Blog Mental

Pay Yourself First – Use your time wisely


I had a semi prepped post on the Adidas City Runs Fulham 10km Race Recap ready. The race was due to take place this Sunday, however it got cancelled on Thursday due to the weather.

As the mini “Beast from the East” has not yet occurred, I don’t know what the weather actually did, but I commend the organisers for postponing the race due to health, safety and travel concerns. It must have been a tough call. I would have only had to travel a couple of miles to get there, but if you were coming from further afield, snow and icy roads are not what you want.

So instead of a post all about my new PB (a PB was very unlikely to happen), you’ll have to go with a post about productivity.

Pay yourself First

The inspiration for the post came from Oliver Burkeman’s This column will change your life column in the Guardian (whose own inspiration came from Jessica Abels post).

The gist is that – just like when you’re saving money you should “pay yourself first” and transfer money to your savings account as soon as you’re paid. Therefore, it gets done, you don’t even realise and you save money.

The same is true for your time. If you (like me) “clear the decks” with all the other tasks before you get down to the task that is important and you’re passionate about (professional development, starting a business, looking for a new job, starting that course you’ve been talking about or even going for a run) then you’re “paying yourself last”.

As Jessica Abel says –

“the only way to make it happen is to do a bit of it now, no matter how many urgent tasks are pressing in”

By doing all the other tasks first you’re not “making time”, so you can do the big, important stuff. You’re just delaying it and very possibly running the risk of never getting around to it.

I’ve been trying to “pay myself first” this week, with varying degrees of success. I have a tendency to do the washing up, clean the kitchen, do the hovering, respond to emails, put some washing on, write blogs posts…… that could all wait and are not particularly driving my life forward.

I have my chartered status to achieve that I’ve been “working on” for a number of years and need to focus on to get it over the line. I have a side hustle I am trying to get off the ground, which has stalled since Christmas. Both of these things could make a profound change in my life. But I put them last and never get around to them.

The big stuff is tough. Being judged by your peers is scary. The fear of a failing business can fix you in an endless loop of analysis paralysis. You never have to start and therefore never fail. Doing the small stuff is easy and safe. Your filling your life with busy.

As Oliver Burkeman says in his column –

“if you’re going to spend at least some of your time on the planet doing what matters to you most, you’d better actually start doing what matters most”

So, give it a go. Stop saying “I don’t have time” and remember to pay yourself first.

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