Have you ever thought about how much your time was worth?
I’m sure a lot of you have, but I haven’t and maybe that’s what is holding me back from bigger and better things.
I’ve never bought into the whole, “I want to be a millionaire,” picture. It doesn’t work for me.
In fact, I’ve gone the other direction. I went from making $72,000 a year, to $55,000 a year, to roughly my present income of $35,000 a year. All by choice.
So, yeah, the whole money thing isn’t a priority. As long as I have the love of an amazing circle of family and a few close friends, a roof over my head, dependable transportation, a job that I respect and enjoy, and an emergency fund, I’m good.
And I have that.
However, Anthony Moore recently wrote “Pretend Your Time is Worth $1,000/Hour and You’ll Become 100x More Productive”, and the headline alone was enough to grab my attention.
It isn’t about becoming rich beyond your wildest dreams. It’s about upping your productivity game, and that I can buy into.
I started to reflect on how I’ve been spending my time lately and I’m not sure I would be worth $20 an hour.
A lot of procrastinating, being lazy, and doing everything but being productive.
While there are some legitimate reasons like getting acclimated to a career move and getting my husband to relax long enough to heal after two recent surgeries, my down time has been truly down time.
And yes, down time is necessary for self-care, but I seem to have taken it to the extreme.
To the point that the last time I published a piece on Medium was January 8.
So, I started to visualize what my time at $1,000 an hour would look like, and this is what I have determined so far:
Planning: Not only will I continue to be an amazing planner but I will follow through on those plans. I will determine what my upcoming week will look like on Sunday.
Action: I will put my butt in the chair. Whether it’s writing, working out, eating healthy meals, working hard for customers, or cultivating relationships, it’s all about action and consistency.
Check in: Each day I will look at my plans in the morning, check in midway during the day, reassess and make revisions as necessary.
Reflect: I will take 5–10 minutes to reflect each evening. That way I can make any adjustments for the following day. At the end of the week, I will take 20–30 minutes to understand what went well, what didn’t go as planned and why, and then begin the process of planning for the next week.
While I haven’t completely worked out the details, the four steps of planning, taking action, checking in, and reflecting will put me on the path to being more productive…and closer to earning $1,000 per hour.
I read an article yesterday about writing. This writer said that writing every day is a necessity. And I get it. Sometimes I get lazy, lose my motivation, and am just not in the mood to write. It's those days where I need to do it anyway.
It's like anything in our lives where we are trying to make a change, a transformation of sorts. I learned a lot about this in Shaun T.'s book, T is for Transformation. It's part autobiography/memoir, part motivation, and part learning. It taught me that in order to truly transform, it takes long-term commitment. I admit I've been lacking that lately.
Some of it is getting into the flow of my new job. I trained for two weeks and now this week is the first one of my actual schedule. The hours are longer and it's a different type of work, so I'm getting into the flow of needing to organize better for time with my family, exercise, writing, and making healthy meals. Right now I'm kind of limping along until I get things in place.
It's understandable, but it's also an excuse. I have the time but I'm not allocating it very well yet. That's the hurdle I'm working to get over. Take this morning for example. I go to work at noon and so I have the entire morning to myself. Well, I was tired and so I slept for two more hours. I decided to bank some sleep since tonight will be a late night followed by an early morning tomorrow. However, that's two hours I lost that I could have been reading, writing, exercising, or planning healthy meals.
I suppose it's a lot of give and take and I really do need to give myself a break, cut myself some slack. However, it's a fine line between that and making excuses. That's what I need to watch out for as I'm sure we all do.
In the big picture, it comes down to the 'why' which is what I come back to time and time again in my writing. If we don't have a big enough 'why' then the motivation and inspiration will wane over time.
It's also important to look at the big picture. What do I want my life to look like in three months, six months, a year, three years, and five years from now? It's not enough to simply go day to day. They don't have to be concrete goals, but rather a direction or intention of what I want my life to look like and then design a plan to go in that direction.
