Cracking the whip on yourself is hard

Time management struggles

I have been struggling lately with managing my time better. Rather than focusing my efforts on the most critical activities, I tend to get diverted into the less critical and open-ended tasks that have unlimited potential to eat up time. I still have goals and priorities but I lack the hard deadlines that kept me focused at my job.

But why bother? You are retired.

In one of my infrequent attempts to use Facebook, I commented that I was going to dedicate this weekend to getting myself more organized. This caught the attention of one of my old co-workers who asked why I need to get things done after retiring. He was being funny but it is a good question. Why indeed?

Self discipline is hard work

In a work (employee) environment there are always corporate goals, objectives and deadlines. These are set mostly by others with little opportunity for an employee to control or modify them. My job was to meet those deadlines. That framework was always there to pressure me to keep going. The deadlines weren’t always rational but my employer was paying me to meet his deadlines and I did. I didn’t always agree with the objectives or the schedule but they weren’t paying me for an opinion. They were paying me to meet them.

Easy on myself

As my own boss, it is different. I can slack off. I can let the deadline slip. I can soften the goals. In the short run, it doesn’t matter. In the long run, however, I won’t produce the income I planned or achieve the success I want. It is turning out to be a harder adjustment than I thought. I am apparently a lousy boss.

Tomorrow does come

Being your own boss is a true test of commitment and focus. You are the guy. There is nobody else to blame for failing. The only one who will win or lose is me so if I wimp out I don’t have to explain to anyone. I can’t get fired and it is so easy to rationalize (tell rational lies) to myself. It is so easy to say that I will make up tomorrow for slacking off today but much harder to do. When you make it easy today, it is harder to work tomorrow and easier to continue to put off the work that needs to be done.

How bad do I want it?

There is no magic bullet to make me keep my nose to the grindstone. I can’t chain myself to my desk or lock my mind from distractions. I have to really want desperately to achieve my goals of more income and a web following and then put in the work that it requires.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Paul February 23, 2010, 9:55 am

    Ralph,

    This post raised a number of interesting thoughts and ideas about my desire. How much is my desire to achieve . . . (whatever)?

    I guess it becomes a little difficult when your dirvers to achieve outcomes changes with your employment status.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Regards

    Paul

    • Ralph February 23, 2010, 11:19 am

      Paul,
      My goals and plans seem to be contantly being revised with new information.

  • Heather February 23, 2010, 1:50 pm

    I’m glad it’s not just me.

    Being a student, I still have some structure that I have to adhere to however it’s all too easy to let my freelancing/blogging slide if I’m having a long day, or I’m tired, or I’m just ‘not in the mood’. Usually it’s those times that leave me doing semi-productive things like surfing twitter, going on facebook, commenting on websites…

    … *ahem* I’m not wasting time at the moment.

    Anyway I think it just takes a while to adjust and figure out what you really want to aim for. Best of luck 🙂
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Effort and Reward; No longer linked =-.

  • Ralph February 23, 2010, 2:08 pm

    Heather,
    I think it takes some big goals that are important to you.

  • Heather February 23, 2010, 2:10 pm

    I would agree. The trick is knowing what’s really important to you, and what only seems important at the time until you get a bit closer. I think.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Effort and Reward; No longer linked =-.

  • Tad February 23, 2010, 6:13 pm

    Ralph,

    Have you been spying on me? You hit the nail on the head. I have been struggling with this since I let my job. As long as I have income coming in I do not feel the pressure to get the things done. I have only me looking over my shoulder, I can take a break when I want to and I can go broke. Thanks for the wake up call. Tomorrow will come sooner then I think so I better get back to work.

  • Ralph February 24, 2010, 7:28 am

    Tad,
    If you discover any tricks to keep on track, please share.

  • Olusegun February 24, 2010, 2:21 pm

    LOL!

    I guess you have more than enough stored away to cater for the rest of your life. I think that is commendable.

    I don’t think time can be managed. It can only be invested.

    Have you taken any personality test? you can check out Kolbe profiling and Johnson O’connor Institute of Human Engineering for what they have to offer.

    This way you would be able to know your greatest strengths and forget about 80% that give 20% of results or just outsource it.

    Cheers.

    • Ralph February 24, 2010, 2:26 pm

      Probably a good idea. I tend to wing it.

  • Rose February 25, 2010, 7:38 pm

    I understand where you’re coming from. It’s not easy to do the same thing day in day out. When you’re your own boss you really have to motivate yourself.
    .-= Rose´s last blog ..How to Create Twitter Layouts with twitlay =-.

  • Ralph February 26, 2010, 10:28 am

    Rose,
    You have to crack the whip on yourself which is really tough.

  • Steve Scott Site February 27, 2010, 9:20 pm

    Amen to all of this…I’ve found you have to be really tough on yourself to make sure you’re getting things done. I have found that when you’re own boss it’s REALLY tempting to let yourself slide. They need to invent some sort of device that knows when you’re slacking and gives a little zap. It might sting but it’ll definitely help you keep focused.
    .-= Steve Scott Site´s last blog ..The Secret of Successful To-Do Lists [Video and Free Template] =-.

  • scheng1 February 28, 2010, 7:01 pm

    haha, the retired part is funny! Retired from what? from work? from gossiping? from playing the monkey?
    .-= scheng1´s last blog ..My colleague committed suicide =-.

  • Ralph March 2, 2010, 2:59 pm

    Scheng,
    That is pretty much what work was turning into. It was time to get out of there.

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