Organize Your Mind: How To Be More Productive With Your Day

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I find myself scrambling most days.  In the mornings I’m scrambling to get my daughter ready for school, get myself ready for work, eat breakfast, get out the house and catch my bus, then commute to my job in the city.  Once I get to work, I’m almost immediately bombarded with tasks to be done, work-fires needing to be put out and clients to meet.  My day goes on like this until I can finally escape work and make the commute back home.  Once I’m home, I’m scarfing down a quick microwave dinner, showering, then relaxing for an hour before it’s time to go to bed and prepare to do it again the next day.

Weekends are just as busy with errands like groceries and Target runs, family obligations, and chores.  A two day weekend seems too short suddenly and the work week begins again.

Now that I’m a working mom with a full time job, full time child and full time husband, I’ve come to find life almost unmanageable.   I always envisioned my life to be very organized, put together and successful.   Most days it feels far from that, but I try, and I actually manage to get a lot done with the help of my husband.

So how can you be more productive?  Here are my go-to’s for making a busy week more productive:

To Do List:

  • This is my go to.  Everything I need to do goes on a list.  I personally do not have enough attention span to remember all the tasks I need.  I’ll go into a room with the intention to do something and completely forget what the task was.
  • For me lists are a way of organizing my life.  It’s not just enough to create one but it’s also important to follow through and get the tasks done.  The absolute KEY to productivity is to tackle your tasks from hardest to easiest.  Often I never finish a list but if I’m able to tackle the first most important tasks, then that makes the effort worthwhile.  I tend to procrasinate with the smaller easier and more enjoyable tasks to do.  It gives me an excuse, once I’ve completed “enough” tasks, to skip out on the most difficult ones.  If I tackle harder list items, I become more energized and have the motivation and energy to complete the easier ones.

Outsource

  • There are some things I can’t bring myself to do.  Adding them to my list, stalls me.  I never get to it and it keeps me from feeling accomplished for the day.  For those kind of tasks or items, I’ve found it easier to outsource them.
  • I absolutely hate washing dishes and ironing clothes. I’m also not a great cook.  It takes me twice as long to cook because I’m usually procrastinating trying to make it more interesting.
  • For washing dishes, I was 27 before I lived in an apartment that had a dishwasher.  I would let them pile in the sink until they were insurmountable and took over 30 minutes tot take care of.  Now that I FINALLY have a dishwasher, I’m fine to outsource them to the machine, while my husband still finds hand washing dishes faster and more efficient.
  • For ironing clothes, I just outsource to my local dry cleaner. Dry cleaning and pressing my best quality clothes tends to make them last longer and better. It takes me an hour to iron 7 collared shirts. I’m a perfectionist and like them neat, so I take my time. With the dry cleaner, I can just drop off and pick up, it cost a bit of money but it saves a lot of time.
  • For cooking, my husband is a better cook so he gets credit for all our amazing meals.

Down time

  • At the end of the day, we are not robots and can only be so productive. Don’t over do it! Relax, go on vacation and don’t let yourself burn out.
  • Burnout will kill your motivation. Burnout will keep you from achieving long term goals. So don’t feel bad when you need to take a break. Taking a break isn’t quitting. Taking a break is when you take a moment to gain the energy you need for the long haul ahead of you.
  • Never stop hustling but don’t let the hustle beat you out of the game.

Focus

  • Having absolute focus is a must.  I’m the queen of procrastination.  Even as I write this post, I’ve been procrastinating.  But you’ve got to reign it in.  You’ve got to cut out the distractions in life and keep your eye on the price.
  • The biggest distraction?  Social Media.  OMG whenever I post on Facebook or Instagram, I’m constantly checking how many likes and comments I get.  Because what’s the point of posting, if no one’s looking?  Then I get sidetracked by other posts that people are sharing and going down that rabbit hole.  But at some point, you have to realize what a TIME WASTER it is to be sidetracked randomly by things that are unnecessary.   RECOGNIZE your biggest time wasters, then make a plan to cut them down.  Yes, social media is fun and is even good for business, but I worked on cutting it out and blocking those apps until I absolutely needed it.
  • Learning to say NO to lesser important tasks also helped with my focus.  I don’t need to spontaneously take on every responsibility that is presented to me.  A random problem not caused my me at work, but requires my attention?  Nope, it’s going to the back of the priority list.  I need to stick to my priorities and keep from putting out other people’s fires.  This might sound like I’m not a team player at work but in reality, this will help keep you from being constantly relied on to fix other peoples mistakes.  It’s called, HOLDING OTHER PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE.  Of course this only applies to people at work, sometimes you need to create boundaries.  For family and friends, I’m running to help put out their fires.

