Monday, June 1, 2015

Plowing Fields, Avoiding Procrastination

"A man cannot plow a field by turning it over in his mind." This quote is perfect motivation for someone who's working on avoiding procrastination.

I read this quote once, can't remember where: "A man cannot plow a field by turning it over in his mind."  I read it - and the proverbial light bulb lit up in my head. Perfect motivation for someone who's working on avoiding procrastination (when she gets around to it, at least).

Others have said the same thing in different ways. "Just do it," says Nike. Catchy, but it doesn't motivate me. This time, though, a word picture was painted in my mind and it won't go away. The picture is that of a farmer's field, rows plowed evenly and crops planted neatly in a pattern no doubt designed with a plan in mind, a rhyme and reason that might have taken years of experience for the farmer to understand.

But the point is, the field is plowed. No matter how much planning went into it, how much sharpening of the plow or oiling of the tractor, the farmer had taken action. He had to get out there and plow that field. All of the planning would have meant nothing if not followed by action.

I'm a planner by habit. I can make lists and set goals from sunup to sunset and beyond, but when it comes time to act, sometimes I'm a bit slow on the draw. Procrastination is my enemy, but too often it's my best friend.

Now, thanks to that light bulb moment, when my goals are set and the planning is done, I remember the picture of that perfectly plowed field. I stop procrastinating, and I act.

What do you think? Do you have trouble avoiding procrastination? Is this a quote or a word picture that would motivate you to act? I'd love your input on the subject. Your comments are more than welcome.

Photo: Greg Clarke via CC 2.0 license


  1. I love the visual image you have provided for that awesome quote! I grew up hearing that quote used frequently. It seems like such a familiar phrase that I don't think I have really taken time before today to evaluate it. Now, I shall embrace it with new enthusiasm because, like you, I am a planner and sometimes I "plan" more than I can handle and get overwhelmed before I start.

  2. Cynthia, I think you and I are alike in many ways. I'm glad my message provided some food for thought about the quote. I hadn't heard it until just a few years ago when it became one of my all-time favorites. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!

  3. I love quotes that motivate and/or inspire and this one certainly helps with procrastination.

  4. Glad you like the quote, Elf. Appreciate your visit!

  5. Susan, this couldn't come at a better time for me. I sit here with a house bulging with books that need to be listed and packed for donation so I will have a less cluttered place to live and work. I still have to keep up my blog and keep rebuilding the web page. I've been turning this things over in my mind for years, and have just begun to act on them, but it's a battle to keep at it. I will keep that image of the plowed field in my mind. Even if I can only pack one box a day, that's one less box to deal with.

  6. Barb, doesn't it feel great to make some forward progress on those books? So glad the plowed field image spoke to you, as it continues to speak to me!