Being Productive

So during my three week long break in between semesters I’ve been making sure I am getting back on track, while also enjoying this time I have to myself.

I forget how easy it is to set up stuff when you make time to do it.

After dealing with my car being in the shop for the second time in the last month, I finally had time to sit down and recreate a budget planner/folder.

I found an old work folder in my car (yes, I know, I clearly don’t clean out my car very often), and used the printable I found on Pinterest to formulate my own budget planner so I have pages available from June through December now, so hopefully I can make sure I keep better track of my finances.

I’ve been spending time doing a puzzle, reading some new books, and helping my uncle and aunt around the house, especially because they’re letting me live here for the summer for free, so it’s only right I help them to get ready for the renovation of the back yard.

I was able to use Amazon in search of my school books for the summer courses, and found all three for under $100! I typically compare Amazon, Chegg, and my schools book store to see which has the version the cheapest in the buy/rent form I need.
I’ve learned renting textbooks is typically the best way to do it because it’s cheaper and then you don’t get stuck with a ton of books that you’ll never use again. I also found out I could send one book back to Amazon, and I got a $100 gift card back after the exchange, so always check your email because I wouldn’t have known about that option if I had just deleted the email that seemed to be another advertisement for something I didn’t need.

I’ve been horse sitting for my uncle’s neighbors while they’re out of the country, and I was offered a house sitting job, so I’ll be able to make some extra cash in order to help pay off some bills that need to be decreased.

 

What tools do you use to help yourself be productive? How do you spend your time off?

Financial Burden, or Not So Much?

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Just as a quick reminder to those who are trying to get by while going through grad school, or just trying to survive life in general, here are some useful tips I’ve taken over and put to good use.

  • Using money tracking apps are great! I’ve used a few, and the one that’s started to help me remember my bills (you know like not paying things late and getting fined)
    • Mint by Intuit
    • Prism
    • Paypal
    • Any bank/Credit card app you may find related to your bank (Chase, BoA, Citi, Capital One, etc.)
  • Looking for useful programs? Microsoft offers free access to its applications for students! Naturally I didn’t realize this until I had already bought the $9.99 a month subscription for access to Word and Excel, but I opened up the free access and am trying it out now, so I’ll let you know how it goes!
  • Don’t forget as a student a lot of exhibits like museums will let you in for a discounted price.
  • Finding out if it’s cheaper to get the membership than going multiple times and paying for each single visit to certain amusement parks or zoos.
    • Zoos like the one here in SD have a yearly membership fee for just over what you’ll pay for a one day pass, and when you sign up, you typically get coupons. My friends visiting get to utilize the 50% off entrance coupons because I was smart and paid a little bit extra to have access to the zoo and safari park for a year, so I can go whenever I want to!
  • Budgeting!
    • I know this sounds redundant, but I go through a budgeting stage once every few months, and I’m actually working on keeping receipts in order to track what I’m spending. No I don’t do a great job on staying on top off it at all times, but I think I’ve been doing okay.
    • If you have a paycheck, its super important to start putting 5-10% into a savings account, it really does add up!
    • School is tough to budge for, but I always try to do about $200 a month for gas (I drive a to so I usually end up going over this amount sadly), $200-300 a month for groceries (obviously this is dependent upon how many people you live with), $200 for books each semester (Amazon and Chegg usually have texts books for less, typically but not always so I always compare!), Rent money (for me its been ranging between ($980-1100(for when I paid the pet rent) and obviously this varies depending on where you are and if you’re splitting rent)

I know this isn’t everything but this is what my main focuses are usually on!

I also have been using my planner in order to make sure I have the due dates for bills both in my phone and on paper form. I know that’s not everyone’s favorite thing to do, but using the calendar app on your iPhone or smart phone and having yourself set reminders will make sure you stay on top of everything without feeling too overwhelmed.

I hope this has helped! Definitely give me feed back for any info you think I may have missed or that you may not find as useful! 🙂

“Me Time” is Essential

My room mate and I were recently talking about how important it is to have time alone, away from people and places and things, and just “do you” I guess is what I would call it.

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To those who may not need it, good for you. But for those who know what I’m talking about, you know it is essential to have this time to yourself in order to ground yourself.

I usually do something I enjoy. For me, that is riding horses, it’s the one time I can just go do something and I get 20 minutes to myself (well my coach is there) and I get to just forget what’s going on in my life that is stressing me out.

I know, personally, I don’t care to live alone, but I will admit it’s also very nice to have the house to myself sometimes to just watch Netflix or take a nap and not feel like I have to be worried about another person. Watching what you want, when you want, without feeling bad is a nice thing.

Having my dog to keep me company helps, but I also don’t totally feel bad when I drop her off at my ex’s and get a day or two to myself.

