Spring Cleaning for Your Goals

Spring is an excellent time to do something new. It is not the only time of year that is great for starting something new, and I don’t think you need to wait until a certain time to do something new anyway. However, since we are beginning to see the weather improve, flowers and grass bloom (and allergies for many), this does make a good time to review our goals and start new goals. It is a good practice to review your goals regularly and update them. Here are just a few things to look at this spring season concerning your goals.

  1. Take inventory of your current goals. The first step to cleaning up or getting anything in order is to first take a look at your current situation. What do your goals look like? Do you have any goals at all?

  2. Make the necessary adjustments. This would involve either making goals or adjusting goals to a situation that would work better for you. While planning isn't the only thing you should do regarding goals, it important that you do set goals.

  3. Act on the plan to complete your goals. Now is the time to take action on your new goals. Make sure that your steps are attainable. There is nothing worse than trying to accomplish too much at once and then getting overwhelmed and end up achieving nothing.

  4. Continue to adjust as needed. As much fun as it could be to start a new system and do a lot of cleaning up (if this is something that you enjoy doing), it is even better if you can stay on top of it. The more you stay on top of your goals, the better off you are and the less time you need to spend on a whole new goal system.

As we enter this spring season, it is time to embrace our goals and where we want to go next. Regardless of where we are in life, we need to understand that there is always room for improvement and we can become a better version of ourselves.

Spring Cleaning and a Stagnant Schedule

We all get to a place when we have a stagnant schedule and it can be pretty challenging on how to keep your schedule fresh and productive. With our lives constantly changing, new activities beginning, ending, and transitioning in many ways, it is very easy for our schedules and routines to become ineffective and even obsolete if we don’t evaluate it enough. There are several things that we can do to ensure that we don’t fall into a bland schedule and routine to the point that our routines and schedules are irrelevant and useless. Below are a few:

  1. Run a health check on your schedule. Just like everything else you need to take inventory of where you stand. Ask yourself a few questions. Is my current schedule and routine working for me? Are there any areas that are very ineffective? What can be improved and how can that be implemented.

  2. Analyze the results you find. Adjust your schedule and routine based on what you find. You want to get to the place that you are constantly adjusting your routine to what would be the most optimal level of effectiveness. 

  3. Take a break from your routine or schedule. If you find that your current routine is not working, you may do best by taking off from your routine and schedule. This should not be done very often but may be a great option when you find what you are doing to be ineffective.

  4. Start a new schedule from scratch. As a last resort it may be best to start a brand new schedule from scratch. This is the best path to take when you do not have a schedule in place. It seems that every once in a while I do this, usually in the case of when I found a new app or method that I am implementing. 

Spring is a wonderful time to look at your schedule while you are looking at everything else. While the weather begins to improve and we are busy cleaning out our houses and organizing our finances, this is a great time to clean up our schedules so that we can keep things the way we liked them after we do the cleaning that we need to do. I hope you are having a good spring season and are making strides towards your goals.

Spring Cleaning and Your Finances

Today is my dad’s birthday and I do want to take time to recognize him for not only who he is as my father but concerning his love for efficiency. He would always boast for his love of efficiency and was excellent at getting many things done. I can definitely speak for how efficiency minded he is and I had gladly followed in his footsteps regarding efficiency.

it is also that time of year again, time for spring cleaning! This is a perfect time of year to take inventory of every area of our lives and how they relate to our productivity. Last week I mentioned the benefits of being financially organized and how that can save us time. While being on that note, I will kick of the spring cleaning series for this year with spring cleaning for our finances. 

Your question may be how does this relate to productivity? 

For the quickest answer, read my previous post about being financially organized. You will see all of the ways that being financially organized will save you time...and money. With spring approaching, it is an excellent time to get organized and get on track to doing things the best way possible. Below you will see ways that you can set up a plan for financial spring cleaning

  1. Evaluate your budget. If you do not have a budget, make one. Next step is to make sure you are actually following it. If you have been following a budget for a while, it may be time to do a bit of spring cleaning with it. Check to see if the categories and the amounts still make sense. Life changes all of the time, so doing this regularly is recommended.

