Habits life

Do It Now // Do It Later

June 21, 2023

Things That I am Good at Doing Right Away

1- Getting refills of medications. I have learned that hard way that if you wait to get started requesting refills of certain things . . . it can be bad. I’ve gotten better at staying ahead of the prescriptions in our household.

2- Writing ANYTHING down that I think of, that I need to do later. Or if no paper is around, email to myself. I have learned that I will NOT magically remember it later, and also the mental clutter that comes with trying to hold onto things is just annoying.

3- Run/strength. You never know what will come up later — in terms of weather, or in terms of life. I feel very much trained to get these DONE when I can.

4- Reschedule where there is a conflict. If you wait, yes there is an infinitesimal chance one party will cancel and then things sort themselves out. But that’s unlikely. What is far more likely = making someone made because of a last minute cancellation (and fewer options for rescheduling). If I see trouble in my calendar I am pretty good about dealing with it ahead of time.

5- Ask for the PL time. We are booked way too far out right now to play around with this. If I *think* I might need a day off in the future, I’m requesting it off. Much easier to turn a day off into a work day than the other way around when it comes to clinic.

6- Plan the birthday party. I’m pretty well-trained: work on G’s birthday by October, C’s by December (at worst, early January) and A’s by February. I have to plan around call schedules + the school calendar so I want the biggest choice of dates!

7- Book the hotel. For the trip. For the race. For the work conference. I’ve learned to do it early, especially as most hotels have decent cancellation policies (though I always check!).

8- Schedule the car maintenance. I love that my car shows “Car Maintenance Due Soon” before the maintenance is actually due. Good job, Toyota!

9- Fill out the $(#*& form. I’d rather just do it than have it sit around hanging over my head.

10- Get up (when my alarm goes off). This seemed sort of obvious but I know this is very difficult for many. I do feel somewhat lucky that I almost never mind early mornings.

Things I am Kind of Bad at Doing Right Away

(But maybe by writing them down, I will help myself do better!)

1- Put it on the shopping list. When I use up the olive oil, it would be really smart to just add it to some kind of list! Right!? But . . . generally I do not.

2- Start bedtime. When I start (and finish) kid bedtime on time, life is better. This is more of the exception than the rule, unfortunately.

3- Arrange playdates. I tend to passive-aggressively procrastinate on this. I’m not sure why! I feel like I’ve been burned many times with cancellations, and my kids don’t consistently follow up on requests to help arrange them.

4- Replace running shoes (or any shoes, really). I learned the hard way with knee pain after my last pair hit 400 mi, but I just hate how shoe purchases add up and deplete my personal spending $!

5- Charge my phone. Not great at this, and my battery isn’t that great either. Bad combination.

6- Any photo organization / memory keeping effort. I’m usually . . . 1.5 years behind.

7- Write the thank you notes. However — I have actually abandoned this in favor of IMMEDIATE thank you texts – with photo of gift + smiling kid, right when the gift is opened. This is not as elegant, but at least it gets done!

8- Make the medical appointment. Ugh, I need to do my mammogram. And I will. Soon. (I am much better with hair / dental appts mostly because I make the next one while in the office!)

9- Clean out my car. I hate having a messy car. But apparently I hate actually bringing things inside more . . .

10- Have the event. I have gotten better at this, as evidenced by the neighbors’ wine + cheese we are hosting on Saturday! Still, it’s taken wayyyyyy too long for me to make it happen.

This entire post written while this was happening:

speaking of dental appointments . . .

Palate expander, brackets (they will add the wire in 2 weeks once the expansion done), and phase 1 is underway. A is getting phase 2 today – which I think includes braces on upper and lower teeth, so it’s taking longer.

My dental insurance and I are putting the orthodontist’s kids through college. But the kids inherited misaligned and crowded teeth from me, so I feel it is my duty to fix them.

What do you procrastinate on – and what are you ruthless about getting out of the way?


