Let me start off by giving you a little information about myself. I obviously am not a full time trader or investor, so I have another job that I perform for a living. That being said it is a different job compared to most people out there. My schedule pretty much works out like this: work 6-7 days a week for 12 hours a day for 7 months then work 2-3 days a week for 3 hours a day for 5 months. Pretty weird right?
Currently I am in the middle of my 5 month "chill" period and I noticed a couple weeks ago that there is a pattern that I have fallen into that isn't helping me in my quest for early retirement or creating passive income. Simply put, I am bored a lot.
When you go from working 72-80 hours a week to working 6-8 hours a week it is a very odd transition. There is only so many things to do around the house and when I find that I have nothing to do I end up going somewhere and spending money. This my friends is not ideal.
So I sat down and began to think, "What could I spend all this new found time on when I am not working?"
If being a workaholic has taught me anything then it is that the best way to brainstorm is to write things down on paper, make revisions, make revisions, make revisions, and so on until I find an answer. Here is what I found:
- I spend way too much money on things I don't need to do just to get out of the house. Examples include: Going to get coffee (I have a nice coffee maker at home). Going out to eat (I have a kitchen). Driving to a store and walking around (Home Depot is my favorite, also my most expensive). You get my point here right?
- I use my credit card because I get 5% cash back. Seems like a great idea but unfortunately when you use it for things that are not necessities and you don't check it until the end of the week it can add up quick.
- I tend to "wander" around at times because I don't really have much direction when there isn't a problem to solve or goal to accomplish.
I wrote these problems down in a small notebook that I have and then decided to begin to write possible solutions. Obviously it is really easy to not spend money right? Just don't do it! But what is a more full proof way to get rid of these bad habits? Here is what I came up with:
- Get a notebook. Write the following in it every morning.
- 3 things that I need to get done (either household chores, blog, etc.)
- Read 30 pages of a book
- Write 1000 words (either for blog or literature I am working on)
- Track my calories in my phone app (something I do for my diet plan)
- Meet my Duolingo lessons (2 per day = 10-15 min)
- My Workout for the Day
- At the end of each day go through the notebook page and place a check mark next to those that were completed and a "X" next to those that were not. Those that were not completed will be placed onto the next day.
- Each Sunday, pull out $100 dollars from my account. That is what I get for the week. I can use it however I want, but obviously that is money for my food, gas, coffee, beer, etc for the entire week.
If this seems structured it is because that is exactly what it is. It gives a structure to my day when I seemingly have "nothing" to do. How has it been working? Well it has been a transition of sorts but let me tell you the bullet points.
- The notebook really helps.
When you have to see a visual yes or no about accomplishing something throughout the day it motivates you more to get things done. You only have to place a couple of "X's" on the paper before you realize you don't want to see that anymore.
- 30 pages a day isn't that much.
When I started reading 30 pages a day it seemed to drag on incessantly as I struggled to keep my attention on the book. Now that I am a couple weeks in it is actually fairly easy and I find myself fitting pages in throughout the day at different down times. 10 minutes here, 5 minutes there and next thing I know I have ready 40 or more pages!
- Write 1000 words
This is a little diddy that I learned from a book I read awhile back from Stephen King. He says that he makes himself write 1000 words every day before he does anything else. For me I am probably successful about 80% of the time on this but am getting much better. Some days it is really easy, others more difficult. I can tell you though that it is getting easier.
- Calories and Workouts
This is actually really easy as it is something that I do daily anyways. I just put a checklist on my paper to keep myself accountable.
Learning a language is hard but a little bit each day has been said to be the best way other than immersing yourself in another culture. I have been spotty on this and just need to get more consistent.
- $100 a week plan
This has by far been the most interesting thing that I have changed. What has been interesting to me has been how competitive I have been with it. How many times can I drive by that old coffee shop and not stop in? How cheap can I get my groceries for this week? If I need to eat out on Friday can I manage to spend only $40 before that so I can grab a few drinks with dinner? It honestly has been more fun than difficult and has given me a new perspective to just how little money I actually need to spend each week.
How about cheap fun?
I did do a couple of things to combat this. First I subscribed to a thing called MoviePass. If you haven't heard of it then let me tell you a little bit about it. For $9.95 monthly MoviePass sends you a card (that pretty much is a debit card) that you can use to go to as many movies as you want. The only limit is you can only go to 1 per day and no 3d/IMAX movies. This has been a great investment for me. $2.50 a week and I can head over to the theater a couple days or nights and see whatever I want. I actually went and saw 10 movies last month! That would have usually cost me over $100 dollars but I only paid $9.95. You can find more info at https://www.moviepass.com/ . (By the way I have no affiliation with them just love the product).
Another thing is buy your books from Goodwill or another thrift store. Here in Florida it honestly is almost as good as a bookstore but I pay $2-3 dollars for a $15 hardback! Now that is some nice savings!
I encourage everyone to try these things out as it really does make an interesting change to how you go about your day. I know that I may live a bit different life than many of you but try a couple of these and let me know how they go!