I used to see things around the house that I needed to deal with and I would think to myself “I’ll do that later” and then I’d forget about it as I continued on with whatever I was doing. Later that same day I might see it again and think to myself “I’ll do that later.” This cycle of noticing it and not doing anything about it would continue on until at some point I would either forget about it or eventually do whatever it was that needed to be done. Because later I would be sitting on the couch and would have no idea what any of the things were that I told myself I’d do.
I did this with all kinds of things. Hair things on the mantel that needed to be put away. Things that I had bought for myself that needed to get tried on or put away (or even worse, returned). The kids’ artwork that I didn’t know what to do with. Glasses on the counter that for some reason didn’t make it into the dishwasher. This is a special case because my husband usually loads the dishwasher and sometimes he will keep things out of the dishwasher for days on end, just languishing on the counter for some unknown reason I can’t comprehend. I would see them and wonder why they were still out and probably even get irritated because had no idea why he didn’t just put them in the dishwasher. But it would take me days of seeing it and getting irritated until I would finally do something about it. Days of getting irritated over something that takes 2 seconds to do!
I think the idea behind later was that I was busy with the kids and if I took the time to do something then I wasn’t paying attention to them. Maybe that’s not exactly it, but I’m pretty sure it went something like that. I can’t do that right now because I’m in the middle of something so I’ll do it later. What this did to me was make it so that I had stuff piling up to do, little things mostly but lots of them, so that when I did have time to relax I was in this constant restless state because I knew there were things I should be doing but I had no idea what they were. Sometimes I would try making lists of things, but most of those lists would never get looked at again.
I don’t even remember now why I decided I would stop telling myself later. I wish I could remember what the catalyst was, but I don’t. I just know that I decided I would stop telling myself that and I would deal with things when I saw them.
It takes a lot more work than I thought it would. After a few weeks I thought I was doing really good, and then I would notice that I was still doing it. It’s been weeks since then and I did it again today. We need more toilet paper in our bathroom and I noticed it twice and haven’t done anything about it. I was being lazy and didn’t want to go downstairs and get it. But the thing is, it still has to get done and putting it off hasn’t done me any good.
I also know now that taking care of things when I see them doesn’t take away from the time I have with my kids. When I have quality time with my kids I’m usually not noticing things that need to get done. We play a game, the girls get something else out, I tell them we have to clean up the game before we can play with anything else. Even if I do take a minute to put something away, it doesn’t detract from the time I have when I am focusing on them. So these days I try really hard not to tell myself I’ll do things later because my mind is clearer. I don’t have that restless feeling. I don’t always feel like there’s something I should be doing. It’s worth it to me. Try it for yourself and you might just see that it’s worth it for you too.
Sometimes if I save something for later I find I forget until I see that thing a month later. Oops. I agree acting quickly when possible is best.
After my second daughter was born, I was really bad about that. I let stuff linger forever. I’ve gotten a lot better about it though 🙂