  • Reply Caitlin June 21, 2023 at 6:15 am

    I’m very good about adding things to the grocery list right away—my husband found us a shared app that is pretty good. We can have separate lists for regular grocery and Costco.

    I’m not great about paperwork and random errands, although I’m getting better.

    • Reply Coree June 21, 2023 at 8:14 am

      We shout out to Alexa to add things to our shared todoist shopping list.

      • Reply Megan June 21, 2023 at 12:56 pm

        Another reason I like grocery delivery – I add it to the shopping cart right away so it is there when I do my next order.

        • Reply Omdg June 21, 2023 at 1:00 pm

          Me too! Love grocery delivery for this!

  • Reply Sara June 21, 2023 at 6:17 am

    This is a great post! I am curious to hear what others think, too.

    Things I do right away: dental appointments, grocery lists/meal planning, pay bills/invoices, running/cardio, RSVPing to events (or canceling/rescheduling).

    Things I don’t always do right away: put away folded laundry (even though it literally takes just a few minutes), kids’ birthday parties are planned ~1 month out (enough time, but always seems rushed), strength training, medical appointments that aren’t already established, reading in the evening always seems to take less priority to internet reading (I need to reverse this!) I’m much further behind you on photo organization – 1.5 years would feel like an accomplishment 🙂

    I’ve adopted the same thank you note pattern with a text + picture, but have started also having my kids write simple notes. There are cute fill in the blank thank you notes I bought from Amazon that were easy for my 7 year old.

  • Reply Margot June 21, 2023 at 7:04 am

    A lot on your procrastination list is also on mine! I can understand the frustration with playdates. I mentally think of these as something that *might* happen and I don’t tell my kid about it until the last minute. I just figure someone will get sick, it has happened so many times.

  • Reply Lisa S. June 21, 2023 at 7:10 am

    Love this post! I found a tip/hack that has solved my habit of also forgetting to note items for grocery or target runs. I put a small dry erase board and markers on the inside door of the pantry. I notice most of the time I realize we are low on an item/out while I’m in the kitchen so that placement is easy to access while it is on my mind. I’ve also taught my family to use the board, which takes off some of the mental load for me. For example if I don’t use an item, it is no longer my responsibility to track when more is needed. It also gives some agency to my 9 year old who can add (reasonable lol) requests herself. Game changer!

  • Reply Courtney June 21, 2023 at 7:27 am

    I use Alexa to put things on the grocery list right away. I think she has a built in last that you can access through the app when you’re at the store, but we subscribe to AnyList so my husband has it to, I keep grocery lists, Target, Costco, To Dos, and a Braindump/Someday/Maybe, as well as packing lists. I can create folders, so all the packing lists are together and reusable, like beach packing, visiting my parents, a day at the water park or amusement park. This also helps when I sit down to plan and I check my To Do and Braindump lists and then I write them down in my planner. So immediate digital capture + review + schedule.

  • Reply Chelsea June 21, 2023 at 8:02 am

    We just magnet a piece of scrap paper to the fridge for an instant grocery list. My parents swear by using Alexa, although she sometimes has a hard time understanding my mom and they end up with some pretty funny things on their list that they have to try to decipher. I think they actually enjoy that.

    The only thing I really procrastinate on is home-related tasks that I find – or think I will find – unpleasant or time consuming. For example, we have procrastinated for way way way way too long on buying a new mattress. To the point that we got back from vacation and commented on how much more comfortable all the hotel mattresses were than our now-18-year-old mattress (that’s some serious procrastination, lol). I know almost anything we picked would be better than what we have now, but I loathe shopping – especially in person – and I get overwhelmed by all the options on the internet. Eventually I think we will just bite the bullet and go to Costco and force ourselves to pick from the options there.

