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?

The Price of my Dreams – $60 a Week

That’s right – for just $60 a week, I’ve bought myself some time to chase after some dreams:  working out, playing guitar, and of course writing.  For $60 I managed to free up 10 hours every week!

Imagine what you could do with just one of your long term goals with 10 hours a week.

  • How about time to exercise? 
  • More time to spend with people you care about?
  • Or if you’re working too hard – maybe even just catching up on sleep!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain to you not just how I freed up 10 hours a week – but also the thought process for how I got here

The Problem with The Pareto Principle

“The Pareto principle … states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” (Pareto principle, Wikipedia)

If you’re trying to streamline your work-day and boost your income, you might have come across authors telling you “facts” like these:

  • 20% of your clients pay 80% of your income.
  • 20% of your output produces 80% of your income.
  • 20% of your time produces 80% of your income.

Whenever you see the Pareto principle cited, ask yourself “Is this true?” I’d argue that, in many cases, it just isn’t. In my freelance work, I’ve often not seen the Pareto principle upheld: I’ll give you the figures for each of these three claims in turn, so you can see how the clients/output/time to income ratio works for me.

Simple Time Saving Tip #62 – Stop Self Inflicted Junk Email

When you first discovered that great website of Cat Pictures, you thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.  You immediately signed up for the newsletter, and for the first couple weeks you loved it! You’d check your email, notice the shiny new newsletter in your inbox and shriek like a little girl seeing Clay Aiken for the first time.

Fast forward 3 months later, and the novelty has worn off.  The cat pictures all look the same to you, and yet – you still get that newsletter in your inbox.  Instead of unsubscribing though, you delete it.

Why? Why do we continuously allow junk email into our lives we never read, and not opt-out of it?   In this article I’ll show why we do what we do, and my trick for simply and effectively breaking free of self inflicted junk email.

Leveraging Expertise – On The Shoulders Of Giants

“We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours.”
John of Salisbury

Today, anyone can buy an MP3 player, download some podcasts and transform their headphones into a mobile classroom.  We can access discussions, explanations – and my favorite, solutions from the best minds of today and yesterday.

Rather than going through the process of trial and error ourselves, we can benefit from other people who have already made the mistakes and distilled those lessons into concise explanations.

How to Effectively Read 12,853 Articles, Forum Topics & Blog Posts a Week

That’s right, 12,853 Articles, Forum Topics & Blog Posts.  At least approximately – that’s what I processed last week.  And I do it all in less than 1 hour a day (mostly =) ).  Rather than just blindly reading everything I come across though, I follow a process to make my time reading online as efficient as possible.

Read on as I discuss the issue and the process I have come up with to make my reading quick, and make the time spent efficient.