Do you ever wonder how great it would be if you didn’t have to cook day in, day out?
Having your own special chef to cook for you every single day?
Coming home after a long, exhausting day and just lying down with a good book?
You go to the kitchen only to see this: piles of plates and dirty utensils in the sink; veggies and onions waiting to be peeled; and, very few available ingredients.
“Let’s take a 5-minute break on FB and then, I’ll jump straight into the kitchen!”
5 minutes and a green smoothie later …
“Oh nooo!! I have less than 2 hours to cook now!!”
You sprint to the kitchen, frantically start washing the dishes, and throwing every edible item that you’re lucky to find into your pan while muttering under your breath.
Is That You? 🤔
Do you promise yourself, day after day, that even with all the pain and fatigue, you’ll stop procrastinating? And that you’ll start cooking as soon as you hit home?
But then, when the time comes to honor that promise, you just seem to give in to that little voice in your head?
And this makes you wonder, “How on earth can I stop procrastinating once and for all? 😩”
Today, I’m happy to share with you, different strategies that will help you stop procrastinating and get things done in your kitchen.
I can’t tell you that things will work out the very first time itself. But if you give yourself some time, I assure you that it will work.
But before that, it’s crucial that you understand what goes on in your brain when you procrastinate.
Can You Guess What an MRI Scan Would Reveal About Your Brain?
If you take a close look at your brain, you’ll see that you have a Smart Lady who takes all the rational decisions.
But then … there’s that charming, little Monkey friend of yours who never misses an opportunity to have fun.
“This is the perfect time to bake a pizza for the hubs and have an apple pie smoothie with it! 🤩”
“Nope! That isn’t happening! 🙄”
You wonder why this kind of scenario seems to happen all the time?
Well, the moment your Smart Lady decided that it was time to do something productive, your Monkey pal quickly grabbed the wheel and said,
“Baking is sooo boring! Don’t you wanna know what our former school friends have become? Since we’re on FB, let’s scroll through our news feed and check the latest.”
“Now, I think it’s time we go on a YouTube spiral starting with HIIT videos and ending much, much later with cool DIY projects that we’ll never do.”
“Ohhh, I’m sooo sorry! We’ve been lying on that cozy sofa for nearly 3 hours now. The pizza can wait for tomorrow, right? 🙈”
And there comes the OMG-Where-Did-Time-Go Monster. This panicky lady sleeps most of the time but wakes up abruptly anytime there’s a looming deadline or a coming interview or some other terrifying consequence.
So, once this panicky lady is awake with her disheveled hair, your Monkey friend lets go of your hand, screaming at the top of its lung, and races to the closest tree.
This is when you finally succeed in taking back control of the wheel and dash to the kitchen.
Now that you’ve discovered what goes on in that brilliant mind of yours, let’s find out together why many of us tend to procrastinate, shall we?
“It’s High Time to Stop Procrastinating, Don’t You Think?” “Sure, But How Can I Possibly Tame That Stubborn Monkey of Mine? 😏”
Look, to be honest with you, I have absolutely no idea why you procrastinate when it’s time to cook.
Because every single one of us procrastinate for a different reason. For example:
(1) I procrastinate whenever I have severe migraines.
(2) Shari procrastinates because she’s exhausted after coming back from work.
(3) Mum procrastinates because she’s tired of cooking every single day.
And the list goes on…
The most important thing here is to acknowledge that you procrastinate. That’s the very first step that’ll help you quieten up your Monkey friend.
The second step is that you stop feeling guilty and beating yourself up. It’s totally okay not to want to cook when you’re in pain or completely worn out.
Now, I want you to take just one minute and ask yourself these 4 simple questions:
(1) Why do I find cooking such an overwhelming task? Why do I try to avoid cooking every time?
Because I always fail to start cooking as soon as I get back from work.
(2) Why am I unable to start cooking as soon as I get back home?
Because I feel completely worn out after work.
(3) Why is that?
Because I go to bed late every night.
(4) Why don’t I sleep earlier?
I love relaxing with my phone and I don’t see the clock ticking by.
When you’re answering these questions,
Look at yourself with kindness.
Be brutally honest about why you tend to stress before cooking.
Because in the end, you’re the only one who can find that out.
