'I thanked God for His timing'

SOMETIMES AFTER A LONG DAY at the university, I don't know which end is up. I have to prepare for seminars, do homework assignments, and catch up with friends. I also need to eat once in a while. Some corner of my 12-meter (36 square-foot) student apartment has to be picked up, and I often get calls about working with a special needs child some afternoons or evenings. Some weeks my calendar is so full that I wonder if I can get everything done.

Just about everyone is familiar with this situation, where you're up to your eyeballs in work. Some people might deal with it by taking a long walk; others by talking on the phone with friends, or surfing the Internet. When I'm stuck with too much to do, I like to remember something from the book Momo, by Michael Ende. He describes the character of Beppo, a street cleaner, whose motto is "Don't think about the whole street when you're sweeping it, but just the next sweep." From a practical standpoint, this is certainly one of the best strategies. If you think about the whole street, or the big mountain of work you have to get done, you waste time thinking about that, instead of getting started.

The Way We Live Now
April 29, 2002

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