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?

 

 

Dare To Be Disappointed

Dare To Be DisappointedHello everyone! Today I have a post written by my blog friend Brent. He writes over at Vosa.com. Enjoy!

Select all. Delete.

This was what I just did to the blog post I was working on for you.

It might have been a mistake because I was almost done writing it.

It was a gem of a post about why you need to give every dollar you make “a job” since that is the first rule of the very popular budgeting software You Need A Budget (YNAB) that I’m giving away 10 copies of. (More details at the end of this post).

But I couldn’t stop thinking about some advise I received when I had lunch today with a very successful entrepreneur and I knew I had to write about it.

By the way, when I say “I had lunch with a very successful entrepreneur,”. I actually mean: I went to a luncheon where a very successful entrepreneur who has sold three companies for a combined total of more than $680 million dollars gave a talk.

Along these same lines, I’ve also “had dinner” with Rod Stewart, “drinks” with Blake Griffin and “played tennis” with Andre Agassi. But those are stories for another day. There were three things that really stood out for me today during this talk and they all had to do with failure.

At first you might think that it’s a little weird that the three things that stood out from a talk given by a very successful entrepreneur are all about failure but stay with me.

Many times, who we are today, the successes we’ve had and the places we are going are all shaped by failure and the lessons we learn when we fail.

 

Understand Failure

She shared with us today how incredibly important it is to understand failure. To understand that there is a very real possibility that the idea you have in your head will crash and burn into an absolute failure.

And that, if you fail, it’s okay.

Not everything will go as planned and, for your mental state as an entrepreneur, you need to understand this before you get started.

Failure IS part of the journey to success.

Once you’ve come to understand failure you can move on to the next step.

 

Respect failure, don’t fear it.

If you look around you (or maybe even when you look in the mirror?) you will see people staring back at you that are absolutely scared stiff of failure. They’ll put off trying almost anything not because they aren’t passionate about their idea, but because they are scare that they are going to fail.

Our society, in almost every way shape and form, has placed such a negative emphasis on failure.

This negative bias towards failure has paralyzed you and so many others who want to chase their dreams but are too afraid to start, too afraid to fail, too afraid to let their parents down, too afraid to let their friends down and worst or all, too afraid to let themselves down.

It’s time to stop being so afraid of failure and start daring to be disappointed.

 

Dare to disappoint

The concept of “daring to disappoint” was her third piece of advise that I latched onto with the fabric of my being.These three points, all related to failure, compelled me to delete an “all-but-done” post and start over writing this one.

Stop “under promising” just so you can “over deliver” with what is actually a mediocre outcome but appears to be amazing because of the low expectations you set for yourself.

Stop dreaming about that one day when the timing is perfect for you to start a business, a blog, a musical instrument, a budget, a garden, a charity, a passion project, paying down your debt, something, anything.

Grab life by the horns today and dare to be disappointed that maybe, just maybe, you will fail.

But guess what?

Maybe you’ll succeed too.

There is only one way to find out. Try.

 

As I wrap up this article, I realize two things.

1. This is the first time I’ve ventured outside of my comfort zone with my writing.

Until now, I’ve only allowed myself to write about personal finance, making money (like the time I ran a business out of shoebox and made more than $10,000), entrepreneurship and travel hacking.

Although this post can fit into any of those categories, my true direction with this post was to inspire you and to help add fuel to the fire that’s burning inside of you.

I want you to stop going through the motions day in and day doing things that aren’t making you happier, doing things that don’t align with your ideals or your vision for yourself and the world that you live in.

You are important, you are talented and you can make a difference.

Will this first venture outside of my writing comfort zone fail? Maybe… but I’ll sleep well tonight knowing that before this post was published I understood it might fail but I wasn’t scared of failure. I’ll also go to bed with a huge smile on my face after reading your thoughtful comment and seeing all the likes, tweets, and shares. *hint, hint* ;-)

 

2. I did in fact write a post about budgeting.

If there’s a common theme amongst everyone I know who’s ever budgeted before, that theme is failure. They fail to stay under their budget, they fail to reach their emergency fund goal by their self-imposed deadline, they fail to eliminate eating out and so on.

