I used to be a horrible procrastinator. During high school and college, it was almost like I lived for the pressure of waiting until the last minute and then pulling the all-nighter to finish something. As I get older though, I’m finding that I definitely need my sleep (lol) and I really do not enjoy any unnecessary stress or pressure. There are enough things going on inside my head with all the goals I want to accomplish that I don’t need any added stress in there taking up valuable headspace! The things I want to achieve will also be more doable when I get ahead of it.
A few years ago, a very good friend (shout out to Bill Utnage) taught me what it meant to “get ahead of it.” Bill is the master of getting ahead of it. Getting ahead of it means having a far enough looking vision that you’re planning ahead for what is coming, thinking through those details, and making sure that all the ducks are in a row as far in advanced as possible. It means that when you think about things that “should” get done, you do them as soon as possible, rather than waiting just because you can wait. It means that you get help when needed and that you make decisions in a timely manner so that you don’t get stuck in “analysis paralysis.” This idea of getting ahead of it has helped me to grow my business at a much faster rate, and more importantly to raise my level of integrity. When I say I’m going to do something, I want people to know (and my subconscious to know) that I’m going to do it. While I’m not perfect 100% of the time, I have come a long way thanks to the concept of getting ahead of it.
One area I’ve been focusing on lately is around my own house. Because my schedule is regularly very full, our own household chores can sometimes fall behind. Recently I was thinking about how I could get ahead of things around my house to make my life easier. Growing up, we always did laundry in our house on Sundays. So that’s what I’ve always done as an adult, but sometimes that could mean several hours of changing loads, folding, and putting away on a Sunday. And what if I’m out of town on a Sunday? Then it falls behind even more! So in the mindset of getting ahead of it, I’ve started doing many smaller loads throughout the week. It doesn’t take much time to throw a load in in the morning or after I get home, and then because the loads are smaller, they are very quick to fold and put away. Then by the time the weekend rolls around, the laundry is all already done and I have more free time to enjoy!
Another area around our house that has been recently improved by getting ahead of it is dishes. Our dishwasher does not (and has never really) worked, and so we do all of our dishes by hand. If we let them pile up throughout the week because we’re “busy” or “tired” or whatever other excuse, then we get to spend several hours over the weekend getting them caught back up. If we just wash our dishes once a day (or even better wash them as they’re as used), it goes so much faster and the house feels 10x cleaner and calmer.
These things might be common sense to some people, but to me they weren’t. Thanks to Bill, I now think much farther out and can anticipate when it will benefit me to put in a little more effort up front and make my life way easier down the road. My future self loves this.