Schedule

  • I’m terrible at scheduling,  It’s really not my thing.  But it is a MUST.  Keeping dates and a calendar can help you manage your time better and not miss important dates. It gives you the ability to plan ahead and avoid conflicts.
  • How many times have I missed a important day or ended up scrambling last minute to complete a deadline?  That’s not efficient nor is it responsible.
  • I used to think I could keep it all in my head but that is a LIE.  The most efficient people know they can forget or miss a detail so they make it a habit to follow a calendar to the letter.  “Let me check my calendar,” said every single person that respects their time and yours.
  • The worst thing, I think, are people who over schedule and over book.  Because, guess what, the person at the other end of the overbooking won’t forget how unreliable you were or that you were sloppy in following through.  They’ll know that you don’t use your time efficiently and that memory of you will be hard to erase.

All these things have helped me so much professionally and personally.  I’ve grown a lot over the years and these tips have helped me leverage my time with my money.  I’m able to manage being a mom, wife, and being career minded.   In 5 years I was able to have a child, get married and grow 3X my salary.  Productivity matters and will get you noticed.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post, if you liked it please support by following, liking and sharing.

Check out my other posts:

Build An Eye Catching Resume And Get More Interviews

Top 6 Ways To Maintain A Work Life Balance When Your Job Is Stressing You Out

Thinking About Working For Yourself? Consider These Strengths & Pitfalls!

I Survived A Toxic Manager

My manager was a b*tch. She was a bonifide b*tch. And if this goes viral and she reads this, I hope she knows I’m talking about her. (Thanks EK for being the worst manager I have ever encountered).

We all have that one manager that we hate. The one that uses their position of power to serve themselves and abuse others. The one that uses emotional manipulation to guilt you into staying extra hours, often unpaid. The one that tries to screw you over financially and points fingers when things don’t go well. The one that manager that makes you question your commitment to your job and makes you want to quit with anxiety. I don’t know who put these people in their roles but, holy crap, the hiring process needs to get better.

I had just gotten into a position that I was really excited about when I met EK, she seemed friendly enough. She showed me how to do everything; put the bare minimum in training me but I was okay with that. After all, I didn’t want to be a burden, she was obviously very busy. I told myself that I could learn from my mistakes and I could learn quickly with very little instruction.

There were multiple red flags and looking back I realized what a dupe I was to believe her evil manipulations. In reality, I was between a rock and a hard place. A lot of stuff she did didn’t really make sense or feel fair but she was the only person who could show me the ropes. Even though she was only a year older than me, she had much more experience in the company and was well connected. Her brother and dad worked in other departments. EK always used her experience as a point of reference, “Trust me, I’ve been with this company for 10 years.” I mean, who can really argue with that logic?

The dark side started to show when she would hold these “meetings” five minute before the end of the workday. Looking back I really should have made a complaint at this point because these stupid were keeping me over 30-40 minutes and she wasn’t paying me overtime. I just felt sooo isolated. The director who hired me wasn’t really investing into my training or checking in to see how I was doing. (Tells you a lot about this company, huh?). If I spoke out, who would listen?

I took on a lot of work beyond my scope because not doing so just made my job harder. Our receptionist isn’t trained? Well then, I’m fielding all the calls. Her paperwork isn’t closed out? Well then, her clients are going to be screaming at me on her days off when things don’t go their way. EK just liked to point fingers and not take responsibility. Apologies were not in her vocabulary. And with Upper Management not digging into their sites or taking a closer look, who was going to be the wiser?

She was the coldest woman I ever met. When she would get stressed she’d throws me under the bus and make sure I knew exactly how I was failing in my position. I could literally feel her satisfaction as I stuttered an apology and looked down at my desk feeling helpless and losing confidence in myself. Over time my work self-esteem just started slipping away. There were times she wouldn’t even bother to hide her nasty personality, her sneers at how incompetent I was still ring in my ears.

Why would I put up with that, why would I let someone disrespect me like that? Don’t I have any self-respect? How many times did I really think about storming out and throwing the towel in? So many times, but I worked too hard, got too far to let ONE person push me out. The truth is that my job wasn’t that bad. I’m paid well and reasonably. I’m doing something that I enjoy and am good at. The benefits and time off were good too. This was a GOOD JOB. And to quit now would be going back to the drawing board, career-wise. So I stayed and took it. I made sure to document the issues I had with her and keep her on edge. Over time, she was still a bitch, but a more cautious bitch. And eventually she became more and more jaded with her own position, found another opportunity and left.

It was such a breath of fresh air to be away from the negativity EK brought to the office.

