How to Manage Your Time Wisely

1115053_47279232Are you one of those people that never seems to cross off everything on their daily To-do list? Do you end up having items from the previous day on the To-do list for the next day? Do you lay awake at night thinking about all the things you have to do the next day and wonder how it will ever get done?

The Time-Management Guide website has some helpful information that can help you get organized and learn how to manage your time wisely.

Time management skills are your abilities to recognize and solve personal time management problems. The goal of these time management lessons is to show you what you can do to improve those skills. With good time management skills you are in control of your time and your life, able to maintain balance between your work, personal, and family lives.

The site has Time-Management Tips, including Learning the difference between urgent and important, Knowing and respecting your priorities, Planning your actions for achieving your goals, Scheduling time for your tasks and Know how to spend your time. The best part is they have To-do list tips, helping you with this simple technique of making a To-do list.

They show you how to set SMART goals with their Essential Goal Setting Guidelines.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Rewarding
  • Timely

Time-Management-Guide.com is also a great resource for students who are struggling with time management and need help perfecting their study habits.

Save & Budget with the Envelope System

808239_67282262For years I have heard about the Envelope system. Where you separate your money into different envelopes, which you label to pay certain bills, or for spending money or whatever you have designated it for. This is a way to keep you from spending above and beyond what you have. For some this is pretty tough but this is a great way to get you on your way to sticking to a budget.

Dave Ramsey has a simple way to help you get going:

  1. Budget each paycheck. Budget is a dirty word to most people, but you must budget down to the last dime if you’re going to successfully implement the envelope system.
  2. Divide and conquer. Of course, there will be budget items that you cannot include in your envelope system, like bills paid by check or automatic withdraw. However, you can create categories like food, gas, clothing and entertainment.
  3. Fill ‘er Up. After you’ve categorized your cash expenses, fill each envelope with the money allotted for it in your budget. For example, if you allow $100 for clothing, put $100 in cash in your clothing envelope for the month.
  4. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Once you’ve spent all the money in a given envelope, you’re done spending for that category. If you go on a shopping spree and spend the $100 in your clothing envelope, you can’t spend any more on clothes until you budget for that category again. That means no visits to the ATM to withdraw more money!
  5. Don’t be tempted. While debit cards can’t get you directly into debt, if used carelessly, they can cause you to over-spend. There’s something psychological about spending cash that hurts more than swiping a piece of plastic. If spending cash whenever possible can become a habit, you’ll be less likely to over-spend or buy on impulse.
  6. Give it time. It will take a few months to perfect your envelope system. Don’t give up after a month or two if it’s not clicking. You’ll get the hang of it and see how beneficial the envelope system is as you dump debt, build wealth, and achieve financial peace!  See….simple!

Now you have to have room to change this a bit because you will have some bills that come up out of the blue or things that happen that need immediate attention but aside from those things, the envelope system seems to be a big help for those that need a push in the right direction and help with a budget. For all your envelope questions, check out Dave Ramsey‘s website for more information.

Youmeo: The Ultimate Open Journey

I don’t know about you but I have a very hard time keeping track of all my social networks online. I hardly check any of them because it takes so much time to sign into each one of them and remember all the passwords. But now there is a new social networking site that has the ability of combining all of your other social networks into one easily accessed space.

The name Youmeo is a play on the words “you and me online”. Those words make up what Youmeo is all about, connecting you with others around you.

Youmeo supports the online togetherness of Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Bebo, Last.fm, Hi5 and many more. On your home page you can put in what you are doing and post it to all your connected sites or choose a few or even just one but being able to update them all at once is pretty decent in my book.

You can add friends from your email account. Just by logging into your account inside Youmeo and it will bring up all your contact emails and you can send them invites to join Youmeo or see if they already have a Youmeo account. You can add photos and videos to share with your friends. You can also add new blogs directly into Youmeo for all of your friends to see. Aswell, you can also update all your other blogs that are online like blogger and live journal.

Try it on and tell me what you think. Is it worth it to combine all your social networks together? Is it easier?

