A “Do it Before You Sit Down” Approach to Getting Stuff Done


I try my best to give credit where credit is due on this blog—citing the original voices of quotes and thoughts and helpful ideas. But for the life of me, I cannot remember where I first received this advice.

It has, however, proven to be revolutionary.

I once heard somebody say, “If you have something to do at home after work, do it right away when you get home, before you sit down.”

In the original context, the person was talking about completing a small task such as changing a light bulb, taking out the trash, watering the plants, or doing the dishes.

As soon as I heard the idea, I adopted this approach to getting things done at home and have loved it ever since.

I have found the advice to be incredibly helpful and I think you will too.

Often times when we get home from work, we’re tired. We just want to put our feet up, turn on the television, and take a break. Maybe you’re different than me and can somehow pop up motivated and energized an hour later ready to tackle any project that needs to be completed around the home.

But I have found the opposite to be the case. Most often, once I sit down in a comfy chair, I lose all the day’s momentum and motivation. Finding the energy to accomplish anything around the house becomes increasingly difficult. I might begrudgingly do it later in the evening just before going to bed—but only if I have to.

Adopting a “do it before you even sit down” mentality, on the other hand, captures my remaining energy from the workday, keeps me from procrastinating, and provides me with actual physical and mental rest throughout the remainder of the night—because the project isn’t hanging over my head all night long.

Here are some of the places this productivity approach works well:

  • Cooking dinner
  • Running an errand for the kids/family
  • Watering plants, walking the dogs, or taking out the trash
  • Helping kids with their homework
  • A volunteer project you offered to complete
  • A weekly cleaning project
  • Starting the laundry
  • Mowing the lawn

Of course, this approach may not be a good fit for hours-long projects like repainting the living room, tearing down a lode-bearing wall, or decluttering your entire attic. Those types of projects probably require a bit more forethought and planning.

But for me, I have seen the “do it before you even sit down” mentality prove effective over and over again when it comes to completing small projects in the evening. You probably will too.

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