Darling Little Things: iPad Accessories & a good lesson

So I mentioned earlier this week that I’m spending most of my days working all day and juggling a plethora of tasks and activities. I decided that in order to hold myself to such a to-do list on a regular basis and actually expect most of it to get done (and done well), I should probably invest in the necessary tools to do so.

I’ll start off by saying that I really tried to be budget friendly and I tried the android version FIRST. I have a droid phone that I’m perfectly happy with.. But unfortunately, my Kindle Fire was just too limited compared to the true android platform that is available on my phone. I do think I may still try and root it though once my warranty is up and I may have a different opinion or use for it at that point. Overall though I was a bit disappointed in its inability to match all of the apps I read about being available through an iPad or iPhone even.

So, I did some research.. I took a couple polls comparing the iPad 2 vs. the mini and new vs. refurbished. I decided to go with the iPad 3rd generation and chose to save $130 by buying a refurbished iPad directly from Apple because they offer the same 1-year warranty as new products. By purchasing through my Discover card, I extended that 1-year warranty to 2 years and earned double miles. šŸ™‚ So, while I’m loving the iPad.. I’m REALLY loving the accessories I got to go with it.

20130311-151941.jpg

I love turquoise, sea foam, greenish colors. I had my entire living room painted a turquoise color at one point. I found this pretty kelly green cover on Amazon for $31. See how it’s crossed out? I used my Discover miles available and got it for $13. SCORE šŸ™‚ See how it says Prime next to that price also? I got free 2-day shipping. I tell you what, Amazon Prime is worth the $75 annual fee just from the shipping savings, plus it arrives so much faster! So the iPad is protected. I wanted another layer of protection though for when I carry it with me. I browsed Etsy shops for days. I finally narrowed it down to one shop called Bertie’s Closet. SO many cute patterns. After about 3 Ā days of browsing the patterns and going back and forth between the same few, I made my selection.Ā 

My iPad sleeve

My iPad sleeve

FxCam_1362843360105

I love it!

On a slightly but related note: I read a very interesting discussion about the topic of surviving vs. thriving. I’m adding it in with this post about my iPad purchase because I totally related to what Jess Lively wrote about surviving vs. thriving.

For the last year or so I’ve had a “tighten up” mentality and have been trying to cut back and pay down some debt but not really written out a complete, specific plan. I’ve been making payments and more conscious of spending, etc. but not really doing it in the most efficient way. I’ve been operating in surviving mode for the last year, knowing I need certain things and putting them off until absolutely necessary and then feeling guilty for spending on necessities when I know I need to be paying down debt. Ā When I say necessities I’m talking about clothes and shoes to replace the 4 and 5 year old pieces I have now in order to continue on the business path that I’m trying to begin for myself, that type of thing.

”Ā I now encourage you to find your own ways to expand your time or money in order to thrive.Ā The choices are endless, the important thing is to think about what isĀ financially do-able, butĀ feelsĀ awesomely excessive.Ā The goal is to silence that internal voice that tells you that you are still in “survival mode.” You also do not need to commit to doing this millionaire thing forever, maybe it’s just a month or two. It’s all up to you.

Remember, as entrepreneurs it’s easy to feel like so much is beyond our control (when the next client will appear, what we will pay in taxes, whether the magazine picks our product for the gift guide),Ā but whether we survive or thrive is completely relative and within our means at all times.”

I’m working 2 jobs right now. Sure, it’s to pay off credit card debt. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t treat myself here and there and keep myself pumped up and going on the right track of accomplishment. As long as I am killing myself with 65+ hour work weeks and still expecting myself to get all of the cooking/cleaning/socialize so I stay sane bit and not indulging at least a little or feeling guilty about small indulges, I’m surviving.

I thought long and hard last night on my drive home about small ways that I can treat myself and things that I can do that won’t get me off track but might allow me to enjoy life a little more and feel like I’m doing things right, like I’m getting somewhere.. and thrive.

These fun accessories for my iPad.. a tool that I’ll use to stay organized with all of my business venture activities, blogging, personal finances, among other things.. are a small indulgence that is perfectly within a miscellaneous spending budget that I’ve allowed myself (but try not to use so it can just sit in the bank) and make me happy.

I’m always talking about balance. A balanced life is a happy life. Discipline is good but all work, no play.. never REALLY worked for anyone, did it?

I definitely encourage you to subscribe to Jess Lively’s Wish I Knew Wednesday email subscription, she has some great thoughts!

Happy Thursday!

WHIRLWIND.

