Do Something Today Your Future Self Will Thank You For.
I’m a writing + creativity coach with a very full personal life. I live on an island in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I share a house with my mother. She and I are in the middle of rearranging and reorganizing the layout of our home so it will work the best possible way for both of us in the coming years. Call it the Do Something Today Your Future Self Will Thank You For (DST) project we’re doing together.
At the end of the process, we will each have a bedroom, bathroom, and office on the second floor — hers at the front of the house with a large balcony, and mine at the back with views of the patio, a pocket park on the right, and the Oakland Hills in the background.
What’s this got to do with writing + creativity?
Writing is not my only creative outlet. I lead with it and, like so many of my clients and members of my writing community, To Live & Write, I’m drawn to other creative endeavors as well.
And, like just about every other creative person I come across, it’s hard to get things done right now. Mentally and emotionally, this year has been rough.
Reconfiguring several rooms at once has been a challenge. I have bursts of productivity, but the overall pace has been stuck between nap-drunk turtle and pretty slow going. It’s 2020, the pandemic is in full swing, and my mother is in her 70s — so we don’t bring outside help into the house.
I’m only one person and I’m spread pretty thin. As soon as shelter-in-place lifted, I hard-dropped into a non-stop routine: Two days at my mother’s house, three days at my partner’s house, two days with my grandson at my daughter’s house, rinse, repeat, all seven days coaching clients, leading workshops, and running my business, and a partridge in a pear tree.
As much as I love my busy days and nights,
the routine can wear me out, mess me about, and sometimes freak me out.
I’m constantly packing and unpacking, shuffling food and clothing and equipment from one place to the other, waking at 5 a.m. most mornings just so I can make it through the week. I’d like to say I’ve streamlined the process, but I still show up at my boyfriend’s place with too much stuff every weekend, having spent too much money on food because I’m not sure what I’ll be in the mood for in each house across the next seven days.
That’s an ongoing project. I’m determined to figure it out. If you have thoughts or ideas specifically about managing food for myself in three different kitchens every week, I would love to hear them. My DST moment right now is this ask: Please teach me your ways! Hacks for batch cooking (for dairy-free vegetarians who love cheese and butter and are allergic to almonds, hate mushrooms, and don’t eat bread anymore), hacks for transporting, gimme what you got. Please.
Efficiency and convenience are my gods, and they need to be served.
I love to fold laundry and wash dishes, because I love to put things away,
because I love having a place for everything and everything in its place, because in my heart I’m hella lazy, and because I’m always cutting it close on time.
I like to reach into a cupboard or step to my desk and grab what I need without having to search for it. I want everything else out of my way while I gather what I need, and just what I need, for the day ahead. It’s safer for everyone that way.
I still have to write for myself, or what’s the point? Sure, there are times when I can dive into a piece and lose myself for hours, blissfully unaware of the clutter on my desk and the overflowing laundry basket. More often, though, clutter and household debris stop me from sitting down to start. Sound familiar?
I need my space to work, whatever space I happen to occupy at the moment. Did I mention I’m constantly packing and unpacking, setting up and breaking down, and trying to eat well in other people’s kitchens? Designing, planning, and utilizing practical, organized setups is one of the ways I DST. This involves upcycling and the unconventional use of what I already have. If I had the time to run to the store when I needed to problem solve, I’d watch TV instead.
I don’t pretend to be any kind of DIY person.
But I do prefer the path of least resistance, which is why my space is so tightly organized. And I do get a kick out of doing certain things for myself – like building beds and tables and hanging shelves and upcycling old things into new.
Knowing where things are is the only way to maintain peace of mind on busy mornings, which last 12-18 hours, depending on the day of the week. Not even kidding. I don’t have the energy for the anxiety that starts screaming at me about failure and letting everyone down when I can’t find something I need.
I like it better when my future self meets my right now self, and together they feel really good about my past self, the one who made a sweet, easy morning possible.
I get to be my own hero!
Turns out, I’m pretty good at it. I know how to make myself feel special, how to make sure my day goes smoothly, and how to let me know my well being is important.
Upcycling, doing small DIY tasks, planning, and organizing are some of my creative outlets. Coincidentally, they are the keys to life-hacking. The greatest hack of all – for me, which I talk about in the next post – is the DST mindset. If you want to know how I got to this point, where an arguably overused affirmation has become my motivating mantra, check out Super-Achiever On The Run.
Do Something Today Your Future Self Will Thank you for.
Necessity, being the mother of invention, teaches me every day to organize, have things handy, upcycle, do it now, and do it right(ish). I’ll be sharing space hacks, food hacks, schedule hacks, and whatever other hacks come along as I discover them. If you’re into it, would you share some of yours with me?