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

AdobeStock_91387706.jpeg

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!

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

Build An Eye Catching Resume And Get More Interviews

I’m currently offering resume review services but thought I would share some insights on what has helped me land interviews and land jobs for myself and my friends/family.  These tips are how I get my resume noticed.

This post is for people who have sent out resumes and:

  1. Have not gotten even a single response back,
  2. Have not updated their resume recently,
  3. Don’t know how to improve their resumes, and/or
  4. Want a job and don’t know where to start.

Ideally you’ll be well connected and able to to find a job through a friend or family who can recommend you for a position you really want, and win the opportunity.  But if you’re like 90% of the rest of us, you are not well connected and have no clue how to get your first job by applying and cold calling for jobs postings in your area. You’ll draft up a resume and send it out in a quick email.

Here are some ways to be successful and increase your chances of an interview.

A) Tailor Your Resume:

You might be applying for any job or a very niche job in your field. The biggest mistake I see is people not tailoring their resumes. They just slap all their experience together like, “Look how much I’ve done with my life. Hire me!” Nope, does not work like that. A recruiter or hiring manager might get hundreds of applications and spend 10-30 seconds reviewing applications for a specific job. The less specific your resume is to the position, the longer it will take a hiring manager to discern if your experience fits the role, making it more likely that they will cast your resume to the side.

You should be editing your resume for every single job you apply for. Yes, this is annoying and probably a very time consuming part of the search, but it works.  But this is how you make your resume stand out.

Ex: You previously had experience in retail, ringing up customers and meeting sales goals, keeping an area clean, and answering questions. Now you want to bar-tend and you just took a course in bar-tending. Your resume is tailored to retail, since that’s your previous experience. It would be a mistake to send it out to restaurants as is, because at first glance the hiring managers is going to be like, “this persons experience has nothing to do with the job.” They’re going to think about all the training they’ll need to invest in you, something they DON’T want to do. Rather, you should tailor your resume to show you graduated bar-tending school recently, education should be at the very top as most relevant and the work experience will be specific on what is transferable to bar tending. You’ll focus tailoring your retail experience to show you have customer service skills and sale skills to upsell drinks.

A resume for that purpose might look like this:

Resume 1

B) Keep It Simple

You want to keep your resume as digestible as possible. So that anyone scanning for specific information can find it. Resumes should be no longer than 1 page. You can adjust margins, text size and spacing but 1 page is enough to show your skills.

If you have limited work experience, add in any volunteer work that may be relevant

If you have a lot of experience in a specific area, you’ll want your experience to include ONLY what is both recent and relevant. You’ll want to include maybe 3-4 jobs you’ve had but be very detailed in the responsibilities you’ve had and tailor that to the job you are applying to.

Resumes don’t need to include ALL experience, just relevant experience.  You want your resume to be effective in showcasing your strengths.

If you’ve only worked at 1 company for a majority of your career you might want to break up your resume first by the company you worked for and then by the different roles you may have had in the company.

Resume 2

C) Write A Cover Letter In The Email Of The Job Post Response

This is essential. Too many people skip this step. They send out a generic “Hello, I’m interested in position X and am available X days. Please contact me via email or phone to schedule a visit.”

A message like that pretty much says you put zero to no thought into a message and are just hoping to land a job through mass mailing.  You need your resume that gets you the job and hired.

The body of the email is your opportunity! It’s the first thing a recruiter is going to read. It’s a great way to discuss your passion for the work you do or explain a gap in work. It can captivate, inspire and get that recruiter to open up the attachment. Then your perfectly tailored resume is going to tell the story of why you should be hired.  Recruiters look at your resume for an average of 6 seconds, you need a resume that gets you hired.

FYI- Never paste your resume in the body of the email. I’ve seen this before and it’s done to get recruiters to look at the resume right away. However it looks ugly, disorganized and is hard to share with other people if there are other decision makers. Don’t do it

Hopefully you find this post useful in your job search.  Let me know your feedback and feel free to like, share and follow!

View my other posts:

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

 

5 Amazing Ways to Alternative Living. Live Outside the Box.

I chose to be a corporate cog. I have a husband and daughter and we need insurance and a steady paycheck….for now. But I still try to find ways to make money on the side and earn extra income.

One thing we can all accept is that we all have to make a living but some of us choose to make money on our terms and determine how we want to spend our time. They say time is money so let’s discuss the different options out there to build an alternative career that’s both fulfilling and great for time management.

1)Blogging:

I’m a natural writer. But blogging is a long term game like any other business you start. You have to keep at it and write amazing content, work your SEO keywords, market through social media and (Gasp) even pay marketing/business costs. I think for the people who’ve made blogging a livable career, they’ve made a commitment to make it work and done whatever it takes to get there. The best part about it is that there are unlimited possibilities about what you can write about.  It’s pretty much the easiest way to make money from home, all you need is a computer and internet. It’s a great way to connect with people who have similar interests and motivations. If you’re serious about blogging, I would give it 2-3 years before you’re able to see livable-wage worthy income. It’s definitely something that can be a side hustle before you’re ready to make it your only income. Still, it 100% depends on you and how much time, money and effort you can invest.  It’s a real online job to be a blogger

2)Freelance And Gigs

The gig economy is bigger than ever. People are stepping away from corporate life and enjoying being a free agent, representing themselves and their interests in the job market. Websites like UpWork and Fiverr have made it easier for people looking for work alternatives to build their own brand and client base. Of course, most businesses like this won’t come easy but people have stuck through it and have built incredible business models. I just saw an Ad on Facebook for a Harvard Grad on Fiverr that acts like a professional guidance counselor.  He offers writing, revising and editing your resume or LinkedIN account. Based on the comments and his ratings and reviews on Fiverr it seemed like he was making A LOT of money from there and was building a unique business. Some people were questioning, “Oh, if he’s a Harvard Grad, why is he freelancing?” Well, Mrs Debbie Downer, maybe it’s because freelancing can be awesome if you’re making a lot of money from it and have a great work/life balance.

