Do you like Cake?

"Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experience the pain first and getting it over with. It is the only decent way to live.”

That quote comes from M Scott Peck's book The Road Less Traveled.

A financial analyst was locked into a cycle of procrastination, so Peck asked, "Do you like cake?"

She replied that she did.

"What part of the cake do you like better, the cake or the frosting?"

"Oh, the frosting!"

"And how do you eat a piece of cake?"

"I eat the frosting first, of course."

Having gained this insight, Dr. Peck started probing her work habits. Invariably she would devote the first hour or so of each day to the most gratifying and easiest of her tasks while never quite accomplishing the more onerous chores during the remaining hours. Peck suggested she force herself to do the objectionable tasks during her first two hours on the job, then enjoy the remaining time.

There is a critical moment early in your day when you make the decision as to whether or not you will plunge into the difficult tasks. Don’t allow yourself to decide – just act. Not allowing yourself to consider the easy road, plunging into the difficult tasks, you can save yourself both time and energy. And that makes it easier to avoid those tempting daily detours.

Stephen Goforth