There are a few words and phrases I am just not too fond of:
And of course, one of my least favorite, later.
As in “I’ll do it later”.
I am not sure when uttering that phrase is ever really productive. You say “later” and your brain complies. It doesn’t know when later is and you don’t either.
When you say I’ll do it later to washing the dishes or sorting the mail or filing those papers you are saying “I am not sure when that will get done”. And it might perhaps be important to recognize that you are feeling that you don’t want to do what needs to be done.
That realization is powerful.
And feeling that way happens to the best of us. Whether it’s scheduling your next dentist appointment, purging your closet, or paying the bills, we say we’ll do it later because the task is unappealing, or it’s hard to know where to start. Or because you don’t know where something goes and don’t want to deal with figuring out if you need to keep that paper – just in case.
When you allow “later” into any part of your house you welcome clutter to become part of your everyday routine. And with it comes disorder, confusion, chaos – and piles – of everything from paper to clothing to dirty dishes.
Never say later!
Three tips to help you never say “later” again.
1. Put things back where they belong when you are done using them.
Do you hear your parents in that piece of advice? Sometimes I do and it reminds me of the importance of everything having a home, and of me using that home. It’s the best way to keep things tidy and neat. And if there is no home for something, it’s a good idea to question its necessity.
2. Don’t put off anything that will take you 2 minutes or less to do.
I grew up hearing the phrase, “Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.” Many things can be done today. The fact is, the more unappealing a task is, the longer you think it takes to do. Sorting the mail can take 35 seconds. It’s not about doing all the tasks associated with the mail like paying bills or deciding whether you can attend that wedding on the 21st. It’s just a quick sort to discard and recycle what you don’t need. And then to put what needs to be addressed in the right home.
3. If you must do it later, schedule the time!
Yes, there will always be things that have to be put on the back burner because of lack of desire or time or an unexpected curve ball. It happens and I’m not disputing that you may need to say “I’ll do it later”. And if you do, my advice is to be diligent in scheduling a time to complete that task. Put it on your list to hold you to task. Set an alert on your smartphone. Schedule it right in with your other appointments. Otherwise, things pile up, chaos ensues and it becomes harder and harder to catch up.
Give yourself the best chance at a successful, productive, satisfying day. Do what you can now.
And perhaps you’ll find you never have to say later again.
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