3)Temp Work- I have my qualms about temp agencies but it can be a great way to just fill in the gaps in income. Depending on the agency and your specialty you can work project to project or day to day. The company I work for uses temp agencies exclusively for our receptionist and admin positions. Even though the business relationship is, well, “temporary” that’s something that can go both ways. You don’t have to stay or even give notice if you have a better opportunity come your way.

4. Trade work or apprenticeship- there are sooooo many great jobs out there. And they are not all white collar jobs. I once knew a guy who worked for as an HVAC Technician. He worked with his hands on refrigerators and air conditioner systems. You know, fixing them and installing them for businesses. He had his truck and would work only like 40 hours a week. He was protected through a union and made $35 dollars an hour plus overtime! I’ve also seen electricians make $100k a year. And guess what, these blue collar jobs are in high demand mainly because a majority of our population decided they wanted to go to college and pursue white collar jobs. So now he can move from company to company looking for a new job, negotiate his earnings or work conditions because he’s a hot commodity worker!

5)Creative/Social media work-Social media has created such an incredible industry. Thousands of people are making money online with social media. What used to be a way to just connect with people is now a major business model as “Influencers” and “Bloggers” make their money selling their social media posts to sponsors as advertisements. Now having 10K or 50K worth of friends or followers can mean some major dollars. It doesn’t even have to be from an aesthetic standpoint of being an instagram model or twitter/YouTube celebrity. There are artists, scientists, dancers DIYers, etc. sharing their passions and building sponsorships and making great income.

For these alternative career paths, the key is to start early and just stick with it. Like any individual trying to build their own business, consistency is KING! I wouldn’t expect blogging or social media work to pay out initially but long term, the sky is literally the limit. There are bloggers and Influencers making $100k a month! And you don’t have to jump feet first, you can make any of these options a side hustle or part time work until you’re comfortable going all in.

Feel free to follow, like or share if you liked this post!

Read my other posts

-My Favorite Motivational Mantra

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

When Good Enough Is Okay

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.

When Good Enough Is Okay

We live in a society that’s all about reward and recognition. We want to be the best, the smartest, the prettiest, the coolest. It’s a huge pressure we carry around, and we don’t even realize it.  As millenials, we tend to put a huge amount of expectation on our selves to perform and be overall successful by society’s standards.

When I was 21 I would cry in my bed just thinking about how everyone was having so much fun without me. Facebook was not nearly as political back then and it was all about getting likes and being in other people’s pictures. I wanted to be the prettiest and most liked and I would agonize over not being invited to stuff and, essentially, the center of attention.

But at 29, I can honestly say that those days I spent crying over problems I created were a waste. Days that I spent comparing myself to others were also wasteful. Not being happy with myself was so obvious, I’m sure I would made more friends if I was more positive and open.  Not being happy or confident in myself meant that I wan’t attracting, through the law of attraction, good things in my life.

I’m going on a tangent but I was good enough but unhappy about being “mediocre.” Mediocre is such a harsh word and I don’t think it should be applied to people. Now I’m finally at a place where I can say “Yes, I’m doing okay and that’s good enough.” I think it has a lot to do with gratitude and being grateful. I touched on gratitude in my last post.  They say “Perfection is the enemy of good,” and I would agree that perfection is not attainable.

Examples of Good Enough

1. Putting food and shelter over your head for the entirety of your adult life. (You get an A+ for doing this for multiple people)

2. Getting a passing grade in Algebra when you’ve always struggled to learn math.

3. Working 40 years in the same position but being able to retired with a comfortable nest egg.

4. Going to any college and finishing.

5. Not going to college and completing technical school.

6. Being married for 30 years and raising a family.

7. Being healthy and going to the doctor for regular checkups.

8. Creating a workout and meal plan, not always sticking to it but trying anyway.

9. Not having a large savings yet but being debt free.

10. Being of average appearance but keeping clean and well groomed.

I’m not saying we should abandon our aspirations and dreams.  Inspiration can come out of being ordinary.  Inspiring others by being a positive person with good thoughts and positive thinking. Being content with how things are today are the foundation blocks of growing and building as a person. When I started in my industry, I sucked. But that was good enough until I finally got better. I kept working on it and I’ll keep working on it. I didn’t let fear of failure or not being the best hold me back from what I intended to do with my life to be successful on my own terms.  Life isn’t fair and life isn’t perfect but you can’t let that fact keep you from trying. How’s that for a Motivational quote!

So I would say, it’s okay to be good enough today and it will be fine to be good enough tomorrow. Focus on what values you want to carry in your life. Being good enough in areas that you don’t value won’t matter in the long run.

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.