Many of us want to reduce debt and increase wealth. I'm no exception. This site will chronicle my efforts to live more frugally, pay off my debt, and save money. I hope you will find inspiration to get a handle on your own finances too, if you haven't already.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Overwhelmed by your to do list? Try this!

I know how it feels. You work hard. You try to get a lot done.

But you end up falling flat. Your to-do list is overwhelming. You set goals but aren't achieving them. It seems like nothing is ever going to change. You feel STUCK.

First, those feelings are totally natural and you have every right to feel that way...

...for a while.

But, if you stay in that space, you will be living in misery. Chances are you'll fall into a


...........downward spiral

.................of more and more unhappiness.

Not a fun place to be.

So, before you read further, take a minute to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and accept that sometimes things just suck. Take several deep breathes, hold those feelings, and then, with your exhalation, let go of them.

Today we are going to shake up your to-do list and get you unstuck so you can move forward.

Ready to get set and go? 

get unstuck
I'm the first to admit that this isn't a new idea, but sometimes we all need a little reminder to get unstuck. Today (or tomorrow if you are already in which case, turn off the electronics and go to sleep!), I want you to set aside your to-do list.


Yep, if you are like me, a chronic too-long-to-do-list maker, this might feel like a no-way-Jose situation.

Do it - set aside that to-do list!

I know that my to-do list NEVER gets finished. It is long and seems to only get longer, no matter how much I manage to cross off the list. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I often take a breather to validate my feelings and recenter myself, and then I turn my approach upside down - or maybe I turn it backwards?

I set aside the to-do list (seriously, I'm not going to *throw it out* or *delete* it! What do you take me for? A crazy person?).

Instead, I like to set myself one small task that is *NOT* on my to-do list. For example, the other day I was feeling utterly stuck and like my efforts at anything meaningful were worthless. I decided to focus on cleaning just one tiny section of my kitchen counter. Pretty simple, right? I picked up everything from that space that was clean and put it away. I put anything dirty in the kitchen sink or laundry basket. I moved all the things that belong in that space, and then I cleaned the counter itself. I replaced the stuff that belongs there and wrote "cleaned counter between fridge and stove" on a piece of paper.

"So what?" I know. I hear you thinking that. I used to think the same thing. But what if you set yourself the goal of simply doing any five tasks around the house, no matter how large or small?

  • What if you were to keep track of these little tasks *after the fact*? 
  • What would that look like? 
  • What would it feel like?

The little (or big) tasks you choose aren't actually all that important. What *is* important is that you a) do them and b) make a list of them as you go along.

We are looking at the accumulation of accomplishments, not the actual details of each accomplishment.

After an hour or two of doing little tasks all over the house, for myself, and even outside of the house, I usually have a list of several items and feel great about the list. I usually feel good enough about it that I keep going, racking up more and more little tasks, creating a longer and longer got done list.

And the best part? Most of the time, I end up feeling


In fact, I usually feel so UNstuck that I can pull out my to-do list and zip through several things with ease and with quality work for each task attempted. This method helps me when I am procrastinating, when I am afraid of negative results, when my perfectionist tendencies are in ultra-high gear, when I am tired, and when I have a case of the just-plain-don't-wannas.

A few days ago, I was feeling so low energetically, emotionally, and mentally that I just wanted to go back to bed. I'd only been up an hour at most and I was just ready to be *DONE* with the day. I implemented a got-done list approach to my morning, and by the end of the day had done a number of small tasks as well as many larger items from my regular to do-list.

My got-done list from a few days ago (no judgment, please...your got-done tasks will probably be a lot different than mine! It's all good!):
  • cleaned the bar counter
  • cleaned the counter between stove and fridge
  • sorted quarters out of my change
  • put the rest of the change back in my coin bank
  • cleaned out my backpack
  • cleaned out my purse
  • made 80 envelopes for one of my Etsy shops
  • had a tutoring session with a middle school student
  • paid my cell phone bill early
  • scheduled social media for a client
  • started organizing the following week's social media for the same client
  • made notes on blog posts for that client
  • sorted and folded some laundry
  • unsubscribed from a bunch of spammy email lists
  • read and deleted or sorted emails from lists I love 
  • put away some books
  • finished dismantling a bookcase we no longer want/need (it was broken)
  • put the dismantled bookcase in the dumpster

After all of that, I looked back on my list and felt like I'd accomplished quite a bit. I was feeling pumped to get more done and went to my to-do list. I made two phone calls I was dreading, replied to a couple of emails I'd been avoiding, and cleaned my bathroom toilet (my least favorite to-do task ever), and a lot more! Because I had already accomplished quite a lot with my reverse, got-done list approach, I was able to propel myself forward and accomplish a lot from my regular to-do list.

So, are you feeling stuck and ready to get past whatever is holding you back? Try a got-done list instead of a to-do list and then let me know with a comment below how it went!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Going minimalist: 5 easy tips

Practicing minimalist habits is a great way to save money and clear the clutter that bogs many of us down and keeps us stuck in emotional, mental, and even physical ruts. Here are my five simple tips for practicing minimalism.