    • Reply Kate June 22, 2023 at 6:59 am

      I hear you on home related tasks, I do not enjoy them either. I now keep a list and home tasks are done in Jan only. This is during our Summer holidays when I generally have more time and headspace. If a task doesn’t get done by the end of Jan well it’s just too bad. It’s such a relief to not keep thinking about home tasks I should do all year. It’s also not nearly as bad doing the home tasks when there is a finite amount of time to get them done.

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 22, 2023 at 7:31 am

        Ooh I like this method (and also hate home related tasks!)

  • Reply Coree June 21, 2023 at 8:26 am

    Quick things:
    Adding things to a list, I trust my systems
    Bedtime – the clock hits 7 and I’m ushering everyone upstairs
    Email – I don’t respond right away but I am good at keeping on top of it
    Whatsapp replies
    Grading – my colleagues wait til the last minute but I’ve got good systems and want it off my to do list
    Booking travel/tickets

    Procrastinating on:
    I’m awful about anything I have to call for and have a preference for any service I can book online. I am currently waiting on blood tests for January and don’t have a functioning bank card because I’d have to call.
    Anything where I think someone is going to be “mad” at me or I’ll be in “trouble”, so replying to ask for help, cancel something, etc. I have gotten better at this.
    Laundry folding – I wait til the bed in my office/guest room is buried and do it all at once. Which I argue is more efficient, my mom disagrees.
    Checking into flights – I have a perhaps suspect theory that the later you check in (if you haven’t paid for seats), the better seat you get. But sometimes I’m in the security queue and I don’t have a boarding pass.

  • Reply Elisabeth June 21, 2023 at 9:21 am

    I almost never write formal thank you notes anymore; I snap a picture of the item being used/appreciated and send that via text. To me, far more impactful, takes less time, and I can do it from anywhere!

    I went for a run yesterday and mentally gave myself a huge demerit. My shoes are in terrible shape but a) I hate how much sneakers cost and b) mostly I hate the hassle of going to the store, trying on all different sorts (because, inevitably, the previous model in a shoe I loved will be discontinued and I’ll hate the new line they’ve come out with *SIGH*).

    My daughter is getting braces this fall and we have no dental coverage for it. Ouch. Here in Canada, though, we can include these sorts of medical expenses on our income tax so hopefully we’ll get a bit of a rebate?! Still – yikes. It’s expensive. I blame my husband entirely; I have a huge mouth with tons of space, but both kids inherited his small jaw/crowded mouth.

  • Reply Grateful Kae June 21, 2023 at 9:21 am

    I use Google Tasks and I have the app on my phone and can also click on it from the sidebar in my Gmail, so I created a Grocery/Household list there. I am pretty good about jotting things down that we need in there, especially if it’s something more obscure that I suspect I might miss when making a standard grocery list. (Like… brown sugar. Or something.)

    I am known to procrastinate on things like paperwork or looking at certain details for my kids’ events or even sometimes travel. Like if I have the big part done (say, sign up for soccer tryouts) I will procrastinate on going to the website later to fill out the medical form or look at the exact address or that sort of thing. I tend to think, Oh I’ll do that later. Ha. Sometimes that comes back to bite me.

  • Reply Ashley G. June 21, 2023 at 9:55 am

    I love seeing these for everyone! It is oddly comforting that everyone has things they avoid.

    capturing groceries (on the app)
    anything financial
    forms for the kids
    blocking things on my calendar, cleaning up my calendar (my calendar runs my life)

    Procrastinate until it pains me:
    Anything to do with travel. It causes me weird amounts of stress and I hate it.
    Phone calls. I am a stereotypical millennial in this regard.
    Errands of any kind that aren’t part of a typical routine.
    Large purchases because I find the research tedious and boring and not terribly helpful in the end.

    The good news is that my husband loves research and doesn’t mind travel planning, so that works for us. He probably hates the phone more than I do, though, so that’s a bit of a mess…

  • Reply Daria June 21, 2023 at 10:25 am

    Do it:
    anything really, the more painful it is, the faster I do it “Eat that frog”and all.
    Procrastinate on: exercise. Always. 🙁

  • Reply Jess June 21, 2023 at 10:45 am

    This is such a fun post topic! For me, I actually find it less stressful if I give myself permission to just not do things until they’re actually coming due.