It wasn’t until she finally left that I realized how toxic she was. I had always struggled to get deals through but apparently she had the system rigged. Which was surprising because for the past year and a half I was led to believe I just wasn’t trying hard enough. You know when someone points out some obscure yet plausible reason why something is happening, but in reality the two are unrelated? That’s exactly how she explained things to me. My manager had played the system so that she would get the bulk of the commissions. All her arbitrary rules, on what could be accepted plus her rules on which clients were hers, favored her heavily. She knew this full and well but still took the digs at me for being low performing compared to her. She went as far as to complain about me to upper management, saying, “I can’t focus on my own role because Alex is too underperforming. I need to make all the deals.” She suggested adding another agent, so that I would compete with them and then they could drop the lowest performing team member.

You would think women would lift other women up in the workplace, seeing how we’re underrepresented and all. So it really surprised me to realize that EK didn’t care to mentor me or help me grow. She was numero uno and that was all that mattered.

For those dealing with a toxic manager or coworker here are a few thoughts of advice:

1. Pick your battles but speak up! If something doesn’t seem right, say so. Plain and clear. Let the other person be defensive and show how they are not screwing you over.

2. Break down your interactions and minimize them. I only had to work with EK 3 times a week and sometimes it would be 2 or 1 times due to holidays and PTO. In the larger scheme of things we only worked together 135 days out of the year. Our overall interaction in a day might add up to an hour. Dealing with her was manageable when I thought of it that way.

3. Document Everything: most jobs will want to “build a case” against you if they want to fire you. Documenting everything can save your ass especially in a company that likes to point fingers. You can build a case too on how you were a good and reliable employee and how your employee committed wrongful termination.

4. Think about the bigger picture. Your manager is one person in a small part of your life. She or you may leave for a better opportunity. It’s hard to think about it that way when week after week, someone is using their position of authority to get ahead of you. But life has taught me that challenges are temporary.

5. Things are always changing: My bitch manager left! If she didn’t leave, I probably would have found my way out. The corporate environment is a living breathing organism, constantly changing.

My manager was horrible and I can only wish most of my readers don’t have to work in that kind of environment.  But at the end of the day we can’t always choose who we work with.  Stay strong and stay motivated!

Please follow, like and share if you found this post helpful.

Check out my other posts

My Job is Killing Me…. and Status Update: Don’t Over Do It!

Hello World :) June ’18 Statistics

I made it to month 2!! Yes, I’m going strong and not quiting. It’s been an incredible month with a lot of interesting changes, posts and updates!

I’m still committing to posting twice a week and right now it doesn’t look like I can post much more.  I’m making an effort to write quality posts that are at least 1000 words. I’ve also made some changes to the font. My sister candidly told me that she hated typewriter font and thought it was harder to read. I guess I chose that font because it made me feel more like a writer?? Regardless, if she found it hard to read, then likely you did too so I opted for the current font which hopefully is more palatable.

I’ve also added a subscribe popup. I know, I know, popups can be annoying and irritating but you can always say no and you can always unsubscribe. I have really great ideas for this blog and and I want to be able to integrate a polling system for subscribers.   That way I can have a better idea of what you like to read about and focus on topics that are enjoyable. At this time, my topics include my motivational book club, work life, career advice, motivational posts, and relationship advice.  I kind of want to keep an eye out on what’s popular and keep that going.

I also want to say thank you! I now have 32 subscribers from WordPress and 2 email subscribers. A quick shout out to Melanie for being my first email subscriber who is not my sister! Hell-to-the-yeah! You’re my number one right now!

Now let’s talk social media. I want to remind everyone that I’m on Facebook and have a Facebook page there, if you’re a regular FB user you can just follow my page. I’ll send posts for new articles and keep you updated. I’m also on Pinterest, and honestly I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing there but feel free to follow or “pin” me if you are more of a Pinterest user. I’m on Quora, which I’ve really learned to love and engage in. I’ve been answering a lot of questions there and it’s inspiring me in terms of being able to write more post or at least having backup posts for when I’m on vacation or just having writers block. (Writers block does happen). Lastly, I’m on Medium, which is another blogging type platform. My posts are really only available for paying members of Medium and is a curated version of adulting-101.org of my best and most popular posts. I fully intend to make adulting-101 the number one spot for my writing so stay tuned. 🙂

Now for the stats!

It’s been a sort of quiet month but I’ve been hustling to make it happen by promoting on social media and keeping up my posts.

This month I already crossed 450 unique views and 307 visitors. I think before the month is over, I can make 490 unique views which would be a nice bump in traffic from May’s total of 441 unique views.

June Visitors

WordPress Reader has been a little quiet for me with only 13 likes for my posts and 9 new followers. Follow me, because I follow back!  I will admit,I probably should be reading more of other people’s content and liking and commenting more. I’m trying to make time between writing and working full time but I’ll get there.

I was pleasantly surprised to see almost all of my posts on adulting-101 were visited at least once, even older ones. This indicates that readers are reading several different articles and that my SEO is working and people are finding me through search engines.

