Do Things When You’re In The Mood!

First, let’s start with things you *shouldn’t* do when you’re in the mood:

  • Bitch out your boss
  • Get a tattoo when drunk
  • Go grocery shopping when starving
  • Text naughty pictures of yourself to your ex
  • Text naughty pictures to your boss at the grocery store while drunk and starving!

Now that we’ve covered that (you’re welcome), here’s what to do when you’re in the mood :)

  • Pay your bills.
  • Go over your budget
  • Update your net worth
  • Set goals
  • Submit a claim
  • Look into insurance/estate planning/other boring stuff
  • Anything else relating to money, life, love, career

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that we produce MUCH better work when we’re energized and IN THE MOOD to tackle something than when we’re not. Not only are you more productive during these times, but your results are usually substantially better too.

I should show you the original draft of this post when I was trying to force myself to write it last week. There were certainly no mentions of drinking or naughty pictures in the mix which obviously added the right touches ;) So after I realized the ironicness of it all, I shut down the computer and called it a day. (And then picked it back up last night when caffeinated and ready to roll!)

Now obviously we can’t always control when, or when not, we’ll be in the mood to do something when it needs to get done, but we can certainly be more aware of when we work better, and why. If you know you suck at money/biz/life in the early mornings, do your best to rock them later in the day or at night. And if you suck ass at night, tackle ’em first thing in the morning! As long as you don’t suck during morning, noon, and night you should be just fine ;)

Here’s a list of when I work the best. Might be smart to create your own…

  • 5am – 8am – thinking, dreaming, being appreciative
  • 8am – 2pm – writing, talking, creating, strategizing, hustling, money stuff
  • 2pm – 5pm – anything that doesn’t require my brain! (i.e. the boring stuff: emails, errands, cleaning)
  • 5pm – 8pm – relaxing/hanging out/socializing
  • 8pm – 12pm – thinking, loving, hustling
  • 12pm – 5am – sleeping

Again, it doesn’t always mean I’m able to do all those things during these times, but when I am my output is exponentially better. Sometimes we just don’t give a damn about our savings, career, debt, goals, or God forbid our budget (!!).

During these times stay as far away as possible. Wait until you’re in the mood and energized, and have the heart to tackle them. You’ll not only enjoy it a helluva lot more, but you’ll be less likely to make a mistake too! We’re much more productive when both our minds and bodies are synced up.

PS: Something else that helps? Deadlines. I swear they get you in the mood even faster ;)

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  1. MrRicket November 23, 2015 at 6:09 AM

    Thanks for your article. Reminds me of the Benjamin Franklin schedule. I stumble in the sleeping part. Boy do I need 8hrs of it!

    Right now my 9 – 5 job (actually 7 – 4) really dictates my day but it is all right for the time being.


    1. J. Money November 23, 2015 at 7:20 AM

      I bet you still have your rhythms of when you work best throughout your 7-4 and then after too :)

  2. Mrs. Mad Money Monster | @madmoneymonster November 23, 2015 at 6:21 AM

    Love it, and it’s so true. I always said that I do my best work in the mornings. By the time evening rolls around I’m pretty much good for nothing other than kicking back with a cold one or plotting my plan for sleep domination. Not really, but it added a nice touch to my comment, eh? It’s currently 6:18am here; see what I’m talking about? :) Back to the subject at hand, I think I will analyze some of our investments this morning. Again, thanks for the motivation.

    Rock on!
    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    1. J. Money November 23, 2015 at 7:21 AM

      Haha… love it. Can never go wrong looking over investments!

  3. Mark@BareBudgetGuy November 23, 2015 at 6:52 AM

    I love the idea of the list. It makes no sense to do something when you are least likely to be effective at it. My guess is I do this all the time, which is exactly why I am going to follow your counsel.

  4. Roy Largo @ Band of Savers November 23, 2015 at 7:15 AM

    One thing that helps me is to keep a written list of all of the things that I need/want to do and when it needs to be done by if there is a deadline. Then when I find the time to work on them I can scroll down the list and do whichever one seems the least painful at the time (or which one has to be done the soonest). Then I can mark it off as completed or roll it to the next list that I make for the next week. This way the important and easy ones get done and the other stuff eventually falls of the list after I realize that it wasn’t worth my time anyways.