The next few blog posts will be devoted to our 'why' as motivation and inspiration, looking at the big picture, devising a plan, and then following through on that plan. I hope you're as excited as I am for this series. I think it will provide the boost we both need! :)
"Positivity is the sunlight in your garden. You can't grow without it." -Shaun T.
Let that sink in for a moment. If there is no sunlight, a garden won't grow. Without positivity, you don't grow.
I've always thought of myself as a pretty positive person. I would say I'm 90% positive with 10% snarky. Maybe it's not quite that high, but I feel it's pretty close. A few years ago, I asked for feedback from a few trusted friends and colleagues. I wanted them to tell me three things I did well and three areas of improvement.
While not all of them responded, the ones who did both reinforced how I perceived myself but also gave me some insight to help me on my path to growth and enlightenment.
Doing something like that definitely got me out of my comfort zone but it was so worthwhile to me. You never know what someone is going to say, and I tried to get a cross-section of different people in my field to understand how I came across to them.
And the overwhelming aspect of me they pointed out as a strength was my ability to always be positive, even in stressful situations. They said I was calm and was the one who maintained a sense of balance when there was chaos. That was so insightful to me, because sometimes I am calm on the outside when I'm literally freaking out on the inside.
Much of that outside picture of calm I directly attribute to daily meditation practice. While I continue to strive to be calm on both the outside and inside, I know it's a continual process.
I'm currently being tested right now as I begin a new and different job opportunity. While there are similarities between education and the retail world, I know that my training will be completely different. I'm embarking on an adventure in unknown territory. There is a lot to learn, almost like taking the plunge into a foreign language in a new land.
However, it gets my brain thinking in different ways. When we continue to do something we've always done, we begin to get a complacent. Trying something out of our comfort zone is a great way to test what we know about ourselves, and I like that feeling of being challenged.
In the long run, I know it will help me grow in ways I never imagined possible. Bring on the sun!
Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it’s about befriending who we are. — Ani Pema Chodron
After reading Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning, I became interested in meditation. Hal goes through six parts of starting your morning through the acronym, SAVERS — Silence, Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing.
For me, silence ment calming my mind, taking deep breaths, and just letting myself settle. In other words, I was working through the basics of meditation, but I kept asking myself, "What else should I be doing?"
I researched and settled on the Calm App. That was nearly three years ago. I generally do the 10-minute guided meditation in the morning and that sets me up for handling life’s challenges throughout the day.
But in answer to my question, there really isn’t a specific answer. There are so many ways to meditate, and this is what I love about the practice. There is no right or wrong answer.
While many practitioners sit in a cross-legged pose on a pillow on the floor, I prefer to lie prone on my bed first thing in the morning. Sometimes I will sit leisurely on the couch, but a non-negotiable aspect for me is to be comfortable. If I’m not comfortable, then I focus on that and I then feel as if I’m wasting my time.
I know there is a danger to lying down on my bed. Believe me, in the beginning I fell asleep a time or two but in time I settled in and started being able to concentrate on the breath and the topic of the meditation for that day.
Benefits.There are many benefits I have gained from meditation thus far:
1. It is a way for me to awaken to a new day with fresh possibilities.
2. I focus on my breathing.
3. I am doing a better job of letting thoughts flow in and out. I used to get stuck on a thought, but when I refocus my attention to the breath the thought leaves.
4. I can do meditation throughout my day. Sometimes I take a minute during the day simply to take deep breaths as a quick work break. I will take a walking meditation for a few minutes to clear my head. When I take a bath, I relax and let my thoughts go. That’s what is so great about it. Meditation can literally happen anywhere!
5. When I have been in stressful situations, I take a deep breath before responding. In many cases, I have chosen not to respond at all after the deep breath and that has been a life changer. No longer do I make snarky or regrettable comments off the cuff (for the most part) that I end up apologizing for later.
