Not-To-Do-List Challenge – Day 3 – Do Not “Work For Others First”

For today’s challenge try doing something productive for yourself before you start your normal workday. I’m assuming you are here because you want to improve your financial situation. Living in New York is filled with people and with people come obligations. The fear of missing out causes us to over-commit far too often and that is fine. It’s okay to want to spend time with friends. It’s okay to want to join in because it would be “like, the coolest Instagram post!”

In one of my previous posts I spoke about the aggregation of marginal gains and how taking steps to make small improvements in every aspect of their training and equipment, though not visible or significant individually, added up to the British cycling team winning the Tour de France in 2012 for the first time ever.

I’m not saying that getting up an hour earlier for today only to get the gym out of the way or to work on a side hustle before heading to the office is going to help you make a huge leap towards your goal, but it will trigger a feeling of satisfaction that makes you want to keep being productive. In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg notes that something as simple as “making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.” He calls it a “Keystone Habit,” which is something the triggers a pattern of other productive behavior. The reason making your bed is so important in his mind is that it happens at the beginning of the day, so your more inclined to make better decisions throughout the remainder of the day.

This ties in perfectly with the British cycling team’s aggregation of marginal gains. Making your bed is not some world shattering productive task but with the small sense of accomplishment it can encourage you to complete another task, and another, until the end of the day comes when you will have completed many tasks.

For today’s challenge however, try doing more than just making your bed in the morning. Get up a little earlier to do something productive that will benefit yourself. When we wake up and go straight to work we start our day by being productive for someone else. There is no sense of accomplishment for what is important to us and thus, when we get home we are often drained of the energy to start a side hustle, go to the gym, or even just to clean our apartment. Getting one of our personal to-do items out of the way before work triggers that sense of accomplishment, so that when we get back we A) don’t feel like our own to-do list is as overwhelming and B) we remember that small sense of pride we had in the morning that makes us want to keep being productive in the evening.

Please comment below on how this challenge did or did not help you today. Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter by clicking on the icons on the right as well!

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