This year I made a big plan to make a lot of changes. I made 13 goals, I seriously considered the ways I was going to implement them and I committed myself to the goal of getting out of debt. I set up a plan to do that by keeping my regular job and working my Mary Kay business. Recently I was given the opportunity to take a day job that would work around my current night job and still allow me to have weekends free. I took it. In theory this second job (in addition to the first and Mary Kay business) would allow me to catapult my get out of debt plan and allow me to get there 3 months earlier than I had planned as well as use those extra couple of months to sock extra money into savings/paying off my car early (a goal I set for the end of the year). I must be old because these 60 hour weeks are KICKING MY TAIL.

It’s been 2 weeks of straight through 10-10 and Mary Kay on Saturdays and household chores/shopping/cooking/cleaning. It’s busy. But it’s worth it because of my four cards with balances, I’ve already paid off one! The second one is a joint card between Josh & I and we’ve each been paying $100 bucks every month and converted to a cash only system for all joint spending – that will be back at zero next month.

Screen shot 2013-03-10 at 7.27.39 PM

The third card will be paid off next week and a little more than half of the last card at the end of the month. So as my March calendar with big red X’s indicates – I’ve got another 3 weeks of straight through 10-10s and then I can take it back down a notch.

It’s exhausting. Last week, when we didn’t prep all of our meals for the week – it was stressful all week. We’re back on track this week at least with the household things and we have meals for every day this week ready in the fridge or freezer, grab and go style. It’s also exhilarating. Being debt free opens doors. That dream job, that dream house.. that vacation we never take because there’s somewhere else that money should really go…

Soon to be a thing of the past.

Do you have any debt? Do you just deal with it as a part of life and still enjoy the little things or does it hang over your head like a weight? Or am I just a little too OCD for my own good? šŸ˜›

Tablet Blog signature

Work stye, life style: Pt 2

So last week, I came across the idea of batching. I shared my love of Google calendar and my admiration of Jess Lively’s very clean set up for her coming weeks. After I published that post, I sat down with pen and paper and wrote down what I hope to usually accomplish in one day and allotted specific time frames for each of those goals. If you work from home (or are attempting to or would like to at some point) this kind of mentality is necessary for actually getting things done as opposed to just saying you need to get those things done and complaining about not having enough time at the end of the day. If there’s enough time during the day when you’re physically at your job in an office (or just in the building where you physically work) there is no reason why there’s not enough time when you’re sitting in your home office.. right? There are just a lot more distractions and a much more happy-go-lucky attitude that accompanies working from home.

After writing up my daily schedule (I separated M/W vs. T/R for different projects that I work on and keep up with on a weekly basis) I went and plugged it all into my calendar. My calendar is also synced up with my phone and I added 10 minute pop-up reminders (and turned off the email reminders.. I don’t need an email every hour when it’s time to switch tasks). A pop up note on my cell phone to remind me to wrap up this task and get ready to transition to the next is a great idea for me. If you don’t like your phone next to you because it’s a distraction, then maybe email notifications that pop up in the corner of your computer are for you. For me, it clutters my inbox and I already have problems deleting emails regularly.

This week, (kind of like Jess Lively’s first week) isn’t as clean as I would like for it to be and you will notice a few overlaps in time frames because I scheduled things outside of where I decided it’s best for me to schedule future appointments in order to keep a better-flowing schedule for the future.

Behold:

Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 11.23.47 AM

I have Monday – Thursday planned out all the way until it’s time for me to put everything away and start getting myself ready to go to work at 5. I’ve scheduled everything from lunch to dinner prep and down time to recharge whether that be watching TV or taking a nap. I have found that if you don’t schedule it, it usually doesn’t make it on the day’s activities and ridiculous amounts of time are lost browsing Pinterest for “just a minute.” My M/W are a little bit more straight forward and flow easily. My Tues/Thurs are a bit different depending on if I have any bookings for my Mary Kay business. I would LIKE to have bookings between 10 & 12 on Tues/Thurs and so I haveĀ reorganizedĀ the rest of my day while still trying to accomodate all of the same things as M/W. If I don’t have a booking those days though, then I can follow the M/W schedule.

Next week is a new week that doesn’t have any preexisting appointments to jumble what I’ve set up.

Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 11.37.59 AM

As always though, life happens and there will always be some improv involved but I just feel so much more organized and READY to tackle the things I need to because I have a set time when to do it and set times when I can relax without feeling guilty about it. This is week 1 of batching. Here’s hoping for a much more productive and less stressful week!

Happy Monday!

Tablet Blog signature

Life style, work style

I’m one of those people who revels in having a full calendar. I get annoyed/weirdly enjoy telling people that “no, I cannot make that because if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times.. I need at least a week’s notice.” At the beginning of my day, I sit down and look at my page-long to-do list and feel powerful and ready to attack. By lunch time I’m usually still on track and making a good pace. It’s once I hit 1:00 after lunch that the mid-afternoon slump and [just a] 30 minute nap beckons to me like a siren. If I cave, the rest of the day is done and I wake up groggy most times and in a rush to get my head in the right place to get ready and go to my [real] job that pays the bills. During the day I participate in self-motivated efforts with this blog and my Mary Kay business. When I give in to the nap, or sometimes even if I don’t, my to-do list may get one or two more things checked off and a good chunk is left untouched and added to tomorrow’s list. Unproductive.

