Okay, so you set some new goals last week. Can you do them? Are they realistic? An important question to think about is do you have enough time and money to do what you want to do?
Here are some guidelines that will help with financial budgeting:
- Live within your means.
- Save first, spend afterward.
- Invest wisely – know how your dollars are being put to work – they might as well be doing something good in the world.
- Know how much you spend on necessities vs. discretionary items.
- Plan for everyday expenses and one-off expenses as well as allowing for unexpected expenses.
- Treat the numbers objectively. It’s better to pay off a high interest credit card first than a low interest one.
- If your expenses are higher than your income you have two options – reduce the amount you are spending and increase the amount you are earning.
- If you choose to carry debt, understand the consequences upfront.
- Use banking software (if available) to track your spending so you have an accurate picture of what you spend, not just a guesss
Right now you are looking at the whole year, but of course things can change. Reassess mid-year if needed, or if big changes happen in your life, such as a new job, raise, or large unexpected expense.
Feel free to adjust your goals as needed!
Once you have a vision for your company, giving you a long term view into the future, it’s time to set some goals, milestones and next action steps.
Let’s start by looking at how these all fit together. Think of your vision as the view of Earth from space. You see the whole thing, but without any details. Next, your goals, are like flying in a commercial airplane at 35,000 feet. You see the general lay of the land and still see the horizon, but still not many details. Your milestones are like flying in a two-seater plane at 10,000 feet. You just see the horizon, but most of your sight is filled with the features on the land. Your next action steps are at ground level. You’re very focused on the details, on what’s right in front of you.
So set goals with the vision in mind, set milestones with the goal in mind and set action steps with the milestone in mind.
What was the last thing you did that was worth remembering?
If you’re struggling to come up with something recent, perhaps it’s time to reconsider how you are going through life. Usually it takes some action on your part to make something memorable happen. So let’s start with this question, “What would I like to remember at the end of the year?” Now lets get to how to create goals to make that a reality.
If you feel overwhelmed looking at your life as a whole, use a wheel of life to look at different areas of your life and what to create in each area of life. Use the pdf as a guide. wheel-of-life-example-and-blank
Start with how things are now. Mark on the wheel how satisfied you are with how much time you are spending in each category. Notice that this can vary for each person. So for one person, spending time with family is very important. They spend about 30 hours a week with family, but still want more. They feel 85% satisfied with the time they are spending with family. Another person finds family time less important, so even though they only spend about 5 hours a week catching up with family, they are 100% happy with the time they spend with their family. So it’s not about how much time you spend in any one area, it’s how satisfied you are with that amount of time. Your aim is to be 100% happy with the amount of time you are spending in each of the categories.
A vision provides a road map for your company, gives it direction and purpose. For some people, their vision of their company is to make millions of dollars, and that’s it. They’re going to make money however they can. If that’s you, I’m not writing this for you. Or if it’s you and you’re interested in a different perspective, read on.
I believe each of us is destined to fulfill a certain role in life. It’s different for each person and we are probably only satisfied when we’ve discovered our role and are fulfilling that role. There are lots of books and courses one can use to help you on your journey to discovering what your purpose is. When you align your company’s vision with your personal vision, magic happens. It’s all a matter of perspective and satisfaction. And you can still make millions of dollars. Being clear about your vision for the company and having it aligned with your personal vision virtually eliminates procrastination. Having a powerful vision helps you get past the inevitable stumbling blocks along the way.
Email. A blessing and a curse. It’s a wonderful way to reach someone without having to play phone tag. It’s a wonderful way to deliver necessary information. And it’s also an easy way for other people to send you the information they want to send you. Work reports that don’t actually pertain to your work. Marketing from a store that you bought one thing from 3 years ago and you might go back to one day. Reply-alls from well-meaning individuals in a group email. And spam. Managing it all can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you stay on top of your email.
1. Limit what comes in
It’s so easy to sign up for interesting and useful newsletters and subscriptions. Set up a separate email address for your newsletters and subscriptions that you can check on your schedule, not theirs. Be judicious about who you give your primary email address to. Use a spam service that automatically reduces the amount of spam you have coming into your inbox.
2. Segment the incoming mail
Use rules or filters to put incoming mail into pre-designated folders for the mail that you don’t have to respond to right away. Examples of this type of mail may be from professional groups that you belong to. Or perhaps you pay extra special attention to those groups and want to be able to see the moment a message comes in from one of those people. Separating their email automatically allows you to go straight to them.
It’s extraordinary how much of our lives are run by our habits. It’s our choice which actions we allow to become habits, although many habits are formed unconsciously. The trick to make life easier is to run supportive habits, rather than bad habits. Charles Duhigg’s book, “The Power of Habit” has an excellent and easy to understand model of how habits are formed and operate. Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” talks about general strategies to live by in order to be effective. These books are all very good in theory, but how can we apply the theories to every day living?
Here are a few ideas in different areas of the house that have made my life easier over the years.
In the kitchen: I admit, the kitchen is not my favorite place to be. I go there because I have to eat and I have to feed my family. I don’t love pouring over recipes finding the next cool taste explosion. I don’t have a million little gadgets for shredding this and that or spiraling those, or whatever else they all do. I prefer to get to know a recipe well and then make it by approximation from memory, because when I do a new recipe, it takes me ages to read and do, read and do. I also hate cleaning up in the kitchen. My worst nightmare is when all the pots and pans have been used, they’re spread all around the kitchen, a dozen chopping boards are out, miscellaneous forks, spoons, knives that were used in the cooking process are sprinkled around. In short, it’s a disaster. It seems so overwhelming to have to clean up at the end of the day.
We’ve all been there. Task A should be done today, yet when we get to the end of the day, it’s not done, again. Yet there are people who seem to be always getting things done. A common phrase of advice is “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” Why is that? What do people who get things done have in common? And how can you learn from them in order to be as productive?
So you have a task that needs doing, but it doesn’t get done. Sometimes we experience negative self talk about it.
Or we make excuses about it.
But what would it be like if, instead of focusing on the failure, you focused on what you could do about it?
Picture this. It’s 25,000 years ago. You pick up the sharpened stone you use for skinning animals and add it to the pouch you sling over your shoulder. It also has some animal sinew in it that you use for fire starter sticks. You roll up the hides you slept under last night and strap them to your back. You have a basket handy so you can collect berries on the way. It’s time to move to winter quarters. Your extended family moves with you.
Life was simple. Hard, but simple. There were no greeting cards, pictures, extra clothes nor shoes. No accumulated memories of a life time. No households of stuff when relatives passed away. There weren’t any books nor piles of paper, no projects – completed or not. There were no electronics nor thousands of accompanying accessories. There was no myriad of sporting paraphernalia. Nothing to declutter.
There was what you needed to survive. That’s it. Maybe you carried a small carving as a token or good luck charm. But mostly what you loved were your family and the experiences you shared. You carried virtually nothing to your grave.
Fast forward to today. According to research done in 2000, the average US household has tens of thousands of items in it.
I’m not suggesting that we go back to cave man days. Life is much more comfortable now, and more complicated. We spend a lot more time organizing our stuff – and getting overwhelmed by it.
So what do you do if you’re overwhelmed by your stuff but you really want to declutter? The number one priority is to reduce the amount of stuff you have. So how do we let go?