Lately, life has been very full.

Between a new work project and getting as much done as I can before the upcoming winter break, I don’t always feel like I have a ton of margin in my schedule.

Since most of the tasks on my plate are pretty difficult and energy-consuming at the moment, I’m making a point to look for bright spots and small pleasures in my days and weeks to stay motivated.

Tonight, that looked like eating my dessert first. 

I have a collection of ice cream sandwiches in my freezer that I’ve been treating myself to at the end of each day. As I was waiting for my dinner to heat up, I snacked on one and thought about how nice it is to eat dessert first sometimes.

Although there’s a lot to say for delayed gratification, when life feels hard, I’m all about prioritizing gratification.

Here are some examples:

  • reading a chapter of my fun book before sitting down to work on my to-do list
  • going out to dinner with my partner before plugging away at answering emails in the evening
  • taking a weekend nap before working on my latest writing project
  • checking in with a colleague about their holiday plans before discussing the project we’re collaborating on

What I have found is that in really busy times, if I don’t prioritize the bright spots and small pleasures, the work can crowd them out.

Although sometimes the work itself is its own reward, I think that other times its okay to treat ourselves before the work takes over.