pay yourself first


I know a lot of people hate Mondays.  I’m sorry.  I’m not one of them.  I’ve always loved Mondays and I like them even more when it’s raining or cold.  I feel really productive and I think, “Well, I have to get my work done, so why have the pull of great weather taking my attention.  Crappy Monday weather simply makes it easier to get at what has to be done.

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So, on this cloudy (with a good chance of showers this afternoon) April Monday in Vermont I find myself with one of these such days. However, I’m rested, coffee fueled and hitting the ground running.  These are rainy day images from Brooklyn I shot over the weekend.

I’m trying a new process to get myself organized and I would love to hear how others do this as well.  On Sunday nights I write down a list of my intentions for the week—day by day.  This practice has uniquely organized my “highly disorganized” brain and has allowed me to relax a bit because the week is laid out for me.

I have to get very specific because I’m easily distracted.  I even write down my food intentions for the week because it sets a tone…especially after a rather indulgent weekend with friends eating and drinking beer in Brooklyn.  I pencil in writing, homework, appointments, exercise, breaks, errands, projects, phone calls, tasks, quiet time and family time.  This may sound rigid, but there’s plenty of wiggle room.

I’ve started paying more attention to what I do when and this has been a real game changer for me.  I’m highly creative in the morning and I have a lot of clarity and energy.  So, the tasks that require the most of my brain power I do first thing.

I can complete other things later in the day that require much less of me.  I don’t want to waste my most creative time doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom or paying bills.

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I was reminded when I started this practice that my Grandpa Louis used to say; “Pay yourself first, Lisa”.

He said this in regard to my savings account when I started working my first job at a grocery store when I was eleven.  However, now I realize that Grandpa meant so much more in that simple statement.  Setting my intentions for all aspects of my life; work schedule, social activities, food, exercise, creative and quiet time is paying myself first and it’s been quite effective for me so far. Thank you, Grandpa.

5 thoughts on “pay yourself first

  1. Thanks as usual for this fabulous post Lisa. I like your Technique and and I already do something very similar so I can attest to it being effective. I also learned something really great recently from audible tape by Tim Ferriss the author of the four hour work week. I don’t like him much but this one technique really works for me. It basically says taken 8 & a half by 11 piece of paper, fold it twice so you have a quarter of the piece of page visible to you, then write only four to five tasks that you aim to do today on that piece of paper. Prioritize them however you want but basically that’s all you have to do for today to feel complete with your work day. Do you not refer back to the massive list that you started from. I love this technique and I use it everyday and I feel much more productive and satisfied with what I accomplish. I’ll wrap up with one more tip I just discovered. I now use my microphone on my phone instead of typing and it saves me hours if not days per week of typing time. It certainly leads to more grammatical and punctuation errors but I’ll live with that. Thanks Lisa, Kara

    • Thank you for reading, Kara. I’ll use that tip. It’s both a great luxury and really challenging to be working on your own steam all the time. I think the key is to create a ritual that makes us feel empowered, organized and productive. I love using the microphone my phone. It’s a big time saver, I agree.

  2. I’m most productive early too. And easily distracted. I admire your discipline! I’m definitely not there yet. Although I have plenty of lists…(K)

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