June posts

My three most popular posts this month were:

1)Motivational Book Club: The Defining Decade: Why Your 20s Matter, by Meg Jay

2)Dating in Your 30s vs Dating In Your 20s

3) Be Charismatic By Mastering Small Talk

My three most popular posts of 2018 were:

1)Overcome Your Anxiety. 5 Ways I Worked To Overcome Mine

2)On Gratitude…

3)Top 6 Ways To Maintain A Work Life Balance When Your Job Is Stressing You Out

Countries

This month I also had a very diverse audience mainly from United States, India, and United Kingdom.  I want to say Hi to all my other readers in the Philippines, Pakistan, South Africa, Ireland and elsewhere! Thank you!

Thank you so much for your readership this month! I want to remind you all to subscribe!

Status Update: Don’t Over Do It!

Things have certainly changed a lot since I wrote my first post “My Job Is Killing Me.”

I wrote that post and, subsequently, My Blog because I was so sick of my work environment. Honestly, I’m still sick of it.  I’m feeling worn out from work and tired.  The one thing I can say is that I know I’m better suited for entrepreneurial pursuits.  Employment feels too much like modern slavery.

I reached my breaking point and began to ask myself: can I really make a change in career? I really thought it over. My two talents that I have that are worth any salt are: real estate sales and writing.  I’m think I’m over real estate; the whole showing apartments in the city and renting homes is getting old. But can I really make a career out of writing?

I started my blog as a way to cope with work stress. I was also frustrated with not finding any solid advice on the internet. You can google, “Coping at Work,” and “Job Is Killing Me” and you find these BS answers to reducing stress. Like basically, suck it up and deal articles. Nobody really wants to say, “Hey! There’s something wrong with a work culture that forces you to be constantly connected, places unreasonable demands and gives you no job security.”  Specificially, American work culture is toxic with no means to negotiate work conditions, pitting employees against each other and manipulation.

I went into the workforce with a lot of hope and promises to myself that I would find purpose and happiness in my work. I envisioned work to have meaning, to make sense and to be a part of a team environment. Boy was I wrong. Maybe that’s not what I’ll find in a corporate environment but maybe I can coach people to find their way.  And even though that dream hasn’t happened for me yet, I’m determined to reach that goal of happiness and peace at work and not settle.  I mean, work takes up 40-50% of your “awake” time a year. That’s a lot of time devoted to one specific endeavor. And when I think of it that way, it’s like, you better make it count.

There are a lot of problems with my job. Mostly it’s caused by the bureaucracy and celebration of mediocrity. They literally hire people because they’re just sick of the whole hiring process and need to fill a role.  Rather then promote within and promote loyalty and hard work, they would rather hire outside and negotiate a lower pay rate.

Since I’ve started my blog, we’ve lost a manager, two receptionists, two other managers in different departments, a director and two of the office staff. Like, 80% of our teams are gone! Due mainly to overwork and being overlooked for a raise or promotion. It’s horrible. Yet the organizational machine chugs on and continues to make a profit.

After my manager left, I confirmed she was cheating me out of my earnings for the past year. I also confirmed she was talking sh*t about me to upper Management.  She was a toxic manager.  That was pretty messed up considering she would tell me, “Don’t worry I’ve got your back.” I guess that teaches you to never take someone’s word for it and only look at their actions.  I learned that I needed to stand up for myself more in the workplace and not be afraid to rock the boat, even if it means there’s a period of discomfort

I held the office together during her departure by working 6 days a week. My Director was on site to help with the transition but she is a HOT MESS. Literally, barely getting by on her job and delegating her work to other people who are more knowledgeable and beneath her. She made sure she was getting her hour lunch and leaving on time. She did NOT invest any time in helping me in the interim or doing more than her job required. I personally would not recommend working 60-70 hours a week like I was. And if I had to do it over, I wouldn’t have done the company a SOLID like that and worked myself to death. It was nice that I made some extra commissions, but still…no raise. And the recognition I got was pretty forced. “I can tell you put a lot of care in your work, and most importantly, it shows in your results.”

But I did learn a lot from her, her attitude about works was, “It’s only work.” She wasn’t going out of her way to make sure I was OK, she didn’t care that I was overdoing it. She actually encouraged me to take 2 hour breaks with her!!! I realized I needed to take a leaf out of her book and take a step back from work. Hard worker or slacker, you don’t get paid more for doing extra. Doing more, only causes burnout and anxiety, I need to care less about my job.

