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?

2 Responses 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.

  2. kristyn says:

    Wow that was exactly what i needed to read today. How many times do we speed because we are run­ning late and what do we see in our rear view..???? Flash­ing lights…now we aren’t just late now we are in debt and Late!! How point­less, maybe if:: When things take time, we can find that we are capa­ble of hav­ing a good time,taking our time,saving time… Kristyn

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