Lack of Motivation

I have been very unmotivated lately and it really shows in many places such as this blog. My time and energy have been consumed by a couple different things and the impact they’ve had to my motivation have been staggering. I used to have ideas for this blog popping up all over the place now it seems to have dried up. But I have been putting in an extra amount of energy into a side project idea lately, which I can see as being a creative drain. The good thing is that my lack of motivation hasn’t impacted working on this side project very much; I’m still extremely excited by it.

Unfortunately a lot of things around me have been impacted and it’s interesting to see how one aspect of your life impacts another. Lacking motivation could be coming from the office but it might be your hobbies that get impacted the most. When you’re overworked even though you’re busy you can see the motivation slowly ebb away and how the quality and level of work just trickles away as a result. The interconnectivity of everything no matter how much you compartmentalize it can be seen through motivation (at least to some extent).

Staying motivated can be a really big challenge sometime especially if the day-to-day grind is no longer something you love to do (or can tolerate any longer). I have been really busy at the office and I have been mentally drained for a while. In short I’m a bit burnt out. On the other side of the coin I have this little side project I’m working on which I’m working on and excited about and by itself it is keeping me motivated.

So how do I stay motivated?

In this particular case it’s actually my side project that is keeping me going. If it works out the way I hope it does then I won’t need to rely on my day-to-day job for all of the money coming in thus removing the day-to-day grind as required. I’m excited by the idea and the prospect that this brings and it illustrates how I keep the motivation flowing – rather than sit on my behind and moping about it I try to do something about the issues that are sitting on my mind. This isn’t always easy but having a goal however small gives you something to strive towards.

Another thing I try to do when I start feeling unmotivated is slowing down. I might be inadvertently overloading myself with too much of everything. Simplify everything in order to get some balance back into life. I limit commitments to really urgent ones and take some time for myself to relax and truly unwind. Taking on too much might be what’s inadvertently causing the problems.

Planning, Dreaming and Reality

As part of life we make plans and set goals that take us to our dreams. This is especially important if you’re trying to come up with things like business plans or get yourself out of debt or even run a marathon. Dreaming can be a big part of this since we always want to get to what we dream up; unfortunately sometimes our dreams and reality don’t mesh together. This isn’t to say that you need to limit your dreams; that’s where the planning part comes in. Your dreams can be sky high but your plans need to have some basis in reality or you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

Personal finance

Planning and finances goes hand in hand; you need to plan out your money and make sure that you have enough to pay your bills, feed yourself and get yourself some of the niceties in life. Even from a very limited point of view you have to do some planning when it comes to your money. The aspect of money is also important when you dream up your ideal lifestyle and all of the toys and gadgets that you want to have. The plasma TV hanging on the wall and the Porsche in the driveway unfortunately cost a lot of money and although you can dream both of them up when you’re making minimum wage you can’t actually afford them. Reality comes in and puts a damper on your dreams sometimes but it doesn’t have to; here comes planning to the rescue. With some solid planning that’s grounded in reality you can get those dreams even if they might be of the sky high variety.

The other thing to consider when it comes to dreaming and reality in the realm of personal finance is the fact that if you see the big screen TV on the wall and simply go buy it the debt is something that you have to deal with. A lot of people don’t consider the results of their actions and they find themselves up to their eyeballs in debt. This is reality rearing its ugly head to let you know that you didn’t plan very well.

Business planning

Personally I’ve been investigating a couple business ideas lately including the idea of buying an existing business. My mind whirs and whirs with the potential results and if I was a cartoon character I’m sure I would have dollar signs in my eyes. The reality in this situation is that yes there is a lot of potential in the items that I’m dreaming up and the goal of having all the money that my dreams come up with is possible but I would be fool hardy to try any of these ideas without some solid planning. The planning is what will make those dreams truly achievable and it will be the stepping-stones to getting to the goals and dreams.

The balance

I’m a bit of a dreamer; I tend to come up with an idea and then let it run wild in my head cooking up all sorts of crazy plans around it. For me this applies to pretty much anything regardless of what it is. From this I’ve learned that the balance between dreaming and reality is the planning. You can come up with some crazy plans but if your plans mesh with reality and are realistic then you’re more likely to succeed than if you simply dreamed the idea and tried getting there right away. Planning and realistic planning to be specific can get you to the bigger dreams as well since it lets you break down your goals into manageable pieces.

Without the balance between dreams and reality you might find that the two never meet leaving you disappointed. Most people who’ve achieved great things didn’t just get there; they had lots of steps along the way that were planned out that did.

