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(New) Systems That Help Me Work HARD AF

By June 22, 2023No Comments

Being self-employed + working remotely from home + having ADHD (not diagnosed, but I just know) has been a terrible combination for my productivity.

As of June 2023, I’ve found a series of workarounds that have made my present self the most productive (and hard-working) version of me that I’ve been in a long time.

I’m consistently able to squeeze out around 5 productive hours per day (which is the sweet spot for me), working out regularly, having a roughly consistent sleep schedule, and eating properly most days. (Yes, these are all things I’ve struggled with for many years).

Here are the changes I made:

  1. I pay myself hourly.

    Paying yourself hourly is like the ultimate hard work gamification hack. It doesn’t really work for employees or contractors (usually) — only yourself.

    I’m talking real hours here, not just sitting at your desk. I use a time tracker to log my focused work, and I stop the timer when I’m taking a toilet break, getting food, talking to a friend, etc.

    If you pay yourself monthly, the reward feels “certain” regardless of how much you work, and is also in a distant future. Not exactly motivating. But if you know that you only get paid if you put in the hours, it wakes up this “watchdog” inside your head that constantly tells you, “Hey! Did you work enough today?”

    Now, don’t argue with me saying “I’d just let the timer running and cheat myself.” That’s because you’re probably not an entrepreneur. The above advice only applies to real entrepreneurs who have a big goal that they want to be faithful to.

    I also get an immediate reward/punishment when I don’t work enough. I lose real money. And that hurts. I’ve set my hourly rate in a way that’s neither too rich nor too cheap. The former defeats the whole point, and the later sets you up for failure (i.e. no matter how hard you work, you never get rewarded enough).
  2. I hired an “accountability assistant”.

    This is still in the early experimental stages, but here’s how it works:

    I found someone who will call me 3-4 times throughout the day (quick calls) just to make sure that I start my day off right, and keep up a consistent level of output. In each call, I have to state what I’ve been doing, and what I’ll exactly do over the next few hours (declaring intentions helps us stick to them). Talking things out with a companion really, really helps.

    Each night, I have to send them my core priorities for the next day (these are often changing). But they also have my daily routine checklist, which doesn’t change as much (eg: things like my morning routine, evening routine, number of meals, workout, etc). So they hold me accountable for both my personal and professional goals day-to-day.

    In total, the assistant only works ONE HOUR per day (usually less), and gets paid on an hourly basis — i.e. only 6 hours per week.

    So far it has worked really well, but I don’t have long-term results yet. We’ll see.

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