Budgeting is hard, but it can also be be very liberating. It can be liberating when you finally know where the heck you’re spending your money. It can be liberating when you finally start to pay down your debt, to save more money and it can be extremely liberating to finally break that paycheck to paycheck cycle.

Countless people have been liberated from debt, lack of savings and living paycheck to paycheck after they started using, and living by the rules set out by, YNAB (You Need A Budget).

Did you know that the median net worth increase of a new YNABer is $200.00 in the first month and $3,300.00 after just nine months!?! When was the last time your net worth went up by $3,300.00 in only 9 months?

This budgeting software sells for $60.00 but, since today is your lucky day, I’m giving away 10 copies away to 10 lucky people who dare to be disappointed that they aren’t going to win. Click here and enter to win 1 of 10 copies of YNAB valued at $60.00.

I’d love to hear what you think about this post, about failure, and, if you’re brave, what idea/passion/blog/business you have wanted to start for a long time but haven’t because of your fear of failure.

Please leave me a comment below. Thanks!

 

Image via Flickr by Gareth Williams

$14,156 in August Business Income

$14,937 in July - My Highest Income Month

Hello everyone! Welcome to August’s business income (and a little bit of extra income) report. It’s time to look at my monthly income report and track my progress over the past month.

Background information:

This all started out as my “extra income” report because before October of 2013, I still had my day job. In those extra income reports, I included all the income I made except for my day job.

In September of 2013, I turned in my notice at my day job as a financial analyst, and my last official day at that job was in October of 2013. Now, my income reports consist of the main way I make an income each month, which is through my freelancing business.

Some think I’m crazy for publishing my income report each month and being so public about the whole thing. I even received some flack recently from someone who sent me an email telling me I’m crazy! However, I don’t think I’m crazy (well, I hope I’m not). I publish my income reports each month for many reasons.

The main reason why I started side hustling is because I was reading other bloggers’ monthly income reports and they had me interested and motivated in making extra money. Now, it seems like there are several bloggers out there who publish their income reports, and I love reading all of them. I read income reports from Smart Passive Income, Retire By 40, Matthew Woodward, and more.

Before I started blogging, I knew nothing about side hustling and making money online. I didn’t think side hustles were worth the time, and I thought the main way to increase your income was through your day job. I believed the only way I could make money money was through raises and promotions.

Oh, was I wrong!

If it weren’t for others publishing their monthly online income reports each month, I don’t know if I would have even ever attempted side hustling.

Also, I like to publish my income reports each month because it’s a way for me to look back, learn from my mistakes and see what I need to change or improve the following month. Just sitting here and typing up this month’s income report is a great way to keep track of my business goals. It also gives me motivation because if I can see that nothing has changed in a few months I know what I need to start working on.

I know I say this every month, but it is the truth. Life is just so great now that I am doing what I want to do. I look forward to each and every day and it is a wonderful thing.

 

How was August?

August was another great income month, and it was my second best month after expenses. I did think August would be slightly better, only because I feel like I’ve been working a lot of 16 hour days lately. It was still a great month, and I hope it pays off in future months.

I have a lot of plans and I feel like I’ve been all over the place lately.

One area I need to work on is better time management and finding more time to enjoy myself. Instead, I usually feel like whenever I spend time doing something else, that I actually should have been working.

UGH! But that’s the life of someone who works from home. It’s hard to stop working.

That’s really the only downside of working form home though. Everything else is very positive and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

 

In August of 2014, I made $15,051 in business income, before expenses.

 

August Business Report

This is for the month of August and before fees and expenses (fees and expenses that lower the amount above total around $895, which includes VAs/staff writers for my other websites, technical assistance on my websites, PayPal fees, etc.) being taken out.

After expenses and fees, I made approximately $14,156. In the amount above, I do not include the amount I bring in to the websites I provide services to. I only include the amounts that are my actual earnings from my services. So, if a website I manage makes an income of $3,000, I only include my payment for my services- not the full $3,000.

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