    I do right away:
    -Write down gift ideas – for others & for myself, whenever I think of them even if the next birthday/holiday is far off – I have a notes list on my phone for this
    -Add books to my holds in Libby. This is actually the only way I keep track of books I’m interested in reading, I skip the intermediate step of making a separate list
    -Put things on the grocery list – I ask the Google home to do this while I’m cooking so that it’s hands free
    -Clean the kitchen mess while cooking if at all possible, or immediately after but before eating. I feel like a lot of people do this after eating, but I’d way rather combine the cooking & cleaning chores!
    -Buy extras of consumables that won’t go bad. E.g. I buy canned coconut milk, frozen veggies, shampoo, etc when I have used the second-to-last one rather than the last one, so that I never run out.
    -With friends that I want to see often, I try to schedule the next plans before saying goodbye! Otherwise it will likely be a while. Even better if we have recurring plans already scheduled 🙂
    -I always make coffee at night so that I can drink it immediately in the morning

    I procrastinate:
    -Opening paper mail
    -Taxes – mine are pretty simple so I do them in April, typically the last weekend before they’re due – everyone else seems stressed by this! I figure worst case scenario I extend them & initially overestimate how much to pay to prevent big fees
    -Folding laundry. I am a little too happy to just dump it out and grab things from the pile.
    -Fixing random household things that don’t matter much. E.g. replacing one of 3 light bulbs in a ceiling lamp. I just don’t care!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns June 21, 2023 at 10:47 am

    This is a fun topic! I’m good at promptly refilling medications (necessary since I’m on so many important meds and in particular I am prompt about refilling my TNF inhibitor injection as it comes from a specialty pharmacy and there can be issues w/ refills for complex insurance reasons I won’t bore you with), scheduling dr appts for me/my kids via mychart so I can get the times that work best for us, adding things to a grocery list (we use a shared iphone note), booking airplane travel (it seems like holding off rarely pays off), responding to texts, and folding/putting away laundry.

    I’m not prompt at filling out forms for stuff for the kids, but need to get better about this as it’s going to be a recurrent task going forward I imagine, scheduling appointments that require a phone call, basically anything that requires a phone call, clutter clearing (our dining room table becomes quite the receptacle for projects and such, buying running shoes or clothing in general because I don’t enjoy shopping and don’t enjoy spending money.

  • Reply RH June 21, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    For running shoes, I typically buy 3-4 pairs around Black Friday/before Christmas when they’re on sale. Then I have a stack waiting for me all throughout the year! I don’t wear the same pair every day, but rotate the same type (Brooks Ghost) with varying amounts of accumulated miles. While running shoes may fall under Hobbies or Splurge spending in your budget, they’re really important for injury prevention and will save $$$ at the PT, etc. (excluding cheater shoes, which are a want, not a need!)

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 22, 2023 at 5:35 am

      Lol cheater shoes … yes definitely a want. But so much fun to run in (though does this mean the elites are cheating too?!?)

      • Reply Caitlin June 23, 2023 at 6:02 am

        Yes, at least to their elite competitors! I read Kara Goucher’s memoir The Longest Run a few months ago and she talked about narrowly losing an important race to Shalane Flanagan, who was wearing a prototype of the AlphaFlys (and it sounds like they are right on the line of what’s allowed).

        It was a great read, as was Lauren Fleshman’s Good for a Girl.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 23, 2023 at 10:45 am

          That was then … but now they all wear them! Kipchoge of course is the most famous but I think most elite starting lines are mostly alphafly/vapor fly wearers these days. Emily Sisson is an interesting exception as she does marathons in racing flats.

          BQ times are 10 minutes tougher than they used to be. I feel like back then sure it was an advantage to have them early, but now it’s just the new normal!

