Overcoming the static friction of life…

It seems too often that we all get caught up doing the small things that don’t really matter. We spend all our time travelling to and from places, and running around like a bunch of headless foul, thinking that we are being productive and getting lots done. In reality, we aren’t really accomplishing much.

So a while back I was thinking on this subject, and how it is similar to something called a co-efficient of static friction. When an object is sitting on a surface, and a force is applied to make that object move there is a certain amount of resistance – the static co-efficient of friction. Once a large enough force is applied, the object overcomes the static friction and begins to move. When the object is moving, it still experiences some friction, but not the same amount as when it was sitting still. This is known as the co-efficient of dynamic friction. Quite often (at least it seems to me), the co-efficient of static friction is a lot higher than the co-efficient of dynamic friction.

This is the same with life. We exhort amounts of energy, but don’t seem to get anything accomplished. We take out the trash, check our email, grab something to drink, shuffle around papers on our desks, chat with neighbors, look at reports, and so on. We seem busy, but we really aren’t acoomplishing anything. Once you actually begin to work, work becomes easier.

This is quite easily demonstrated with the 5 minute rule – especially useful for programmers. start working on something for 5 minutes. Once you actually start working on it, the work seems easier and things start moving along with a lot less friction. Stop working on it, and it will may be difficult to get started again.

Strangely enough, I have had something in my to-do list to remind me to post about this. I finally worked up the motivation to write this little snippet, and once I started writing this post, it became a lot easier.

Interesting, no?

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