    1. J. Money November 23, 2015 at 7:22 AM

      Yes – PERFECT way to rock things. Clears up the mind too so you don’t have to wonder what you’re forgetting!

  5. Chris November 23, 2015 at 7:46 AM

    This post really made me think. Recently I’ve gotten into the habit of checking my email first thing during my “work day” at 5a. I think this has really reduced my productivity. I’m going to see how delaying email checking/responding to the late afternoon works for me.

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 6:49 AM

      Try it at night too! No phone an hour before bed and an hour after waking up… it makes you feel tons better and helps slow down the days too :) (plus you’re never bothered by “emergencies” that come up to stress you out! and rarely are they ever really emergencies!)

  6. Thias @It Pays Dividends November 23, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    I can’t speak enough for having deadlines. Deadlines add a little urgency to your schedule. If you need to do something you aren’t a fan of (ex. budgeting), you will never actually sit down and do it if you don’t set a (hard) deadline to it. I am one that will push things I don’t want to do off forever unless there is a hard deadline on it. Just need to find the system that works the best for you that will help you get things done. Looks like you have found yours – I need to keep tweaking mine!

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 6:52 AM

      Yup! Self-imposed deadlines help immensely. It’s the only reason this blog still exists actually – I forced myself to write one article a day for 6 years! Every day was a deadline and it completely changed my life :)

  7. Hannah November 23, 2015 at 7:59 AM

    Every afternoon, I have a slump, and I’m not energized for much of anything. That’s when I do stuff like set dentist appointments or try to find new insurance. I figure this is marginally more useful than going on Facebook.

    I’m actually very creative in the evenings, but it’s my only family time, so I happily give up the creative juices to be with them

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 6:53 AM

      LOVE IT! Haha… def. a perfect time for stupid appointments :)

  8. Kalie November 23, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    One of your previous posts, and one by Paula from Afford Anything, inspired me to start tackling brainy tasks earlier in the day before I’m brain-dead. It’s helped a lot! It’s crazy how long it can take to write a post when you’re not feeling, vs. when you’re in the zone. This one definitely made me chuckle, too!

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 7:01 AM

      Good! Freakin’ love Paula… need to get our podcast out the door as we go over a lot of our habits and tricks in it!

  9. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer November 23, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    LOL, the post is definitely better with the naughty stuff included. :-) I hear you, though – the mood has to be right if the effect will be the most powerful. You and I are a bit backwards: I do my best writing at the 5am hour. Am sleeping (usually on the couch during evening tv) by 8pm until hubby wakes me up and directs my sleepy self to bed.

  10. USSFI November 23, 2015 at 9:26 AM

    I completely agree with you. The first couple years of my career I tried to force myself into doing things at a certain time, and it failed miserably. I take the same approach with exercise, if you try to force yourself to do something you hate, you’ll have no enthusiasm and subsequently fail.

    Appreciate the good article.


  11. Jordann November 23, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    Couldn’t agree more! I’m best from 5:30am – 3:00pm, then I’m basically useless until around 6:00 or 7:00pm until 9:00pm, then it is bed time.

    Which means my day-job from 3:00pm to 5:00pm is reserved for data entry, emails, or other boring stuff, no blog post writing or designing will get done during that time!

  12. Fervent Finance November 23, 2015 at 10:25 AM

    This is so true. I am so much more productive when I’m “in the mood” to do it. Reading, just to say I read a book doesn’t work for me. I have to be in the mood. Or dealing with admin stuff, definitely have to be in the mood for that. Putting off some things that you aren’t in the mood for is fine as long as it won’t piss others off or cost you money.

  13. Tonya@Budget and the Beach November 23, 2015 at 10:28 AM

    I’m pretty useless between 2-4 when I get my post lunch slump and start to just aimlessly wander around the internet when I know I have work that I need to do. I also find my optimal workout time to be from 8-10am. If I don’t get it done in that window, there is a good chance it won’t happen that day.

