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5 Strategies to Get More Accomplished

5 Strategies to Get More Accomplished

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Life is busy and it is so easy to let time slip by without getting things accomplished. It’s crazy how much time can be lost just from getting lost in some Netflix series. I know for myself, I can easily waste away hours on Netflix, if I’m not careful.

I was totally that girl that would see people getting so much accomplished and thinking, “how the hell do they have the time to do all of that?!” I know I’m not alone in thinking that.

The problem I had was that I got too comfortable with my life and my schedule. I wasn’t doing anything to make changes, but I wanted changes to happen. That’s not realistic.

Eventually, I sat down and really thought about my time and how I was spending it. This happened right around the time the iPhone screen time feature came out. That was eye opening for me.

What I realized was that I was spending SO much time on wasted activities. Of course I wasn’t getting anywhere or getting anything done, I was wasting away my days.

I slowly started implementing a couple of strategies and have since accomplished so much more in such a short amount of time.

1. Write out a to do list of what you want to get accomplished.

Now, this is probably something that you have heard a million times. But, lets be real, it’s because they work. Personally, I used to always write them down and lose them shortly afterwards. Or, I’d start crossing things out and also adding more to my list and never felt accomplished.

I suggest you create a time limit on your to do list. I personally have a general one for each week. I keep it in my notes in my phone so it’s basically always with me. This allows me to easily add to it and easily cross things out as they are accomplished.

I really like that by Sunday, I check in with myself to make sure everything is completed by the end of the day. It really feels so great to have everything checked off and Monday morning I start fresh with a new list for the new week.

2. Spend a few minutes each morning planning out your days.

This has been a game changer for me and one of the best strategies I have started doing to get more done. I spend a bit of time each morning planning out what I want to get accomplished that day. This breaks down my weekly to do list in to more manageable parts.

This is also something that makes me feel so much more accomplished by the days end. By breaking it down into a daily to do list, I am able to get those tasks accomplished that day. By spending some time in the morning doing this, it frees up my mind to actually get things done, instead of thinking about the list. It’s kind of like a brain dump of the things you need to get done.

3. Time block.

Another life changer, let me tell you. I bought a Day Designer planner and it has completely changed my productivity. This is where I write my daily to do list, I block out my day into when I am going to get things accomplished. It can be an adjustment to get yourself to follow a schedule, but once you do, you will notice how much more time you have.

If you want to give time blocking a try, they have a bunch of free downloads available.

4. No distractions until it’s done.

This was really hard for me. I mean, I told you my eye opening screen time alert. I don’t even want to tell you how long it said I was on my phone on average. It’s that bad. But, I set myself a strict rule, no distractions until the work is done.

This means that I put my phone on do not disturb and away from me and I definitely don’t have anything going in the background. I basically always had the TV going in the background or Netflix playing. The reality was that I was losing precious time whenever I’d get distracted by the show or my phone.

We live in a world full of distractions. It’s important to disconnect and just get shit done when you need to. This also means that once my to do list is done, I’m most definitely catching up on my fave shows and Instagram. I’m still the same person, just a bit more disciplined!

5. Prioritize.

When you have a never ending to do list, it can definitely get overwhelming. It’s why I have a daily to do list and a weekly to do list. Within my massive to do list, I prioritize my items based on when they need to get done.

Fo example, an email I received the prior day may be pressing and need to be dealt with ASAP. This means it would be the first thing I accomplish on my list. It also is something that I may not have expected when planning out my week. Something that is less of a priority for that day, may get bumped to the next day.

By prioritizing what you need to get accomplished, it allows you to control your list, instead of your list controlling you.

Remember not to be so hard on yourself.

It can be really easy to get discouraged when things don’t get done, but that’s not going to get you anywhere. I have fallen into this trap many times. You see a mountain of things to get done and it causes you to feel overwhelmed. This was what always happened to me, it was a vicious cycle. That’s why I put these systems in place, to limit the amount of overwhelm I feel day to day.

I’m still getting everything done, but it’s so much more manageable day to day this way. And of course, there are days where I just need to throw the list to the wind and say forget about it. It’s important to listen to your body and what it immediately needs, the list will be there tomorrow. What are some strategies that you have incorporated to get more accomplished?

Personal

The Best Time to Declutter

The Best Time to DeclutterWe’ve all been there. We look around where we live and see how much stuff we have accumulated. I mean, where did it all come from and how much money did I spend on all of it?! As time goes on, things just enter your house and if you’re not consciously taking the time to declutter, it’s going to accumulate.

It can also feel overwhelming when you look at your entire living space as a whole. Trying to tackle everything at once is setting yourself up to fail. That’s a lot of work! But, there is a time when you will find yourself much more motivated to declutter your living space.

When you start paying off debt you’re going to get angry at your debt and want to throw all the money at it. I know for myself, I looked around my room and saw so much stuff I never used. I got angry. I had spent money on these things and it was a complete waste!

That’s why when you’re paying off debt, it’s the best time to declutter your living space, for a few different reasons.

1. It’s free to declutter

It doesn’t cost anything to clear out your living space, you actually could make money (I’ll get to that). When you’re paying off debt, you want to find ways to fill your time with activities that don’t cost any money. Why not spend some down time being productive and getting rid of the things you no longer use.

Spending some time to declutter the spaces in your home is a great way to use up time. I know for myself, I get stir crazy at home, but I feel much better if I am productive and see how much better my space looks when it’s done.

