Do It Now: My Personal Time-Management ‘Rule’

posted by Andrea | 04/10/2014

do it now

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).

For Example:

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.

For example: 

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 :)

What about you… are you a Do It Now or Wait Until Later person?

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32 comments

  1. LoriB

    04/10/2014

    As I grow older I see the value in “do it now”. Some of us have to learn it, for some of us it comes natural. Wish I was one of the naturals. So glad you’ve been able to take things slow since Simon’s arrival. Often we’re in such a hurry to get back to normal that we miss out on the joys of today. I cen never go back and relive those sweet baby days….they are distant memories.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I agree Lori. For me, the “do it now” does come naturally — so I’m thankful for that. But I also feel very strongly that we can learn and teach ourselves to do things that don’t come naturally. I’ve “learned” how to be more productive at night versus in the morning now that I have kids — and if you knew me 4 or 5 years ago, you would have never thought that would be possible!

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  2. Jessica

    04/10/2014

    I’m the type of person that if I don’t “Do It Now” it will most likely not get done until weeks have passed. I’m the type that has to keep moving to get things done because once I sit down for the rest of the day, there is no motivating me to get back up and do chores of finish things up!

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  3. Katherine

    04/10/2014

    I am a Do It Now person, married to a Do it Later person. We’ve been good for each other:)

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    Micah Joy Reply:

    Me too! We are good for each other except when we are degrading in the home area. I think I just need to focus on what I can control – me.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha! Glad you’re finding balance with eachother. Dave is probably more of a do-it-now person, but he knows how to relax too — so he’s good for me :)

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  4. Janice

    04/10/2014

    My daughter-in-law and I have said to one another, “How can she (Andrea Dekker) be so young and have it all together?” The answer to our question is your post today. Did you grow up in a “no procrastination” household? Is your “do it now” attitude genetic? :)

    [Reply]

    Kristin Reply:

    I’m wondering too how her and Dave grew up. They seem like the must of had great examples growing up. Might be an interesting blog post.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Well thanks Janice — I definitely don’t have it ALL together, but I do try very hard to be organized and on-top of most things.

    I will say that I am most definitely genetically wired to be organized, timely, systematic, etc. I also have a lot of energy and enjoy being busy — so that obviously helps too! However, I was raised in a very “busy” family so although we had plenty of time to relax and have fun, we also had a lot of structure to our days. I think this did play a role in helping me become even more organized.

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  5. Ashley

    04/10/2014

    I used to be a ‘do it later’ type, but have forced myself to become more of a ‘do it now!’ person. I’m pretty sure that was inspired by a post I read here about a year ago :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Aww thanks Ashley — I’m so glad one of my previous posts inspired you. And I’m also glad you noted that you actually “learned” to be a do-it-now person. So many people say “but I just wasn’t born that way”… I agree that people are born with different mentalities, but I also think we can learn to be different if it’s important enough for us!

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  6. Edie S.

    04/10/2014

    I am a Wait Until Later person, unfortunately. It negatively impacts most every aspect of my daily life. I’m trying to make the switch, and although I was raised by a Do It Now mom, it’s hard to change! Getting things done immediately feels amazing and makes everything much less of an overwhelming task.

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  7. Rebecca G

    04/10/2014

    I’m a “do it now” person, but unfortunately my husband is a “do it if heck freezes over” kind of person. He can not see mess, disorder and clutter – but that is all I see and I can’t seem to conquer it so i go-go-go from one thing to the next and never, ever stop moving until i sleep.
    (Then I get angry inside when i see my husband sitting on the computer, relaxing and watching television while he lets the kids tear up the house right behind me!) I wish there was a better balance between do-it-now, do-it-later and just-let-it-go – oh how I would love to have his “can’t see the mess” goggles for just a little while.

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  8. Brenda

    04/10/2014

    I am a do-it-now person untill I sit down after work, then my body just stops! Some days i don’t sit untill after dinner, then I get alot done. Some days I sit “for just a second” right after I get home…then we end up having grilled cheese for dinner and I could be a do-it-never person! I feel much better about myself and my home when I get more done though.

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  9. shalomew

    04/10/2014

    I am a by nature person a do it later person. I am trying to convert because I see the value in it, but it is a struggle because it is NOT my natural thought process.

    I do also believe there is a component of how you were raised. My mother was a “do it now” person AT THE EXPENSE of everything else including relationships at times. Maybe seeing and feeling that as a child pushed me away from that mindset. I can clearly remember thinking sometimes, “seriously, I am telling you how upset I am about something and all you can see is the dust on the shelf behind me?” It was maddening and hurtful as a child.

    In the same vain, delayed decision making is a huge contributor to disorganization and clutter. Thoughts like “I don’t know what to do with this at this very second so I will just put it here until I decide”

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  10. marni

    04/10/2014

    I am going to try this theory with 4 kids things get out of hand real fast. Great post loved reading it :)

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  11. Christina

    04/10/2014

    I’ve become more of a do it now person. However, one problem I’m dealing with is that I set out to do one thing (like unload the dishwasher), and as I’m putting things away I notice that a shelf needs to be wiped down and a cabinet organized and the floor vacuumed and a window that I notice is dirty and a plant that needs to be watered and 3 children that need various things. All that to say, my “do it now” mindset has caused me to take three hours to finish my original task and now my day is half gone and my “to-do” list is untouched. Do you ever have this problem? Any advice?

