Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Never Eat Alone

So right off the bat, my blog has reached the 100 page view mark since Adsense started tracking page views for me. I know, not as impressive as those guys who get 50,000 or 100,000 hits a day, but I'm happy. Thank you to all my visitors. By the way, feel free to comment or raise questions.

I read this guy's blog "I will teach you to be rich" ( every so often and today he had an interesting concept. The idea of doing statistical analysis of your daily life to see where your time and money goes. That way you can have a better understanding of what is actually going on, rather than what you think is going on. It also allows you to reflect back on what you could have done better and make some improvements.

Currently I have a few systems like that setup. The first one is my 'Engineering Log' for work. The idea is that each day I keep tracking of what I worked on, and various important information that comes up. That way I know what I did and when I did it, as well as having some CYA in case something happens down the road. It's probably the best idea that came out of my Software Engineering course that I took in college. My sister told me at one point that a colleague of hers did something similar, but kept track of the time she did things as well as how long it took her to do them. That way if there was ever a question about her time card she knew how to resolve it. Also, my brother told me that a colleague of his would make power point slides for each step of a project he worked on. That way he was able to sum up the main points, have something to remember what he did and why he did it by, and he could present on what he was working on at any time. Both additional tactics seem to be very valuable, but I don't have a busy enough or engaged enough work routine currently to implement them. In the near future I should be switched to a different project, so that may be the time to start incorporating those ideas.

The second system I have is used to track my finances. I made up what I call a "Financial map" which is basically a spreadsheet of the balance of my checking account over time. I have scheduled in different deposits and withdrawals that occur at certain fixed intervals. I then update it with recent transactions in a way that I can see what I'm spending my money on. Most financial software does this same thing and for a while I was using Quicken to manage my finances, but their auto-update feature did not work with some of my accounts so I went back to my old way of doing things. I've heard that Quick Books is better software and there is also Open Source software called "Mint" that will do a better job, but I haven't found the need to upgrade yet. What I also do about monthly is update a financial summary. This is just a list of the balance of all of my accounts so I get a big picture idea of what percentages I hold in different areas. For example, about 60% of my wealth is currently in savings accounts, 30% is in investments and about 10% is in very liquid accounts. My goal is to shift the balance so that my investing and savings are about equal percentage.

I do not have a system to track where my time goes. I feel like this would be very useful since I seem to waste a lot of my time. I'm ok with this to a point currently since in my long term goals this is more of a limbo period. Once I change my living situation I will no longer be ok with this and will make a push to start drastically changing how I monitor my time.

The other problem I run into is determining my goals. I'm re-reading Never Eat Alone since it's such a quality book and my brother thought it would be a good idea to review some of the concepts. It also emphasizes how important goals are, since you can't get somewhere if you don't know where it is. I've also been reading the Pathfinder intermittently in order to come up with goals, so I'm hoping that will help in that area.

Currently, my main goals are to finish my financial priming in December so I can shift my money flow into other investments. Once I have that base that I can build on, I'll be able to focus on life improvements, like putting together a website to use as a central brand building point and changing my living arrangement so that I can start having meetings. Also, I'll be able to setup work spaces like I mentioned in a previous blog so that I can focus better on different projects. Along with those goals is my continuing process of building the Real Estate Jobber business and this blog that I use to track it.

So again, thank you to my readers. This is the first milestone of hopefully many to come and I hope that my perspectives are adding value to you as well.

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