Football. And one (not so) secret to happiness.

Your friend. Your nemesis.

Football season is here. I love football. I love watching football. I don’t watch a lot of TV otherwise– beyond maybe some long-running reality TV shows like Top Chef, Survivor or Amazing Race. (I do have a slight addiction to guitar videos on YouTube, but that’s another story.)

Now that I’ve got college football games on Saturday and NFL on Sunday, I can end up on the couch for a long time. I love football, but for whatever reason, after a few hours on the couch I inevitably get depressed.

Something happens in my body first then it hits my mind. I just start feeling down. Every possible thought that could bum me out starts playing in hyperdrive.

At some point I figured out there’s a simple (but not always easy) solution to this problem.

Get up and do some work.

Wash dishes. Clean the garage. Vacuum. Change some light bulbs. Just do stuff that has a clear end result.

It’s amazing the difference it makes.

The first 20–30 minutes are always a slog. It’s like walking through mud. It’s the same feeling of exhaustion I had as a kid when my Mom made me go shopping.

But then something happens. I start focusing on the job at hand. And my mind turns off. The energy and positivity slowly comes back.

I believe we are meant to work. To be active and busy. With our minds and our bodies.

I don’t buy into advice like “you need to relax” or “you need to rest.” Don’t get me wrong, I love idea of it. But I don’t love the results I get from it. The rest we need is a good night’s sleep. If we’re awake, I believe we should be doing something.

Our brains trick us. They are experts at talking us out of doing work.

Over-planning is one enemy of work. “I need to figure the BEST way to do this before I do this.” So you spend an hour googling the best way to do things. Or better yet, you put things off until you get that thing your ordered from Amazon.

Fear is another. Our insecurities keep us from the work. Deep down, we’re worried that we won’t do a good job. That we’ll let down others. That we’ll be seen a frauds who weren’t capable of doing the work in the first place.

A double-cheeseburger, fries and a shake can also be a huge barrier to doing work. This is a huge mistake I often make, especially when watching football.

My childhood hero Floyd Little autographed my shirt at the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. You could say I’m pretty into football.

I’ve applied this “insight” into my daily routine. Every day my alarm goes off at 5:40am so I can make it to a 6:30am workout. Putting in the hard work early makes all the difference in my day. It’s great for my body of course, but the real reason I do it is for my mind.

For the record, I am not a morning person. Getting up is a monumental struggle. Yet I know this- if I just put one foot down next to my bed, and then another, I’m up. I go through this routine every single day.

Just start working. If you like to write, write. Don’t worry about what software you use to write. Just write. Design something. Shoot a video. Play an instrument. Go for a run. Clean the garage. The side effects of doing, of putting in the work, are things like happiness, contentment and success.

Anyone who says “I have nothing to do” is just using that as an excuse.

There’s always something to do. For me, that will still always include watching a little football.

About me: I’m a Partner/Creative Director at Teak in San Francisco. I’m from Colorado, moved to Chicago for 8 years then settled down in San Anselmo, California (the birthplace of mountain biking) with my wife to raise two amazing kids. I’m a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, Denver Broncos and Peet’s Coffee.

This is me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Read my previous Medium article here.

Owner/Creative/Strategy at Teak in San Francisco + Re-heater of Coffee