Identifying the root cause(s) of your procrastination is the third step in learning how to tame your monkey. Then, it’ll just be a matter of days before the Smart Lady takes back full control.
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why you may be procrastinating and find strategies to combat that permanently.
Reason No 1: You Feel Completely Worn Out After Work.
Some days, you hit home, and you’re able to do an unbelievable number of things. Cooking, cleaning, and even ironing! 🤹♀️
But then on other days, you feel like you’re barely muddling through. You try to force yourself to go and prepare dinner. But you’re wayyy too tired…
As we’ve discussed above, ask yourself these 4 simple questions. Try to find out why you’re exhausted after work.
For example, if you’re not getting enough sleep, work on going to bed earlier. Let’s say, you sleep at midnight every day. During one week, stop what you’re doing at 11pm and get ready to skip in bed at 11.30pm. Do this until you reach a certain time where you get enough sleep.
If it’s because you use your mobile or laptop until the last minute before going to bed, try this: an hour before bed time, put away all the screens and relax.
Once you’ve figured it out, don’t forget to motivate yourself before cooking.
Plan to do something nice after you’re done in the kitchen, something you look forward to. This can be as simple as a hot shower, a cup of mint tea, reading your favorite novel or taking a stroll in the park.
Whatever makes you relax and enjoy 😄
Reason No 2: Your Body Is Aching So Much That You Can Feel Your Every Bone 🤕.
Every now and then, you may feel like you just can’t keep going.
Your head is throbbing, your joints are aching, and, you can barely think properly.
You’re in SO much pain that you feel like an old woman.
When you’re in such a vulnerable position and you have no other option than to cook, remind yourself about your “WHY.”
The “secret” to feeling inspired to cook when your whole body is aching, is to connect back to your values. When you’re in pain, you tend to forget your real reasons for cooking. And this makes cooking feel like a chore.
Why do you cook?
Formulate your thoughts and write them down.
When you know exactly why you cook, you transform your time spent in the kitchen into a moment of pleasure. Preparing dinner then becomes a piece of cake.
Next time you’ve got to cook, rub your hands together and tell yourself, “Today, I get to cook to feed myself / my family with real, healthy foods!”
Now, if you’re often in pain, try the following:
(1) Whenever you’re free, take a moment to jot down a few menus that can be ready within minutes.
(2) On days when you feel great, prepare meals and freeze them (Ex: Pizza ingredients like chicken/grated cheese/homemade tomato or nomato sauce and Pizza base.)
Reason No 3: Cooking Feels Like a Humongous Mountain.
Cooking can seem like a gigantic task and you might think, “Pheww! I’m never gonna finish in the kitchen with all the veggies to peel and utensils to wash! 🥴”
Ever since I got married, I’ve learned to enjoy prepping healthy meals by following simple rules that I’ve put in place:
– During the weekend (or any afternoons when I’m tired and don’t feel like working or reading), I decide what I’ll cook in the coming week. I then sit down and start peeling onions and any veggies that I’ll need to prep my meals.
– To avoid having a pile of dirty plates, cutleries, and utensils, my hubs and I have made it a habit of washing anything we use as soon as we’re done with it.
Reason No 4: You Don’t Have A Lot of Time to Cook 🕗.
You check the kitchen clock.
Less than 2 hours to cook before dinner time.
“Great! Let’s prep some roasted meat with grilled sweet potatoes and stir fried bok choy. This should take about an hour or so.”
2 hours later, you’re totally irritated – “How did I waste so much time? Why does cooking have to be so painful?!?”
We’ve all been there.
You know exactly what to cook and how much time you need. But then, your precious minutes just seem to fly by.
Can’t cooking be fun? Can’t you cook faster?
Of course, you can! You can cook faster, create yummy meals, and still have some quiet time for yourself. Any time you want.
Let me show you a super-duper easy way of doing it. Say, for example that you’re cooking roasted meat with grilled sweet potatoes and stir fried bok choy.
–Once you’ve decided what to cook, ask yourself:
(1) What food needs more time to cook?
(2) What veggies will be used first?
Onions (will have to be added to the meat.)
-Get all the necessary ingredients and utensils on the counter.
Pressure cooker, large frypan, knife, 2 cooking spoons, cutting board, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, onions, meat, sweet potatoes, bok choy, salt, fine pepper and, coarse black pepper.
