“Time is the coin of your life.
It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.
Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. “
- Carl Sandburg
Each week I put aside money for my savings, investments and other expenses before spending any of it.
If there is not enough to pay the bills, I cut down on excess spending on extraneous things.
But I always pay myself first.
That’s just money though – they print more of it every day.
What about my most important currency – what about my time?
Paying Myself … Last ?
Though I pay myself first with regards to my investments for the future, one of the areas where I used to constantly pay myself last is my time; my life.
I would wake up and begin spending my life working for someone else – whether it was a client, a project, or sometimes even just favors for friends.
Only after finishing tasks that I needed to do for other people would I finally set aside time for myself, and to to work on my goals.
I figured it was ok, since I had scheduled in time for my goals…but what about those days where the work piled up, and I either spent more time on it or was just too drained?
You guessed it – sometimes, I wouldn’t make it to my goals at all.
This was no way to spend my hours – working on my personal goals last.
So I started applying the same “pay myself first” philosophy to my life.
Time To Start Paying Myself First
I decided to make a switch and altered my life schedule.
First, I made sure to use my time budget and fit all my personal goals in.
Then, I started prioritizing them even more – by moving them earlier in the day.
Instead of working on personal goals in the afternoon and evening, I decided to start the day working on what mattered most to me.
Every morning, I wake up and get ready. Then, once I am fully awake, when I am at my most productive, I start the day with my goals – my priorities.
I work out. I read. Some days I practice guitar, and other days I reflect.
Let me share with you some of the benefits of paying myself first with my time
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I tend to wake up pretty early.
Because of that, I have no phone calls and nobody else is awake in the house.
I also intentionally avoid potentially distracting activities. I leave my cell phone off so I don’t get any emails or other push notifications, and I prefer to work in silence.
One lesson I learned early in my life about personal finance is you never miss your forced saving.
If you put away ten or twenty percent as savings before you give yourself a chance to spend the money, you adjust your lifestyle to match your income. On the other hand, it’s much more difficult to put money away to save after it’s already in your wallet – and tempting you to spend it
Similarly, if I keep telling myself I’ll exercise after work, and then when I get off work I am tired – it’s easy to suddenly decide I can skip the exercise.
Instead, if I tell myself to exercise early in the morning, I can get it out of my way before I have a chance to make any excuses.
It’s forced productivity – I know I’ve got to take care of my personal goals first – or I won’t allow myself to work on anything else at all!
A Fresh start
When I wake up, every day is a new day.
I don’t have anything on my mind, and when I sleep it’s a chance to “reboot” my brain before I get started on my personal projects.
As opposed to trying to switch gears after working on other project, I get to immediately focus in on personal goals in the morning.
Now you may be thinking…well that’s fine if you’re a morning person, but it’s not for me!
You Don’t Have To Wake Up *That* Early
It’s true: waking up early may not be for you. In fact, I wasn’t quite it was for me either.
My first week being an early riser was rather unpleasant – and I almost gave up!
But I have since adjusted and I believe it is for the best.
You don’t have to suddenly change your life to put this lesson to work for you though.
Just wake up a few minutes early,
Spend even 5, 10, 15 minutes on yourself first thing in the morning – and see what kind of difference it makes.
Your action item for tomorrow: wake up 5 minutes earlier.
Spend time on yourself – first.
Want to really start paying yourself first in your life? I promise I won’t make you wake up early – unless you want to. Take a moment now to read the details about my course The Action Solution and see if it’s something you’d be interested in. No matter where you are in your life, I can help you take action and achieve what really matters to you.