Hello lovely readers,
I am quite out of it this week.
I allowed myself to cop out of my obligations again.
I didn’t get to write this week’s BUGs (Blogging University Graduates) Challenge, a check-up post on the BUGs forum, and my supposed weekly post.
On Tuesday, I asked to go home early from work when they were looking for people whose shifts to cut that day. On Wednesday, I didn’t show up at my doctor’s office without calling them in spite of the legitimate reason for not being able to go (contractors showed up to fix the flooring in our apartment). On Saturday, I missed my shift for the Energy Exchange program because of a shift I picked up at work, but I also called in sick at work so I can have some time to myself.
I love both my jobs and I’m happy to be working a lot. I also love living with my bestfriend and I admit that I’d miss him when either of us goes home to our families. But I haven’t been managing my time well that I end up feeling unfulfilled.
Where has my time been going to?
Staring into space. Wandering in malls and stores. Mindless web surfing. Endless TV watching.
Sure, I’ve been spending time with my family and with Kevin, but mostly it’s been a matter of quantity over quality. Besides, I haven’t seen many of my other friends in months.
I want to read a book. A series of books.
I want to go on simple walks around the city. On adventures.
I want to have coffee with a friend. A get-together party with a group of friends.
I want to workout or practise yoga at home. At the gym or the studio.
Unfortunately, many of these activities not only demand time, they also require money. And money’s pretty tight these days.
I think I did a good job in creating a budget for the rest of the summer, but a week into July, I seem to have lost my footing already.
I’ve already bought food and things that aren’t part of this month’s budget.
I’m not complaining at all. I need new work clothes that would not bake me as I walk out in the sun. And I wanted to contribute to our family outing, even if it’s only for less than $50. (Fortunately, my tax reimbursement that came in last week covers that.)
The real problem lies in my ability to cook good food that Kevin and I could eat for dinner and take to work. I’d definitely save a lot if I don’t eat out on my breaks and if I don’t crave tons of junk food all the time.
Speaking of food, I’d love to experiment more in the kitchen and try new dishes. I’m quite the picky eater and Kevin is particular with his food (i.e. he’s also picky :p) so we never really ventured out of our comfort zones that much.
Our schedules have also not been the best. A few months ago, he’s been super busy with school and work. When he finished his studies, I earned two jobs, and so have consequently been working a lot.
So what am I to do now? Here are my recommendations to time management, financial management, and meal planning.
Keep moving forward.
That’s really the best answer to most of life. Whatever troubles you face, whatever obstacles you run into, keep moving forward and make the best out of it.
Currently, I am reading Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think as a guide to time management. (I will be taking up Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastination and Get More Done in Less Time later on.) I’m only on the second part of the book (third chapter) and Vanderkam has already made it clear to me how much time we really have. I’ve always tried scheduling for a given day and I’ve always found myself flustered with how little time I have in a day. Vanderkam turns this common frustration around and reminds her readers that, really, we have 168 hours to budget. There is enough time for an average of 8 hours of sleep, 40-50 hours of work, and still have time for your family and for yourself.
As for budgeting money, I found Peter Dunn’s Your Money Life: Your 20s a very elucidating read. (He has various versions of this book depending on which decade of life you’re in.) See, I’ve always loved Gail Vaz-Oxlade and her no-nonsense approach to money, but I never got through her Debt-Free Forever book. (I know her from her TV shows Til Debt Do Us Part and Princess.)
Vaz-Oxlade presents a whole life turn-around approach to becoming better with your money in Debt-Free Forever. While I love this kind of approach, it is quite daunting when you’re just a young 20-year-old trying to be good at handling your finances. Perhaps, now, five years later, I could finish reading it and apply what I learn in my life.
At this point, however, I am loving Dunn’s Your Money Life and his simple plan to attack the past, the present, and the future of your money life. I finished reading his book in less than a day, with lots of highlighting and writing notes on the margins. I learned that the best way to deal with credit is via the Momentum Method, that credit histories give a great snapshot of your financial intellect if you disregard the score and focus on the details, that budgeting is a give-and-take between the expense categories of your life, and that the best way to save is by using the three-bucket method.
Next, I shall borrow a beginner’s cookbook at work and tell you about my food experiments in the (near) future.
How about you?
Have you been struggling in any (or all) of these three big things in life, too? What do you recommend to those of us needing some guidance?