If you need to copy/paste 1000 lines of code, you can hate your life because you are stuck doing menial work, or you can make yourself a mojito, chill out, and pretend you are in a data center on an island and that your boss will give you a gift basket for making the best spreadsheet ever. 
Imagination can change everything, and it can have a huge impact on your I-have-to-do-these-things-I-hate-lists.

6 years ago I paused a conversation to do some pushups. I told my buddy that I have to do 20 pushups every day to look good. She said, “You don’t have to do pushups. You don’t have to do anything. You want to.”

She was right. I was treating my daily pushups as some sort of burden, but I wanted to do them and so I should have enjoyed. There are some things that we have to do because if we do not do them, we will quickly drown.

But these things do not take up most of our time. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to eat food, order and take medicine, pay bills, and make sure your family is alive. But this is not true for most people, most of the time.

Most of the things you do are optional. In a rural town in America, you can get by on surprisingly little. You can stay in bed for a while. You can skip your pushups.

It is true that the distinction between “have to” and “want to” blurs because many of the “optional” tasks are preventative measures to ensure tomorrow is not awful. These include doing extra work, learning about diseases, or doing pushups to stave off obesity for another year.

All these are important, but they are not urgent. You do not have to stress out about them. Urgent things are stressful because they are important and you have limited time.

If something is only important, then you have no reason not to relax. The task might be unpleasant and tedious, but you can still chill while you do it, play some music. A lot of people treat everything that important as urgent and stress out about it when there is no reason to.

When you think of the things you have to do as the things you want to do, the pressure is off, you can relax more, and suddenly, you will realize that you have a lot more time and energy than you used to. The time you used to find stressful, you will find joyful

And you will have time to make those mojitos.

Written by Natalia Dashan

I studied psychology and computer science at Yale. Graduated in 2016 B.S. Psychology. Wingwoman by assertion.

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