I came across a new concept of organizing and working in bursts that seems to me to be more effective than a monstrous to-do list (or 2 or 3 lists) and I’m going to participate in a challenge to implement this approach in my own life as well. The method is called batching. I read a post yesterday that explains about the method and its roots. Author Tim Ferriss explains it like this:

ā€œBeing busy is a form of laziness ā€“ lazy thinking andĀ indiscriminateĀ action. Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant. Being selective ā€“ doing less ā€“ is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest.ā€

Ā His book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) can be found on Amazon here.

Being busy is a form of laziness? At first I was caught off guard with this statement but the more I thought about it, the more I realized the truth in it. I over-schedule myself with house to-do items, blog to-do items, Mary Kay to-do items, social obligations, you name it. Ā Running your own business venture or businesses ventureS like I’m attempting to do (while working meanwhile and running our household) requires a lot of work. It really does. But I have to wonder if I’m working the best way. I think not.

Jess LivelyĀ said:

“I encourage anyone else who is struggling to keep up with their calendar to join me on this week of batching!”

I’m struggling. I subscribed to her email and I fell in love with her color coded google calendar (which I already used obsessively to stay organized) batch schedule.

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 12.10.29 PM

My calendar:

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 12.21.13 PM

If you notice on the left, I have 4 calendars currently lit. That’s right, I use 4 calendars for my life. The school calendar is actually not mine, it’s Josh’s – but I had him input his assignments and things so that I would be aware of when he would have to spend large chunks of time that might otherwise affect things that we have to do around our house, or together.

For the most part, I use my calendar for due dates (especially bill and due date reminders) but as you can see the rest of the day (before my 5-10 work shift every night) is open. In comparison, Jess Lively’s schedule is color coded and blocked off so that there’s a focus for each block of time. I’ll be working today to implement a similar color-coded blocking off of time throughout the week to meet all of my personal & work obligations. There’s something nice about having the whole day to do everything in whatever order I would like, but it’s not really that productive.

On another note, I believe in having a balanced lifestyle. I came across this article about 5 things you should do in the morning to kickstart your day off the right way. Read here. My favorite?

1. Lay in bed for at least 5 minutes after you wake up. I usually spend those 5 or 7 minutes talking and snuggling with my puppies as they’re trying to convince me to get up because it’s time to go outside and eat breakfast! I’ve got a few others to implement (like the exercise thing…) but between giving myself a little extra time in the mornings and scheduling out my days to better reflect my work/personal needs – it’s all going up!

How do you feel about batching?

So the stakes are high..

Well it’s Monday, again.

Monday means the beginning of a new work week [for most] and, if nothing else, drives you to do SOMETHING to be productive. Weekends are for being lazy, relaxing, etc. Mondays are for work.

So, that being said, I’ve been thinking about an important concept here lately. Most of us expect so much from ourselves and don’t allow ourselves to obtain the tools to do the job right. Much of this concept centers around money and guilt. I can relate, I’ve been obsessively trying to pay down some credit cards and get back on track by putting some money into savings, all the while try to build an online presence for myself in *hopes* of finding a full time job that will allow me some financial relief/peace of mind. But I’m still trying to utilize my free time in decorating our house and making it our home. I’m realizing that, with my recent 25th birthday, I am not letting myself BE the person I can be because I’m limiting myself by feeling guilty about spending any money at all on myself for things that I need or tools that I could greatly benefit from.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE YOUR BEST SELF

I’m not saying toss your good sense out of the window and go empty your bank account, charge up those cards and fill your car with purchases. But if there are legitimate things that you need or things that would help you work harder – those might be worth buying, and viewed asĀ investments.

Money invested in yourself, is money well spent.

You also need to know yourself. Me, I’m a list maker. For every thing I do, everywhere I go, every project I take on.. there’s a list.

Blog post planning list

Immediate running to-do list that sits on my desk

Current meal options after our latest grocery trip

to-do list on my phone

I know I think in lists. Since I’m a girl, I like pattern and color. Why not give yourself the colorful, pretty, creative options to do the work that needs to be done? I know I have to have lists, so I give myself lots of different ways to keep lists to stay on top of everything going on.

I should probably say that I ADORE pattern and color. Your life and the things you use [to do work or to play] don’t have to be cookie cutter and dull.

My power organization tools

Take a little time, add a little TLC, and maybe spend the extra couple dollars if it’ll lift your mood and inspire some creativity.

After all, it’s the details that matter.

Happy Monday!