As a student, I feel like I can’t finish or accomplish everything I need to in a day. As an entrepreneur/freelancer, no one’s there to kick your ass. For the most part you have to set your own deadlines and stick to them, but not everyone has the willpower to do it. I damn sure don’t. I feel like I get super inspired with my projects and once I’m bored, I just switch to another one. Perhaps it’s the constant state of limbo I’m in that makes me unsuited to finish anything I start. Sometimes I have no idea where my time goes, but I can guess it’s probably a mixture of facebook, tumblr, and twitter. I’ve decided to try to kick the habit of mindless wandering using a simple concept.
Minimizing spending time in unproductive ways and maximizing spending time in the productive ways.
Sounds simple enough, right? The one common denominator is time. I figure if I know specifically where I’m spending my time, it can act almost like a trigger that I should be spending my time doing something else.
So I plan on recording a week’s worth of online activity starting tomorrow using RescueTime, and seeing which sites I spend the most time on. Any offline activities I’ll have to record manually.
Next I’d have to define what I should be doing instead, which would stem from one of my many goals.
Here’s the top 3 things that HAVE to get done for me on a daily basis:
1) Write/Edit a blog post (to be published the next day)
2) Research prospective clients list for Drunken Panda Consulting
3) Write a paragraph for my e-book
I have other tools like Antisocial and Freedom to keep me focused (or for you cheap-o’s out there, here’s a free alternative). I work hard and focused during the allotted time, and save some of the creative energy in the bank for the next day. I’ll also keep a notebook handy(like those hardback pocket-sized moleskins) in case during the day I have ideas to add for a blog post, potential client, or for the e-book.
Time is your most valuable asset, since, well, you don’t have that much of it. Not trying to get all existential here, but seriously. Life is short to not do great things for yourself and others. I lose sight of how short life is way too often, and I have paid dearly for it.
One should be able to develop a sort of autopilot system to manage one’s life. Sure, as much as most free thinking entrepreneurs recoil at any sign of structure, this is a part where routine is necessary to make a long lasting impact, both on ourselves and our habits and on others. Consistent delivery day in and day out is what separates the goods from the greats. By focusing on only a couple of things a day, it helps our own sanity as well as helps maintain an active, curious lifestyle for parts of our life that don’t include work.
While I do like picking my top 3, it’s personal preference. Three happens to be my magic number, with businesses, to do lists, etc. I do commend the people who focus on just one thing. That might be much better, and harder. One day perhaps.. Okay just to kind of “practice,” ask yourself this question:
What are the top 3 things that absolutely HAVE to get done, where, if you did these things, you’d be completely satisfied with your day?
Comment with your answer!