2. You can make money when you declutter

I know when I am clearing out a spot in my room, I always have three piles, trash, donate, and sell. This allows me to quickly get a space decluttered and I can deal with the piles when I’m all done. The trash obviously is quickly taken care of right away and usually I can get the donate pile sorted within a day or so. The tricky part can be the sell pile.

I have a strict rule for myself. If I can’t get it to sell within a couple weeks, I donate it. Otherwise it spends months sitting in my room doing nothing for me. I use a couple different resources to sell my things, I have had garage sales, used Facebook, Poshmark, and sellbackyourbook.com. Depending on what I am trying to sell, I put it on a different platform.

If I am planning to have a garage sale I usually advertise it on Facebook and then whatever doesn’t sell, I put online to sell. It’s pretty simple and allows me to put the extra money towards my debt.

3. You’ll find things you forgot about when you declutter

This can be dangerous. You’ll of course find things that you totally forgot you had. This can sometimes lead you to keep things simply out of potentially needing it one day. Don’t fall into this trap. When I say you’ll find things you forgot about, I mean it in a positive way.

Personally, I don’t buy things very frequently, except groceries and gas. Everything else that I purchase is always thought about, researched and then bought when I have found the best product for the best price. However, there have been times when I have been waiting to purchase something and have found something that can be used in my house.

These are great finds because it fills a purpose that I was planning to spend money on that I now won’t have to. I always search around my house before purchasing anything, you never know what you’ll find!

4. You’ll save time later when you declutter

After decluttering your spaces, it is so much easier to do things in your daily routine. I know for myself, I am able to tidy things up so much faster when I have a decluttered, organized space. Time is everything for me, especially since I work so many jobs to earn more money to apply to my student loans.

By saving time in the routine tasks throughout the week, I am able to spend more time on self care and on my side hustles. It’s crazy how spending the time to declutter has saved me so much time in my weekly routines.

Trying to declutter your living space can be overwhelming, but if you take the time to break down the tasks into smaller, manageable tasks, you will be more successful. For example, one day declutter a bathroom, separate your kitchen into different sections, and separate your clothes by what kind they are. This way you’re experiencing the small wins and won’t be so overwhelmed. Have you spent the time to declutter your space? When did you do it?

Personal

Reflecting on 2015 and Looking Forward to 2016

Reflecting-on-2015-and-Looking-Forward-to-2016

Wow, 2015 was an incredible year for me. I landed my first “big girl” job as a 5th grader teacher in May, graduated with my masters in August, and started my first year of teaching in September. Of course, I also started this blog. When I started this blog back in July I was truly planning to mostly post about my first year of teaching. I figured it would be a nice outlet for the stress I knew I would be dealing with. However, in the last year, I have found a passion for personal finance and have found myself blogging much more about that. Especially when I have this massive amount of debt weighing me down each day.

I did create a solid plan to pay down my debt this year once I started working, which has helped me almost double my monthly loan payments so far. In 2015, I was able to get my largest loan with the highest interest rate down to 78% paid off. I have been working towards paying off that loan since I was in grad school, so seeing that high paid off percentage is very motivating!

I have a lot planned for 2016, and it might be a little too much to be honest. My plan is to make 2016 a productive year for me. I want to find myself always actively doing something, whether it be school work, blog work, being with friends, whatever it is, I don’t want to be complacent. I want to push myself harder and do more than I ever have before. My goal is to make $2,700 loan payments each month, which is a bit of a stretch for me. This requires me to figure out ways to save and make more money. Which is another goal I have for this year.

I strongly believe in goal setting and I feel that it keeps you motivated knowing you are working towards something. Whatever it might be, I suggest making mini goals to reach your big goal, this makes it more likely that you will succeed and make the task less daunting. For example, I picked $2,700 a month for my loan payments because I want to have my loans completely paid off by the time I turn 31. This might sound crazy since I still have about $185k in student loans, but it’s possible if I work hard and keep my goal in mind. So, what are your goals for 2016 and how do you plan on accomplishing them?

Personal

Moving Back Home After College

Part of my debt payoff plan consisted of finding a teaching job close to home, so that I could move back home. This was hard for me. If you had asked me 5 years ago when I started college, I would have told you I would never move back home after school. Of course, that was before I knew I would be in this much debt. When I figured out my total amount of student loan debt, it was no question that I would move back home. My parents live in New Jersey, where the cost of living is much higher, making my salary higher. When I began the process of looking at places to apply, New Jersey had some of the highest salaries. As I did more and more research and went through all my options, going home to New Jersey kept being the best option.

When I first told my parents that I wanted to come home after I graduated, they told me I would need to pay some rent. Of course, this would still be a lot cheaper than living somewhere else paying rent, utilities, etc. I was sold and put all my effort into applying to school districts in the area. Luckily, I got an interview very quickly with a district 20 minutes away from my parent’s house, and they offered me a position.

Once I knew I would be moving back home, I began brainstorming ideas and talking to my parents about ways I could live “rent-free” at home. We agreed on me paying for my own groceries, doing work around the house, and helping them get the house ready to be sold. By living “rent-free” I can now put all my extra money at my loans and pay them off even faster than I originally planned.

Now that I have moved home, I have had to move my sister out (she lives in Philly now) and move myself into her old room. I forgot to take pictures of the room before I began moving my stuff in, it was basically a completely empty room, but I took some pictures when I actually thought to. It’s a total disaster and I contemplated not even posting them because they are so bad, but here they are 🙂

 

I’m super excited to move everything in and get it to be how I want it. I wish I could get rid of that rug and paint the walls, but it doesn’t fit into my budget right now.

Did you move home after college? How did you make your decision to move back home or move out?