A while back my wife and I were on a mission to be more grateful for what we have.
As a result, we’ve started to develop some pretty great habits in our lives.
We would go to dinner and actively look for people we could grab the check.
That couple over there with the kids.
The older couple out together.
It didn’t matter who.
Pay their check on the sly.
Tip our own server well.
Then bail before the people found out who did it.
That was a key part of it.
Making sure the reward for our action was simply us doing the action. Not the result of seeing someone’s response or getting a thank you for it.
One of our more elaborate plans involved a family season pass to the local zoo for my cousin’s daughter. It took a lot more hoops to jump through. But we heard a while after that it really made a difference.
This was all possible as a direct result of the “pay yourself first” concept.
If my wife and I hadn’t been consistently setting aside extra money or time for ourselves, we wouldn’t have been able to do things at the level we did for other people.
And it didn’t matter how much we were making.
There were times in life when I was making less than $20k a year and was still able to give. If I had been paying myself first.
Which leads me to the next point. You don’t only have to pay yourself with money.
Giving time is more valuable than the money.
Time is the true equalizer anyway. It’s not racist, or sexist. It doesn’t care about how you talk or what you wear. How much you make or where you live. Everyone has the same amount of time to spend.
That’s why productivity is such an important topic for me.
It’s not that I want to be the most productive person in the world. I think that’s often a fools game, but I want a good balance.
I’m the type of person that actually wants to work really hard so that I can slack off later. It’s one reason I love building systems and automation.
So what’s the most important way I pay myself first every single day?
Every morning begins with at least an hour for myself. It’s the only way I can consistently lock in action towards the goals I want to accomplish.
Even more recently, I’m trying to take the last hour of my day to myself as well.
Sometimes it can be hard to get much done for yourself when you’re working a busy day job. But that’s when it becomes critical to have the right systems in place to pay yourself first.