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Archive for January, 2010

I'm TRYING to get more organized!

January 30th, 2010 at 09:30 pm

I admit it - email and postal mail have had me overwhelmed for far too long. The problems are remarkably similar. A constant steady flow pours in, and I always left it in the inbox, while attempting to pull out and deal with the important stuff. Slack off a few days though...

So there mixed with spam and junk mail in an ever expanding mountain lay very important notices about important financial matters with close deadlines.

At work I have been quite happy with keeping a clean inbox for about a week now. I have read David Allen's Getting Things Done book quite a few times now, and probably one of the most important things he says is to trust your filing system enough to depend on it, and the only way that happens is with regular reviews. To that end, there is a very nice program for my Linux PC called Tomboy Notes. It is hyper text based so it is pretty easy to review. I have had a huge Word file at work for years now where I keep notes on day to day things in as organized fashion as I know how. So when I use it, I review it. So I hope to do the same at home with Tomboy Notes now.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I like to document things as I go along, since it helps me think. Of course it MAY also be a form of procrastination, eh?

Oh man! I only paid off a net $100/month over the last four months!

January 17th, 2010 at 02:45 pm

This is despite thousands in payments. No, I don't have massive interest rates (although some have skyrocketed and need to be paid off badly, Capital One), but I do have massive Christmas costs that pretty much offset my payments.



I guess I need to get more serious - I think getting some Dave Ramsey books is in order. I have got the family on board more than before, but Christmas has ALWAYS been our Achilles Heel. I would like nothing better than to institute a no charge policy for Christmas. We have at least made most Christmas costs clothing costs which have come down somewhat over the rest of the year. For now I will go run some numbers on Quickenonline, my usual post-Christmas wallowing in grief.

I finally got to Inbox Zero! And it wasn't easy!

January 14th, 2010 at 11:01 am

I had over 500 items in my work Inbox - the emails had just piled in over the end of last year when I was quite busy and then out for a lot of vacation. But I've always kept my backlog there, even though I created a HOLD folder years ago, but I never really warmed up to it to the point where I used it properly. So I weeded the Inbox down to about 200 and then stuffed them in a HOLD folder, and I created a new one, HOLD - Time Critical! Check every day! We'll see if I follow through.

I have to admit, it is quite weird to see a blank Inbox! BTW, I got the term Inbox Zero I think from Lifehacker, a collection of small tips like this.

And in other organizational news, I got one of our cars inspected a full month and a half before the due date, and as expected, the line was nil! I may beat this procrastination thing yet! I also nipped at my bill/filing mountain and whittled it down a tad, and I did a similar cleanup at work, where it was even more sorely needed. Clean and organized, even semi-clean and semi-organized, feels great!

Procrastination...is making me wait.

January 10th, 2010 at 04:51 pm

I REALLY need to lick my procrastination problem this year. So how about some good suggestions from you people?

It is so true - the payoff from procrastination is immediate and always good. But the payoff for hard work is delayed and not quite as certain. I do get immediate payoff from simple but critical tasks completed, ESPECIALLY when completed early, but still I find myself avoiding them. And as for the hard tasks...don't ask!

I came here because I realized by far my favorite mode of procrastination was the Internet, and at least here I can hopefully use the Internet productively.

OK, off to do some work for a while! Smile

The New Year, Debt, and Insanity...

January 9th, 2010 at 02:58 pm

I always love the fresh start in January, and if you plotted my post frequency here, well.. (maybe I'll actually do that for fun!). You know, - a new year, fresh beginnings, all that crap. Smile

I love doing the small things I can do to try to crawl out of debt - mainly economizing on food and cars and other household expenses. But as I was doing the math on the new year, I realize that that ain't enough! While we do finally now spend less than I make (except of course for college), the margin is pretty darn thin! So small stuff ain't gonna' do it. Frown

I have no real point here, just thinking out loud. And you know the old saw about insanity is doing the same old thing and expecting different results. I think I have managed on some level to convince my girls that money is hard to retain. They both realize they need to cut back on daily expenses and they do very well on that for the most part, but they love their big somewhat expensive trips. I guess you are only young once, and at least they know the trade-off they are making.

I think my malaise has to do with how the US has become a place where it is very costly to live! That has to be leading to our non-competitiveness, when you consider that we pay WAY more than most places to support our government. OK, maybe Europe etc. does pay more, but they get more in return, like HEALTH CARE! I'm mostly looking at China and India who are both chock full of people quite willing to do jobs we used to do for a LOT less, and IMO that has to be mainly due to a smaller government tax burden, cost of insurance, etc. Maybe not, but I think it's a good guess!

So anyway, help me out! How can I stop being insane, live a good life and pay off this darn debt?! What hurts me is I LOVE a frugal life, but trying to live like most Americans is what put us in this hole. That debt is mostly clothes, toys (I HATE AMERICAN GIRL), vacations, years of swim and dance lessons with associated costs, and eating out, AFAIK. We have always been pretty darn frugal on cars, buying good ones and driving them until they drop.