Today was a long day. I had to have a difficult conversation unexpectedly, I had a long flight, a train ride, and when I arrived at my RV, I was locked out. By the time the locksmith got there, I had already tried squeezing through a tiny window in the RV, so I was covered in dirt and frustrated.
When I finally got into my RV, I went directly into my bed without really thinking about it. It was 7:30pm. I wasn't tired, and sleeping would have screwed up my sleep schedule anyway. I was just drained and didn't want to do the things left on my todo list. I planned to clean the RV, do dishes, bring the RV to South San Francisco to dump the tanks, and write a blog post. For the first time in a long time, I just wanted to do nothing.
So I lay in my bed and thought about my options. One was to just stay in bed, maybe read or something, and hope I was refreshed when I woke up the next day. That's what I felt like doing. But when I thought about it, I was just setting myself up for another long day by piling my current todo list on top of the next day. If I could just muster the initiative to start doing things on my list, though, I would actually feel better. It always feels good to go to sleep with a clear todo list.
I scrubbed the kitchen counter first. It looked really nice, which motivated me a little bit to do the dishes. That took less time than I expected, which also motivated me. Before I knew it I had cleaned the whole RV, topped off the air in my low tire, and was on my way to dump my tanks. An hour later, I'm back in my RV with enough water to last for two weeks, and I'm on a roll. I didn't even hesitate to open up the text editor and get this post going.
The point of all this? Sometimes it's better to trust how you will feel, rather than how you currently feel. I knew that if I just trudged through my list a little bit, I'd be glad I did, and would give myself the best possible foundation for a good night's sleep and a productive day tomorrow. I also knew that if I succumbed to lethargy, I'd feel behind the next day, would be disappointed that I skipped my writing, and would have to carve time out to go dump my tanks.
In general, it seems that more one optimizes for short term comfort, the less he accomplishes and the lower his baseline happiness is. So if you find yourself falling into the trap of putting things off for no good reason, look into the future and imagine how it would feel. Sometimes you need to suck it up and do your future-self a favor.
Working on something that is going to make an insane blog post... for those who are sick of productivity posts and are looking for adventure posts, stay tuned.
Photo is a Buddha statue from the Met in NYC