Right now I am feeling on top of the world. I have never felt this motivated or driven to succeed in my entire life. I am organised and doing small but achievable daily steps towards becoming wealthy and even happier person.
How have I accomplished this feeling you may ask? Pretty simple really. I went outside of my comfort zone and read what looked to be one of those cheesy self help books, entitled ‘The 4 hour work week’ by an author called Tim Ferris. A book that is about ‘lifestyle design’ whereby you look to reduce the time spent doing boring things and using the time for activities that you either enjoy or can potentially make you money.
The age old adage of ‘time is money’. To me, this couldn’t be more true. I am finding that I get information overload these days and in turn barely have the time I need to perform small but vital things, like seeing a financial planner or looking for new ways to invest.
So with this in mind, here are some of the ways I am recapturing some time in my life in order to pursue more fulfilling activities.
Unsubscribe from emails
Every morning I open my inbox(s) on my iPhone and check my multiple email accounts. I would spend at least an hour every day battling the bulge of my email inbox, not just in the morning, but throughout the entire day.
All trying to sell me something, all regularly deleted without even opening. I thought to myself, ‘why do I just delete these every day? Why don’t I permanently unsubscribe and save myself the hassle?’.
This is exactly what I did. From last count, I have removed myself from over 34 useless mailing lists, things like frequent flyer emails, Facebook alerts, banking updates, Twitter notifications and more.
All of these emails just added clutter to my life and wasted my time. I suggest you make it a game also and try and unsubscribe from every new email you get that isn’t adding value to your life (just not the SavingsGuide.com.au email newsletter ok?).
I have automated my bills and repayments
I have long lectured to anyone who will listen that direct debits and automating your finances is one of the best things you can do.
From paying the mobile bill to adding money to your savings, look to automate the process.
This has a twofold benefit for me, no more letters in the mail for bills (less time spent opening them, worrying about them and paying for them), while also saving me the time and concern of juggling my time to manage payments on bills that often don’t match in due date.
I spent a week getting all of these manual payments into automated direct debits – this means my savings account is paid, my mobile bill is paid, my insurance payments are made and no more need to juggle money and times with bills.
All you need is a single account and a little bit of cash flow management to ensure you always have a buffer of money to cover your outgoing expenses. Easily this must have saved me a few hours per month or more (not to mention the reduced mental energy of juggling bill payments).
I have looked to simplify my belongings
Don’t worry, I am not becoming some kind of monk or similar. What I am doing however is de-cluttering my life. Many of us go through accumulation phases whereby we end up with a heap of belongings, many of them no longer needed and are simply lugged around from house to house.
I spent the weekend going through each of my rooms, methodically looking at what I knew I needed, what I knew I may need in the future and the things that I no longer needed.
The things I wanted to keep I did just that. The things that I thought I may need down the track, I put into vacuum sealed storage bags and compressed them into small parcels for storage.
The things I didn’t need any more I donated to charity (think all those pairs of jeans and backpacks you have stored in cupboards that do very little for you).
I now feel less cluttered and slightly warm and fuzzy that a few good items were given to charities that needed it. Less clutter creates greater motivation to design that perfect lifestyle.
I now batch process mundane tasks
Don’t like your daily tasks? Do what I did. I wrote them all down and found a way to complete all of them in less than 15 minutes.
For example, chores like feeding the dogs (love my dogs, just hate the chore of opening the cans!), sweeping the kitchen, checking the mail, cleaning the kitchen and cleaning the bathroom, now I race around and do all of the above in one go.
The time I used to spend worrying about doing the chores was a waste. Now I just get them done and do so at a set time.
This is called batch processing and is the concept of batching like processes or things to do into one go – a great way to reduce time and productivity. This can apply to all kinds of things, like checking emails at set times throughout the day or perhaps filing away important documents in one go at the end of each month (rather than as you get them).
A great way to save some decent time each day/week/month. Give it a try on 3-4 things and watch your productivity go up, while you reclaim your time.
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Alex Wilson is the founder and editor of Savings Guide, Australia’s number one saving money website. For regular money saving tips, visit Savings Guide or follow Savings Guide on Facebook.