I found it essential to make time for this earlier this year with everything going on, and I know I need to do it more often, but I always feel bad asking for time to myself, it just never feels right. But someone reminded me, it’s okay to ask for time off, it’s not a bad thing, it means you’re taking care of yourself. This could not be a more true statement.

I don’t think we take enough time for ourselves these days, were always rushing around to the next activity, and feel that we need to do it all. But we don’t. We need to remember we aren’t robots, and we can’t expect everything to just be done without a little personal care.

With work, school, extracurricular activities and family, theres not much time left to enjoy ourselves, by ourselves. Again, this fast paced society isn’t allowing us, or reminding us to take a break, without having to travel far to get away from it all.

How do you spend your “me time”?

Control (Issues)

7482-Napoleon-Hill-Quote-You-are-the-master-of-your-destiny-You-canWe all have them, we all want to control what will happen with us, whether we be the cause or the reaction.

Working with children with Autism, baby sitting and watching those around me I’ve realized that we all have to control the aspects of our lives.

How do you handle a three year old who has severe control issues to the point where he will undo something in order to be able to finish on his terms and still continue to have a meltdown because of this? This is something I still am wondering myself. I find it odd that children this young have such issues.

I can understand not sharing with others because you weren’t taught to share, but I still am working towards understanding those children who really don’t understand why not playing with others is “not normal”.

Being social is a normal human behavior, and those of us who have to control our environment, limit the social happenings that would occur naturally.

I have friends who feel the need to control their lives down to the minute details, which is sometimes a way to make sure you feel organized, while with the children I work with, it’s inhibiting their social skills.

Controlling your schedule is one thing, controlling what others are doing when you’re interacting with them is creating a difficulty.

I’m really wanting to learn more about this control issue, and why people control certain areas.

Changes

change wordleChanges occur all the time, and none of us can control all of them.

We can change the color of our hair, the make up we decide to wear, but in the end it’s all just a cover up, the natural being is underneath.

Recently I’ve been dealing with a lot of changes. School, work, relationships, and friends all are changing, whether I like it or not.

Finishing up my first year of grad school, and it’s going pretty well I must say. A few bumps in the road, but that is to be expected.
I start my internship in less than 2 months. It’s scary to think I’m finally getting into the field work portion of the education once again, but this time I’ll actually be put in charge of something a little more important. Working in the counselors office of a school district should be interesting (mostly intimidating, scary, and lots of uncertainty).

Work has been going well, I’ve been at the same job for almost a year, and I’m hoping to continue even through school and the internship. But, changes to my schedule will have to be made, and I’m hoping it works out in my favor.

Last time I wrote about a month ago, I was very much single, and now, I’m not sure what I am. I’m kind of dating someone but even that has had some changes occur within. I’m learning boys/men are all confusing and I don’t have time for the games.

My friendships are changing, mostly because I’m realizing who is actually wanting to spend time with me, and who is just using me for their personal benefit. I can’t control what they do, but I can control how it affects me.

Changes happen all the time, and I hate that I can’t control them. If there was a way, I would be very excited to know how to do so.

As one of my text books says, young adulthood (and adolescence of course) is all about change, whether it be physical or mental, we all change and grow. Some of us just learn how to function with this change better than others.

 

Procrastination Never Stops

So while I’m supposed to be getting my articles read for an annotated bibliography due this coming Tuesday, instead, I’m here writing this post.

Truth is, once you learn the art of procrastination, it never stops. I mean, ever since middle school I found ways to evade my homework until the last possible moment. Grad school is no exception.

Today, I face timed my friend from back home, and that of course lasted over an hour, so once we hung up I decided if I got out of the house to work on researching for articles, I might get something done with my life today. And, thats when the lie began.
I got myself and my dog ready to head to Starbucks and off we went. Ended up chatting with the barista of course, and found a table outside to sit at. Of course multiple distractions occurred, such as, the old men who go to that Starbucks everyday saying hi to me, the man sitting next to me made a comment about Stella ( my dog), as well as having multiple people stop and stare at her and comment “your dog is adorable”, so naturally it took me almost an hour to find four articles.

Now here I am at home back on my couch, because it’s getting to cold to sit outside, writing a blog post instead of analyzing the articles I found.
No matter how many years of schooling you have, you will never avoid the procrastination phase, trust me. I have found a way to work with the continuous phase instead of fighting it, that is, to have it work in your favor instead of against you. I usually will cook food or do some other reading or clean the apartment, but of course I also love to peruse Facebook and Twitter, and find myself staying distracted for hours at a time.
Lately I’ve been telling myself, one article must be read and notes taken before you can turn on Netflix again. It’s tough to follow, but I’m working on it, I swear.

It’s a tough phase to get over, but like I said, work with it instead of against it and it might make your life easier.