I was chatting with a freelancer friend of mine. They were expressing their feelings of self-loathing for wasting about 50% of their time on social media. It’s a huge temptation for freelancers, self-employed people – frankly anyone who works a desk job. It’s super easy to be super unproductive.
I’m experiencing that temptation daily. That to-do list looks far less exciting than Facebook groups and Twitter streams. But I’ve developed a habit that helps me get almost all my work done by noon. That leaves me time to work out, do special projects, and spend time with my lovely wife. What’s this special habit? I watch television shows.
Follow me here. I have a few “guilty pleasure” shows that my wife doesn’t enjoy watching with me. The Office, Modern Family, Fringe – all shows my wife loathes. They’re sitting on my DVR beckoning for me to partake in their guilty goodness.
But I’ve established a rule in my life. I don’t get to sit down to enjoy those shows until I’ve checked off my entire to-do list. As soon as I click the checkbox next to that last item, I throw on my comfy pants and plop down in front of the TV to watch. It’s oh so satisfying. After I’m done, I go running, work on some pet projects, play a video game or two, then start dinner. My wife gets home, I have a hot meal ready, and we enjoy each others’ company for the rest of the evening.
Sure, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes I don’t get to watch my show or sometimes I cheat and watch the show during lunch. But I’ve found, more often than not, I can abide by my rules and be super productive.
So what’s your guilty pleasure? What do you enjoy more than Facebook and Twitter? What proverbial carrot can you dangle in front of yourself to keep you on task?