One of the most crucial shortcomings of the “getting things done” culture is the gap between getting something done and creating something that will endure.
With enough discipline and willpower and the right mindset you can do anything once. You can clear your schedule for a few days to block out the time you need for a deep immersion. You can pull an all-nighter to finish a project for a deadline. Do a detox, complete a project sprint.
There are plenty of ways to “get things done” if you really want to.
But many of those strategies fall apart when you’re trying to do that thing consistently for the long term.
In college I wrote every paper the night before it was due, pulling an all-nighter to get it done. As a lawyer, I used that same strategy when I worked on legal briefs. That strategy doesn’t work when it comes to publishing a daily blog. It isn’t sustainable over an indefinite period of time.
Last summer I experimented with some project sprints through a virtual co-working community. In most cases not only did I not make effective progress, but the sprints actually set me back because I needed more recovery time after the intensive two weeks.
Talking to some of my peers, I discovered they faced a similar challenge: they would work on their project during the sprint, but then set it aside when the sprint ended. At the start of the next sprint they had to spend time reengaging and remembering where they left off. It was like starting all over each time.
The experiment reinforced what I had already learned in other areas:
When it comes to your most important projects — your fitness, your health, your daily practices and most important work for projects — cramming isn’t an effective strategy.
To achieve lasting results requires consistent and persistent effort over time, even if that effort is minimal.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other for long enough and you will eventually get somewhere. But if you’re too worn out from sprinting to stand up and start walking, you’ll stagnate.
This is the mindset that has helped me create a stack of daily rituals, including my morning Fitness First practice, daily meditation, and this blog.
Slow and steady.
This is the mantra of Taurus, a sign known for its slow, sometimes plodding, temperament. Its methodical nature is also steady, consistent, and persistent. Taurus is the Earth, a constant presence, a grounding force. Taurus nourishes, provides. It endures.
Earth isn’t going anywhere.
Taurus season, which begins today, reminds us that to create something that is enduring and sustaining and in a way that is sustainable, we must slow down.
Life is not a sprint. It’s a marathon.