  2. Be clear on your financial goals. Ultimately time is money, therefore get your money in order so you can have the time you need to do what you need to do. When you have a clear financial goal, you are able to decide how to use your time and make the most of it to maximize the money that you can user for the future. 

  3. Make the best of your current situation. Take inventory of your current situation and make the best of it. If you are not where you are financially when you want to be, you can be eventually by maximizing the use of your time. This will look differently for each person and will be highly personalized based on your situation on how the details would look.

  4. Eliminate time and money sucks. We all have time stuff that either costs us more time than we should be spending and more money than we should be spending. It can very well be the same thing. This is where revisiting our financial and time priorities regularly to make sure we are on the right track with our goals. Spring time is a great time to do this as we are excited about the change of seasons and the freshness that comes with the season.

  5. Develop a new spending/saving strategy. Finding a spending and saving strategy is a great exercise for both your money and time. You have to spend time and you have to spend money. It is best to find a way to get a return of some kind when you spend something. The most obvious example is when you spend time to work and you make money. They can work interchangeably or also like credit card rewards where you are rewarded money for spending money. The bottom line is to consider how any transaction will net you in both terms of time and money.  

Time and money have a strong relationship with each other. They are so frequently used interchangeably that we should always consider them together. You can be rich in time, but poor in money, or the other way around. You can also be rich or poor in both. Observing the relationship that time has with money is important to helping you manage your resources. 

Financially Organized

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you have gathered by now that the focus is time management and productivity. There are many different ways that productivity can help you be more organized. Finances are an important part in all of our lives. I have hinted in previous posts that our finances have a significant relationship with each other. For example, we almost always have to make a time investment to make money. However, in this post I will focus more on the actual organization of your money. There are so many ways that being financially organized can save you time and a ton of frustration. Here are a few examples of the benefits of being financially organized.

  1. Know what you actually have. You should regularly take an inventory of your finances. Know what you have on hand, in checking, in savings, in investments if any, etc. Also, take note of your debts and how they stack against what you have. Knowing your situation is always the first step and best way to improving any situation

  2. Making and Following a Budget. I have mentioned a time budget several times and the benefits. Keeping a financial budget is just as important and requires the same skills. Knowing how much you can spend and deciding what you should spend it on will save a lot of time in making purchasing decisions.

  3. Organized for Tax Filing. Many of us are thinking about our taxes this time of the year. If you are like me and are done already, congrats. Being financially organized as well as just regular organized will help you in this time. Knowing which documents you should have ready, and having all of your records organized in an easy way will allow you or your tax-preparer to have easy access to what you need to file.

  4. Keep Your Wallet Physically Organized. It is helpful to keep everything in the same place. As we will probably put cash in the same spot all of the time, it is helpful to have a system for organizing credit cards, debit cards, rewards cards, and everything else that we may keep in our wallet. This will save us time from having to look for something, which will be especially appreciated by others if you are in line.

  5. Have a clear plan. Just like making a time budget and a schedule, we need to have a detailed plan for our money. We should be organized in a way that is helpful for our future. 

Working as an accountant for several years now, I have seen all kinds of financial situations. I have seen the good, bad, and ugly and in some cases all at the same time. There are so many ways to be disorganized and do it wrong. Take advantage of the opportunity to get yourself organized financially, so whether you have a little or a lot, you will know exactly what you do and don't have and can avoid the stress of not knowing. People say ignorance is bliss, but especially when it comes to finances, it is not. I may make this a mini series about money and how it does relate to our time. Thanks for reading and please let me know your thoughts.

Birthday Reflections

This is going to be a different post. As you have seen, I usually write an informative post with a few take home points for the topic. This post today will be more motivational, quicker, and also on a Wednesday rather than a Monday.

First of all, I want to thank my readers for your support and I hope that you all have had several takeaways from the posts and that it has impacted your live positively. I want to encourage you to make the most of your life, as time does fly by. Today is my birthday and I can’t believe another year has flown by so quickly. 

