5 Keys to Staying Productive

It seems like the more I have on my plate the more productive I stay. It’s easy for me to hop from one thing to another and cross things off my list when there’s a lot to it. But when I have little to “do” I sometimes fall off the productivity grid because I have no outside force pushing me. But the crazy thing is that I’d actually rather stay productive doing my own thing rather than things other people put in front of me!

So the idea would be to be even more productive when I don’t have school or other things to do with getting things done that are important to me and will further my life for the better. So how do we do it?

1. Write it down. What do you want to accomplish? This is apart from finishing your homework or getting your oil changed. What is it that you want to take upon yourself to do or complete that will make your life or someone else’s life better? Get a clear picture of it and then take the time to write it down so you won’t forget. =)

2. Schedule out your day. One of the keys to staying productive even is to schedule your day (or even your week) even when it’s not scheduled for you! I’m not the expert here, but I want to get back into it because I’ve always felt the most fulfilled when I did. I sit down in the morning and write out what the next 24 hours will look like. Whether it’s the gym right after work or reading during lunch or making phone calls on my drive home. Whatever it is, I want to know how I am going to spend my non-renewable resource called time.

3. Stay involved. Those things you wrote down? Get into them and stay into them. Even if they are goals or things you’d like to do that will take several days or even weeks, don’t give up. Read them and think about them everyday. And actually DO something when you are scheduled to. This will keep you interested and keep your mind on the prize. If the goal is to weigh 10 lbs less and you are going to work out 4 times a week then don’t miss a workout! If you do, you’ll want to miss the next one too. 😉

4. Track progress. If you’re going to stay involved you might as well take the time to track your progress. Otherwise, you might feel like all that “involvement” is not paying off! Whatever it is you are working toward, track the progress you are making toward it. As you see yourself getting closer to the goal you’ll want to stick with it and see it to completion.

5. Cut out unnecessary time-consumers. Once again, I’m no expert here but I am realizing more than ever what an hour of TV watching could be. Or how I could grow even during a lunch break. The possibilities of using our time wisely are endless and so are the time-consumers! 😉 Choose what you want to spend your time on and then spend it on that. Simple, right? ha! I know other things try to cramp in on your time but the key is just to be protective of it.

What do you guys think? Do you have any other tips on staying productive?

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Retirement Doesn’t Have to be Your [only] Goal

Ever since I’ve started to read Personal Finance blogs I’ve realized there seems to be a common theme: retirement. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with that. Many people’s goal is to work, save and live in such a way to be able to retire earlier than most with more money than most. Now, what they are actually going to DO during retirement, I am not sure. It varies from person to person, I guess.

But regardless if that is the dream most people are chasing and working to achieve it does not mean that is the dream you have to work to achieve. Or at least the only one you work toward.

Maybe your goal is to save enough money to start your own business one day. Or to have enough to live on while you start blogging full-time.

I guess it all comes down to how you define, “retirement.” Sure, one day, I’d like to escape the 8-5 and “retire” but that doesn’t mean I want to sit around and do nothing. It means I want to be able to do whatever I want 24/7…whether that’s working, playing, relaxing or traveling. But with that definition of retirement we don’t have to wait till we’re older when we are able to cash in our 401(k)s or IRAs. It’s something we can work to achieve much earlier than that if we would like (while still funding those ‘retirement’ accounts for later on.)

Of course it’s hard enough to save enough to live on after the traditional “retirement” around the age of 60, so if you’re wanting to do some major things before then it will require even more focus and planning. But of course, as always, it’s totally possible.

If you’ve been stuck in the mindset that all you’re working toward is retirement but feel a little uneasy about it you should take time today or this week to sit down and write out the things you’d like to achieve before then. And then how you’re going to get there. 🙂

How to Start Off and STAY on the Right Course

We all know the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” But really, it’s only the “right” kind of practice that makes perfect. I can practice wrong over and over and I’ll be, well, perfectly wrong.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

When we start off on a new goal, whether it’s a new career path, a new financial goal, a new way of living, a new relationship, trying to better a relationship, or just starting “life” out right in general, it’s imperative we not start off in the wrong direction. If we do start off wrong, we’ll have to back-track which leads to waste of time and other valuable resources.

So what do we do? How do we start off right?

1. Take your time and count the cost.
Don’t jump to a conclusion about where you’d like to be without giving it some time. Consider it much like a large purchase. A large purchase will take a significant amount of money. And a big “goal” will also require a significant amount of resources. It’s not something to decide on a whim. If you do, it will probably fade quickly cause you haven’t counted the cost.

2. Write it down.
Okay, I’m sure you’re tired of reading it but it’s so true. There is so much power in writing things down. First write down the goal or end-product you’d like to see and then take the time to write down  the specific steps it will take to get there. Those steps will probably be certain actions you need to take with due dates. This will give you a clear blueprint of how to get and stay on the right course all the way to the fulfillment of your dream.

