You Have to Be Mercenary

You have to be mercenary with your time.Note: I did not say you have to be “a mercenary.” I said you have to be “mercenary.” The two do not mean the same thing.

To be a mercenary is to serve the call of the highest bidder. A mercenary has no loyalty except to himself or herself. A mercenary lives for the paycheck and doesn’t usually care what has to be done in order to receive that paycheck. A mercenary isn’t known for loyalty. Once the payment has been received, he or she can join the opposing force.

To be mercenary is something else entirely. For instance, you “have to be mercenary with your time” carries a different connotation than you “have to be a mercenary.” To be mercenary with your time means that you do nothing else until you have completed whatever task you meant to accomplish during an allotted time frame. You turn off the telephone. You disconnect the internet. You refuse to answer the door. You remove any and all distractions. You then hide in your favorite cave and do not emerge until the work has been done.

It is then, and only then, that you can play. You can visit with the next-door neighbor. You can go for a walk. You can dilly-dally on the internet. You can do whatever you please once you have completed whatever assignment you have set for yourself. You can do so because you have been mercenary with your time and projects, and you will be mercenary with it tomorrow and the next day and the one following that.

Photo: Alex Lomix (CC BY-NC 2.0)


  1. I don’t do a very good job of blocking out the distractions. Today, however, though I’ve not turned off the baseball game, I’ve been ignoring it for the most part. I’ve made a todo list and am progressing nicely. One of the things I wanted to do was explore some blogs I’d not visited before, so I think I’ll look around a bit more.  🙂

    • ExtremelyAvg Welcome to my corner of the web! Thank you for visiting and exploring.
      For me, distractions like music or television can be good accompaniments, but it depends on what I’m doing. If I need to focus, I turn off everything.

      • Erin F. ExtremelyAvg What is amazing to me is how I’ve found that every time I turn off all the distractions, I’m vastly more productive than usual. You’d think I’d learn something from that?