Wash the dishes for a better future

By Matt Perryman

I have this habit where I clean up the kitchen as I go whenever I cook a meal.

That lesson came from many hard nights working in a restaurant kitchen when I was a teenager. If you don’t stay on top of the cleaning and shining as you go, you’re in for a surprise come closing time.

The nights I cook at home, I throw on a podcast or audiobook and get to it. Cooking is a process like anything else. You do one step, then the next step. There’s down-time between the longer steps when the rice is on and the chicken’s cooking, so why not handle the dishes and put back the stuff you got out?

It doesn’t take but a second. Better to do it then, one piece at a time, than to stare down a full sink and a mess on the counter.

That’s how I think on it, anyway. I’m a do-it-now kind of personality.

Other people do the opposite. Pile up the dishes, leave a mess all over, don’t even put back the bags and jars they got out of the fridge.

Why do it now when you can put it off for later? I don’t get that attitude. It’s got to get done sometime, so get it done. That’s one less thing to deal with later.

Humans default to “lazy”, I get that. But nature is not fate. Life goes smoother when you tackle the tough parts first.

Like most everything I write, there’s a deeper message here.

There’s a concept in psychology called the “future self”. Idea being that yourself tomorrow, or in 10 years, is like another person as far as you-right-now see it. The more you perceive your future self as connected, similar, and close to you-right-now, the better you’ll treat that future you.

This has a lot to do with willingness to delay gratification right now in return for future payoffs. As you expect that trait has a lot to do with financial status, health, and criminal behavior.

If you feel no connection to yourself in 20 years, you won’t think twice about the hard time that will follow from your armed robbery. Tomorrow is not an object of concern.

Pay attention long enough, and you’ll notice this trait hiding behind most every stupid, reckless, petty decision.

I don’t know if that helps you out any, but to me this is a handy puzzle-piece to explain why people seem like they don’t think. They might be thinking fine, on the wrong time horizon.

Although I’m inclined to say that good thinking on a miscalibrated time horizon is its own kind of stupid.

What’s all this mean for you? I hope the lesson is self-evident. Wash the damn dishes.

For your health and fitness goals, having a healthy relationship with your future self is what keeps you getting up on those cold mornings to do workouts that maybe aren’t so fun.

This, too, is a learnable, teachable skill.

Maybe you’d like my help upgrading your dish-washing, future-self loving, skill-set. If so, follow the link:

Click here 👉

Matt Perryman

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