For the vast majority of a regular day, I’m wasting time. If I’m not pre-occupied playing with the kids. Or if I’m not out on the golf course. I tend to get a little stuck being busy, but not doing anything.
Today was a perfect example.
I got kicked out of the house at 7:30 am.
On Tuesday’s the whole family is at home. There’s no kinder and generally, no other activities planned. It’s a rest/housework day. It also means I can’t be hanging around, annoying Jessie or the kids.
My office is out in the garage, so it’s not a problem. Usually, I just go out there and do what I do. The garage has everything I need. A couple couches, coffee, whiteboard, stand up desk. Golf mat and clubs. I can waste hours out there.
Today I didn’t feel like working in the garage.
I went and sat in a cafe overlooking the water and had some scrambled eggs. I spent the good part of five hours working.
First, I opened my emails and responded to everything. Then I went and checked Facebook. I logged into a few forums, read and replied to some threads.
I checked Facebook again. Opened my emails to see if there was anything new. Nope. Checked the forums again. Tried to integrate a couple email capture plugins into the Fast Growth site. Both of which I couldn’t get to work.
Then, I decided I was paying too much for one of the plugins I’ve been using, SumoMe. It was installed on three different sites, each costing $25 per month. So I bought ThriveLeads and replaced it everywhere.
By that time I had worked (wasted) just under five hours.
I paid the breakfast tab then went back home to work in the garage for a few more hours. This was when I got down to business.
Inside of an hour, I;
- Composed and sent out an email to the Fuzed list about the new marketing forum I’ve started.
- Added four extra emails to an email sequence (which should help boost sales on a product I’m selling)
- Created and delegated a process for syndicating these daily posts
- Transferred three other jobs to staff. I was creating bottlenecks.
- Wrote and scheduled this email
All were easy tasks to complete and will have a reasonable impact moving forward.
I achieved something for the day.
All it took to produce a solid sixty minutes was five wasted hours beforehand. If I didn’t do any of the “work” I had done during the morning, it wouldn’t have changed a thing. I was busy, but I didn’t do anything.
I work best when I have a few constraints.
When I’m busy elsewhere during the day (playing with the kids, or out on the course), I cram what needs to get done inside an hour or so. With ease. I pick the most important tasks and slice through them.
It’s not just the constraint of time that I need, though. I also need to know what I should be focusing on.
If there’s a big list of things to do and I have a lot of hours, I can burn through a tonne of work. During these times I’m super productive.
The toxic combination is when I have lots time and nothing concrete to do. I get lost. Procrastinate. And feel bad for doing nothing.
This is what happened to me today.
When I get up in the morning, I’m going to either sit down and list out what I want to get done. Or I’m going to give myself a two-hour window only to spend working.