“Over-Preparation + Prioritization = You Can Do Anything” sums up this entire post, so if you have anything better to be doing with your time–feeding the cat, swatting the mosquito off your arm, returning your books to the library–I recommend you go ahead and take one more final glance at the title of this article, feel encouraged, and then proceed onwards to accomplishing your tasks.
But if it is a lazy summer Friday for you, with nothing better to do than pitter through my somewhat lengthy musings on humanity, dear reader, I say read on.
There is a weird phenomenon that occurs in my life that I have recently been made aware of. The day sometimes tends to go better for me when I work a double shift at the Bakehouse, say 10am-8pm, then when I have a normal shift, a 1pm-8pm. A 5 mile run sometimes is monstrously more difficult and taxing than a 13 mile run. Reading a long, long Ken Follet Pillars of the Earth-esque novel tends to go a lot faster than the 150 paged Death with Interruptions book that I am reading currently*.
[*attempting with difficulty to read currently]
What? Why is this? Mentally, clearing tables that customers should have cleared themselves* and refilling the napkin dispenser because people tend to take massively unnecessary amounts of napkins when they really just need one is easier to do for 7 hours than for 10.
Physically, a 13 mile run is more difficult than it’s impish cousin, the 5 mile jog. Intellectually, it’s going to be harder to digest hundreds of more pages of complex plot.
So why is the day better, the run easier, the reading shorter?
I’ve come to believe it’s because of the amount of priority I am putting on the task.
When I have to work a double shift, I go to bed earlier. I make sure to have a reward waiting for myself at the end of the shift, a delicious dinner or long, bubbly bath with an episode of Game of Thrones and my Moonlight Forrest candle powering away next to me, which illuminates the bubbles in this glorious scent of washed pine. I am mentally prepared, I have the expectation that the day is going to be a long one.
When I have my long run waiting for me for the next morning, I eat a higher-carb, nutritionally dense dinner. I do yoga circuits and roll out before bed, making sure that I’m as loose and stretched out as possible. I download all the podcasts or audiobooks I need for the 2 hours that I will be engaged with nature and my ‘buds.
When I check out a 900+ paged book from the library with the stubborn desire of finishing the novel within a satisfactory amount of time, I make sure to mentally set apart large chunks of time in the upcoming weeks to attack it. When I sit down at these chunks of time, I have a fresh brewed pot of French-pressed coffee keeping me company and my feet snuggled into a mountain of pillows.
This phenomenon of the harder thing is easier occurs for two possible reasons:
1). I am mentally over-prepared for the arduousness of the task, therefore it is easier than expected.
2). I am prioritizing the task.
Therefore, I have devised a simple yet profoundly effective formula for you, dear reader, on the nature of accomplishing great and mighty things:
Monstrous amounts of over-preparation + prioritization = unbelievable success on overwhelmingly lofty goals.
I never, ever thought that I could run half marathons and enjoy it at the same time, despite being a runner since middle school. I mean, heck, I remember when we went from racing the 1 mile in 7th grade to the 2 miler in 8th grade, and that was a huge deal.
But then suddenly, I made running a priority in my life. I read books on running, listened to podcasts on running, watched videos of running. And I personally overprepared, too; I followed training plans until they became too easy and generalized, and then I devised my own to see how much I could push myself. I over-prepared as much, as much as possible. Why stop at 6 hill repeats, when I could go just one more? Why stop at 10 repeats, when I could do just one more? Because of this marriage of priority with over-preparation, I really, truly enjoy running 13.1+ miles, and I am able to run them relatively fast*
[*I once was given $50 for winning the female half marathon in Leavenworth, KS. I think this qualifies me to be a professional half-marathoner**]
[**I have just been informed that this is not true in any sense of the phrasing.]
I am going to spend a year of my life living on my own in Austria, taking German classes and managing my own finances. Despite the insurmountable uncertainties, I decided it’s something I wanted to do, so I have been over-preparing myself as much as possible in order to accomplish this seemingly lofty goal of studying abroad in a foreign, other-language-speaking country. I independently filled out all the necessary forms before the due dates, obtained permits and visas and passports and checks and all the whatnot. I enrolled in German classes and German programs and the like. I wired money, and rewired money when that all failed; I contacted the necessary people and found the necessary tickets. This is not serving to brag about how independent I am, namely showing how I have been over-preparing for full independency next year by practice.
And I prioritize. I am committed to learning German, because it’s going to make my year much better. After a shift at work, I sit down and work on German for 30 minutes. Before bed, I again work on German. And while I am doing this, my phone is put away, the music is off, the distractions are limited.
Over-prep + prioritization = you can do anything.
Do you want to be a yoga instructor? Do you want to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail? Do you want to write a novel? Do you want to become more socially aware? Do you want to become a better reader? Find what you want, the sole thing that you want this present season of your life to embody. Search for what you want, and then apply the two principles to it.
If you prioritize it for long enough, put enough pressure and stress and make it so important to your life, then you have such a chance of success.
Peace and Blessings,