Now I’m in the middle of training our new staff, including our receptionist, intern and manager. It just feels so strange. I’m like the fake manager. I hired my receptionists, our intern. I’m training everyone, telling everyone what to do, overseeing all the work. But I’m not paid more and I’m not getting a better title. I posted on Reddit about this and they said that my career there is just going to stagnate and I should be looking for other work. I have put myself out there for other positions but I’m in such a niche industry right now. And the job offers I’m getting are not cutting it, in terms of benefits and pay.

Right now my solution is to keep building a side hustle (this blog) and try not to over invest in my job. It’s literally a circus like any other corporate machine.  It’s just hard to stay positive when you’re not recognized at work. They “promised” me a bonus and I decided that I would stay until the end of the year and see what happened. If things don’t progress, I can jump ship then.

For those of you who are in the same boat as me, stick with it until your next opportunity arises. Keep your head up and keep applying for better work. Start a new business idea! Make plans to back to school and grow professionally. But don’t give up! Things can be crap, people might treat you shitty but that’s just the path you’ll need to take before you’re next opportunity opens up for you! Trust the process and get going!  That’s the best way to cope with burnout and get back in the game.

I want to thank you all for following my progress and following where I’ve been.

Please follow, share, like and subscribe!  Check out these other posts

Never Believe The Propaganda, Create Your Own Purpose

Top 6 Ways To Maintain A Work Life Balance When Your Job Is Stressing You Out

Motivational Book Club: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson

Motivational Book Club: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson.

I forget where I heard of this book before. Maybe it was last year but it was a recommended book about thinking outside the box. I’m always perusing through the self help section on Amazon so I decided to pick this one up. This is a book recommendation for those who are feeling stuck or unmotivated. This became a best book to read in 2016/2017 when it became a NY Times Best Seller.

Some background on the author, Mark Manson is a guy who made a living during the recession blogging, mainly about relationships, life and everything in between. He amassed a huge following and wrote a book that became a best seller. My life goal in a nutshell.

I read it front to back and would over the course of 3-4 days and it’s definitely a great book to read for anyone that needs a different perspective on things.

Mark describes himself as unreflective, unaware and an asshole but, through the his blog and life experience, has become successful from just not caring. I initially thought this would be an introduction on how to be a person who gets what they want from doing what they want without regards to others but, thankfully, it’s much deeper than that.

He takes you on a journey, through his own and other well researched stories, about how we tend to create values and box ourselves in with those values. “Not Giving A F*ck” is basically about questioning those values and the importance they should have in your life. He implores us to ask how we obtained those values and whether they are values we should hold ourselves accountable for. There are “shitty values” that most people have and “healthy values” that help us in life to be better people.

I loved how he encouraged us to find meaning in our lives and think introspectively  and become conscious of our self awareness.

This is not a book on how to be more successful or how to get more out of life. It’s about thinking about the life you already have and questioning your values and meaning. I thought it was great for people like me that tend to overthink things. There was a section that discussed the benefits of just being content with what’s in front of you. So many people are constantly reaching, not able to enjoy what’s right here and right now. The most insightful part was about “Not Being Special,” and that is was OK to not be special. Constantly needing outside affirmation that you’re special is a recipe for discontent and unhappiness. Manson seems to find the solution to letting go and how to be happy.

My favorite quotes were:

“Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something”

This was part of the Failure/Success Paradox chapter that basically reaffirmed that you can never be successful unless you fail a significant amount at something. With each failure you learn, and that brings you to success.

“Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway. All of life is like this. It never changes.”

This was part of the Do Something Principle. Sometimes we’re just so afraid of failing, we do nothing. Well, doing something is better than nothing.  Or we start something, get discouraged, and do nothing before we reach success.  I can definitely relate to that.

This book suggestion is perfect for people who either think too much, are not introspective  or lack control in their lives.

If you’ve read this book and like this motivational book review, feel free to add to the discussion in the comments.

Please like, share and subscribe if you thought this post was helpful 🙂

Visit My other Review Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Top 6 Ways To Maintain A Work Life Balance When Your Job Is Stressing You Out

Not many people can honestly say they have a good work life balance. I feel like I’m always chasing  paper or time. Time back from my commute, time for my family, time back from my overtime. There have been moments I’ve worked less and made less money. There have also been times I’ve worked more and made more money. But I’ve never worked less and made more money. And yet I keep finding myself chasing that elusive unicorn job.  The one where we have enough time during the day to get things done. Where we get an hour lunch break, where there some light politics but no animosity.   But while we are chasing for the perfect job we have to try to make the most of the job we have now.  Here are some ideas

1. Time Management: Is probably the best but hardest thing to master. Determining what can wait until the next day and what you need to do now based on priority. You don’t want to take care of all the non essentials and then at the end of the day scramble to take care of what you are now realizing is a must on the to do list. The best time management tip is this: take a few moments to collect your thoughts and make a list of what you need to do for the day.

