The following is a guest post from Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom:
Crystal’s new book, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, is now available, and it’s just $0.99 for the next three days! Get yours today.
Mandi wrote a post over on Simple Mom way back in July of 2011, it stuck with me so much that I dedicated a whole chapter to it in my new e-book, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life.
This part of Mandi’s post sums it up:
“So what’s the key to success? Simply put: Get it done early. This principle applies to your home and family life as well as your business. Whenever possible, get it – whatever it may be – done early and eliminate the stress and frustration of being pulled in a million directions.
“Avoid the guilt of shushing your teething baby because of looming deadlines or groaning in frustration when the school nurse calls, or saying no – yet again – to a fun activity with your kids.”
Get it done early. Such a simple concept, but it’s revolutionary if you implement it. I know, because I’ve experienced the fruit in my own life!
You see, for years, I’ve struggled with being on time. I was always waiting until the last minute to do what I needed to do and then I’d breathlessly rush out the door barely making it to my appointment in one piece — and late again, as usual.
It wasn’t just getting places on time that I struggled with. Getting things done on time was also my constant nemesis.
Oh, I always had great intentions. But inevitably, something would come up that seemed to need my attention more. Or I’d get distracted and put things off until the very last minute.
And you know exactly where all that procrastination and distraction would land me?
Behind, of course.
Behind in getting emails written, behind in getting cards sent, behind in getting phone calls made, behind in getting articles and online projects done… and on and on the list goes.
I was forever behind and apologizing for it. And I hated it. It was stressful, frustrating, and embarrassing. In addition, it wasn’t considerate for me to always make others wait on me to show up at an event or get something turned in for an online project.
So, what changed? Well, it started with reading Mandi’s article and having a lightbulb moment to realize that waiting until the last minute to do everything wasn’t working so well.
Yes, I know, this may seem like common sense. In fact, some of you amazingly organized folks are shaking your head at me and my inability to see the obvious.
But I had to stop making excuses, start owning up to things, and admit that the problem rested squarely on my own shoulder.
The good news? If I was the problem, I was also the solution. I just needed to figure out a plan that worked for me and then work that plan.
Putting It Into Practice
It was easier said than done, but over the past two years, I’ve been making concerted strides to undo years of bad habits and replace those old habits with good habits.
I’ve started looking at my calendar at least a few weeks in advance to see what I have coming up and then planning ahead. I’ve been carefully considering everything on my plate before saying “yes” to a commitment.
I’ve started aiming to get places at least 30 to 45 minutes early. I’ve started trying to have everything in place for the next day before I go to bed at night. I’ve been planning blog posts out weeks in advance.
And, probably most monumental and life-transforming for me: I’ve stopped waiting until the last minute to get ready and out the door. For instance, let’s say that I need to get two blog posts written on Saturday before meeting a friend at the park for lunch. Instead of writing the blog posts first, I get myself ready, pack our lunch, pack the van, and get the kids dressed, with shoes on.
Once we are literally ready to walk out the door. I can sit down and write those posts, knowing exactly what time I need to stop writing, gather the kids, and jump in the van. Nothing unexpected (like missing shoes) can pop up, because those tasks have already been taken care of.
Ways to Get It Done Early
Do you feel like you’re always behind and barely keeping it together? Try implementing the Get It Done Early concept in your own life:
- Struggling to get to church on time? Get all of the church clothes and shoes gathered, ironed, and hanging in one spot, get your diaper bag packed and in the van, along with all of the Bibles. When will you do this? Saturday evening.
- Do you homeschool? Get Monday’s lesson plan and worksheets printed out, pencils sharpened, and all workbooks and other books centrally located. When will you do this? Sunday evening.
- Do you have a blog? Get your blog posts for the week outlined, written, uploaded, and scheduled on your blog. When will you do this? The week before.
- Headed on a family trip soon? You can get all of your vacation snacks purchased, suitcases packed, pillows, blankets, and car games tucked into the van. When will you do this? The day before you leave on vacation.
Are you beginning to see how much calmer and in control you’ll feel when you plan ahead and Get It Done Early? Not only that, but you might find, like me, that you are able to get a lot more done but that you feel like you have a lot less on your plate.
The peace and margin I’ve found as a result of planning ahead and Getting It Done Early has been a beautiful thing. I dare you to try it, too!
Don’t forget to hop on over and check out Crystal’s ebook, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life. It’s $0.99, but only through Thursday, 10/25!
Crystal Paine is a wife, homeschooling mom of three, and author of the brand-new ebook, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life. For more encouragement to get your life and finances in order, visit her blog, MoneySavingMom.com.