A friend of mine recently told me she eats salad for breakfast. I was puzzled – eating cereal, oatmeal, or eggs for breakfast is pretty ingrained in my being. Then I thought it over and tried it. Turns out, I love this. Sometimes I get to the end of the day and I debate between cooking up something fast (and with a high probability of being terrible for me) or stopping by the store to buy fresh ingredients for a salad. I admit: sometimes I fail to eat my greens.
I’m a big fan of healthy living, eating well and being active. (During graduate school I was the director of a healthy living program for residential dormitories). But who am I kidding? I also LOVE brownies, the occasional pan of bacon, creating delicious desserts, and (I hate to admit this) even heading to In-and-Out once in a while to splurge on terribly wonderful greasy french fries (Mmmmm!)
Then I started eating salad for breakfast. By eating my salad for breakfast – and noshing on yummy spinach, artichokes, asparagus, brocolli, and other fantastic crispy and crunchy vegetables (who knew that cucumbers tasted so good in the morning, especially cold?), I am able to jump-start my day feeling as thought I’m already ahead. I’ve gotten my quote of fresh ingredients – well before getting tied up in the long work day and my extensive to-do lists. Better yet? I actually feel pretty good afterwards, too.
This isn’t a healthy living blog, though (although I’m a fan of them- such as my friend Steph’s San Francisco project, Eat Life Whole, and some Seattle folks I know who run Full Circle Farm). But what does eating salad have to do with work, career, or life?
At work, I sometimes find myself procrastinating on the biggest tasks – the ones that are the most important to me. Sometimes it seems that the more important the project, the more likely I am to delay working on it. Why do I do this?
The more value a project holds, the more important it’s outcome is – for our egos, careers, and for our reputations. By procrastinating, we can later explain away the relative failure or success by saying “we could have” done this or that to make it better. By being less invested in the project, we can give ourselves an excuse for why the project or performance didn’t live up to our dreams and expectations. This is a common psychological fallback – in fitness and in life. We can explain away our excess weight or under-fitness by saying, well, I could have eaten more salads. Or, next time, I’ll eat more green vegetables. If I do that, then I’ll be healthier.
At work, do you put off the hard work and the long tasks? The ones most important to your career? In work, eat salad for breakfast. Tackle the hardest task first. By addressing the thing most critical to your success, you can avoid the later psychological arguments that crop up throughout the day. Better yet, you’ve primed yourself for success by initiating the actions and sequences needed for success. At work, starting off with the hardest task first is one of the best habits we can get into. Because what we do each day at work becomes our habits, whether we like it or not.
And at the end of the day? Well, you can probably have a cookie, whatever your work cookie is. If you’ve eaten salad for breakfast – it’s all about balance.
Eat your greens.
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