6. Because I take deep breaths rather than automatically talking, I have become much more reflective. I think through my feelings and let them settle rather than being emotional overall.
7. I am a better listener, because I’m not thinking about what I want to say next. I’m focused on the other person.
It’s a practice.But here’s the thing about meditation. It takes time and patience. In the beginning I often wondered if I was doing it “right.” There is no one correct path to the practice.
And that’s the other aspect to keep in mind. Meditation is a practice. It’s not a concept I will ever be perfect at as there will always be room for me to improve and grow. Right now I practice meditation in short bursts of 10 minutes or less for each session. I would like to eventually expand my practice to 30 minutes a day but I’m being patient with myself. I’ve been in this current flow for nearly three years, and I’m taking baby steps to incrementally add time.
I also need to remember to give myself grace. There are some days when I wonder if I have just wasted my time, but then I stop and remember that I won’t be in the zone every single day. There are days when I can’t stop the flow of thoughts no matter how many times I go back to the breath. There are other days when I doze off in the middle of a session.
And that’s perfectly okay.
The essence of meditation is that I’m getting to know myself better. I’m getting more in tune with who I am and how I’m evolving with each day. I’m becoming my own best friend.
When I post something of my own on social media or repost/retweet about living more simply, inevitably a few people will comment on why they like having all of their stuff.
If you're in that camp, I say, "Awesome! You keep doing you."
In fact, I used to be in that camp. I loved my stuff.
And then I got tired of all the stuff I had to dust around each week. I got tired of all the clothes, so many that I rotated between summer and winter with each season having its own tote. I got tired of so much stuff in drawers that it was easier to shove more in rather than go through it.
I simply got tired of all of it but wasn't sure what to do.
And then I started listening to this cool podcast and watched a documentary by the same name, The Minimalists. I've referred to these two friends who make up the dynamic duo, Jonathan Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, in previous posts. You can check out their story here.
I listened to their message, read about their journeys, watched their documentary, and read all three of their books. I consumed everything I could and branched out upon learning about other minimalists who are doing their thing living their lives in the way that best suits them.
And then I jumped to action. Sure, there were times when my husband worried I would purge him (he made the cut!) but minimalism isn't just about getting rid of stuff (but it is a solid starting point).
"Minimalism is not about deprivation; minimalism is about aligning your short-term actions with your long-term values." --The Minimalists
It's about getting real with yourself about what you want your life to be and then pursuing it with ridiculous and consistent passion. This is precisely why I started Everyday Life Uncluttered.
It's was about realizing that life is not a destination but a continuous journey. It's getting rid of the physical clutter that no longer serves a purpose. It's paying down debt to the point of living a life with more freedom. It's having more experiences over obtaining more possessions. It's enriching my life with more mindfulness in who I spend my time with and how I choose to spend my money.
I appreciate that my life is more about going for walks, finding the best pizza in town, reading books, writing, and spending time with my family. It's less about cleaning (we now live in a space of 835 square feet), searching for stuff, and not knowing what I do or don't have.
But as I said, it's a continuous journey. I still have too many books. I'm getting better at gifting some as I finish them (Side note: subscribe to my FREE newsletter on the home page, because I periodically give away books). I have a Kindle, but I still enjoy the feel of a book in my hands most of the time. My husband often tells me that I shouldn't buy another book until I have read the ones I currently have...and then I buy another one anyway.
I do like clothes, but I subscribe to one new item in, two existing items go out.
I need to do a better job of making sure we consume the food we have before purchasing more.
I want to be more mindful of the purchases I make. As much as possible, I buy from small independent businesses.
What often keeps me moving in the direction of keeping the stuff at bay is playing the 30-day minimalism game periodically. It's even better when friends and family join in to hold each other accountable.
So, you keep doing you, and I will keep doing me...with a lot less stuff.
"One day or day one. You decide." --Joshua Fields Millburn
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.