2. Cutting BS activities: sometimes we engage in non essential work habits that we “think” are productive but are really a waste of time and causing your hours to be longer. Things like engaging in office gossip, constant bathroom and smoke breaks, the lunch hour that over extended result in reduced employee productivity. It’s ok to engage in these activities here and there but constant and daily disruptions to work will be noticed by higher ups and will extend your work day and make you less productive at work.

3. Delegate: I really struggle with this one. I really think I’m the best person to do the work so I’ll take on all the work I can, then I’ll burn out badly. Taking work off your shoulders and giving it to someone else might seem like you’re passing off your responsibilities but it’s really not. In a Corporate environment usually the workhorse takes on everything, sacrifices personal time and energy to get everything done. Do you want to be the workhorse? Everyone should do their share and if you feel overwhelmed don’t be afraid to speak up and give work off to others who are less busy, and then hold them accountable for their work.

4. Take Time Off: Take all your PTO, especially if it doesn’t roll over. Take personal days and sick days if your not feeling great. I usually take a mental day after a long project.

5. Don’t Be The Workhorse: Learn how to say “No I’m not going to do this. Not because I don’t want to but because I can’t.” Learn to say no if you think something might be unfair to you. The workplace is cold-hearted and everyone is vying for their own interests. My experience in the corporate world is that these companies can take the best intentioned employees, the ones that are passionate about their work, and turn them into human capital to be exploited for productivity.  Saying no sometimes allows you to create boundaries that are needed.

6. Live Closer To Work-Commuting sucks. I have a 2 hour commute round trip and If I could shorten it I would. Often we have to consider work life balance in the sense of, am I willing to spend more on rent to get time back for my commute? Right now I’m not in a position to move but do try to take into account heavy traffic times so I can try to minimize time lost in traffic.

7. Change Careers: I decided I wanted to be in real estate. I wanted the big money.  And after 5 years I finally have all the money needed to pay off my student loans. I’m also working 50-70 hours and work Saturdays. Even if I changed jobs the hours would likely still include weekends and evenings. I need a career that is more flexible, work from home, or I need to save more so I can eventually scale back the hours. Changing careers is not always feasible, definitely not at the drop of a hat, but I’m making serious moves to change that and free up some time, even if it means a pay cut.

Quality of life VS Cost of living. That’s always the underlying question when it comes to acheiving work life balance. I hope these tips helped Feel free to comment below your tricks to balancing it all.

Please subscribe, like and share if you find my posts helpful! 🙂

Check out my other posts Build An Eye Catching Resume And Get More Interviews and 5 Amazing Ways to Alternative Living. Live Outside the Box. and My Job is Killing Me….

Thinking About Working For Yourself? Consider These Strengths & Pitfalls!

Thinking about going it alone, quitting your job and starting your own business? Or maybe you’re tired to trying to make ends meet and just want a stable job with benefits? There’s a lot to consider when deciding on what kind of work you want.

Over the past couple of years I’ve worked for myself but recently made the change to work for an employer. Both come with their own share of positives and negatives. I’m a corporate employee by one of the largest real estate company in my area. But personally, I have a preference for being self employed.

You might ask, “Am I Self Employed?” If you work for yourself, own your own business, engage in “Gig” Work or Freelance Work, or an Entrepreneur then yes, you’re self employed.

Pros of Being Self Employed

Not Having A Boss:

Is probably the sweetest part of not being employed by a company. I don’t have to answer to anyone other than my clients. My career is not determined or influenced by one single person. As an independent contractor, I had kiss ass with clients but if a person didn’t like me or respond to me by giving business then it wasn’t the end of the world. Working for a good, caring and mentoring boss is probably the rarest thing in the world. I wouldn’t depend on it. People I could look up to in my industry fell far and few between but working for yourself means you’ll only have to look up to yourself.

Sense of purpose: I knew exactly how I wanted to run my business. I knew I could find a way to make money that would fit my lifestyle and personality. I motivated myself and kept my spirits up during slow periods because at least I was “making money on my terms.” I’m employ

No Red Tape:

I really like not having Red Tape on how to run my businesses or how to do things. Creative solutions are welcomed when you run the show. No rules or regulations. You can go as far as you want to go. Some people feel stressed in that kind of situation. Like, “What do you mean I can do whatever I want and how I want it??” “This is chaos!” Nope, with choices come freedom and innovation.

Flexible work hours: Ok it wasn’t that flexible. I had to work when my clients were available which in real estate meant evenings and weekends. But it wasn’t every weekend and it wasn’t every evening. If it was slow, I worked less. If it was busy, I worked like a dog. I’m in real estate which is a demanding industry. Some other versions of self employment can be more flexible and allow you to work from home like freelance writing, consulting or social media marketing.

