Do It Now: My Personal Time-Management ‘Rule’posted by Andrea | 04/10/2014
When it comes to “getting stuff done” I consider myself an expert — no, I’m not bragging. In fact, it’s sometimes overwhelming and even annoying that I literally CAN’T sit if I know there’s something to do.
And as you know, there’s always something to do!
Yes, I do relax — and I’m actually getting better at letting things go undone for a while. But for the most part, if there’s something that needs to be done, I’m going to do it… NOW (especially if it’s a quick task).
If I’m in the bathroom and notice that the trash is getting full, I’ll empty it and put a new bag in.
If I’m cleaning up the kitchen and notice a spill in a refrigerator drawer, I’ll quickly empty out the drawer and clean up the spill.
If I’m putting the laundry away an notice a messy drawer or shelf, I’ll take a few minutes to straighten things out right then and there.
If I’m bringing the groceries in the from car and notice some trash in the car, I’ll clean it out ASAP.
If I’m picking up books and notice a ripped page, I’ll quickly grab the tape and fix it before I put it back on the shelf.
I could give 200 more examples of things I do on a daily basis that don’t necessarily HAVE to be done at that exact moment, but will eventually need to be done at some point. And in my mind, I’d rather do them right away than sit and think about how I SHOULD be doing them, and then end up doing them at a later time.
This is just how I am… and how I’ve ALWAYS been.
And if you look back through the examples I listed above, you’ll notice that those quick little tasks should all take less than 10 minutes (sometimes only 1 or 2 minutes) to complete.
So why not just do them now?
I realize there are A LOT of people who don’t share this mindset (and honestly, I’m envious of them at times!) However, for the most part, I do think that my “do it now” philosophy has been one of the key factors in keeping my home and my life simplified and organized.
Yes, I realize a clean and organized home should not be my top propriety (and it’s not), but since Dave and I are truly happier and actually function better in an organized home, it’s something that is very important to both of us. We would rather stay up 15-20 minutes later to quickly wash dishes, pick up the living room, and fold a load of laundry, than go to bed earlier only to wake up to a messy house and all those chores still waiting for us.
In the few months before Simon was born, Dave and I were even MORE obsessed with doing anything we could possibly do ahead of time — just because we knew it would be SO much easier to do it before Simon arrived.
I usually do the laundry on the weekend, but I swear, I did laundry every other day for 2 weeks straight thinking, “I don’t want to get behind just in case the baby comes today.”
I usually make one or two meals or several types of baked goods for the freezer each week, but in the month before Simon arrived, I put SO much food in our freezer. We were almost to the point where nothing else would fit!
I worked ahead with my Virtual Assistant jobs and pounded out almost all my work for the month of March (for 3 different VA clients) in the last 2 weeks of February. I also wrote all my contributor posts for March AND April in February.
When Simon was born, I officially had 26 posts completely ready to schedule for my own blog, and 8 more that were partially finished in my drafts folder. This meant that I didn’t need to write any new blog posts for 5 weeks after Simon was born!
I realize that I might have been a little crazy with my planning ahead… but I can’t tell you how relaxing the last several weeks have been. There was no “pressure” to cook, bake, blog, or do my VA work. And since I have massive amounts of extra energy in my last trimester, I figured I’d take advantage of it and give myself more time to relax and recover after the birth.
Yes, I’m still super tired, but not having all those other things on my plate has been a life-saver — and it meant that I actually got to take a few naps this past month!
I’ve always been a huge advocate for working ahead and “doing it now” versus procrastinating and waiting until later — and as I mentioned above, this mindset has been crucial to living a simpler more organized life.
I almost always “suck it up” and do it right now versus waiting until later — especially with quick tasks like:
- folding the laundry (and putting it away)
- making the beds
- wiping down the counters
- unloading the dishwasher
- loading the dishwasher
- washing a small batch of dishes (seriously, it’s amazing how quickly this really goes!)
- cleaning up a spill on the floor
- vacuuming up some crumbs
- responding to an email (or group of emails)
- making a meal plan
- making my grocery list (I’m still amazed at how many people shop without a list!)
- planning my day the night before
- picking up the books and toys at the end of the day
- straightening the couch cushions, pillows, and blankets
- shredding, filing, or recycling the mail/newspapers/magazines, etc.
All of these little tasks are so easy to put off, but they’ll all eventually need to be completed, so why not take a minute or two and do them NOW.
And the next time you feel like procrastinating on something, try to reason with yourself and think about how long it would realistically take you to do that task right now. If it’s only a few minutes, just do it — I guarantee you’ll be glad you did when “later” comes around.
Yes, there are many times when I too procrastinate more than I should — but for the most part, I’m a Do It Now kind of person. If you don’t believe me, just ask Dave