Occasionally, in a grocery store, I buy apples that look good and firm with shiny skin (probably coated with wax), but when I cut one of these apples a few days later, there is brown mush inside. While I’d love to know how to pick apples better, today’s tip is not about grocery shopping. It’s about identifying the “bad apples” among things you do. Sometimes we engage in something that appears like a good thing on the surface, but if we dig deeper, it adds very little value to our lives. Just like those bad apples in the store, such activities can be deceptive because they are not obviously bad or wrong.
They often act as time-fillers and offer us a way to procrastinate. Take example of web surfing. There is a lot of good information on the internet that you may want to read, but after a while, internet search can turn your brain into a mush. Some things go bad with time: the more time you spend on it, the less productive the activity becomes. That’s why time constraints are a good thing. When do you stop evaluating options and make a decision? When do you stop researching and start writing? Here’s another “apple” that can go bad – reading study aids, such as commercial outlines, hornbooks, nutshells. At what point reading more becomes a distraction form something more important that you should be doing, like thinking on your own or outlining?
We all pick “bad apples” from time to time. What are yours? How do you pick them and why?
** I am doing the happy dance here because I just found my good Apple – my iPod. Four days ago, I locked it and gave it to my baby to play with – she loves gadgets (bad idea), and then it disappeared. I searched through every inch of my home office and couldn’t find it. Today, I pulled a book off the shelf and it fell out. She must have put it on top of the books. I never realized I loved listening to podcasts so much. It made my day!