Take Time To Do Things Right Now


Some day I want to write a blog post about the men­tors in my life that have inspired me to be bet­ter.  At the top of that post will be Dr. Alan Mor­ris.  He has taught me count­less life lessons… and one them is “If you don’t have time to do it right now, when will you have time to do it again?”  I love this say­ing and use it when­ever I am asked to do some­thing I don’t feel I have time for….

That seems to be often.  As a res­i­dent at Johns Hop­kins I have very lit­tle time.  Lit­er­ally, my hours are not my own and I am usu­ally in the hos­pi­tal before most of you are awake and out long after busi­nesses have closed.  Thus, to get any­thing done requires extreme effort.

So one day I got lucky and got out a lit­tle early.  I had wanted to set up a bank account at the Johns Hop­kins Credit Union and picked that as my task to accom­plish.  I headed over there and, despite feel­ing a rush of urgency to get it done quickly, I com­mit­ted myself to tak­ing all the time nec­es­sary to make this one task a minor vic­tory.  I filled out paper­work after paper­work and then waited what felt like an eter­nity to be called to see a banker.

Even more forms were pre­sented and so I rushed through fill­ing them out with her not hav­ing any idea which lines on the appli­ca­tion were impor­tant and which were not.  It didn’t mat­ter, I had com­mit­ted, and even­tu­ally it would be done.  Finally she said, “that should be it – just give me a second.”

I waited there for 10–15 min­utes.  Finally she came back and said, “I will need to see a copy of your social secu­rity card too.”  My face dropped.  I try to be pleas­ant at all times, but this was too much…


We have a ran­dom screen­ing process and you have been selected.  I’m sorry but I can­not process your paper­work with­out your social secu­rity card.”

I haven’t seen my social secu­rity card in decades… but I have the num­ber memorized?”

Sorry, I will have to see it.”

If I have learned one thing from bureau­cra­cies it is that argu­ing is an even greater waste of time.  I left so frus­trated I did not even know where to begin…

… I spent the next sev­eral weeks dig­ging through every box I owned look­ing for my card.  Finally, two months later, I found it.  It took me an addi­tional month before I had another break in my sched­ule long enough to go back and try again, then another 35 min­utes to get through the line to the banker again.  Luck­ily I had all of the papers from before.  Then, as she looked at my social secu­rity card and my appli­ca­tion, she said, “Oh, I see what hap­pened… on your orig­i­nal appli­ca­tion this 2 looks like a 7.”  I looked at the form and indeed the two could have been mis­taken for a seven.

Do you mean that is the rea­son I ‘was sub­jected to a ran­dom screening???’”


So, in total I wasted two early days, count­less hours look­ing through boxes, and months of time before I was able to open my account.  The fatal error was in rush­ing through fill­ing out paper­work to “save time.”

Usu­ally I do not make such hor­ri­ble mis­takes.  In fact, as you’ve read above, I had com­mit­ted as much time in that ini­tial visit to fin­ish­ing it as was nec­es­sary.  Nev­er­the­less, the mis­take was mine.  Haste makes waste, and in mine I quickly wrote a num­ber that cost me months.

Such is life.  Such is the impor­tance of liv­ing with inten­tion.  Such is the impor­tance of doing this well.  For, if you do not have time to do it right now, when will you have time to do it again?

One Response to “Take Time To Do Things Right Now”

  1. Vivienne says:

    I went through the same thing recently. I didn’t have to dig up my SS card, although it wouldn’t have been hard, I know where it is, but I endured inter­minable waits as the banker filled out end­less screens of infor­ma­tion to do the small­est thing. It took half the day, but it was worth it. My ties with the evil Wells Fargo are almost cut.

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