The Power of Later

Do you have trouble keeping your house clean?  Do trivial things like dishes and old magazines pile up until they become a mess?  Do you consider yourself a neat, organized person, but can’t find the time to actually clean?  Stop what you are doing and read carefully.

I used to be just like you, crazy about trying to keep my house clean, but never actually finding the time.  That is, until I discovered a powerful way to get things done: what I call the “do it later method”.

The philosophy centers around the idea that what you are doing now, whether it be reading or watching TV, is more important than anything else.  Being focused on one activity at a time is the key to being happy and productive.  Taking time out of your television program to wash dishes would be taking you out of the moment, just to accomplish a trivial task.  There are many more examples of this which we will go over later.

How it Works

The method itself is fairly straightforward.  When you see a task that needs to be done, especially a small inconsequential one, make a mental note to do it later.  That’s it.  No need to write it down or use an app, just remember it.  There is a very effective strategy for remembering these tasks, which I will describe in detail little later.   

At the end of the day, do all of the small tasks that you have noted in one single block of time.  When isn’t important, just make sure to do them all.  The end of the day is the perfect time to get work done because you have gotten all of your distractions out of the way.  All the meals have been eaten, TV been watched, and games been played.  

If you’re not normally eager to get things done before bed, don’t sweat it.  I’ll describe a good routine for late evening productivity in the next section.

The Research

Experts agree that so called “multitasking” is really equivalent to doing two tasks badly.  Sure you might be able to multitask productively in rare circumstances, like texting and driving, but mostly you are just wasting time.  That is why the “do it later” method is so powerful – it forces you to stay on task.

Many self proclaimed “gurus” and minimalism “experts” advocate doing small chores and cleaning tasks as soon as you recognize them.  Their logic is that it is better to do small tasks right away, as they can be easy to forget or put off.  This is preposterous.  Many peer reviewed studies, which I will cite later on, show that people are more productive if they save undesirable tasks for another time.

First Hand Accounts

Sure it sounds great, but does the “do it later” method actually work?  Absolutely it does.  If not, how does my house always look so clean and organized?  Actually, I hire a cleaning service, but if I didn’t have golden hands that could literally mint money with every word, I would be using this powerful system.  

I may not use it for cleaning, but I still use the “do it later” method in other areas of my life, like writing and buying gifts for my wife.  Because it is so versatile you can apply the method to all manner of activities, like taking care of your pet, or getting a job.  I will cover these uses, as well as give advice for closing out an essay, in the last section.

How to Start

In your zeal for organization you may be tempted to rush out there and start cataloging the things you want to clean later on.  I would advise you to wait.  It can be easy to get caught up in a new “system” you read about online, but it takes more than enthusiasm to form a real habit.  Take time to fantasize about how clean and organized your new life will be.  Then, when you are ready, start the “do it later” method at just the right time: tomorrow.

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