During this next year, I plan to get a lot more content out there for you guys. I am just about finished with my book, just need to get a bit of the finishing touches worked out. There is a lot more to go from here, I will get into more details and the launch date as it comes closer. 

There has been a lot going on in my family so all prayers and good wishes are appreciated. Things are looking better now thankfully. 

This is more like a journal entry and a quick update rather than a post. I will resume with regular posting next week. If there are any thoughts, suggestions, or ideas for topics, please feel free to share them. I look forward to sharing with all of you.

Finding the Best Decision

In most cases there is more than way to do something. With so many choices, it is difficult to decide which choice will have the best benefits. Sometimes we have so many choices that we become paralyzed in our decision making. Many of us live in a complicated world where we have to decide what to eat for lunch, what to watch on TV or Netflix, what career to pursue, where to live, and what to do. We can end up wasting so much time just trying to figure out what we are going to do. Here are just a few things to do when you have too many options. I do something like this whenever a major decision comes upon. For example when choosing a potential job it is worth using criteria like monetary compensation, as well as both the monetary and time cost of the commute, benefits, as well as any other criteria that may be important to you.

  1. Make a list of all options. The be  way to explore your options is to have them all in one place in front of them.

  2. Develop a point system to rank them. Find criteria to measure and assign a numerical number. Being able to quantify the value of each option will give you an objective way to evaluate each choice.

  3. Find the choice with the highest value. The point system should not be an end all be all. Once you find the choice with the highest point value, it is best to confirm that this is actually the best choice. Still give it a little more thought to make sure it is.

  4. Choose the best option. Once you can confirm it's the best choice, go ahead with it.

This process can be repeated as many times as needed for any major decision. I wouldn't recommend the time investment for a small decision like lunch or what to watch on TV; however, it can definitely be worth the time investment when you have larger decisions. It will save you time from trying to make a choice shooting in the dark and will also save you time from making the wrong decision. I hope this process can save you time as well as add clarification to the major decisions in your life.

The Value Time Boxing

In case you are wondering where I have been...

Long story short...my dad requires care at home because he is paralyzed. My mom is normally doing what she can to take care of him, but had a gallbladder removed so she was unable to care for him. As a result, I was at home caring for my dad and that alone was a full time job and left me occupied to the extent that I wasn't able to focus on much else.

Thankfully, mom is OK and is recovering and is able to return to most of what she was doing before, therefore, so am I.

I want to visit a productivity method known as time boxing. This can also be referred as time blocking. Essentially, the entire goal here is to ensure that you have time blocked out for activities that need to be done. This can be done by placing the most important activities on a calendar. This method is especially effective in the case that you are not already scheduling every activity that you need to do. Here are a few ways you can benefit from time boxing.

  1. You get a clear picture of what you need to do. When you have the most significant things on your calendar, you have a strong understanding of when you are most busy and what you have to do.

  2. This will prevent double booking. Just because you may not have to work or have an appointment at the time, doesn't mean you are free. Having the largest projects and tasks scheduled will help prevent you from over-scheduling yourself.

  3. It is easier to let others know that you busy. You can schedule tasks out ahead of time further. If you are using Google calendar or another shared calendar, then those shared with you will see when you are busy and have a lot to do.

I have taken a different direction regarding scheduling myself. For the longest time, I was scheduling every single activity that I was doing. However, I have dialed back a bit with some of that and now only schedule the most significant things. So far, I have found this to be more effective and less cumbersome. I will update periodically on how well this works out.

Also, be on the lookout for future exciting things. I am finishing up my book so look for details to come soon.

An Interesting Idea

I was recently listening to a podcast and someone had a really interesting idea. They have tried one thing and it had helped increased efficiency significantly. It all came down to not looking at the time very often. In fact they were bold enough to not look at the time at all except for setting phone reminders. I was personally very surprised to hear that eliminating your concept of how much time has passed will actually make someone more efficient. I always thought that a limited awareness of how long activities take would not help. 

This is a very unique concept and I never considered how not looking at the time and not being aware of how you spend your time. This is just about the opposite of my approach. This is why I wanted to bring this up. There are many different approaches and the goal is for you to find the method that works for you the best. Below are just a few reasons you should take a different approach.