Doing your Prep Work

Research Microscope

A couple of the things that I’ve been working on lately has been investigating a couple possible investment/business opportunities and I have to say that making sure you do your prep work is in my mind becoming more and more important. I’ve always understood that a business plan was necessary but all the research into understanding what the business is supposed to be doing versus what’s happening in the industry.

I have never started a business, had a few good ideas that popped into my head but otherwise I’ve seen others do it. So rather than just start the business or in the case of one of them just try buying it the business plan is coming first. The main reason for this is to make sure that everything is planned out and we know exactly what’s going on, what’s planned and what’s expected. The second reason for doing this exercise is to see if it actually makes sense to do; is there any reality to the expectations or are they simply a matter of delusion and getting swept up in the enthusiasm of the idea.

This is new for me but I think its time to start moving in this direction I’ve identified no less than 5 potential businesses that I think are viable with a couple off shoot ideas that could turn into them. That tells me its time to start investigating some of these and start writing the business plans. The ones that aren’t worthwhile should be left alone but the ones that are really worth it need to be ventured.

In the planning stages the prep work and research are key in knowing what you’re attempting to do. Getting the lay of the land so to speak before you make any ventures into it. While the prep work is critical in my opinion there is a fine line between that and paralysis through analysis.

Random Thoughts and Business Ideas

I blinked and the date somehow turned from the 4th of October to the 10th! I cannot believe how incredibly busy things have been the past few weeks. Work has been relentless in its continuous push against me and I’ve been trying to step up and keep up the workload but its been trying as the volume of posts here will indicate.

A Belated Happy Thanksgiving to my other fellow Canadian bloggers out there! For those American bloggers out there who don’t know Canada has it’s Thanksgiving Day the second Monday in October rather than in November. I’m actually not sure why this is the case but its always nice to have a long weekend (especially when there are no communication devices around to beep, buzz, or ring).

Other than that a couple more potential business ideas have shown up on my radar and some very serious thought has been put into them on my end. All of the 4 ideas that I’m currently floating around in my head (and on paper) seem to have good earning potential which leads me to wonder what am I missing since not all of them can be the winners I think they are. Thankfully a couple of the ideas are geared towards a more passive income stream rather than a full lifestyle change which means that I can start those without going to the extremes of moving or quitting my job. Those will be first and if all goes well they will also potentially pay for the others.

Over the next few weeks work should start to lighten up a bit (hopefully) and I’ll be able to concentrate some of my down time to planning out and fleshing out the business ideas that I’ve got. Hopefully I’ll be able to actually get going on the couple passive ones that I’ve got and get them up and running. If posting is a little irregular please bear with me.

Are you TOO busy?

A very simple question that very many people are simple unable to answer properly. They think they’re busy but they don’t see the fact that they may in fact be too busy. Personally I know I’m way too busy right now and the effects are starting to show in my psyche and ability to get things done. If you don’t think that can happen to you, think again. I always thought that I had a good ability to deal with a high volume of work and I still do but thinking this way means that you might take more and more work.

How can you tell you’re too busy?

I guess the important question if you think you might be too busy is not whether you are or you aren’t but how can you tell if you are. Realistically the answer to this question will change from person to person. But what I’ve noticed some indicators are that you might be too busy are: you see your workload and can’t figure out where to start, the small tasks keep getting in the way and you can’t get to the bigger items, your to do list is a mile long and items travel from one day to the next without being completed.

There are probably 101 more ways that you can tell that you’re too busy and I’m sure the majority of them would be right. The item that I’m dealing with isn’t necessarily the fact that I’m too busy but the impact that this is having on my psyche; when my workday is over I have no energy to really do anything and I find that distractions such as TV and going for drinks aren’t as relaxing as they used to be. The feeling of being wound so tight is ever present even though I’m not thinking about work.

The viciousness of being too busy is that not being able to sit down and finish a task at a time will delay and prolong every task that you need to do. The nagging feeling that you need to do more just hangs in the air and you try to work quicker rather than smarter.

What to do about it?

There will be times in our lives when we will simply be over busy; we will simply have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. How do you handle it? Again the answer to this question is both personal and case specific but there are a few items that seem to be universal in my mind:

  • Delegate
  • Limit your tasks
  • Concentrate on a task till its complete
  • Stop taking new tasks
  • Don’t worry – it will just slow you down

The first one is easy; if there’s something that you can delegate to another person then do it. It doesn’t have to be a permanent thing; even a short reprieve can help you get caught up on the monster to do list. The second item takes practice, at least for me. Limit yourself to the number of major tasks that you’re trying to accomplish in one day. If you keep rewriting everything from the previous day on your to do list then it’ll be too daunting to finish in the day.

