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Paul Strickland
Paul Strickland

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Paying yourself first with non-negotiables

I just finished reading this article on the Doist ambition and balance blog. In it, the concept of "paying yourself first" relates to spending the beginning of your day doing things that are important to you. By prioritising two or three "non-negotiables", you start each day with something that brings you joy or provides inspiration or motivation. If you do them first, you cannot run out of time once the rest of the day takes over.

Without thinking about it in these terms, I have been putting my running at the very beginning of the day. Despite this becoming harder to do now that it is dark, it ensures that I do not miss out on that time if my work overruns or something else comes up.

With running now established as a good routine in the mornings, the Doist blog post made me wonder what else I could do before starting work. It would mean starting a bit later, but that might not be such a bad thing.

Reading is the other activity I find a lot of joy in, and it is also the one that gets pushed to the bottom of the list in any given day. With a long reading list, magazine subscriptions and email newsletters to get though, a few minutes of guaranteed reading time in the morning might be just what I need.

For all its horrors, 2020 has provided me with a lot of inspiration to experiment with how I live and work. If that's the only good to come of the year, at least it is something.

I'm publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting

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