How To Have a Productive Day: Pay Yourself First With Your Time

Beach Sunrise Wake Early Perfect Day

“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?

Your New Year’s Resolutions Are Doomed Before You Even Begin – Unless…


We’re almost done with first week in January: the week where more  New Year’s resolutions are broken than any other.  

According a study conducted in 2002, 25% of New Year’s resolutions are broken in the first week alone. Within 6 months, over half of us will have given up.

Why? Why is it that so many resolutions are doomed from the start?

Here’s one major reason I’ve found with clients:  you need to learn how to balance these new resolutions with your prior commitments.

Personal Development Roadblocks – “The Situation”


“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.
I don’t believe in circumstances.
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.
George Bernard Shaw

We are all capable of so much more than we accomplish, and often fall short of our potential.  

One excuse I often hear (and sometimes make) is how we did the best we could, and then blame our failure on “the situation.” For example:

“It might have looked like I dropped the ball on that one, but I did the best I could – given the situation.”

Sometimes that is a real reason – but more often than not, it is a temporary obstacle that you need to get through. And today, I will show you how.

Mental Bias – Would You Like Fries With Your Warm Fuzzy Platitudes?

Have you ever read a horoscope, taken an online personality test, or even had a keyring that told you what your personality was based solely on your name?  Were you surprised at the accuracy of what was said about you?

Perhaps what you should have been surprised by is your own gullibility. Don’t feel too bad about it though – we all do it. It’s what’s known as the Forer effect, and it’s just one aspect of mental bias.

Time Management Matrix by Stephen Covey – Urgent vs Important

Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First popularized the concept of a Time Management Matrix for prioritizing that I love (Side note: I say “popularized” because it appears Eisenhower was originally credited with using it).   The system advocates the use of four quadrants to determine the tasks you “need” to do and deciding what should be made a priority.

In addition to providing text examples, I’m going to have a little fun and illustrate items from each quadrant using one of my favorite comics: XKCD.

The Best Personal Development Books Reading List

Her email closed with – “are there any books you like?  what should I read?”

“Easy question” I thought to myself, as my fingers flew to the keyboard and I rattled off 10 books, then 20.  I could have gone on, but I stopped.

I took a step back, and realized that my reader didn’t need yet another long lists of books – there are plenty of those online, and if you want an endless list of reading material, check out this list of all the self improvement products at Amazon (1,140 at last count).

No – she was asking for my help, to sort through it all. The more items I gave her, the less helpful I would be. A better approach would be to give her a list that provided the best value – a list of the best personal development books, and the shorter better. This was a much more difficult problem.

After a lot of thought, I cut it down from twenty to the six four three most effective personal development books I have read. While the Pareto principle may not always hold in other situation, in this case a handful of the books I’ve read are responsible for most of my achievements and personal development. These books are the ones most worth your time to build a solid foundation for overall personal development and personal productivity.