          • Sarah Hart-Unger June 23, 2023 at 10:46 am

            And I really liked Lauren’s book. I want to read Kara’s! I enjoy her podcast with des!

  • Reply Omdg June 21, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Sarah – just wait until you have to schedule your colonoscopy. I’ve had to cancel reschedule twice now because of various conflicts with work. And then there’s the whole prep period that has to be accounted for too. Ugh. So not-fun!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 21, 2023 at 1:57 pm

      Oh god I am sooooooo not excited for that!!!!!

  • Reply Sophie June 21, 2023 at 4:38 pm

    Adding items to the grocery list is one thing I do right away- thanks to a magnetic shopping list stuck to the fridge. I know lots of people use digital lists, but old fashioned pencil and paper works well for our family. My husband and I both add items the moment they are low. Then grab the list or take a photo of it when heading to the shops.

    I procrastinate… a lot! booking medical appointments for myself (I haven’t had a dentist appointment in a LONG time), filling prescriptions, making photo albums, organising events. You’ve inspired me to get proactive about this!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 22, 2023 at 5:34 am

      I learned the hard way about the dentist – multiple cavities in med school! So I always book my next one before I leave 🙂

  • Reply Yvann June 22, 2023 at 8:35 am

    I hear you re bedtime. Sometimes it takes more energy than I have to overcome the protests and delay tactics… which of course doesn’t help because it’s not like I magically have more energy later!

    Re dentist – yes, just make the appt for exactly 6 months later for a time that sounds not impossible. Our practice then emails us a reminder about a week in advance and they usually have enough flexibility that I can then tweak the timing to suit, a week ahead. If that’s less the case, I guess you can make yourself a reminder 3-4 weeks out (whatever works for your practice) but still I’m a fan of “get it in, refine it later”.

    Now, if you could bottle up and sell your ability to 1) get up and 2) exercise in the “just do it” list, I’d be paying £££…

  • Reply Jenny June 22, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Oh, such an interesting thread! This was a fun list to make, I think I’m doing better than I feel. 🙂

    Good at doing right away:
    – sorting thru paper mail
    – replying to texts
    – paying bills
    – making appointments (I always do it when I’m standing at the desk)
    – laundry and dishes
    – taking my meds, refilling prescriptions
    – scheduling house/car maintenance
    – putting stuff on the shopping list (Alexa FTW)
    – charging my phone
    – keeping the car clean
    – email triage
    – calendar management
    – anything financial
    – doing my taxes
    – returning purchases
    – decluttering
    – unpacking suitcases after travel
    – recycling the Amazon boxes

    Always a struggle:
    – anything exercise 🙁
    – starting bedtime (both my own and the kids)
    – getting up
    – actually taking the bags of clutter to Goodwill 🙂

  • Reply Kim June 23, 2023 at 6:02 pm

    You mentioned emailing yourself thoughts and ideas that you don’t want to forget or have to store in your head – have you tried the HiFutureSelf app? You can type in your thought and set a date and time to have it sent to you, it pops up on your screen. It stays in the app under Delivered, so even if you miss it you’ll still have the entry. I’ve used it for years and I think it’s still free. It has some other features, like hourly reminders or having a reminder pop up when you reach a pre-set destination.

  • Reply San June 25, 2023 at 9:23 pm

    This is a great post – so relatable. There are things we do right away and others that always seem to fall by the wayside. Why do you think that is?

  • Reply June Link List - theinbetweenismine June 27, 2023 at 9:30 am

    […] enjoyed Sarah’s post about Do It Now // Do It Later. We all have things we do right away and things we procrastinate. Why do you think that […]

  • Reply Dionne Merriott July 2, 2023 at 9:33 am

    What can you outsource on the list of things you don’t do right away? For example, taking care of your photos. You can find a certified photo manager in your area at http://www.thephotomanagers.com, Also, many people, including myself, work remotely!

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