How I Trick Myself Into a Productive Day

Apr 22, 2010, Written by Sue Miley

When you own your own business there are definite benefits of having flexibility to determine when you work.  I won’t say you work less, because we all know sometimes you work more… but I think you would agree that you do have the choice to go in late or take off for an event, etc.

If you have a business, by appointment only, like I do as a coach and counselor, you really do determine the times that you have to be at your office for example by when you set appointments or make commitments.

This can be a double-edged sword.  I am exemplifying the double edge sword at this moment as I sit on my patio in the beautiful weather watching my dogs chase squirrels across the yard.  Yes, I can do it, but then I am not getting many other things done that I need to.  I know, I felt guilty so I decided to placate myself by at least writing a blog post while I sat here.

The fact remains it is almost 9 am and I am not working on my “to do” list.  And I am not even cleaning my kitchen.

How Do You Procrastinate the Time Away?

What happens when we have too much unstructured time is that we can procrastinate the time away.  Social Media pulls many of us.  I actually have the bizarre habit of watching the streaming quotes of my stocks even if I am not trading anything.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think we need to be working 24/7 or even 40 hours per week if that is not our plan or goal.  I just know that there are many people like me, who look back on a morning like this, and wish we had used it more productively. Even if I don’t plan on working I will wish I had painted for a couple of hours, read a good book, or cleaned the kitchen. (I put in the kitchen thing in case my husband reads this post!)  Rather than going past a reasonable quota of time checking the stock market, looking at blogs, perusing FB and twitter, reviewing bank balances.  I am a checker and I will check these things whenever I have free time, so I need to have boundaries around this.

The Solution that Always Works for Me!

To me there is one solution that always works.  Sometimes I don’t want to use this tool because ….well, just because!  But, it really always works.

I need to get up take a shower, get dressed and basically get ready to go…. go to work, go run errands, just go…

When I am ready to go, for some reason I start working on things. I go to my office and do the non-client tasks that aren’t as fun for me.  I go make bank deposits and buy stamps.  I have well rounded productive days.

To trick myself I many times make appointments (business or personal) first thing in the morning.  Even if I have a couple of hours break in between, once I am out of the house I will get things done.

When I get things done I always feel better.  It is a God thing just like everything else in my life.  I want to be a good steward of my time.  It is a blessed resource the Lord has provided me.  Using my time wisely really does make me feel better about everything.  Well except when I have to lock my dogs up and they realize they aren’t going out to play this morning!

What do you do to get jump started on a productive day?

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.