-Plan how to proceed next.
(1) Slice onions.
(2) Brown onions in coconut oil while cutting meat.
(3) Cook meat.
(4) Peel sweet potatoes and dice them.
(5) Fry them in extra virgin olive oil.
(6) Chop onion and bok choy in the meantime.
(7) Throw them together with the sweet potatoes and cook.
Reason No 5: Your Kitchen Is A Total Mess 😵.
A messy kitchen.
This is the easiest way to make your cooking mood take to its heels.
You take hours in the kitchen just because you can’t find the salt. And when you do find it, you now have to hunt for the coconut flour.
Pick a day (and a date!) to re-organize your kitchen. Make it super easy to find ingredients and cooking utensils. You want them within reach even if you have a mini kitchen.
(1) Label each container in which you store your flours. Store all your flours on one shelf.
(2) Stack the salt, pepper, and any spices that come in small vials next to each other (I love keeping mine in a rectangular box.)
(3) Keep your baking utensils in one drawer and your saucepans, frypans etc. in another drawer.
(4) Place all your spoons, forks, and butter knives in a stainless-steel stand.
(5) Place your cooking spoons, spatulas, knives and ladles in another stand.
Now that your (mini) kitchen is tidy again, make it a habit of putting everything back in its proper place after using them. Happy cooking and baking! 😊
Reason No 6: You Have Absolutely No Idea What to Cook 😫.
During weekends (or your spare time), commit yourself to planning exactly what meals you’ll prep in the upcoming week.
(1) Divide your Meal Planner Notebook horizontally into 4 categories, namely: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
(2) Then, divide your Notebook vertically into the 7 days of the week.
(3) Once you’re done, start filling it out.
Commit yourself to do this every week – even if you didn’t sleep well the night before, don’t feel like it, or have better plans.
And if this thought occurs to you, “I’ll figure out what to cook when the time comes…”, strangle it!
Reason No 7: Your Kitchen Is A Mess Each Time You Finish Cooking and You Hate Cleaning Up 🧹.
A freshly made meal. Yummm!
And… a sink full of dirty utensils; food spills all over the stove; and ingredients cloaking the whole counter from view.
We are all too familiar with this, right?
So, how do we throw this yucky habit out of the kitchen window?
(1) While you’re cooking, put everything back in its place once you’ve used them. For example, as soon as you’ve finished adding a dash of pepper to your stew, put back the vial of pepper where you store it.
(2) While your food is bubbling in the pot, and there’s nothing else left to do, start washing the dirty utensils.
Reason No 8: The Perfectionist in You Gets the Best of You 🤯.
“Me, a per.fec.tio.nist?!? You gotta be kidding, right?”
Hmmm, okay… Now, ask yourself honestly:
Do you always stick exactly to a recipe? Fearing that if you change one single ingredient, you’ll ruin your meal completely?
Do you happen to: “Oh no. I’m not trying to dice my carrots perfectly. That’s ridiculous! I just love when they’re the exact same size. That’s all! 🤷♀️”
And maybe, just maybe, get a little frustrated when your fresh herbs aren’t all equally chopped?
Well, you my friend are exactly where I’ve been (not so long ago.)
I never felt my meals looked appetizing enough.
There was always, always something that bugged me about what I’d cooked.
It’s totally natural to wanna get outstanding results when trying a new recipe. But still, keep in mind that it’s your imperfections that make you unique. And often, it’s when you experiment with your ingredients that you end up with a super tasty meal!
And seriously, at one point, you have to pause and ask yourself, “When the food is on the table, who cares if the carrots are perfectly diced or the parsley is of the exact same length? Does this affect in any way the taste of that dish?”
Here’s what my dad told me once,
“Today, after finishing a blog post, you’ll tell yourself,
‘Oh my! This is by far the best article I’ve ever written!’
Then, the next day you’ll re-read it before publishing it to the world and you’ll probably tell yourself,
‘Seriously? This is so booooring!’
So, keep writing, do the very best you can and learn to pirouette with your imperfections.”
Aim for ‘done’ over ‘perfect’.
If your meal isn’t yummy this time, it’s no biggie.
Learn from your mistake(s) and improve next time
What I want you to do right now is find out what causes you to procrastinate. Once that’s done, leave a comment below so that we can try to find a solution together.