Ever put something off? I have. When I catch myself procrastinating on whatever I’ve been meaning to do, one simple question never fails to get things done.
If not now, when?
First, it’s a good question for drawing out excuses. “If not now,” why not? Any rationale I’ve given myself is much easier to address once its out in the open, and may even put a useful lens to the problem itself.
But what it’s really after is, “when?” There isn’t a single right answer, of course.”Tomorrow” will do, if it’s nearly the end of the day. “After the fire” is fine, too, those times when absolutely everything is on hold until the flames have been beaten back. Even “never” can work: if I can’t (or I’m not willing) to put a schedule to the problem, well, it probably won’t pain me to leave it unsolved.
In fact, there’s only one answer that isn’t good at all. What “I don’t know” really means is, “now.”