Founder Diary

December 28, 2021

How about now?

How about now?

Still waiting for the :00 on the clock to start anything?

A digital clock showing 9:47 next to a plant and a notebook
A digital clock showing 9:47 next to a plant and a notebook
A digital clock showing 9:47 next to a plant and a notebook
Nikita Kazhin's headshot

Nikita Kazhin

Co-founder at Brick

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Imagine it's 9:47 a.m. and there's work to do. I don't know about you, but I always feel tempted to keep fooling around until 10 a.m. sharp (or maybe even not so sharp). That's when I'll start writing that new blog post and crush my to-do list — no kidding.

Have you ever wondered why you don’t start now, though? And by now, I mean right now, at 9:47, not in 13 minutes or whenever your magical round number arrives. You're probably thinking “Who in their right mind starts anything at 9:47? Ten o'clock sounds so much better. Especially on Monday.” What better time to start fresh than a Monday, right?

It's a trap. Hate to break it to you, but 10 a.m. isn't any better than 9:47. And Mondays are notorious for subdued or zero motivation. So why not start now?

Really, why not?

Starting now is a generous thing to do. It's a gift to your future self. To all your future selves. The next-hour you, this-evening you, tomorrow you, next-decade you. Heck, even the 13-minutes-from-now you will be ecstatic about your 9:47 choice.

As I wrote before, we feel invigorated by having done stuff. Progress begets more progress. Thirteen minutes of action (or even three, if you start at 9:57 a.m.) is infinitely more likely to bring about some forward movement than zero minutes. The point is you’re taking action in the direction of your goal. A small step is still progress. That’s all that matters.

Once you pick up that habit, starting now actually turns out to be the easier alternative. Guilt? Gone. The mental burden of work to be done in the future? Bye-bye!

Focus on what you can control

Immediate action brings breathing room and control. Starting now is easier because you’re only in charge of now. Can you boast control of the future? Thought not. I know scary little about 13-minutes-from-now me, let alone enough to decide something for that guy. For all I know, 13 minutes is plenty for him to find a few cozy little distractions — say a news article or two (those are important, aren't they?!) — and indulge in those to utter stupefaction (way past 10 a.m., that is).

Your life is a collection of starts

Your day consists of a long series of starts. Start work in the morning, restart after a break, get back on track every time after a distraction or ten, again after lunch, recommit after hitting a brick wall — you get the idea. If you wait for the zeros on the clock every time, that’s a lot of waiting and not much doing. Your starts compound, just like your habits. Time saved is time earned for other pursuits or — something we all need — rest.

Next step? When in doubt, start now every time. It gets easier the more you do it. You can turn it into a habit in no time. End result? A more focused, happier you.

It's not about constant busyness

This isn’t another “bias for action” or a dumb “always hustle” pitch. Quite the opposite. The “start now” idea is about saving time, not trying to cram ever more to-dos into your day. It's fairly obvious at this point that downtime is no less important than work time (I'll do a separate post on that later).

The point is that thinking about impending work is a hundred times harder than pulling the trigger right away. You deserve relief from that burden now; don’t wait for the :00 or the first of the month.

You can’t know what a future you will do, but I'm pretty confident you still can decide for yourself right now. So why don't you go settle on a goal, deconstruct it, and start now? Thank your past self later.

Thanks for reading!

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