Last semester, I faced lots of hardships and challenges. The biggest was the sudden and unexpected passing of my elderly grandmother. While it is perfectly natural for people to age and die, it caught me off guard, and I could hardly hide my grief when I received the news. I spoke to her a few weeks prior to her death, and it felt unreal that she was now no longer with us. I used to have a ‘bucket list,’ of things I wanted to do in the future. The first thing I wrote on my list was ‘Having a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant with my grandmother and family.’ However, before achieving this, my grandmother left, and I thought “Why didn’t I try to do this earlier?” At the same time, I felt resentment toward myself and began to postpone the important tasks I have to do. As things stacked up and it became impossible to postpone any longer, I realized that I was facing ruin if I didn’t pull myself together. Also, I simply had to change, because I didn’t want to disadvantage my teammates who were doing group assignments with me.
One day, I received an assignment during a lecture. The assignment was to read an article and write a review. The title of the article was “The Harvard University Student’s calendar is 10 days faster.” The article was written by Baek Seong-ho who is a reporter for JoongAng Ilbo. He wrote about how he felt after meeting with Choi Jae-cheon, a chair professor at Ewha Woman’s University, and hearing about the secrets of studying at Harvard. The article revealed that excellent students at Harvard ‘finish their tasks 10 days ahead of schedule.’ In this regard, Professor Choi said, “It takes time to adjust to this schedule, and old habits die hard, but if you start working 10 days earlier, the cycle of life will be changed for the better.”
At first, I just read the article for the purpose of the assignment, but then it was like a wake-up call, and I thought the method in the article could possibly help me to catch up and complete my postponed tasks. Therefore, I decided to start ‘working 10 days earlier.’ After reading the article, I made a list of important tasks with their original deadlines and simply started to do the things on it. At first, I felt tired and wanted to quit working, but whenever it happened, I checked the list and recorded the progress. It was almost like a quest for me, and pretty soon I began to reduce the workload. I began to avoid some errors and could feel that many things have changed positively.
First of all, the level of satisfaction with the results significantly increased. I guess different readers will view this in different ways, but after finishing tasks 10 days earlier, I kept thinking about the positive outcome of my resolution. As I modified tasks little by little I felt much more satisfied with the results. It was especially rewarding to complete big tasks 10 days earlier, and I noticed the difference compared to the quality of tasks finished only when the deadline was fast approaching.
Also, I now have extra free time to have various hobbies, and I feel more relaxed when finishing tasks. Of course, I can finish my work after enjoying my hobbies, but it was much more rewarding to participate in my hobbies after finishing the work 10 days earlier. In the past, I spent time watching You Tube or playing games. However, I now gradually encounter various activities such as grinding coffee beans and learning to play the piano. Through this, I can achieve all the dreams on my ‘bucket list’ and my depressed feelings simply dissipated.
The famous comedian Park Myung-su said, “It’s too late when you think it’s late, so start right now.” It’s a parody of the famous expression “Better late than never.” The saying gave people a laugh, but it held an important lesson.
Have you ever had an experience of finishing your assignment on the day of the deadline or putting off what you wanted to do? Some people may not have, but there will be many people who have experienced delaying work with lots of excuses such as “I will be able to work tomorrow.” or “Today, I’m too busy and tired.” In those cases, the work usually accumulates with the net effect that it increases rapidly and the quality inevitably worsens. Although the habit of finishing work 10 days earlier can be difficult at first, you will be able to see yourself grow to the next level and experience better results in the future.