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!

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

This is the best book for young grads about to depart for real life.  It’s the perfect self help book for those coming of age.  I gave this book to my younger sister after she graduated college. She was so fresh faced and optimistic and I kinda wanted her to experience adulthood without all the bumps and headaches I had to learn from. My older sister had read it, she was trying to understand the mistakes she had made in her 20s and why she was not so happy with her early 30s and recommended this book as well.

I would say don’t judge a book by its cover, it kind of has a bland and doctorish look to it but I found The Defining Decade to be a refreshing bit of truth in a world that says that your 20s are just an extension of adolescence.  But we all have to grow up and some grow up later than others.  Using your 20’s as a leaping post to get a head start on life could be the best decision you ever make.

I really liked how the author is a Clinical Psychologist and uses her client’s stories to highlight some of the hard choices and pitfalls a lot of 20 year olds go through. I mean in her work section, she’s very candid on how your 20s are a period to grow career wise. Not to put too much pressure, but the earnings you make between 20-30 can grow exponentially. I’ve seen it in myself. The first year in real estate, I made -$6,000. Now I’m making nearly $90K, five years later.  Meg doesn’t take bullshit about how you need to find yourself in your 20s.  She basically says that by the time you’re a young adult, you have two decades of experience under your belt. Maybe you don’t know exactly what best suits you as a career but you have a general idea of what your strengths are. The key is to use those strengths and put it towards a viable career.

Her discussion on relationships was also a great highlight. Meg says it best, that the biggest decision you’ll ever make in life is who you’ll marry. And most people don’t think twice about who they marry! They just fall haphazardly into relationships.

She touched base on cohabitating and how it affects the success of marriage. Cohabitating is not the same as deciding to get married. And the issue is that people start cohabitating and then slide into marriage. You don’t necessarily slide into it with the idea of what it takes to have a successful marriage. The book recommended a few key steps in cohabiting successfully.

I personally loved all the short stories about her clients, though I think she gave us the simplest examples of the type of clients she saw. Her writing was that of a concerned mother who had already experienced life and knew all the pitfalls.  Her story telling was very good but I felt like there was an underlying problem with all the clients she saw:  THEY DIDN’T THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE.  And, well, anybody who doesn’t think of the future and how to accomplish far off goals is going to have problems.

Other parts that caught my interest were the discussions on fertility, friendships and family.

Her discussion on fertility actually reminded me of an old friend who planned on having children EARLY.  She knew that her menstrual cycle was wonky and decided to see a fertility doctor at 20! The doctor told her she had some issues and she needed to start really thinking about having children right away if that’s what she wanted.  It was what she wanted, and she ended up marrying young at 22 and having her first child at 25, but not without struggle and treatment.  A lot of the women that Meg interviewed thought that they could easily have children at 40! They thought they had all the time in the world and felt resentment when they realized their fertility was on a timer..

I will rate this book as a thought provoking book.  I think it’s good for people who struggle with decision making and who might be waiting for life to happen to them.  The Defining Decade reminds you that time waits for no one and that you need to make your life and future happen now!  I don’t think she came up with clear solutions to the issues that her clients brought up but she did bring up some questions that I had to stop and ask for myself.  At times Meg Jay had a kind of judgy tone towards her patients, so I’m not sure if I would be interested in her as my own psychiatrist, but her writing is definitely entertaining.

Let me know your thoughts if you’ve read this book or are interested in other book reviews like this.

Feel free to like, share and subscribe 🙂

Check out my other posts as part of this book club:

Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

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

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

Be Charismatic By Mastering Small Talk

“I wish I could talk to anyone about anything. I’m awkward and just can’t find a rhythm with people, I can’t seem to break the ice.”

This was me like 5 years ago. I’ve mentioned it a few times that I used to suffer from social anxiety and was awkward and shy. I used to be a person that really hated small talk. What I really wanted to do was get to the heart of the matter and talk about your dreams, disappointments and hopes. But that’s a little too deep for some people, to the point where that kind of talk can be seen as rude and nosy. So being in the business of Real Estate I had to learn how to small talk and kind of enjoy it as a way to get to know people on a basic level.

Some of my favorite ice breakers have been:

1)Weather: Ah yes, weather is the most safest thing to talk about. It’s literally the most cliche small talking point but you can never offend with weather. The weather is constantly changing so it’s definitely something to talk about. If it’s too cold and it’s suddenly a nice day, you can comment what a pleasant surprise the weather has been. If it’s unusually windy, you can joke about being blown away. You can expand and talk about how you love this weather or hate this weather and what you like to do during this time of year. Weather is by far the safest, easiest thing to talk about.

img_5071

2. Holidays: In the US there are several major holidays including Christmas, New Years, 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. There are also more obscure holidays like Presidents Day, MLK day, Halloween, Mother’s and Fathers Day. Pretty much every month there’s some sort of holiday. You can always ask, “Any plans for ____ holiday?” This is an easy icebreaker for people that want to keep the conversation going at an even pace. “Are you going away, we’re planning to go to _____” “That sounds nice, I had a friend who went there last year and really enjoyed it as a vacation spot!”

3. Compliments- I used to have the assumption that you should only compliment someone if you really mean it. Like really, really liked what someone was wearing or found something interesting. But that’s not really the case. Compliments can be a way of forming bonds and sharing an interest. The keys is to find something that you think is interesting about a person, a piece of jewelry, an article of clothing, a physical quality (like eyes or makeup or hair), or a non physical quality that you think stands out. I found that there is always something you can compliment someone on. Some of my go to compliments that I found to be most genuine: “Oh wow, I love that piece of jewelry. Where did you get it?” I’m always looking for a piece of fashion that stands out like a nice purse or shoes and I’ll usually compliment or ask where they got it. As a woman, I think it’s more socially acceptable for me to make these kind of compliments so I’ll do it to break the ice and strike conversation. For men, I try to accept whatever compliments they offer because it’s nice and a genuine effort to make conversation which can be hard for some of them. The type of compliments men should stick with, especially when complimenting the opposite gender, should be a non physical quality or an article of clothing. “That’s a unique pair of shoes, they look comfortable” or “I heard from so and so that you’re really interested in ______, that sounds interesting, how did you get into that?” Giving physical compliments from a man to a woman or even man to man can seem off color or even inappropriate.

img_5072

4. General Non Political News- You can get creative with this and just talk about the happenings in your town, something you saw on Facebook that you thought was relevant or friendly gossip about what’s going on with family and friends. “Oh I heard so and so got married, I’m so happy for her! It’s been so long since we’ve got to chat!” Or “I heard that there was going to be so and so happening at that restaurant I love, it’s always such a great event!” Or “This reminds me of an article I saw on FB…”

I just want to make a side note since I get a lot of foreign readers from other parts of the world. They might be reading this right now and be like WTF? What’s the point of making pointless conversation? Why do Americans do this?

Well, to be honest, it’s more of a cultural thing. We generally like to bask in positive emotion rather then negative. When speaking with someone you have a very casual relation with we try to keep the conversation light and easy so to avoid negative emotion. Imagine an acquaintance asks you, “How’s everything going John?” And you start telling them about your leaky roof and how you can’t find the finances to cover these costs. Well John, you just took the conversation deep left and made the other person uncomfortable because they are going to realize you’re going through hardship and there is little they can do to help you through it. Negative emotion is easy to catch from other people and it doesn’t feel good.

Some of the most successful people I’ve met are masters of small talk and are able to converse in a way that puts other at ease, feels safe and positive, while at the same time expresses interest in the other person.

I spent so many years not really understanding the rules and use of small talk that I was keeping others from getting close to me in a way they felt comfortable and I was making other people uncomfortable by digging in too much too soon.

I hope this article was a useful introduction to building charismas and strengthening your small talk skills. Feel free to like, share and follow, I follow back!

Check out my other posts What Does Your Body Language Say About You? and My Favorite Motivational Mantra and What Does It Take To Be Charismatic and Likeable?

Overcome Your Anxiety. 5 Ways I Worked To Overcome Mine

My job has gotten incredibly stressful between my Director firing everyone under the sun and us getting into the busiest season for my industry as an understaffed and under-trained team.  It’s just been too much pressure.

I’m sure everyone feels like this at work sometimes and we all have our triggers. So I spent last Thursday and Friday off trying to unwind and not let my work take over my life. Then on Thursday, I felt so negative and restless. I was thinking about all these work problems. Like OMG I’m going to have to train all these new people, I’m not getting recognition, and this sucks. I started kinda feeling sweaty, upset with a pit in my stomach that just wouldn’t go away. It was physically uncomfortable and I didn’t know why I was feeling like this. I wanted to feel like my normal calm self. I thought, I shouldn’t feel this way on my day off. But the discomfort and negative feeling wasn’t going away.

I was having an anxiety attack.

What causes anxiety?

Anxiety is basically when you worry, feel negative or feel stress to the point where you are inducing your fight or flight instincts. This causes a negative physical reactions like increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, restlessness, sense of impending doom, stomach or chest pains etc.  These anxiety symptoms are no joke.

I tend to also get moody during these intense attacks. I was texting my husband just trying to get over it. And thankfully I did, years of anxiety have helped me manage it much better so at least so I’m not taking it out on someone else.

Here’s what’s helped me:

1. Recognize Your Anxiety

It seems so obvious but a lot times I didn’t realize I was going through an anxiety attack until it was over. My negative thoughts seemed so real to me. They aren’t even logical or rational half the time, but in the moment they are very real. So recognizing what is happening during an attack can be hard and confusing. What helps me to realize I am having anxiety is just to say what I am feeling out loud. “I feel upset” or “I feel anxious.” Just saying that helps me feel in control of what is happening. Ill usually follow with “Why?”

2. Figuring out your triggers:

Not understanding what causes anxiety is like being on a boat without a paddle. You’ll never understand why it’s happening and you’ll just feel helpless and anxious for the next attack. If you get anxiety attacks frequently, keep a diary of what you were doing and what you were thinking prior to the attack. Keep a log of the thoughts you had during the attack and how long the attack lasted. (Do this after the attack is over). I used to watch a lot of reality TV in college and was glued to my social media. I started having attacks and lashing out towards my (now) husband. Over time I realized that I was lashing out because the reality TV shows were making me feel bad about myself and I was always comparing my life to this and that on TV and thinking how boring and uneventful my life was; these thought were causing my anxiety. Right now I’m having anxiety from work so I can’t change my situation…

3. Confront VS Avoid

Is it better to confront or avoid you triggers? It depends. In the situation where I was getting anxiety from social media and reality TV, it made sense to avoid. I don’t NEED to have that in my life. On the other I NEED to work so I can’t just avoid going to work. In the situation with work I’m going to have to learn how to deal and confront that anxiety head on. My advice for confronting your anxiety you can’t avoid is just to immerse yourself in it.

I used to also get a lot of social anxiety where I would feel nervous if I had to socialize in a large group. I would nitpick conversations in my head and beat myself up if a conversation didn’t go my way. To overcome this, I became a real estate agent so I can meet many different people without feeling to much pressure to be perfect. And it worked! I’ve met hundreds of new people and now striking up conversation is not unusual or difficult.  Over time I became a smooth socializer, and am no longer anxious about what other people are thinking about me or if I said something wrong. In certain situations, confronting what is making you feel anxious, especially like an every day occurrence like socializing, can absolutely help you cope and overcome that worry.

4. Take A Different Perspective:

I was still feeling really anxious that day and just wasn’t feeling good in my own skin. Dealing with my anxiety isn’t always easy.  I knew I was being anxious and irrational so I just sat down and began writing my own thoughts out. I made a list of what I was thankful for, what I wanted to change in my life and brainstormed how I could make those changes. As soon as I was done I felt better. Like I had control over my life. Switching your frame of thought can absolutely help you overcome anxiety attacks. It takes practice because your problems in the moment feel so real and insurmountable. But all problems come with solutions, even if it takes a long time to see results. Thinking about all the great things in my life helped me minimize my worries and realize my problems weren’t as large as I thought.

5. See A Therapist:

if you have persistent negative thoughts, worries and anxiety I would recommend seeing a therapist. I haven’t been to a therapist but I think we should all evaluate where our self depreciating thoughts and anxious worries are coming from and a therapist can do just that. They can help with a lot of difficult mental issues like major depression, bipolar disorder, and severe anxiety. There no shame in it and you can always test out different therapists if you feel like one isn’t the right fit for you.

If you thought this post was insightful feel free to share, like and follow!

Check out my other posts The Power Of Positivity and On Gratitude… 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

Why I Budget and How to Budget: Personal Finance In A Nutshell

 

I used to sit with my dad as he combed through the finances, his brows furrowed in concentration.

He’d sit on a stool at our open kitchen and just devour the information over a cup of joe. I was curious. Why did he devote all this time to his spreadsheet? Was this a work project?

He went over how he calculated all the household expenses and income and balance it all. He kept tabs on check balances and even his car depreciation.

It m kind of went over my head. I was busy just trying to figure out what I wanted for breakfast or how to laze around for the day. I honestly spent a majority of my 20s not knowing about my finances or how much I made. I always worked during college and had a plethora of jobs after. I could afford the things and experiences I wanted, but I didn’t really know how much was being spent; how much was wasted or saved. To this day I wonder, could I been saving during this time?

The first time I had to budget I just made a list of the income and combed through every single expenditure that I made. Then at the end subtracted the expenses from the income. Every coffee I bought, every lunch I ate out, and every trip to Target I took was recorded. It hurt. I literally cringed when I realized how much was being wasted.

I mean, did I really spend $50 on coffee this month??

And what was that subscription on my card? They’ve been charging me for over a year!

I realized I could be saving thousands a year and making more of my money if I accounted for it all and held myself responsible on how it was spent. However, I realized this wayyy too late in the game; the money was already spent. I felt really bad after realizing how much was wasted. Part of me didn’t want to keep going and budgeting, that’s how bad I felt.

Now It’s been 3 years of budgeting. 3 years. I keep it all on a spreadsheet. Google Spreadsheets :). I can track how much my income has increased in those 3 years. I can track how much my overall spending has been by category. I can brainstorm on ways to cut costs or increase income. I can make long term goals like paying off all my debt and estimate the last payment date.

Omg I love spreadsheets!

And I don’t spend hours upon hours on it. I pretty much spend a half hour tracking my spending twice a month. Once in the middle and again at the end. Literally ONE HOUR a month. I recommend setting mid month goals and then reassessing for the latter part of the month if you clear or are unable to meet your goals

Below is a simple sample of what you can do

Income

Take home Salary $2500

Expenses

Rent $-700

Food $-250

Transportation $-200

Internet $-50

Electricity $-50

Phone $-70

Misc (shopping/medical related costs/eating out) $-600

Credit card payments $-100

Student loans $-150

Total expenditures= $-2170

Savings $330

Tip: Put your savings towards credit card debts and student loans to make the payoff date faster. Or save part of it for an unexpected expense.

I wouldn’t say budgeting will fix any money problems overnight but it will definitely give you a sense of control over your finances, plan for a rainy day and create a long term plan with goals. But personal finance and gaining control of your spending/earning is the first step.

Feel free to comment below on your goals or feedback on your budget!

Check out my other post:

One Of The Biggest Financial Decisions You’ll Ever Make

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.