3. Invite the help of others.
Start off right by having some support. And keep the support all the way through. Friends who hear your passion about something will help remind you when the passion is running dry later on.

4. Take frequent pit stops.
Some people say that if you ever take a break from working toward your goal you’ll give it up all together. I disagree. Sometimes you need to step back and take an honest look at the situation. Take a rest and look over your blueprint again and see the big picture. Find yourself in it and remind yourself why you’re working toward it. You’ll feel refreshed and energized and ready to get back to work to reaching it.

That’s just a few things I thought of on how to start and stay on course toward any kind of goal you’d like to reach.

What do you guys think? Any other tips on starting and staying on the right course?

Things To Do Everyday

Everyone has different and various goals at different times in life and we usually spend most of our time investing in those goals. But there are certain things that regardless of what our goals are it would benefit us to participate in every single day. Even if only for a few minutes. They are the foundation to the rest of life and will help you live a better life overall.

1. Be quiet.
Whether it’s one hour or five minutes, take time to just be quiet. Listen. Look out a window or close your eyes. It’s in this time that God will speak and you’ll hear more about your purpose and direction for the day.
3. Write it down.
Make it a habit to write things down. Whether it’s writing down what you heard while you were being quiet or just writing things down throughout the day that come to mind you will need to remember lately. Writing things down is such a stress reliever. You don’t have to worry about it anymore–it’s on paper.
3. Get moving.
Personally, I’ve joined a fitness club and try to go everyday. Some days I spend 30 minutes there and other days I spend 1 1/2 hours there. But regardless I try to get myself moving some everyday. It does wonders for your health and well-being and the endorphins released will definitely make you feel better overall.
4. Eat right.
I’m not the expert here, and I definitely don’t do as good as I should some days. But the key is just to be aware. Be aware of what you’re eating and deliberately choose healthier options each time you go to eat. Make sure you’re hungry and aren’t just snacking mindlessly and that what you’re putting into your mouth has some good nutritional value. Apple or cookie? Try to choose the apple more often. =) Same thing as with exercising, you’ll just feel better knowing that you’re eating a little healthier.

5. Do something new.
This isn’t easy because our days are filled with things that are “old.” Who has time for something new?  But just try something. Whether it’s saying hello to someone you’ve never met before or picking up trash you see on the ground or taking a walk in a new park–take a few minutes to do something you’ve never done before. You’ll feel enriched and probably learn something you didn’t know before.

Those are just a few things that came to mind that we can all do every single day to help build a better life.  Do you have any more ideas or thoughts on these?

Millionaire To Do List

I’m not into the “get rich quick” schemes but what I am into is being responsible with my finances, and hopefully helping a few people along the way. I’m not the smartest person with finances but I read (a lot) of personal finance blogs and have learned a lot from ordinary people who have made mistakes and learned from them as well as who have made decisions that were straight dead on.

So there are a few things I’ve decided when it comes to my money.
One: It isn’t really mine so I hold it with open hands. It’s entrusted to me to use for the good of others and myself and to honor God and people around me. And…
Two: I would like to be a millionaire one day.

Pretty simple, really. Nothing to get stressed about. But it is a little something for me to get excited about and work towards. Slowly, but surely.

So here it is:

My Millionaire To Do List

1. Open a 401(k) plan and fund it up to the max my employer will match.
For me, this is 5% of what I make. So on a yearly basis I’ll add 5% of my income and my employer will match it so whatever 10% of my income is that year is how much will be added to my 401(k) for the year. Cool!

2. Open a Roth IRA and max it out yearly.
A roth IRA can be funded up to $5,000 a year. And what is great about Roth IRAs is that you get taxed on it as you put it in, not when you pull it out. Perfect.

3. Keep a budget and be frugal but not to too frugal.
What I love about a budget is that I get to tell myself how much I get to give myself in my savings accounts as well as how much I get to just spend on whatever I want. (Of course, the bills are in there too but not quite as exciting.) And it helps me stay frugal. Knowing that I want to be able to have an extraordinary amount of money in my savings accounts gives me the inspiration I need to live my day-to-day life a little less luxuriously.

4. Regularly find ways to increase my income.
This could be trying to get a raise or promotion at work, or starting a side business or selling random things I don’t need anymore. The more channels of income I have the more income I’ll have. And income is the best way to save more money. Cause I can live off of what I have right now. So if I make more, I can keep living off of what I have right now and save all the extra.

So the question is…why create a millionaire to do list? Why save instead of spend? Well, I don’t save for the sake of saving. I save so I can live well when I’m older. I  save so I can go on vacation later. I save so I can buy the new laptop with cash. I save so I can give to other whenever I want to.

I save so I can live well. =)