    [Reply]

    Lauren Reply:

    This happens to me too! I get distracted trying to “do it now” with too many things and after several minutes of working on various things I think to myself, “Now why did I come in this room?” because I’ve forgotten my original task completely! :)

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  12. Debbie

    04/10/2014

    I’m a DO IT NOW person too because once I see it something in me is not going to be at peace until I deal with it. For the most part I’m glad I’m this way and it really helps keep things in order at home and at work. What I don’t like about it is I end up being late for work or church because once I get going in the morning and see stuff I’ll end up doing it instead of just get ready…..Frustrating! I also tend to get distracted while I’m in the middle of a task and see something else off, then end up multi-tasking.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh can I relate. I’m actually working on a post right now about how I’m often late BECAUSE I’m so adamant about “doing it now”. It’s the one downside I can see to my “do it now” mentality — so yes, I totally know how you feel.

    In general, I’m usually on time — but there have been many occasions when I’m just a little late because I tried to do too many things before leaving the house. I’m getting better at this with kids (I know I need extra time to get everywhere). And honestly, I really would rather be a little late than be early and come home to a pile of stuff to do :)

    [Reply]

    Debbie Reply:

    Oh…..so glad I’m not alone.

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  13. beth

    04/10/2014

    Unless something else needs my urgent attention, or I am on my way out the door, if something takes 5 minutes or less, I do it right away.

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  14. Julia K

    04/11/2014

    I would love to say I’m a “do it now” girl, but if the truth be told – I am a chronic procrastinator :(
    I read this post first thing this morning and it has been at the back of my mind all day. I was doing some cleaning in the family bathroom today and when I went to put a few items away in the vanity unit I groaned as the child proof catch on the cabinet clicked and I had to use two hands to open the cabinet (such is the design). I groaned because I have been meaning to ask my husband (who works away and is only home one week a month), to remove the child proof catches as our youngest is now almost 6 years old and they are no longer needed. At that point the “do it now” mantra kicked in. I grabbed a screw driver and it took me all of 10 minutes to remove the catches on the three cabinet doors – plus two in the adjacent laundry room. I dumped the obsolete hardware in the bin (straight away) and put the screw driver away (straight away) and then GRINNED. I don’t know WHY is was waiting for my hubby to do the job, I don’t know why I was waiting AT ALL !!
    I reckon if I tackle at least one of these little obscure “no brainer” tasks each day – I just HAVE to come out ahead.
    Thanks for the inspiration !

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yay — glad my post helped to “light a fire under your butt” today!! It really is crazy how quickly some of those little tasks are accomplished (and how great it feels to cross them of).

    So glad you got your child-proof catches off your cabinets — one less thing to do later!

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  15. Jennifer

    04/11/2014

    It usually takes something really bugging me for me to get motivated to take care of it. When I just can’t take it anymore, I get down and dirty and get it done, plus a few more things along the way, like a chain reaction. I need to be better about staying on top of tasks. My mom is like you, and I wish I could be that way naturally. I can get motivated and dream of being super-housekeeper, but I fizzle out. I clean and pick up messes, but not as diligently as I would like. We have no family here, hardly any friends come over, and my husband doesn’t care what the house is like, so there is a lack of accountability. I love when someone is coming to visit because that really gets us both in gear to deep clean.

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  16. Teresa

    04/11/2014

    Oh yes I’m a do it now gal! I always feel good when I just do it and get it over with! Now the hubby is totally opposite. He would win the procrastinator of the year award!! Thanks for sharing how easy it is to just do it!!

    [Reply]

  17. Andrea

    04/12/2014

    Okay, this is my first comment on this blog : )
    But reading this post, I definitely noticed something I didn’t here before:
    1. You ARE Superwoman! No really, you are, you can’t deny that.
    2. You seem very close to the Proverbs 31 woman!
    3. Your husband has found himself an excellent wife.

    You’re totally right about this post in all aspects. I tell my kids and family all the time the only way to do something, is to, well, Do It!
    In order to read the Bible, you have to READ the bible.
    In order to keep your kitchen clean & counters free, you have CLEAN it, etc.

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  18. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    04/14/2014

    I’m both! Sometimes I do it now and sometimes I put it off until later. It just depends on my mood, how much time I have and what the task is.

    [Reply]

  19. Sandra

    05/26/2014

    Andrea,

    Can you share some comments about structuring a day, when unplanned tasks pop up (spill in fridge, unexpected visitor) during the day? Could you comment on how you approach goal setting/list making (and adapting!?) in these types of situations? Specifically, how do you accomplish scheduled goals if you are (seemingly) constantly getting interrupted by these ‘do it now’ tasks? Like, do you shuffle your schedule around these do it now tasks? Do you allow yourself to do a little of the do it nows and then postpone your tasks? For set goals – do you prioritize according to times, day parts or priority?!

    Sandra :)

    [Reply]

  20. Sandra

    05/26/2014

    Hi Andrea,

    Re. my post I resonate a bit here with Christina on 04/10.

    :) Sandra

    [Reply]

  21. Andrea

    05/26/2014

    Hi Andrea!

    Great your post on April 11!
    Hilarious I’m laughing!!

    Appreciatively,
    Sandra

    [Reply]

  22. Sandra

    05/26/2014

    Gals, it looks like you all commented on what I was asking ~

    I admire that Beth!

    Go, Julia! Great attitude!
    I think sometimes women aren’t as ‘active’ as they could be – they leave all the screwdriver
    or tape measure activities to the husbands! Andrea is an inspiration in that!

    Jennifer, you sound so inspiring!

    Sandra :)

    [Reply]

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