Short vs. Long Term Convenience
As I was elbow deep in cauliflower and kale mush preparing a month’s worth of meals for my baby, I wondered if this incredible amount of effort was worth it.
Obviously it’s worth it.
Pre-made baby food is super convenient but it’s 1) far more expensive, 2) less nutritious, and 3) creates an enormous amount of waste. Meal prepping (planning, shopping, cooking, freezing) takes significant time up front, but it sets me up for long term convenience. I now have a freezer full of delicious & healthy food and I know exactly what’s in every dish.
What if we thought about our work in the same way?
Think about when you were in school and pulled an all nighter for a project. While you spent time leading up to the due date not working, you had this deadline hanging over your head and keeping you from being 100% present in how you spent your time. Another way to approach this might have been to spend a shorter amount of time every day on the project slowly and methodically making progress toward the deadline. Even better… bang it out immediately and spend the remaining time revising & perfecting.
Or think about a freelancer who’s trying to make ends meet financially. Short term convenience might look like earning just enough to cover rent for the next month vs. scoping out the full year and having a more robust financial plan.
These examples are almost painfully obvious but not always easy to implement nor are they practical for everyone. Some of us thrive from that pressure of a looming deadline.
There is one way, though, to practice long term convenience in a low stakes way.
Start your day by first envisioning how you want to feel at the end of the day; close your eyes and jump ahead to your commute home. How do you want to feel? What do you want to have accomplished? What would it take to achieve that feeling? Actually write down what it would take on a piece of paper and allow that to accompany you throughout the day.
Don’t dive right in to your work straight away. Rather, take 5 minutes to set yourself up for longer term convenience and begin to build better work habits.