BEEP BEEP BEEP- You hit snooze and go back to bed thinking, “I’ll work out tomorrow morning.”
The credits role on your TV episode and Netflix automatically starts the next one and you keep watching thinking, “Just one more, and I won’t watch any tomorrow.”
You get to work and get sucked into a conversation, never taking 10 minutes to organize your day but just keep thinking, “I’ll get organized tomorrow.”
Looking over the menu while out with friends, you debate getting the sautéed rockfish with roasted mushrooms and cauliflower but decide on the four cheese mac & cheese stuffed with bacon and baked with crispy bread crumbs thinking, “I will have a healthy lunch tomorrow.”
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we put tomorrow on a pedestal and think we will have the self-control to do what we were unable to accomplish today?
As the New Year approaches, I think about turning my “tomorrow” language into “today” language. There are simple things one can do to increase the number of times we say, “This is who I am today” vs. “Maybe that’s who I can be tomorrow.”
Charles A. Czeisler, the Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School stated, “People think they’re saving time and being more productive by not sleeping, but in fact they are cutting their productivity drastically.” He talks about the importance of sleep in an article titled “Sleep Deficit: The Performance Killer.” It is such an easy and important thing to do, yet we constantly push it off, only to regret it the next morning.
For me, this means spending 3 minutes making my bed every morning and 5 minutes picking up my apartment before leaving for the day. This way I always walk into a home that I am proud of and comfortable in. When I arrive at work I also take at least 10 minutes to organize my schedule and to-do list. I started doing this after taking “Focus: Achieving Your Highest Priorities,” a Franklin Covey workshop. We all organize ourselves differently, but it is important for you to figure out what works and keep it up!
3. DRINKING WATER
Do I drink the recommended “8 ounces of water 8 times a day”? No. I doubt I even drink close to that, but on the days I fill up my tumbler and carry it with me through the day I feel more energized and focused. When I am drinking water I am less tempted by the sugary snacks my office seems to enjoy tempting us with and therefore feel healthier and more productive. (My trick was finding a tumbler I loved. I am more motivated to carry a cute one with me!)
4. TAKING BREAKS
Typically, we feel that if we are in front of a computer, we are being productive. I have found, at least for me, this is sometimes the furthest from the truth. My most productive days are filled with healthy breaks- getting warm tea, catching up with a coworker, standing in the sun, or taking a walk around the office. These brakes allow my mind to wonder, allow myself to engage in conversation, and, at its simplest, get my blood moving through my body again. I tend to return from these healthy breaks with new ideas and fresh energy.
5. KNOWING WHY
Kate White talks about knowing and it’s important in her recent Levo League Article, “5 Ways to Know What Matters Most.” Why are you doing what you are doing? Why do you want to get up early to work out, stop watching TV, be organized, or eat healthy? If you have a commanding why, one that impacts your life, you will be more likely to follow through with it. For instance, I value my sleep; if I get a good night’s sleep, I get to the gym in the morning, have a productive day at work, and feel healthy and happy, yet, sometimes I feel like a normal 26 year old would go out late with friends. However, since my WHY for getting sleep (having a productive day and feeling good) is stronger then my WHY for going out (being ‘normal’), I tend to stay home, get a good night’s rest, and be energized about the following day.
We already do variations of these five things, but every day we have another chance to incorporate a healthy habit. So, would you like to join me in 2014? Let’s challenge ourselves to get more sleep, keep ourselves organized, drink more water, take healthy breaks, and know why we are investing our time and energy.
Why put being the person you want to be off until the indefinite “tomorrow” if you can be that person in the realistic “today”?