  14. Maggie @ Northern Expenditure November 23, 2015 at 12:14 PM

    Your schedule is similar to my ideal productivity schedule… but the youngest naps during the “not use my brain” time in the afternoon, which is when I have to work. It doesn’t make for the best timing. :)

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 7:06 AM

      Haha yeah, kids tend to do that stuff :) It took me a full 12 months to find a new schedule that worked after our 2nd baby was born – he had us up EVERY night and threw my whole system in shock… I’m surprised this blog stayed online the whole time haha…

  15. Mrs. Frugalwoods November 23, 2015 at 12:15 PM

    So true! I like to take the approach of “just do anything on the to-do list” even if it’s not my top priority. Sometimes just getting myself started with a relatively easy task will get me on the roll of productivity. Other times, not so much, but then at least I’ve accomplished something. I’m all about knowing my time of day proclivities too–mornings are good; evenings, not so much…

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 7:07 AM

      GREAT strategy

  16. LeisureFreak Tommy November 23, 2015 at 1:25 PM

    This all too true. My attitude and aptitude is less than static so I can’t really divide or define my hours of the day for being at the top of my game for and specific task or duty but I find making the list the night before or first thing in the morning that I gravitate to what my mood best fits to do first. My sleep pattern is fairly static these days but not as aggressive as yours. It takes at least 7 hours for this cat to not be pissed and dragging keister the next day.

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 7:10 AM

      Haha… I never said I sleep between 12-5am every night – that’s just the portion I sleep *the best*. I usually try to be in bed by 10:30-11 to make sure I’m optimum for the rest of the day’s events :)

  17. Tawcan November 23, 2015 at 1:29 PM

    Get a tattoo when drunk – crap too late! That’s what happens at a bachelor party. :D

    Kidding! A good tip I received a while ago is to schedule “thinking time.”

  18. Jason @ Islands of Investing November 23, 2015 at 3:12 PM

    This is absolutely something I’ve been slowly learning about myself too – when the mood is right, embrace it, and when it’s not – don’t give yourself such a damn hard time!! You know it’ll come back, so just ride the waves rather than trying to smash through them.

    I’ve also had a habit of wanting my job to be very slow and quiet, but when I’m under pressure I produce my best work by a mile and even enjoy the pace and energy – but I seem to quickly forget and dream of work slowing down again :)

  19. Michael @ Financially Alert November 23, 2015 at 6:44 PM

    J$, isn’t it funny how tough it is to write when you try and force it? Waiting for the right mood is essential to pushing out good content.

    Sometimes I’m able to coax the mood with the right set of beats in the background, or even just writing “something” to get the juices flowing. If that doesn’t work, I cut my losses and work on something else. :)

  20. Laura Beth@How to Get Rich Slowly November 23, 2015 at 6:49 PM

    I have a similar schedule, not written though. But I am aware that I do my best work before 2pm. After that, creativity is zapped for the most part. A good nights sleep doesn’t hurt either :)

  21. Stockbeard November 23, 2015 at 7:01 PM

    The problem I have with this strategy is that I’ve found sometimes that I’m not in the mood for something, and the less I do it, the less I’m in the mood to do it. My 9 to 5 comes to mind, the more I procrastinate at work, the more I want to procrastinate the next day…

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 7:12 AM

      Haha, I can see that… there are some things we need to do no matter what, yes :) And hopefully in those cases you can find something to stimulate your brain/mood better! Music and caffeine usually do the trick for me.

  22. Mistress Susan TV November 23, 2015 at 7:33 PM

    I’ve been a subscriber of your site since at least 2010. I’m obsessed with successful people’s daily routine, especially about how many hours of sleep they get, so it was good seeing what your daily Productive Practice is.

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 7:16 AM

      Yeah you have! And I love you for it! :) Though I usually go to bed between 10:30-11 fyi.. those hours listed above are just the times when I sleep *the best*. Like solid nothings-going-to-wake-me-up type sleep.

  23. Rachel @TheLatteBudget November 23, 2015 at 7:54 PM

    Completely agree! Knowing how you operate best and allowing for flexibility is key to being successful in the long run. And I am with you on the “mindless brain” time in the afternoon…my least productive thinking time! Thanks for the post.

  24. Dee @ Color Me Frugal November 23, 2015 at 9:07 PM

    I tend to be most productive in the mornings! However, I’m a stay at home mom right now and my daughter’s awake time is in the morning. So my “productive” time has been designated in the afternoons (thank goodness for nap time) now, and that’s going ok. These days I’ll take any productive time I can get! And even though I’m not naturally an “afternoon person”, I do find it easy to focus during that time, because I know I have to.

