When I’m Tired I Want to (fill in the useless activity) when I should be (fill-in the productive activity). In Need of Advice!


sleepy-dog.jpg image by ilikecat1

I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to make myself more efficient and productive.   While I’m a pretty busy guy who generally gets a lot done, I still feel like there is more or at least a better way for me to get things done in my life.

Now, when I’m a) motivated and well-rested or b) under the gun of a deadline I can get a remarkable amount accomplished in a short period of time as I think it true with most even semi-functioning people.

But what to do when things are not so urgent, but still very important (See 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) to achieving your goals?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the past weekend because I had a few days of free time (which I rarely have) and I had some big non-urgent, but very powerful (i think) plans to get things done that would have helped me achieve my big goals and I wasn’t able to get it done because of procrastination. 

And these times happen throughout a month.  You know those times when you’re tired, but there is still time left in the day and you’re “unsupervised”, so to speak.   

Over this past weekend and generally during these times, I want to a) watch TV b) waste time on useless emailing c) eat junk food or just generally procrastinate.(and then I generally feel bad that I’ve done these things later!)

I’ve been trying to figure out better strategies for using these hours in my day.  Right now, I feel like these moments are even counter-productive to me especially if, for example, I eat junk food or watch TV and end up staying up later because I’m zoned out in TV land.(Curse you VH1!)

What are your thoughts? how do you deal with these times?  What should I be doing with this time?

Should I just power-nap and then try to re-focus? Although I think that really isn’t specific enough to turn these times around for me. 

Yours Truly,

Wasting Time in NYC (My ode to Dear Abby here!)

6 thoughts on “When I’m Tired I Want to (fill in the useless activity) when I should be (fill-in the productive activity). In Need of Advice!

  1. Try blocking out reasonable periods of time on your calendar program. e.g. 90 minutes of ___. Then stop & move on. Next day 90 more minutes of ___.

  2. How so Jesse? I feel like I generally get a lot done and achieve what I set out to do so this might also be holding me back from making a big change to my process, but at the same time I feel like I could really sharpen my process and perhaps achieve even greater results

  3. Hi Tim, perfect question. Look, I don’t think you’re married or have kids. I’m 41, married, have three active young kids, have a high responsibility job, travel a fair amount for work, help take care of the house, etc etc (and just started competitive fencing!) I would DIE for “free” time to watch tv or zone out. I don’t have any. None. Not one hour in the last month at least. If I do get a few hours, at home, completely alone, I nearly panic. I think “holy cow, I’m alone with no other pressures, I HAVE to jump on that thing, whatever it is, that’s important to me but not urgent and frankly unimportant to my wife and kids as well (or it would have been done already) before this precious moment ends! So this is a long story to say put yourself under some artificial pressure when those free times roll along. Tell yourself, “OMG, I actually have free time! I better really jump on this thing before it ends!” make yourself a little panicky and urgent about it. Hopefully that will help. Because as life goes on you really will have less and less of those “free” moments to get after the truly important things without deadlines. Cheers.

  4. If you are feeling tired and just can’t concentrate.
    I would try taking a 20-30 min powernap.
    However you have to watch out that you don’t fall into a deep sleep and sleep your day away.
    So what I would recommend is a really loud reliable alarm clock(Multiply if needed). Or if you are really tired, get a cup of coffee. Then down it all in one go and fall asleep. You will wake up. Or you will just stay awake trying to sleep.(It did work for me >_<)

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