My little brother (well, he’s not so little now–he’s four years younger than me, which makes him 28), has had a lifelong eating tradition that has helped him get through many a meal he didn’t like. His trick? Beginning when he was a toddler, he’d eat the food on his plate that he least liked. So when green beans were served? Yup, he started there. Nowadays, if you have him over for dinner, you can always tell which food he thinks is least appetizing by where he first sets his fork.
But, my baby brother’s eating habit also works for the rest of life too, and I’ve started to adapt it in my life. I can procrastinate with the best of them, but life is so packed now (kids, magazine work, fiction deadlines) that procrastination comes with a cost, so (sleep, missed deadlines, fussy kids–you name it). I’m much happier when I take charge of the chaos, which is where my brother’s trick comes in. I’m a huge list-maker, so every night before I go to bed, I make a list of things I need to do the following day. The next morning, I tackle the list based on the things I’m most stressed/worried/anxious about. It’s become the most effective way for me to a.) get things done, and b.) manage my stress.
Lots of people use this strategy–it’s by no means my invention (or my brother’s!), but I can’t speak highly enough of what it can do for life happiness. Sure, I still get sucked into Facebook, iTunes (did you know that you can download The Beatles songs now?!), Twitter, etc., etc., but I’ve made a habit of not putting off the annoying tasks for too long. They have a way to grow into little monsters that haunt you.
Remember, when you’re procrastinating, eat your green beans first!
P.S. Just for fun: Want to see photos of the advance reader copies of my book? I let my 1 and 3 year old check them out, and this is what happened …