■ Against procrastination
On using a ticker tube to become zealous
Procrastination is the action of postponing or delaying something.
synonyms: dithering, delaying tactics, dilatoriness, stalling, temporizing, hesitation, vacillation; humming and hawing;
A friend was putting off studying a book. I told him: just go over and touch the book.
The hardest part of completing a task can be starting it.
A ticker tube can be used as the spark to spark a task. The task is written on a paper which is inside the tube. Just touching the tube begins the task, in the way that flicking a lighter, scratching a match, and scraping a steel can provide the energy to initiate a burning process.
Thus, say Wolf resolves to lie down at 9:30 pm each night. Wolf writes this down and tubes it. He knows he needs a half hour to prepare to lie down. He sets an alarm on his phone for 9:00 pm.
At 9:00 the alarm goes off. Immediately after shutting the alarm he touches the tube. This is like flipping on the task switch. The task begins. He goes down his “lie down” checklist, performing each step. The penultimate step is that he sets an alarm to wake him up. At 9:30 Wolf lies down and the task ends.
Another obstacle to getting started is the wall that the heart can put up to a task. Using a ticker tube breaks through the defensive screen of that wall.
The placing of the task is broken into two parts. Part one is placing the task in the tube. The heart does not rebel against the mere insertion of a task. Only then is the tube placed over the heart. The heart’s defenses have been breached. The task has infiltrated the heart.
The body is physical. It exhibits inertia. It is not possible to for a human being to go from full stop to top speed. There has to be a transition.
Think of a space rocket launch. The rocket must reach escape velocity. But it doesn’t reach that velocity frtom the get-go. The beginning of the launch is characterized by smoke and steam and fire. Yet, the rocket hasn’t budged. Then, slowly, it takes off, gaining more and more speed.
The ticker tube is the very beginning of the launch. Just touching the tube, thinking of the tube, pushing the tube into the area above the heart, doesn’t do anything as far as completing a task. But from there the task is begun. Liftoff!
Another aspect of inertia is someone is doing something — but it’s not the task at hand.
Consider a moving train on a track. What does it take to move the train onto another track? Sometimes a lever can be pulled and that shifts the train onto another track.
The ticker tube can be that switch that takes someone’s momentum and moves them in a different direction.
The obstacle to starting a task can be because the task is too big. The way to proceed is to break the task down into parts. A ticker tube begins a task with infinitesimal steps that build into a storm of activity. Touching the tube requires almost no effort. Thinking about the tube is effortless.
A task flask counteracts against the bane of time management: the straying heart.
Someone can get energized to start a project because their heart impels them forward. But the same heart can pull them back. It’s like a bungy cord connected to a stake in the ground. It stretches, and then it bounces back. Or like apendulum. In the end it’s a zero-sum game.
The only way to break free is to reach escape velocity beyond the pull of the heart. The task flask is the rocket filled engine to accomplish that.
The task is the rocket fuel. The flask is the rocket. The only way to escape the pull of the heart is to pronounce the task and to do it.
In order for someone not to wear themselves out, they need to precisely calculate how much fuel (how many tasks) to put in their flask. More on this in the section on how to make a schedule.