Do you do the nice things first?
Do you do the treat before the chores? Eat dessert before mains? Get the R&R before the hard work?
If you’re like me, you will have been brought up to believe that nice things should be earned (very true actually!)… That we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves until the work is done. No TV (or for me, growing up, it was always no art) until the homework is finished!
All very well when you’re a child, I say – when you perhaps need a little push to do those not-so-pleasant tasks – and a little reward at the end.
But what about when it comes to adult-life? No-one should be frittering time away when there’s important work to be done, surely…
But what about when that list of tasks is, quite literally, never ending. Your job or profession takes up a massive chunk of time – then there’s the cooking, cleaning, shopping – I should de-clutter the spare room, sort through the junk in the garage…
I 'should' go through all my books and give some to the charity shops, re-paint the hall. The front garden 'needs' weeding. The back garden 'needs' a makeover. The car 'needs' a wash.
Even in your career, aside from your work ‘proper’, there’s the emails, the training to catch up on – the ‘need to’ improve the website, do the accounts, write a blog post (doing that!!).
It’s a sad fact of adult life that your chores are never really done. And sometimes the concept that you have to earn your nice things by doing your list of chores first, just isn’t realistic or achievable. Indeed, it can be overwhelming!
So… I think we should do the nice things first. Make yourself happy before you start on the dreaded to-do list – and perhaps you will face the tasks in a more receptive frame of mind.
Perhaps, after doing something enjoyable, you will have more energy and more creativity. Perhaps you will achieve more, quicker – and then you can reward yourself with another nice thing!
The alternative is a dull, deadening trudge through life – seeing only the work and never the play.
I’ve decided – in a massive turn-about of my working procedure since I’ve been self-employed – that I’m going to start the day or the week (wherever possible!) with my nice things.
No more starting my day with all the necessary admin that surrounds running a creative business – filling my day up with one important chore after another, until I end up with half an hour at the tired-end of the day for my designing.
Now, I do allow myself a quick check of email first thing, but then it’s straight to drawing or designing while I’m feeling fresh.
My creative work is the most important part of my business, so it makes sense to give it my best energy of the day. Even though, in my heart of hearts the childhood-me still feels like doing art is a ‘treat’ that needs to be earned by doing my homework first.
There’s always plenty of time later in the day, when I’m ready for a break from the intense creative process, for admin, accounts - and blog posts!
So far, it’s working out really well for me – lots of design time – and I can approach the more mundane tasks later in a happier frame of mind.
Last weekend we even started Saturday morning with a trip to the seaside - nice thing – and felt ‘weekended’ and refreshed enough to come home to an unscheduled (but well overdue) clear-out of the garage (not so nice thing – but approached with enthusiasm! …yes, really!)
So, how about you try out starting with a a nice thing….? After all, how would you rather start your day…? Art and creativity? Or admin? Nasty or nice?
I know which one makes me leap out of bed eager to get going!