Lately, my work-life balance has been off. Like, way off. I love my job and work but as I get older, I really value the weekend to recharge and step away from the work phone (within reason) and clear my head.
Weekends are typically when I do most of my blog work: Taking ALL the photos for the upcoming week’s post, write the content, schedule social content, come up with ideas for future posts. Weekends = Creating content time. It’s also the time when I can hang out with my friends. And in less fun things, I can throw in a few loads of laundry, complete tasks around the apartment like hanging up a new print, do my grocery shopping (Though that’s not really a chore – I love going to the grocery store but that’s a whole ‘nother post), drop off/pick up dry cleaning and a bunch of other things to keep the trains running and my life in order.
Are you starting the see the problem?
It was getting to the point where on the weekends, I felt like I was being pulled in all directions. I love creating content for the blog, I swear it gives me a high. Is that a thing? Runner’s high is a thing so why not blogger’s high? When I come up with a fun post idea or recipe, it makes me feel incredibly happy. But at the same time, spending time with friends also makes this extrovert feel happy and rejuvenated.
I did my best to balance my weekends between blog, domesticity + friends but I would feel guilty if I left brunch early to get back to blogging or if I let my laundry basket turn into Mt. Washmore because I was out with friends and having too much fun to leave. As a Catholic school survivor, I’m no stranger to guilt trips but enough is enough.
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Happier, while doing the dishes a few weeks ago when I heard this little pearl of wisdom and had to immediately stop the dishes, dry my hands and rewind the podcast a bit to re-listen to it. It was so simple yet so brilliant and revolutionary.
Be kind to your future self.
* Mind blown *
Okay but what does this look like in real life? And how has this changed my weekends and made me more productive? I’ll give you an example.
Do you ever have one of those mornings when you accidentally oversleep or hit the snooze button a few too many times because you are just exhausted and you feel like rolling out of bed is physically impossible? You end up springing out of bed in a full-blown panic and rush around getting yourself ready for work and trying to make yourself look put together even though you have about 5 minutes before you have to be out the door to make it to work on time. Phew. It’s stressful and definitely not the best way to start your day. But then there are times when oversleeping/snooze button hitting happens and you spring out of bed in a panic and realize…you have your work clothes all ironed and your lunch is packed and you can be out the door in 10-15 minutes tops. And you think, “Good looking out, Past Me.”
Past You was being kind to your future self when you ironed those clothes and meal prepped lunches for a few days.
The idea of be kind to your future self is simply reframing to put a positive spin on things you gotta do. So on weekends when I tell my friends I’ll meet up with them later instead of right now because I’m in a blog post writing groove and also in the middle of a load of laundry, I no longer feel guilty or let that dreaded FOMO feeling pressure me into closing the laptop.
To be kind to your future self, you need to change your mindset about that dreaded word: “Chores.” I really don’t enjoy ironing in particular and will procrastinate ironing until I absolutely have to. But now, instead of viewing ironing as a mindless, boring chore, I think of ironing as being kind to my future self because something may come up on Wednesday and I won’t be home until late and will want to go straight to bed. Knowing that Thursday’s outfit is all ready to go, which means I can hit the snooze button once, is a small thing that can make a world of difference.
I’ve been trying to practice this idea for the last few weekends and it’s actually made me more productive. How? Because instead of procrastinating chores by watching The Golden Girls and then “Okay maybe just one more” several times, I’ll buckle down and get to work on those tasks.
Because at some point in the week, I’ll be grateful that Past Me took care of me.
* * *