifteen years after Mom telling me that, I’m still making bread for my family.

I still don’t care for it.

I can, however, mix it up in five to seven minutes.

So I do it. It gets done. I move on.

And that piece of advice is still the best way I’ve found to manage the chores or tasks, be they in writing, life, or just… life. It’s two steps. And it’s simple.

All one has to do is shut up.

And do it.

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13 Comments

  1. 😀 Very good advice, Hope.
    I can totally relate to this because I’ve been making bread for several years now. It’s cool sometimes but others it’s more “I can eat air, right?”

  2. Good advice. Sometimes I take the same tactic. Sometimes I try to use the same tactic (mostly on schoolwork or editing) and then I spend half an hour staring at a blinking cursor on a blank Word Doc.

    Also, homemade bread is yummy. My mom used to make it all the time, but then we stopped, probably because we don’t actually eat that much bread.

  3. I agree. I also don’t always do. Good post, Hope.

  4. I need to take this approach to more things. Though sometimes shutting up is exactly what I need to not do because I need someone else input.

    And homemade bread is the beast. (Except for those times when I forgot the salt, it didn’t rise right, it’s over or under baked, or the dough has gotten slightly too sour.)

  5. Anne of Lothlorien

    Yeah… that would be what I need to hear every week when I make pizza dough from scratch. It used to be cool and exciting and very grown-up when I was ten, but now… I’m going to just shut up and do it.

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