If you have the time, how can you find the focus?

Getting things done doesn’t always depend on having free time.

Since starting a business and owning my own schedule, I have a lot more free time. I consciously avoid taking on too many projects and design my workload so I don’t have people hounding me about deadlines (usually).

I’m in the incredibly privileged position to be able to do most things I want. I earn a lot more than I need while retaining flexibility. Which is exactly where I wanted to get to.

In an ideal world, I’d be creating magic with this free time. I would write every day and have the mental space and energy to share bucket loads of value and creativity. And yet… that’s easier said than done.

A desire for laziness and quick comfort kicks in.

To-do lists are ignored.

Several things are half-assed without really achieving anything.

When you have the time and space to do anything, whether for an hour or a year, it’s easy to do nothing.

I’m not a productivity expert. I don’t have a YouTubed realistic morning routine which isn’t actually all that realistic. But I do know what leads to productive days and lazy days for me.

Let’s look at the good days first.

When I’m working on what’s important to me (reading, writing, creating, and sharing) instead of wasting hours on obscure subreddits, I’m clearest on my goals and priorities.

I’ve defined what a winner of a day looks like for me. I know where I want my life to be in three years if all goes well.

I’m using a planner to break goals down by years, months, weeks, and days (not hours — my mind would rebel against that inflexibility).

I’m physically and mentally balanced when I’m feeling creative and productive. I’m eating enough of the right stuff, sleeping well for eight to nine hours, hydrated, and in a good headspace. That means not drowning in work that squashes any hopes of creativity on the side.

It’s not really about discipline, it’s about careful listening and recalibrating.

On lazy days, you can just reverse all of those positive things above. I’m unfocused, unclear on what I actually want now and in the long-term, and physically and mentally unbalanced.

That’s a formula for disaster. But you can’t expect anything else.

When you’re not caring for my mind and body, why should it give you creativity and focus in return?

All of this is so obvious and common sense, and yet… it is still so much easier to while away days doing nothing special without fixing the root problems and implementing better habits.

Stay healthy and seek balance first.

Next, get clear on your why. Implement the tasks that matter via routines and habits that You on a Good Day would be doing.

Remind yourself why you’re not being lazy and bingeing Netflix. Being safe and warm and comfortable sounds great to the inner workings of your brain, but that’s not what we’re after here. (Well, not all the time).

If the book or creative project or website isn’t working, ask if it’s what you really want to be doing.

And above all, be gentle with yourself — as a friend and lifelong supporter, not a drill sergeant. Rest when you’re resting, focus when you’re focusing. That’s the sign of a good day.

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