Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Physics was one of the hardest class I’ve ever taken (along with graduate-level health economics and statistics, as well as 6th grade as a whole). Taking it as a high school sophomore also seemed premature; then again, I went to what my husband calls “astronaut school,” which was basically a STEM school before STEM had a catchy name. (I also wasn’t very STEM-y. Even though I cheated in AP Lit, I was much better suited to the humanities.)

Anyway, I don’t remember a ton about the class except that, thankfully, most of the work was done in groups and, consequently, hilarious hijinks always seemed to ensue. (My group made movies about a hamster to demonstrate the concepts from each unit. Close-ups were of a real hamster, but the experiments in, say, centripetal acceleration were zoomed out and used a water balloon covered in fake fur as a stand-in.)

But I also remember Newton’s Laws of Motion. Why do I remember them? Probably because they’re applicable to life in a way lots and lots of other things I memorized—I mean, learned—aren’t.

Newton’s Laws of Motion are (simply):

  • An object in motion stays in motion, and an object at rest stays at rest.
  • Force equals mass times acceleration.
  • For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I think about Newton’s laws, especially the first one, when there’s something on my to-do list that I don’t want to do, or when there’s simply too much on my to-do list. “A rolling stone gathers no moss” is a great aphorism, along with, “If you want something done, ask a busy person,” because momentum is a powerful thing. And checking things off your to-do list can be addictive, probably because it gives you that sense of accomplishment and feeling that you can handle the remaining items without a problem.

Likewise, when I’m on the couch scrolling through Instagram, it feels IMPOSSIBLE to stop. (Am I an object at rest, or is my Instagram feed an object in motion? 🧐)

Anyway, I can confirm that I’m much more productive when I have a lot on my plate than when there’s just a little. And it checks out….because it’s the law.

I want to make crystal clear that this is ABSOLUTELY NOT an anti-rest post. It’s more of getting-and-staying-motivated-when-you-should–be-working post.

On that note, I’ll save my musings on applying Newton’s other laws to work for a future post.

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