Oct 1, 2009

"Never confuse motion with action" - Benjamin Franklin

by Stephanie Abney

Sorry I’m so late in posting this. I thought about it this morning, but this is the second week I’ve been home sick and I’m a little spacey!!!!

My students are studying Benjamin Franklin (without me, darn - he’s a favorite of mine). One of his many wise quotes is "Never confuse motion with action." I find I am frequently guilty of this. I tend to spend too much time “getting ready” to write than I do actually writing. I love to do research and one thing leads to another, especially with the Internet, and before you know it, hours have gone by and I have tons of fascinating facts, many of which have nothing to do with what I thought I would write about because as you go from link to link… you soon have gone in another direction. Was that sentence LONG enough for you? Wow. Sixty-one words… just one more way for me to get distracted!! LOL!!

Some people like to “set up their area.” Picture the new employee who puts all kinds of cute and useful things on her desk, and sharpens a huge package of pencils, etc. but never actually goes to work. Some people find other urgent things to take care of. I have been know to say things like “life got in the way today.” So, now, my illness is getting in the way of my accomplishing much of anything. How convenient. (Or inconvenient, I guess, depending on what you are looking at). I guess this post is mainly a reminder for myself, to stop letting things that matter least get in the way of doing things that matter most.

Just some random thoughts of mine for the day for you to consider. Take care ... I’m back to the couch, nursing my Streptococcus pneumoniae, yep, that’s what the lab tests say that I’ve been battling for the last couple of weeks. It’s a precursor to pneumonia, not strep throat; in fact, my throat does not hurt and isn’t even red, making it harder for the doctor to give me a diagnosis until the test results were in. Now I am finally on some antibiotics but it is slow to respond. I missed 4 out of 5 days last week and the same for this week. (No more sick days - 2 days without pay so far).

I guess the reason I bring all of this up, other than to gain your sympathy (is it working?) is that the doctor stressed that I probably got this because my immune system is low. Duh, what a surprise. I stay up late, figuring out the best possible worksheet to use, the best way to present my lesson, gathering background material, grading papers, writing up lesson plans, staying in constant contact with the parents via email, I get up early and race to school hoping to bet others to the copy machine and on and on. Not to mention that I still have a family, the church, my interests (which I seldom do any of, other than check out who said what on FaceBook). See? I am too busy to be productive. Somewhere in the back of my mind I have confused motion with action. It is action that gets things done. I’m looking for a way to be more productive in less time. Always hard for me, because I’m seldom brief (as you can see because I said I was headed back to the couch 283 words ago).

So, it’s a dilemma that I struggle with. How about the rest of you? Just wondering.


  1. Yes, and it is an ongoing dilemma around here. Sometimes I find that my motion is simply running around in circles! Ack!

    However...you do the things you do because you care about your students and your family Stephanie! Everyone loves you! Do take care of yourself now, though and get better so you can join in all the fun with those students!

  2. Stephanie, I am sorry you are so ill. Please don't confuse motion with action here and not take care of yourself. This blog makes your point well. Be good to Stephanie.

  3. You worry too much, Cindy!! Thanks for the concern. I'm not trying to do anything right now, other than rest, drink water & juice, eat well and get better! :)

  4. Oh Stephanie I laughed so hard about your research overload. I'm like that bling commercial. I do the same thing. Research one thing go to another and before you know it I know a lot about nothing. Glad to know I'm not alone.


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.