  1. Gain a fresh perspective. Doing something different than what you are doing is a great way to get a new perspective on a method. Seeing something from a different perspective is very helpful and can provide the opportunity to improve what you are doing.

  2. Understand what works best. The only way to really know which works best for you is to try several different approaches. Once you find the best one, you should go along with it.

  3. Ideas out of your own can be great. This is true even what we are doing works great. It is always good to benefit from perspective outside our own.

I am definitely in support of trying new methods in order to maximize our productivity. While this is not something I would have considered, it could work very well. It is always good to have an open perspective and always be looking for the best way to do something. Let me know of any unique and different productivity concepts. I do plan to explore more productivity ideas that are different than I would consider.

Developing a New Routine

I have previously hinted at developing a new routine in the past. My last post discussed when you should ditch your old routine. I have also discussed why you should change your routine and how to determine that it is the right time. The focus of this post is to discuss some of the best options that I have found when you do decide to take the plunge and develop a whole new routine from scratch. There are many times why this may be warranted. Here are are just a few examples of when this may be appropriate.

  • You have been working full time and were laid off - this also works the other way around

  • A change in your family life - getting married, divorced, a birth in the family, or a death in the family

  • Moving to a new location for any reason

  • When your routine is not working like mentioned in the last post

Here are a few ways you can start a whole new routine.

  1. Get all of your activities in once place. Whether you use paper, your computer, or your phone - get all of your activities in one place. This will give you an idea of what you have to do and what you need to schedule.

  2. Decide on the priorities of your activities. The next step is to place all of the activities that you have placed on your list in order of priorities. Since the whole point here is to develop a new routine, you need to find which activities that are the highest priorities.

  3. Make a time budget and then a schedule. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know me by now. Making a time budget and a schedule that you follow has helped me significantly and I will advocate for it.

  4. Analyze your routine regularly. Check on a regular basis based on the period of time of your choosing to ensure how well your routine has been working. If you find yourself not following your routine than you realize that you still need to make adjustments.

I am in the process of making a new routine. It has gotten to the point occasionally where I don't look at my schedule and that is not helpful. I am currently working on a new schedule that would be in a way that I can follow it. I tend to enjoy readjusting my schedule and making a new schedule. This creates a sense of freshness and excitement. You may not be like this, so I do understand why you may not see much value in doing this. Wherever you stand on this, please let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

When it is Time to Ditch Your Current Routine

We are still in the beginning of the year. Many of us are still evaluating our lives, goals, finances, schedules, etc. There are many different ways we can go about each new year and that will differ for each you each time. Every once in a while, we may come to a place where our current schedule and routine isn't working. This could manifest in a number of ways. The most obvious would be that we are not getting the results that we want or need to succeed at the task we have at hand. We may get to the point where our schedule is not useful to us anymore. In this case, we may want to draft out a whole new routine altogether. I seem to do this about every 2-3 years. There is no particular schedule for when I do this, I just go ahead and do it when I deem it is time to do so. Here are some signs to tell it is time to change our schedule.

  1. What you are doing is not working. This is the most obvious sign that there needs to be a change. If what you are doing isn't getting you the results that you need, then it is time to make changes. 

  2. What you are doing is not sustainable. If you are doing too much and you are regularly worn out, you will not be able to complete the things that you set out to do.

  3. What you are doing is not challenging enough. You may be finding yourself with too much free time or just completely bored with your life at the moment. A new year always provides an excellent opportunity to reach a new goal and do something that you weren't doing before.

  4. What you are currently doing doesn't make sense. If there is a better way to do what you are doing, then do it. If it is not easy to make the change, at least work towards making the change. Sometimes we do things just because that is how we have been doing them for years, or even decades or longer. It may not even make sense to do things a certain way anymore. Perhaps, maybe it never did.

I am in the process of making changes to my personal schedule and routines. As I said earlier, it is an excellent time to decide to make changes. Please also note that January is not the only good time to make changes and adjustments, I am excited for what is ahead, and on that note, there will be some exciting announcements coming soon. Stay tuned and thank you for reading.