I was blessed to have been raised in a good home. My parents were quite different people. Their marriage was a bit unusual because of the difference in their ages when they married. My father was forty-two years old when he married my mother, and she was just twenty-one. After two years of marriage, I came along and was their only child. Growing up in my house was an incredibly unique experience. Because my father was so much older than my mother, I sometimes felt as though I was being raised by a grandfather and a mother. They had very different outlooks on life. My father was Jewish, and my mother was a Christian. My father taught me the Old Testament while my mother taught me the New Testament. My mother always encouraged me to love God and my father taught me to have a friend at the bank! I have come to see that both are important.
I think one of the most important lessons that they burned into my mind over the years was to not let things hang over me for long periods of time. My father would say, “First things first. Be a do-it-now person! Don’t let grass grow under your feet!” I can hear him saying those things to me in my head right now. My mother said it a different way, “Don’t let things hang over you.” Basically, they were saying the same thing: When you have something to do, get it done. Do not procrastinate or wait until the last minute to get started. Procrastination and allowing things to constantly hang over your head creates too many problems and hardships, not only for yourself, but for everyone else around you as well. Maybe a few examples will help.
If you have a report or paper due, do not wait until the night before to start it and then have to burn the midnight oil in order to get it finished. Start and do a little bit each day. If you are going on vacation, do not wait until the night before to start packing. Surely there are some things you can do in advance to prepare. If you have income taxes to file, keep a folder throughout the year where you can put related receipts and records so that everything will be in one place when tax time comes. When you are preparing for birthdays or other gift-giving events for family and friends, why not buy a few presents ahead of time and have them wrapped so that you do not have to rush out at the last minute to purchase something?
I have four daughters and six grandchildren. I have developed the habit of shopping for and buying a birthday card for each of them all at the same time. That allows me to choose one that is special for each person and helps me not wait until the last minute when I would have to rummage through whatever was available at the store. I have discovered that whenever I have an extra margin of time in my life, it makes everything more enjoyable for me and I am not nearly as stressed.
If you allow things to build up in your life, it creates unnecessary hardship for you. It is so much wiser to plan ahead and get things done, little by little, rather than waiting until the last minute and have things hanging over you all the time.
My mother was a big believer in getting upcoming things out of the way as quickly as possible, or at least getting started on them to allow yourself some margin in case something changed. Anyone who has ever waited until the last minute to do anything knows that your options are fewer, the pressure mounts, the stress gets greater, and you just are not able to operate in an enjoyable manner.
If you have children who are still at home, why not get as many things as possible ready for the entire upcoming week on Sunday afternoon rather than waiting until Monday morning when you are rushed to start looking for books, clothes, food, and other items? It is so much wiser to plan ahead, to have some margin and not let things build up and hang over you.
I know we live in a world that is very fast-paced and all of us have a lot going on, but one of the greatest secrets that I have learned is to get things out of the way as quickly as possible. And this is not so much for the purpose of just getting them done, but of being able to think things through and prepare so in case there are changes at the last minute, there will be enough time and margin to make necessary adjustments.
Please understand, I am not trying to tell you, or anyone else, how to live your life. The purpose of these Tips is to share as many nuggets of wisdom as possible to make your life better. I have found that understanding this concept of not letting things hang over you is a major success principle, to make life better for yourself and all those around you.
Put this principle into practice this week and watch how much easier life becomes because you have planned and thought ahead about getting things done ahead of time and not waiting until the last minute. You may even find those additional few extra minutes you have been looking for in your life every day!!
Tip: Don’t let things hang over you!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm