How I’m a Work-Life Balancing Master

How I'm a Work-Life Balancing MasterI’ve always had a lot of things going on in my life.

In high school, I took a full course load, took college credits, volunteered, and worked full-time.

In college (both undergraduate and graduate school), I took a full course load (read about how I graduated in 2.5 years with two undergraduate degrees), volunteered, lived on my own (I moved out a few days after I turned 18 and later bought a house at the age of 20), and worked full-time.

In graduate school I did all of the above plus I started my current business.

Because of my past, I often receive questions about how I’m able to do it all. Some like to tell me that I must have no social life, I’m all about working, or ridiculous reasons for why my life must suck.

However, I am able to do it all because I have improved my life balancing skills and I know how to manage tasks efficiently and effectively.

 

There might be some pain in the beginning.

Okay, I won’t lie. In the beginning stages, there was definitely a lot of pain.

Managing everything all at the same time was tough, but it takes time to improve your work-life balancing skills.

There were countless days where I only received three or four hours of sleep. Actually, that happened for a few years. In the beginning stages, I was absolutely horrible at managing my life and work. I would procrastinate, forget what I was even supposed to do, engage in time sucks, and more.

However, I am much better at managing everything now, and all of my hard work paid off. If you have a major goal you want to reach, then balancing many areas of your life all at once may be needed.

Below is what I did and currently still do to make everything work and flow smoothly:

 

I have a schedule and to-do list.

I don’t know where I would be without my schedule and to-do list. I have a fairly bad memory, and I forget things almost immediately. Without my to-do list, I would be completely lost and I would spend way too much time trying to remember what I’m supposed to do.

My to-do list and schedule keeps me on track, and it also keeps me motivated. I also enjoy crossing items off my to-do list because I am a huge nerd.

 

I make sure the timing for everything works out perfectly.

When I was in college, I always made sure that the timing for all of my classes worked perfectly with my work schedule. This required some research and planning, but it was well worth it in the end.

I made sure all the classes I took ran together well. This meant no wasted time in-between classes, and just enough time for me to work my normal 8-5 job so that I could start my 5:30 p.m. classes without any wasted time after work as well.

You would be surprised if you stopped to think about how much time people waste. I know people who sign up for college classes and just take whatever they think they need without thinking about their schedule. This might mean having hour or longer breaks each day between each of their classes. I also know people who take a class, go to work, and then come back for another class (wasted driving time), and more.

I’m not in college anymore, but I do still make sure everything is timed perfectly. I guess it’s a habit of mine that will never die.

 

Don’t try to multi-task everything.

Some people are good at multi-tasking, whereas most are not. There is proof out there that multi-tasking can actually result in you wasting time. This is because it takes time to get yourself ready every time you stop and start a task.

I recently read something that said whenever you start and stop a task, you are wasting at least 25 minutes. That adds up over time!

Instead, choose a task and stick to it for a certain amount of time. Don’t try to do work, while talking on the phone, while watching TV, while doing dishes, while also Facebook stalking in the background all at the same exact time.

 

I outsource certain tasks.

Even though there are several tasks I COULD do, I outsource them. I have multiple websites, and I have staff writers and virtual assistants for a few of them.

This could also apply to household tasks. This may sound silly, but I am guilty of procrastinating by cleaning occasionally. I hate cleaning, so that really says something. If you don’t have the time to do certain household tasks, such as mowing the lawn, raking leaves, cleaning your home, etc., then you may want to see if there is any value in hiring out some of these tasks.

You need to place a value on tasks and see if your time is better spent elsewhere.

 

I have a specific order for completing tasks.

For me, I like to order the tasks I have to do. I like to do more complicated or urgent tasks first so that I can clear my schedule and the rest of my day or week can be a little bit more carefree.

Others like to do the easier or quicker tasks first so their to-do list isn’t as long. Some days I do that as well. There is no right or wrong way of arranging your tasks.

 

Eliminate time sucks.

There are so many time sucks out there. I am guilty of wasting time, but I am improving.

Some time sucks you may want to eliminate or cut back in include:

  • Social media. Pretty much everyone is guilty of spending too much time on Facebook, Pinterest, and/or Twitter.
  • TV. Now that I work from home, I definitely watch a little too much TV. If you are guilty of this, you might want to eliminate some  channels (maybe completely get rid of cable and switch to Netflix?), or completely get rid of your TV.

 

Are you a work-life balancing master? Why or why not?

 

 

Traveling Galore and FinCon14

Traveling Galore and FinCon14Hello everyone! I’m at #FinCon14 right now, and I’m really enjoying it.

I love meeting new bloggers, and connecting with bloggers I already know. FinCon is an awesome conference and it always gives me a lot of motivation.

If you see me at FinCon14, please say hello.

I am a shy person so don’t hold that against me. I might also be awkward… There’s a VERY clear reason for why I’m an online freelancer haha!

If you are new to my blog and heard of Making Sense of Cents through FinCon, the insanity that Pinterest seems to be bringing in this week (around 1,000 hits from Pinterest each day this week!), or you found me some other way, below is a roundup of 10 of my favorite articles on Making Sense of Cents.

  1. My Student Loans Are Paid Off – I finished paying off my student loans in July of 2013 and I haven’t looked back once. I paid them off right after I turned 24 and it was a pretty amazing feeling. To recap, I have three degrees and worked full-time all throughout college, yet I didn’t use a cent of what I earned to pay off my student loans while I was in college. Instead, I spent that money on junk!
  2. My Business/Extra Income Reports – My monthly income reports are some of most popular posts, and they are fun to write too.
  3. My wedding pictures – I recently got married, and in this post I uploaded some of my favorite pictures. Enjoy!
  4. I’m 100% Self-Employed – My Plans For the Future – I left my day job in October of 2013 for full-time self-employment. Life has been awesome since then.
  5. Frugality And Ethics – When Is It Stealing? – Is there a difference between being cheap and stealing? Would you ever use an item and then return it? What about complaining about something fake in order to get it for free?
  6. Pursuing What I Love or What Brings in the (Stable) Money – When I wrote this post, I still had my day job. It wasn’t a bad job and it paid fairly well. However, I wasn’t happy. What do you do when this happens? Take a leap of faith or feel stuck for the rest of your life?
  7. Living In A 200 Square Foot Tiny House – Could You Do It? – Tiny homes definitely interest me. They are affordable, cute, and really embrace minimalism. However, I couldn’t do it. Could you?
  8. Why You Should Start a Blog – I love blogging. Blogging has opened up a world of opportunities for me, and I can’t even imagine what life would be like if I wouldn’t have started on.
  9. How I Graduated From College In 2.5 Years With 2 Degrees AND Saved $37,500 – Graduating quickly is a big factor as to why I was able to limit the amount of student loans I took out and it also allowed me to jump start my career.
  10. How To Make Money Blogging – I receive several emails each week asking about how a person can make money blogging. Read this article if you are interested.

 

I can’t just talk about FinCon all day. Not everyone is here at the conference and I remember the first year I was blogging and how I missed it. It was a sad time and I remember how left out I felt!

Anyway, we’ve been doing a good amount of traveling recently. I haven’t talked about it much on my blog because I keep forgetting. I post a lot about our trips on Instagram, so make sure to follow me on there.

I’m currently in New Orleans.

Okay, okay, I’m only going to talk about FinCon one more time, but it’s just to talk about how I am in New Orleans.

We are currently here and staying in a rental home close to the hotel where FinCon is at. We got a great deal, and we can bring our pups. We also have a kitchen so you can’t beat that!

The main reason we drove was because we were going to go to Florida afterwards. However, something came up at the last second so we had to cancel that. Oh well, New Orleans will still be a blast!

I have a lot planned while we are here. Tons of business-related meetings, fun dinners with other bloggers, helping out with the Plutus Awards, and more. Oh yeah, and there are a TON of great sessions for me to attend as well :)

Also, if you are new to New Orleans, I did visit last year as well. Read my New Orleans recap if you are interested in trying any of the things I did last year. We had numerous delicious meals and it was a fun trip.

Memphis.

We weren’t in Memphis long, but we were there on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. We decided to drive to New Orleans and make a stop halfway in Memphis to visit Wes’s family. His family just moved there and we haven’t really visited much, so it was definitely needed.

Not much to say here except that I love family! And I love yummy food.

Colorado.

The picture above is from our latest trip to Colorado :)

We’ve been going to Colorado A LOT lately. Wes has been three times this summer and spent a total of four weeks already, and I’ve been twice for a total of three weeks.

If that doesn’t tell you we love the state, I don’t know what will. We did some 14ers (okay, I did one and Wes did two), and they were a lot of fun. We would have done more but it rained nearly the whole time we were there.

We went at the end of August and came back in early September. It was an awesome trip except for the one hour where my being cheap almost ruined the trip.

Luckily, our road trips have not been expensive at all. We have been lucky with finding cheap accommodations, affordable meals, and our new car gets great gas mileage. I see a lot more road trips in our future!

Are you at FinCon14? What are your plans for the weekend?

What trips do you have planned for the rest of the year?

 

Our Home Insurance Shot Up 69% In One Year (Never Filed a Claim)

Our Home Insurance Shot Up 69 In One YearThe other day I received our newest home insurance bill, and I was very shocked when I opened it.

Our home insurance rate jumped from just $650 last year to $1,100 this year, which is a 69% jump.

Yes, nearly SEVENTY PERCENT from the previous bill we received. There was no note or reasoning attached to the bill (I know they don’t do that, but it would be nice), all it stated was the new rate.

I know others pay rates much higher than what we’re paying, and I guess we’ve been lucky.

However, considering the fact that we’ve never filed a claim since we bought our home 5 years ago and that we live in a cheap home, such a big jump in our annual home insurance bill definitely stood out to me.

So, I did some research.

According to ValuePenguin, the average annual home insurance bill in Missouri is $1,022.

This means our new home insurance bill isn’t too off, but considering our home is significantly below the average home value in Missouri (our home is 40% cheaper than the average value of a Missouri home stated by Realtor.com), it is still a little odd to me that we are paying so much more than others in the same area.

Also, when we first bought our home, the average home insurance bill in our zip code was only $450.

 

What causes home insurance bills to jump or be higher than average?

Around 1.5 years ago, we had two tornadoes in our subdivision.

One was at the beginning of our subdivision, and the other was at the end of it.

It was a freak occurrence and very scary. I’m assuming this is what caused our home insurance to go up. A few houses have been completely rebuilt and they are still working on one or two other homes.

There are other reasons why home insurance bills may be higher as well:

  • Do you have dogs? We have two dogs, but neither of them are on the list of “bad dogs” that home insurance companies don’t like. It is sad, but certain breeds will lead to higher home insurance.
  • Home “additions.” If you have any additions to your home such as a pool or a trampoline, they will most likely add to your home insurance bill.
  • Weather. Weather can be a big reason for why your home insurance is higher than usual. If there is the possibility of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or other disasters, then your home insurance may be higher than the average.
  • How old is everything? When was the last time your plumbing, electrical system, roof, and so on were replaced? If nothing has been replaced in a long time, then you may be looking at higher home insurance rates.

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