Growing up, when I had homework or chores to do, my mother would tell me, as I sat in front of the TV, “Do it!” This was long before Nike came out with its slogan “Just do it!” Later I was working with a coach, Means Davis, and he relayed his mother’s adage “Do it now, or schedule it.”
Before I took these ideas to heart, my shirt pocket was overflowing with pieces of paper containing lists of things I wanted to do, from the mundane to the life-changing. A boss even got 2-inch by 4-inch card stock notes printed for me, for my lists. When the Palm Pilot first came out, I bought one, thinking that it would help me with my endless lists of to-dos.
I kept such lists because I am both a font of ideas and forgetful. If I don’t capture an idea before it goes out of my mind, I fear I will lose it forever. Or the opposite will happen, and I can think of nothing else until I write it down.
What I have finally learned is that instead of writing something down, it’s better for me to “do it now.”
There are three immediate benefits to this strategy. First, I get the item off my mind. I can go back to a relaxed state. Next, I get whomever asked for the something off my back immediately. Lastly, I get everything that comes from completing something, beginning right then. Sometimes I startle people with the speed with which I respond to a request. They’re used to immediate protests, not instant compliance. One of my nicknames is “Quick Karl.”
As I grow in trips around the sun, I have gotten more forgetful. My head is already full of ideas, and a new one seems to have a very short lifespan if I don’t do something about them quickly. My latest technology is the app Evernote, which syncs thoughts on my phone, tablet and laptop. But even better is doing it now, as soon as the idea arises.
Doing it now is a way of getting more things done without pinging my radar, that usually thwarts my actions with growing doubt and excuses. And the benefits of completing something are often too great to count.
Test it out for yourself. Do it now.