Sounds really awesome, right? Why doesn’t everyone just work for themselves. Why would anyone work for “The Man”?

“The Man” pays your taxes and subsidizes your health insurance/benefits:

Did you know that your employer pays your taxes? Specifically part of your social security tax. An employee pays 6.2% and an employer will pay the rest. When you’re self employed you’re paying the whole 12.4% for social security. What about your commuter benefits? Health insurance premiums, what if you had to pay the premiums outright or pay out of pocket? PTO is also pretty nice. Not going to work but getting paid anyway. These are things that we just expect when employed but self employed individuals have to cut into their profits to cover these costs.  The self employment tax is a pretty penny and should be considered when deciding to take the plunge.

You Get Paid No Matter What:

Whether it’s a bad day or a good day, you get a check at the end of your two weeks! I don’t know about you, but I like to get paid. Having to hustle day to day or deal to deal in order to make income can get tiresome. The truth is when you’re self employed your not going to make as much in the beginning as your employed counter parts. There’s no promise you’ll even succeed to make equivalent to what you would have made if you were employed. The beginning of starting your business will likely be slow and you’ll need some sort of cushion to break yourself in.. my first year in real estate I made -$6000. I made negative income!!! The cost of my business was more than my income. I lost money. Then my second year was $36K, then 46k. Now I’m making double that being employed.

When it comes down to it, the type of employment you choose is entirely up to you and is a matter of personal choice.

Check out my other posts Playing The Game Of Life And Winning: 5 Approaches To Success and One Of The Biggest Financial Decisions You’ll Ever Make and Why I Budget and How to Budget: Personal Finance In A Nutshell

The Power Of Change

In a previous post I mentioned the power of positivity. I think now is a good time for me to discuss the power of change.

Right now I’m going through a lot of change at work and it’s really stressful. My manager left and it took 1 and a 1/2 months for them to bring on a new person. We are severely short staffed and everyone is stressed and overworked. Apparently this is a good time for my Director to come in and shake things up. In his time at our office, he changed our deal flow, set up a billion meetings and let our underperforming admins go.

Le Sigh…now all of us (me) have to pick up all the slack.

Change in an organization is scary, but it’s also a time to shine. It’s a time when, let’s face it, shit hits the fan.

While my director was there I did all my duties, with no complaint and then some extra. I took this opportunity to make sure all my strengths were known and I took on a lot more to show I was reliable.

My receptionist didn’t fare so well with this change. I tried my best to keep her spirits up but I think she was reaching the end of her rope. In one meeting she basically said, “This is not my job, this is not what you hired me to do.”

We’ll..she just signed her death note. A week later my Director was making plans to send her packing. “We need people with a positive attitude and who want to be here,” he said. He wasn’t wrong. She was getting paid for her time there, not just for her responsibilities. It wasn’t expected she would take on those responsibilities forever and her resistance to taking on the extra work made her look like a slacker.

Change is natural in an organization. One persons opposition is not going to stop the will of the organization and the change that comes with it. Accepting change and greeting it with positivity can help you be perceived as a “Team Player,” “Progressive,” and “Positive.” It can lead to more opportunities and career growth. And being open to change also gives your managers/directors confidence that their ideas are valid and worth consideration. (Since then, my Director has confided in me that his job is actually really thankless).

My receptionist is gone and I really wish she would have just put on a happy face. She knew her job but the additional tasks that she opposed so fiercely cost her a job.  Now she’s back on the job hunt searching for work.

Change is vital and necessary.   Professional growth rarely comes without price.

Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation. –Mahatma Gandhi   Motivational quote of the day.

Never Believe The Propaganda, Create Your Own Purpose

Corporate America is a necessary EVIL.    I’ve never made more money than when I worked in a corporate environment.  So I need this job to make money but why am I at this job?  Can your career give you inspiration to live the best life?

Propaganda: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

I’ve been searching for the past few years for a job that can give me meaning.  A purpose.

I envision being part of a group that is warm, friendly and a team environment.   Surrounded by positive people, positive thinking and inspiration. We’ll go out for drinks once in a while.  I’ll also get an hour lunch.  The workload will be totally manageable with time to spare.  I’ll be able to take initiatives over everyone else and be recognized as a performer.  I’ll be well-liked and have good benefits/salary.

I would say 97% of the population does not have a job like the above.

Most corporate environments do not offer that kind of environment.

Why?

Bottom line.

Corporations generally are in the business of making money. Making money means squeezing all your resources for what they are worth, including human resources.  As soon as money is involved, individuals tend to get crafty, shysty and overall unfair to others in order to get a leg up.  And then big bosses and companies will turn a blind eye, because it’s not effecting bottom line or rocking the boat will effect a bottom line. Financial decisions don’t take into account emotions, personal development, or personal growth.  It’s only about company and business gains.

