The Do-It-Now Habit
One of the habits I've been trying to build in the past months is doing tasks immediately. I follow one rule: if it takes less than two minutes to accomplish, then do it now.
I sometimes forget that rule. A task lands on my plate, and I file it under my mental to-do. Doing it immediately doesn't even cross my mind. It's a bad habit I'm trying to replace with a do-it-now habit.
I try to do this because:
- It saves mental space and energy. Doing it now means I don't have to store it in my head. My mind is free of clutter. I avoid the stress that comes with knowing there's something you need to do, but haven't. I don't want that thought with me the whole day.
- Tasks don't become things I forget. We've all forgotten a couple of things we said we'd do. Most of the time, if it's not in my calendar or Notion to-do list, I forget about it. That's why I've set those tools up—so that I don't have to remember everything. But the small quick tasks don't usually warrant a place in the calendar, and they become things I forget to do. To avoid that, I like to do those tasks immediately.
- It clears up my schedule for later. I like finishing my day early, work and household chores all done, and having an hour of free time in the evening. To read, to watch, to hop on a call with my sister and my parents, or to lie in bed and get sucked into watching cat videos. To take it slow after a packed day. But if I keep adding small tasks to my to-do list throughout the day, then I'd lose that hour of free time accomplishing them.
It's a difficult habit to build, especially because I'm a natural procrastinator. But I'm seeing progress.
I do these consciously now, but once it becomes a habit, then it'll be frictionless. And I'm certain these tiny changes will reap big rewards.