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Time as Currency

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One of the most life altering changes for me this year has been viewing my time as currency. I guess I have always known this, but our current book club book really opened my eyes. Now whenever I want to sit down and just veg, I think “what will this cost me?”

It’s motivated me to be more productive. It’s motivated me to prioritize better. And it’s motivated me to really focus on how I’m spending my time.

If you are stuck in a rut whether it be financial, emotional or physical, I thought I would share with you some steps that have helped me take back control of my time.

Steps to Controlling Your Time

  1. Recognize the negative patterns and fears in your life. This has been HUGE for me. Most of mine are emotional and of course, financial.
  2. Bring those patterns and fears to the light, share them. It truly does help take away their power.
  3. Journal. There is something about hand writing things that makes it stick better with me. It also calms my racing mine and gives me an outlet when I’m overwhelmed (as a single mom this is often.) I have multiple journals that I do each day:
    1. Gratitude – life has been really hard and most days I wake up super stressed. But starting the day by writing 3 things I am grateful for has really changed my attitude and helped me start the day with a smile rather than a headache.
    2. Best Selfthis journal has changed my life. It is essentially a 13 week challenge to tackle 3 goals at a time. It is succinct and clear and I love it! I highly recommend. (Full disclosure: This is an affiliate link.)
    3. Prayer – this is my latest addition. Last year, I focused on Bible memory. This year I am focusing on my prayer list. I have a master list that I pray through and then add to it as things come to mind. It also includes verses I hear that speak to my soul.
  4. Create your to do list AND keep it updated. I have two tools I use daily to keep me on track:
    1. Google Calendar – I’ve probably mentioned this before. Each of the kids has a calendar, and I have several (personal, business and some specific clients.) They are all linked so we can stay in sync and the kids can easily see where I am, and more importantly these days if I am available to get them somewhere as a specific time. We’ve used this for years and it’s worked fabulous.
    2. Asanato do list, to do list, to do list. We’ve used this for school. I used it with customers to be able to assign me work. And I use it personally to manage my time and personal tasks. The awesome thing is that it will link to Google Calendar so all my daily to dos show up on my daily calendar. And I can assign tasks to different people. And I can set due dates, attach files and upload comments and notes on the tasks.
  5. Find a mentor. This is very new to me. But I’ve connected with some women here who have really taken an interest in me. That human connection has been huge for me. It’s not a huge time investment but it is nice to know I can pick up the phone and call.

It’s Hard Work

Now being open and honest about my fears and challenges (step #1) was the hardest step for me. So many of the times I quit because of them or procrastinate and sabotage myself.

But the combination of these steps has really pushed me to use my time more wisely. To really think through how I spend my time. And even more so, to focus on “what doing this with my time will cost me or better yet reward me?”

I’m now off to tackle my to do list for the weekend, and I’m excited to say that much of my time this weekend will be money earning! One last thought for you this weekend:

Success is directly proportional to your ability to do uncomfortable things.


May Budget – Hope

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I have revised my monthly budget for our current circumstances and for this current month. While it doesn’t completely eliminate the drain from my savings. My stable of clients who require work every month is growing steadily.

Monthly Budget – May

Hope's Monthly Budget - May

Eliminated Expenses (temporary)

You will notice some line that were included in previous budgets have been removed at least temporarily:

  • Gymnastics – I have worked out an arrangement with the gym for four months (April-July,) buying me a little time to get back on my feet.  I am so grateful for their willingness to work with me.
  • Health Insurance – After draining the bulk of my savings over the last 3 1/2 months, we now qualify for Medicaid. The qualification is good for a year (based on income) and just began this month. Again, a temporary measure.
  • Food – In addition to the health insurance help, we now qualify for food stamps.  It’s a six months qualification, also beginning this month and also dependent on income. I don’t imagine we will qualify for long if I am able to continue to grow my business steadily. But for now, it takes a huge load off.
  • Credit Card – I continue to roll the credit card. This means, I am paying on the credit card and then turning around and paying bills with it. It is definitely my #1 debt goal to pay off this credit card as my income increases.

Annual Payments

I did not include quarterly or annual payments in this snapshot budget. First, none of them are due this month. Secondly, because with such a high deficit still in income versus spending, I can only take one month at a time. I can’t look at the big picture right now.

The payments I am referencing are:

  • Life Insurance (paid quarterly)
  • Certain Business expenses (most paid at the end of the year)
  • Amazon Prime (renews in September) speaking of that, what do you think of the increase in the cost for the Prime service?
  • and more that I can’t even thing of right now.

Income

I have broken down my income based on my three current clients who require regular work. These amounts are the minimums contracted for each month and in each case the amount may vary. And by vary I mean may increase. For instance, one client has contracted a minimum of 10 hours per week at $17 per hour, but this past week, I invoiced for over 25 hours.

In addition, I continued to seek out and pick up project work such as website development. I have just completed a brand new, large e-commerce site and am finishing up a local flooring company’s site. The project income will vary from month to month.

Expense Elimination

I realize there are still some extras in my budget, specifically, Netflix and Universal. To be honest, Netflix is something we use ALL the time. Since our extra budget is $0 with a capital 0…having the option to watch movies or shows is kind of nice.

As for the Universal passes, it’s me clinging to the someday when travel returns to our lives. But I know I need to cancel it. If I can’t return to the black back the end of the summer, I will cancel it. I just need to cling to that hope a little bit longer.

 


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