Still, many companies have mantras, company values, and goals.  Many of them include excellence, honesty, integrity, teamwork.  Of course you can try to buy into this.  I did. And every time I was disappointment when I was overlooked for a promotion or someone who totally lacked these values received a better review.  The reality is that these values are a stick and carrot method of propaganda, meant to keep employees motivated and drive revenue.

In reality, company culture/values is nothing more than clever branding.  A way to keep people motivated as well as sugar coat any negative culture the company has.

So how do you stay motivated? Especially once you realize that the company values is a load of BULL*****.  How do you keep the inspirational thoughts and inspirational quotes alive in your head?

Well, take a moment to think about your own values and financial goals.   “If I work here X amount of years, what can I accomplish?” “What’s my next step, If I find this company isn’t working for me anymore? Can I go and do my own thing?”  “Does the work itself give me happiness?”  “Will this help me get to retirement/financial stability?”

Having a reason in your mind will help you get through the hardest of days and the darkest of nights.  Patience and time will always be on your side, so keep at it.  But don’t believe the propaganda because truth always has a way of coming to light. And motivation built on false propaganda is like a house made of sticks.

Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

I have a confession to make.  I am in debt.  I am in debt up to my eyeballs.  At this point I have almost 50K in student loans.  Me and my husband are also wasteful spenders.  We kind of already know this but also ignore it.  You name it, we spend on drinking, restaurants, unnecessary bullsh*t that we don’t need.  We have no real money because of our debt.

So I picked up this book because I love the topic of money and managing my money and wanted to see if maybe there was a better way to go about it. We’ll let me just tell you, at first I was skeptical some of the changes he suggested, like selling your car or getting rid of your car lease in exchange for a used fully paid car,m.  It seemed severe.  But I did the math and Dave’s formula for money success made sense!  And maybe it isn’t the fastest way, its likely the easiest and clearest way for the Average American.  Its such a great book to read for financial literacy.

Key Highlights:

Debt Free- means no payments either for student loans/ car payments/ credit card etc.  Most people have this but Dave says “Imagine you didn’t have to pay those payments, how that would free up your income.”  In my opinion, he has a pretty decent though challenging system for clearing these debts.

Budget- goes into some detail about eliminating wasteful spending and avoiding “Keeping Up With The Joneses” mentality.  Me and Hubby don’t really need to be going to the fancy restaurant every week and taking Snapchat pics titled “Love BAE!”  Yes, I indulge in that behavior.  I am one of those people.  Wasteful spending is probably the first place you can tackle any money issues.

Emergency Fund- Most people rely on credit cards if a large emergency were to pop up.  If a spouse loses a job or a major medical bill/car bill hits you unexpectedly.  My dad had always told me that you should have at least 6 months savings for this reason, so I knew this was good advice when I read it.

Saving for Retirement/Debt Free/Home Buying and Beyond-Dave’s math makes sense.  Once you no longer have to pay off debt, that frees up your income A LOT.  I actually haven’t gotten to this point yet but it all seems very solid.  It would be really nice to have the freedom to plan your retirement and maybe even save to pay your house upfront!  

Overall this is a book recommended for others to get a grasp on their finances.  At the very least it should assist you with a plan to get out of debt. 

 There were some limitations.  

It’s really not going to be of any use unless you are willing to downsize/ change your lifestyle/ commit several years of your life to debt reduction/ if your spouse had a spending or gambling problem. 

I also thought that the ending was really rushed in terms of getting to major wealth.   Getting to the point of living off investments and no debts would require tremendous sacrifice for 15-20 years.  The last chapters doesn’t explain distribution of wealth well enough to feel obtainable. 

One last gripe I have are the stories that were used to support his theories and ideas.  He used about 30 stories.  I hope this isn’t petty, but there wasn’t enough minority representation.  It was mainly middle class White Americans with average or above average income who had  fallen into bad debt from their own misspending.   I’m Latina/Asian mix and the only representation of my race was a single Latina mom who had 2 kids:  Really?!  Come on, Latinos could have been better represented.  Also the stories with the single income family with homemakers also made me cringe, that’s also unrepresentative of a majority of families now. 

But overall it’s a great step towards financial planning as well as financial responsibility.  It’s a great book to read for those just starting to get a grasp on their spending.

So there you have it, after reading this book, I was able to talk to my husband put a budget together and make a solid plan for knocking out that 50K student loan in 1 year as opposed to 5.  This was better than student loan refinancing that would still take 3 year at at least 3%.  I also realized that the mutual fund I had was useless if I was spending 6% interest a year on a 50K loan.  Cashing out and being broke is better than  stringing myself along with debt. Will keep you guys updated on my progress.  

If any of you have read this book, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.  

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