You know the Staples “Easy” button? I have a new one. It is the “Do this later” button. I think about this every time I log into my Google account and it tells me “An Update to your account is required”. Something about personal and work accounts overlapping. A colleague did this update and now his blog is hosed, so I’m avoiding it. Every day, sometimes several times a day, I press the ‘Do this later” button.
And now the thinking has moved beyond my Google account as I push the button consciously and subconsciously all day long. I pressed the “do this later” button several times on renewing my car registration… and then last week I got a $75 ticket for its expiration. And after waiting in line and paying my fine, changing my name was going to take too long so I pressed the “do this later” button again. My husband and I have been pressing the “do this later” button every night when we let our 4-month old back into our bed. Let’s just say today after 5 hours of crying I’m feeling the pain – but I have no interest in continuing to push the button because it is time to change our habits. What else… I’ve been telling friends for months I’ll be back soon for social time. And there’s a long list of other items that grows every day, some of which is tracked in a “Do this later” Evernote memo, and some of which has just been lost in the black hole.
Now, historically I haven’t been too much of a do this later kind of girl. I might not do something right now, but I generally put it on my list and get to it pretty quickly. I’m all about playing “whack a mole” and knocking all these annoying little things off. So this thinking is a little new for me. In fact, I had a little outburst in my kitchen last week when my business partner and my husband were encouraging this behavior and I told them they should just go start the “Do this later” club.
But I got to thinking about it and here’s the thing: If you don’t do a little bit of “Do this later” your personal productivity will be hurt worse than if you do it all the time. Do you know people who always must stop to deal with every little Google account update type message before they move on to what they are really trying to do? These people are not the most efficient around. Yes, a few things might slip through the cracks and even come back to bite you, but a little bit of pushing things off is necessary for high productivity!
I’ve now adopted the “Do this later” vernacular with some of my coworkers – signaling that we do think we should do it but it isn’t important or urgent enough to set a date yet. It helps us double check our thinking that we don’t have to do something immediately but we do think we’ll do it at some point in the future…