Work Now, Reward Later
Yesterday was my rest day, which is scheduled regularly into my 6-week program. I definitely needed it, cause I'm still sore pretty much all over. I had to be in the gym anyway because I was covering someone's bootcamp at 6:45, so I figured I would do some low intensity cardio as my "rest". I lasted 15 minutes on the recumbent bike while watching The League and then laid on a mat for a while and then I went to Chipotle. So all in all it was a great workout. My friend Sarah came to bootcamp and I put em through a good one! They were so sweaty that I started sweating vicariously through them. Today I have my 1RPM push press testing and more crazy intense circuit training. BOOYA.
Now that all of that's out of the way, let's get into the real purpose of this post! All my fellow procrastinators out there LEMME SEE YA HANDS! I love putting things off until "tomorrow", whenever that may be. In college I could never make myself sit down to write a paper unless I knew it was due in the next 8 hours and absolutely needed my devoted attention. My lazy bones are always trying to take over. Now that I have a full time job, personal training on the side, am dedicated to my own workout schedule, and try to make sure I have a social life, I feel the need to schedule things so that I make sure they actually get done, even when I don't feel like doing them.
A few days ago I was switching my laundry from the washer to the dryer and hanging various shirts and dresses that I prefer to air dry for fear of them shrinking or the material getting damaged. I was tired and feeling lazy and very tempted to just throw everything in the dryer, even though I know certain articles of clothing don't look as nice or last as long when I do that. All of a sudden the phrase "work now, reward later" popped into my head. If I just took the next five minutes to hang my clothes up, I would be much happier the next day when they were dried nicely and not all clingy and static-y and shrunken. I finished hanging my clothes and decided that this would be my new "mantra".
Last night for example, I was doing my laundry again and felt so comfortable sitting in bed I thought I would just wake up early today and hang everything then. But I stopped myself and thought realistically. If I procrastinated, I would either wake up and be pissed that I had laundry to do first thing in the morning, or I would snooze the alarm and skip it all together and my clothes would sit wet all day (GROSS). Work now, reward later. I went downstairs and got it done. This morning I was happy. This obviously applies to more than laundry, that just happens to be what I've been up to lately!
I usually leave making my lunch until the morning because I am so drained at night, but then my AMs trying to get ready for work are super rushed and chaotic. What I really need to do is re-commit myself to meal prepping on Sunday's when I'm well rested and have more free time. Basically the whole idea is that I'm taking one extra step in the moment to make life a little bit easier for my future self. Lay my outfit out the night before. Pack my gym bag in advance. Fill the Brita pitcher, fill the ice tray, buy more coffee beans before the can is completely empty, etc., etc. In the moment, it might take an extra minute, or two, or even twenty, but it certainly beats putting all of this stuff off and suddenly having an overwhelming list of things I have to do, with an overflowing laundry basket to match.
It can be especially hard to get down and do something when there isn't instant gratification. This is a big part of why people put exercise on the back burner or claim they’ll start again on “Monday”, but Monday after Monday comes and goes with no change. You have to remind yourself that putting in a little bit of effort every day is how you end up with a big payoff down the road.
Last night, I taught boot camp. I got a manicure. I ate dinner. I did a load of laundry. I hung my laundry to dry. I made my mom a cup of tea. I wrote the first page in my A Memory A Day Journal (major props to Amazon for delivering that a day early). I edited and posted a video on my fitness Instagram account. I prepped for a work meeting in the morning. I took a shower. (I wrote this post). I could have done one of those things and put the rest off until the unforeseeable “tomorrow”, but that's not entirely fair to future Helen. Now I'll have time to get in a killer workout after work today and be able to take my time. And when I get home I’ll be able to relax and watch TV and do God knows what else! Maybe something fun and spontaneous. Maybe I’ll chip something off of Friday's list in advance so my weekend is even more relaxing. Work now, reward later.