Time Management

What Gets You Out of Bed?

There’s an important motivation signal you can pay attention to, which has the power to boost both your productivity and happiness: what gets you out of bed?

Unless you’re suffering from sleep difficulties, or endure broken nights caring for others, there will be days when you can wake up, and get up, more easily than others. And it can be enormously powerful to notice what’s scheduled for you on the days when rising and shining comes more readily.

What Gets You Out of Bed? | Pauline Wiles

If you have any control at all over the tasks and activities which fill your day (writers, entrepreneurs and side hustlers, I’m looking at you) then this information points to:

  • What you might aim to do more of;
  • What you should consider dropping, or reducing;
  • Where it would make sense to get some help.

For years, my mom has joked that the only days my dad hops out of bed easily are when he’s heading out to play golf. That’s not hard to decipher.

And after I left my day job, I noticed that the days when my feet hit the floor before the alarm clock jangled were those when I intended to work on my website. My husband also pointed out that, given a long list of computer tasks, I always turned first to anything involving graphic design. Last year I put this wisdom together and “leaned in” to a career I’m loving.

In addition to noticing what’s on your plate and how easily you wake up, you might also see signs from:

  • What “lights you up” when you tell others about your day?
  • What section of a bookstore do you head for first?

All of us have tasks we don’t want to do and can’t wriggle out of. We can’t fill our lives with what we love. But I do believe in the advice I heard years ago from Tina Seelig about seeking the intersection of your skills, interests and what the market needs.

Clearly, folks hire me to create their websites when they find themselves hitting snooze instead of tackling their online home. That makes sense, and most of my clients know they lack the time, skills or enthusiasm to relish that as a solo project. But recently I’ve also heard from those who are backing off from blogging, and even a few brave souls who voice their dissatisfaction with being on social media.

If you have a list of 80 ways in which you could spend your day, it makes sense to gravitate to the activities which are both effective and reasonably enjoyable. The others are candidates to delegate, drop or diminish.

The choices we make with our time fascinate me, and I wrote a mini manifesto as my personal reminders about purposeful productivity. There’s a free printable of that for you here.


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