  25. Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless November 23, 2015 at 11:48 PM

    hahaha, awesome. If only it could *always* be sometime between 6am and 1pm — I would get so much done!
    I remember thinking to myself when I started grad school five years ago, “Ok, if I sleep 8 hours a night, then I have 16 hours left over per day to do work! Awesome!”
    It took me at least two years to realize that that approach was a) awful, and b) impossible.
    It’s good to get to know oneself. :)

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 7:16 AM

      Especially if there was partying to be had :)

  26. Chris @ Flipping a Dollar November 24, 2015 at 5:48 AM

    LOL I thought this was gonna be about sex. Damn straight though, it’s a lot easier to work on thing when you’re motivated. Beeminder is my method to keep me on track and gives me that moving deadline/target to stay above!

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 7:18 AM

      Well you DO need to be in the mood for that or it won’t be optimum either, haha…. (though usually when you get going you get in the mood much faster than other items ;))

      1. Chris @ Flipping A Dollar November 24, 2015 at 9:48 AM

        Just wanted to make sure that I made it clear that I don’t use Beeminder for sex goals. LOL That’s for eBay and blogging goals only! :-D

  27. Free to Pursue November 24, 2015 at 6:39 AM

    I just read this post at 5:32 in the morning, minutes after putting the finishing touches on a piece of writing I started a few hours earlier because the drive to write it literally got me up and out of bed in the middle of the night. When that type of inspiration grabs hold, we have to drop whatever we’re doing and ride that wave because we never know when or if it’ll come back. It almost feels like the work happens on its own and we’re more spectators than anything else. It’s a beautiful phenomenon.

    1. J. Money November 24, 2015 at 7:21 AM

      Woahhhh! You are hardcore – I love it!

      Can’t wait to see this masterpiece drop! :)

  28. Lanette Mumford November 24, 2015 at 8:16 AM

    Right on. I’m lucky enough to be able to create my daily schedule. I’m much more productive when I’m in the mood for a task or activity whether it is work, yoga, networking, cleaning, yard work, etc. I do work every morning when my brain is ready to go but some days that’s it and other days I feel like working all evening too so I do! Go with flow!

  29. Steve Miller November 24, 2015 at 10:30 AM

    Great list. After reading the title of your blog, I thought you were going a different direction with your blog :)

    I also can’t believe you only sleep 5 hours a day. Ouch.

  30. Prudence Debtfree November 24, 2015 at 11:13 PM

    Do you only sleep 5 hours per night? Must be that coffee you have in the evening. This is very wise advice. To the extent that we’re able to follow through on doing things when the mood strikes, it’s a good idea in every way to follow through. But if I get motivated to, say, my budget when I’m at work . . . not such a good idea. Another reason why financial freedom is so appealing. Being able to follow through on what we’re in the mood to do at any given moment is VERY appealing.

    1. J. Money November 25, 2015 at 6:25 AM

      It’s def. easier when you work for yourself or even at home vs a traditional 9-5 (or better – when you’re financially free, yes! :)). But no – I usually sleep 6’ish+ hours, esp as I’ve been doing less hustling in the evenings to try and get away from work so much… those hours above are just when I’m really REALLY good at things :)

  31. Taylor November 25, 2015 at 4:46 PM

    This rings a little too close to home, hahah. It’s almost crippling how much I can’t work when I’m not in the mood. Like clockwork, my brain will shut down around 7 or 8PM each night and there is no hope of working more, hah. In college I was able to use this to my advantage by getting up super early and powering through my homework and other work for a solid 5+ hours. But now that I’m working 9-5, I’m finding it MUCH more difficult to perform at my best without adhering to my internal schedule. One of the (many) downfalls of working in an office, haha. Any tips for how you dealt with it when you were still part of the 9-5ers?

    1. J. Money November 30, 2015 at 3:38 PM

      Yes – hustle while AT work, haha… Or at least on your lunch hour if that’s looked down upon there ;)

      You can also do the Benjamin Franklin schedule with me!

  32. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank November 28, 2015 at 9:35 PM

    I start working on my tasks early in the morning while I am still in full energy, and I like the idea or the feeling when I finish it early so that I could do more things afterward, J Money.