Is your to-do list, like, a hundred pages? Yeah, so is mine, but recently I’ve stepped up my to-do list game and I’m going beyond just writing it all down. Often, when we have a moment to breathe and nothing is due immediately, we like to take that time to relax. It seems like the best option, right? Wrong. Here is why you should stop setting down that list and start picking it up more often.
Time if of the Essence
This conversation starts off with the mind-boggling idea of time. Some people understand the concept and live by it. It can be easy to except that the standard measure of daylight and passing of moments equates to the concept of time. After one o’clock comes one o’ one. Now, try taking that basic concept and stretching it out. In every hour there are 60 minutes and in every minute there are 60 seconds. Then every second can be broken down again, again, and again. Don’t hurt yourself thinking about it, but when you move beyond the idea of using a clock to know when you should have lunch or when you get off work, you move into a new area.
Looking at the concept of time this way, there are people who like to block things out. An example would be saying your day is made of four blocks (7-11,11-3,3-7,7-11). Then you can designate certain activities to each block. Have I lost you yet? I hope so because this is nothing like what I’m encouraging you to do. Basically, by now you should understand that a day is made up of more than just 12 hours.
Why is any of this blabbering important? It’s important because when you write up your list and set it aside you are creating those time blocks for yourself. Eventually, you will find time to do those things and do them in that designated slot. Now, here’s what you should really be doing, do it now.
The second something comes to your mind that you need to get done, do it. If you are sitting watching TV and realize you have something to do then get up and do it. It takes a little bit of extra will on your part but once you get into the habit of stopping what you are doing and getting something more important done it becomes easier. The to-do list is still great because life isn’t perfect. Sometimes we think of things that need to get done when we are in the middle of something else important and that’s what the list is for, but once you are done doing whatever it is you are doing just go straight to the list.
I strongly beleive in doing more now to have to do less later. The reason the concept of time is important here is because we don’t realize how much time we waste by putting things off. When you think of something, it’s fresh in your mind and most likely the fact that you thought of it means you have more will to get it done now than you will later. Putting things on the list and just hoping you get back to them or blocking off time means you have designated yourself a time to do it and that amount may be more than you need.
There is always going to be that voice in the back of your head telling you that you can just do it later or what you are doing now is more important, but unless it really is more important, it is better to silence that negativity and be the better you now. I have a personal story to help get you started.
As some of you may know I am going into my last year of college. This isn’t too exciting until you find out this will only be my third year. I’m on the track to finish up college a year early because I took extra time in high school to take those advanced classes and I’m currently using my summer to take some of those annoying but needed-to-graduate classes. Other people in my class are at the beach right now or sitting at home in the air conditioning which is fine if you prefer a consistently relaxed life. However, when everyone else is still in classes I’ll be able to either jump into my career or take that year off that others chose in the middle of school.
For me, I’m making the better choice. It’s a lot of work now, but I’ll be out of school early (saving a lot of money) and getting an early start on whatever is to come next. Everyone has their own way of life, but just as I have done on the large scale of taking extra classes each semester, we all can do on the small scale by crossing things off the to-do list now instead of later. If you have time to read this whole article, I recommend taking these next few minutes before your next event to cross something off your to-do list. Maybe its small, but guess what, then it will be done.
Take a breath and go do it so you can take a couple more breaths later. Happy working!