Which leads into the next point, when you’re working on something concentrate on it and finish it in one session rather than leaving it. The other thing to consider is by concentrating I mean don’t let interruptions get in the way; People think that a simple interruption (even a minute or two) isn’t a big deal when in reality the impact is it will take you a lot longer than those two minutes to you get back to where you were with the task.

The next item on my little list is the most obvious one for me. If you’re overloaded with work stop taking more! When someone asks if you can do something say no. If you’re in a position where you are told what to do push back and tell your boss that you’re already busy and you don’t want to sacrifice any of the tasks you’re working on including the new one. Most people appreciate this type of approach.

Finally don’t worry about it; if you’re overloaded with work worrying and getting stressed out about it will only take up time and make you less efficient. If you’re worried about a report you need to run at the office but you’re supposed to be in bed sleeping then you’re not getting enough rest. Remember you can only do so much.

Personal Finance Application

So what does this have to do with personal finance? Surprisingly a lot in my opinion, people treat their finances the same way they treat being overworked. When they need to spend money they go overboard and when the bills start piling up they don’t know where to start or what to do with them. I’ve been in this situation, not knowing what bill to pay first or how I would pay for all of them. This isn’t a good situation to be in since the impact is considerable.

The approach is very similar to being over busy. Step 1 – you have to stop the spending, Step 2 – a systematic approach to getting everything paid for however slowly. This maybe an oversimplification but realistically step 1 is really the solution and everything else is digging out of the hole you’ve dug yourself into.

Being overwhelmed by your finances or your work isn’t a good situation to be in because of the impact mentally. Some people are able to handle the stress but given time everyone will feel the effects. There is only so much time in the course of a day, you can’t create more time but you can use it wisely. The same goes for your finances you only make so much money, apply and use it wisely.

September Assessment

I have to say that I’m both a little disappointed with my September accomplishments and happy with them. I ended up traveling a fair bit for work and for personal stuff (nothing bad) which impacted my overall goals a fair bit. On the positive side I was able to keep the spending down as much as possible but I wasn’t able to keep track of all of my spending so I have no accurate view of where my money went this month. This is very frustrating since this information is crucial to being able to cut down my cash flow problem. On the slight positive note I was able to keep almost all of my receipts so I should be able to reconstruct a fairly accurate picture. The goal isn’t to collect everything till the end of the month but to track it as the spending is occurring because inevitably some receipts get lost and you don’t always get one.

The monthly goal/accomplishment that I am most happy about is the fact that I was able to increase my net worth by $1,092.72 to $16,608.07, which was very nice since the goal was a quarter of that. This increase is a bit inflated since I put extra money onto my credit cards for my business travel, which is something I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I also have a couple outstanding payments, which are also not reflected in that snapshot. This month thankfully is a month with three pays (the benefits of a bi-weekly pay structure).

Overall the month just flew by and I wasn’t able to address the day to day tracking as well as I could have but on the flip side I wasn’t reliant on my cards to get me through the month. This just goes to show that although I don’t have an accurate picture of my cash flow it couldn’t have been nearly that bad.

On a final note I have started the process of planning out my business idea and I’ve actually gotten some thoughts and plans down on paper. Although this isn’t a full business plan it’s a definite start. I really need to spend more time getting this up and running because of how much of a benefit I think it could be to me financially. Ideas are a dime a dozen, even good ones, you have to act on them and try them out or they’re nothing more than ideas.

My Brief Hiatus is Over

For those of you who come to this site regularly I’m sure that you’ve noticed the lack of posting this past week. This was a bit of an involuntary hiatus. I had to travel for work for part of the weekend although I thought I’d have some time to write but this didn’t even come close to happening.

When I get on a writing roll like I’ve been the past few weeks I really don’t like taking a break because it inevitably interrupts the flow of writing and ideas. I’ve still got a bunch of ideas floating around in my head so I think I’ll be ok. I do have to say its nice to be able to do something different from the day to day grind for a change. Seeing a completely different part of the continent really does put things into perspective. Even within the same country lifestyles and just general approach to life are so much different from what I see on a daily basis. It makes me wonder if I don’t live in the rat race capital of the world.

The only other aspect of my traveling this past week that’s worthy of note is the fact that I spent a small fortune doing it. This was business travel so my employer will be reimbursing me the money that I spent but it definitely made an impact to my finances for the last part of the month. For those of you who travel a lot does your employer give you money up front for travel? Or are you expected to pay out of pocket and get money back?