You know the statement I am talking about. It’s the comment that is made by someone that I cannot remember where or when, if I read it or heard it, or what I was putting off at the moment…but I remember the statement clearly. It is ingrained into my subconscious and rises at inopportune times of the day and night and subtly shifts the course of my entire life. But who said it? And why has it made such a lasting impact on my life? You know the statements I am talking about. You’ve had various statements like that change your life as well. Here is one of mine:
If I do not have time to get this done right now, what makes me think I will have time tomorrow?
I am sure that whatever I was putting off that day was going to be pretty boring, but I have no idea why it stuck. But it did. And it’s changed my life. For months after my subconscious burned this statement into my soul, I’d find myself at a moment in my day when I’d typically say, “Oh, I’ll do that later.” only to be followed up with “When later?” Stink!! #busted
Now I’ve gone back and forth with this internal battle. Like a typical teenager living in a 44-year-old body, I’d rebel and still not do what needed to be done. I’d lip off (yes to myself). I would finally walk away only to be drawn back by my 44-year-old self knowing that it wouldn’t be more fun tomorrow.
What I have learned about myself in this process is interesting. What it comes down to for me is less about time management and more about personal priority. What do I want in life? What I want in life needs to happen today! So, I go through a series of questions now when I find myself in this moment of conflict asking myself if I want to do something right now: Does this NEED to be done? If yes, just do it now so it’s over. I found that having things pile up caused more stress and anxiety in me than I realized. How did I realize that? I ended a few days without a pile of things I needed to do tomorrow. My second question is, ‘Do I want to do it?’ If yes, then why not have the joy of getting this done now? I found that so many things that I was putting off were actually things that I wanted to do and found joy in. So why not get some instant gratification?
One of the most profound things I came to realize is that I was putting a LOT of pressure on myself to do things that didn’t NEED to be done and that I did not WANT to do. So why do them? I don’t anymore. I didn’t do it then either. The difference now is that those items no longer make my to do list which is where the stress and anxiety came from.
You might be saying, ‘Brad, you are way too complex and make life way too difficult.’ That may be true, but life is way easier now that I’ve learned that I have time to do what is a priority right now. I hope the same can be true for you.