Throwing a Dinner Party on a Budget

  • Choose a Date: When picking a date, make sure you choose a date that’s far enough in advanced that people are able to make it. Weekend nights are the best, so your guests can relax and enjoy themselves, not having to worry about getting up for work.
  • Make the Guest List: When throwing a dinner party on a budget you need to keep the guest list short. Keep the party at 6-8 people( 3-4 couples) including yourself.
  • Choose a Theme: Decorating for a theme can get expensive so if a theme is in order, try to choose a theme you already have decorations for. If a theme is not a priority, try decorating simply with a nice set of dishes and silver ware and the correct stemware for the drinks you are providing. I recently wrote a post about the Appropriate Glassware for Serving Alcoholic Drinks.
  • Create a Menu: This may seam difficult but it really is not. You can make some very inexpensive meals on a budget. Pasta makes a great inexpensive but very tasty meal. Try to use fresh ingredients, vegetables that are in season with be cheaper. Stay away from serving alcohol at your party, alcohol is very expensive and will put you over the budget. If you want to serve wine, there are some decent inexpensive ones that you could serve but make sure and have a half a bottle per person. Serving water in a pretty pitcher with lemon, lime or cucumber makes a great dinner drink or you can make some sweetened iced tea, always a budget friendly drink.
  • Know Your Budget: Before you head out to do any shopping make a list of all the things you need and figure out how much you can spend on each item. Keep a running total of the expenses so you know when you need to cut corners on one item because you went over on another.
  • Seating Chart: When making a seating chart be aware of the size of people, try to put women in between men and seat each spouse by each other. If you have a lefty, make sure and put them on the appropriate side as to not be nudging the arm of the person next to them all night.
  • 2 Days Before: Do whatever prep work you can ahead of time for the food you will prepare. Make sure all linens are cleaned and ironed.
  • The Day of the Party: Clean the house, make sure and recruit your family to help. Try to get everything done that can be done before the guests arrive. Make sure you have the meal finished a few minutes after your guests are supposed to arrive so that you don’t serve a cold meal.
  • ENJOY!

Geni – The Online Family Tree

Have you ever wanted to build a family tree but wasn’t sure how to begin? Have you ever wanted to know more about the people you are related to but thought the process of finding out may be a bit too difficult? Or maybe you want a list of all your family members birthdays and anniversaries?

Check out Geni, the online family tree. You can use Geni to:

  • Build your family tree
  • Preserve your family history
  • Share family photos and videos
  • Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other events
  • Create profiles for your children
  • Memorialize loved ones

I have joined Geni and it really is very easy to navigate. Very self explanatory and interesting when you start seeing your family add stats and info to the tree. I like how you can also send messages to your family members and uploading videos for your family to see. This would be great for families that don’t live close to each other.

Geni is a private place for your family to build your family tree, preserve your history and share your lives.

Pear Budget – Really Simple Budgeting for 2009

2009 is upon us, and most of us have thought of many ways we can make this year better than the last. Spending less and budgeting is among the top 10.

As I was looking through the internet I found this site called Pear Budget. It looks like a great budgeting system. They have it Free for 30 days so you can try it out. Its fully customizable, flexible, quick to set up, easy to maintain, straightforward and understandable. They claim its easier than Quicken or Microsoft Money.

It starts out with a simple put a check by the categories you want in your budget. Than you decide how often you spend money on each category. Than you enter how much you spend per month on each monthly category and how much you spend on the once or more yearly categories. Than the last part is inputting how much you expect to make this month. And than you are on your way to start budgeting.

Now seeing it all on paper can be a little disheartening, at least for me it was. But this will help me get on my way to handling my finances better. I would suggest that if you are going to do this, get out your bills and receipts so that you can get an accurate budget planned out.

Pear Budget also has a blog. Check it out!

Use Google Docs For Your Christmas Wish List

Well Christmas is coming and if you have kids they have already made you a “Wish List” of gifts you can buy them. If you are like my family, we write out a wish list for our immediate families to give to aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

That might get overwhelming when you have all these pieces of paper laying around, making it easy to misplace them.

Why not use Google Docs?

You can add your own personal “Wish List” along with your families.

How it works:

  1. Click on New Document
  2. Write out your list
  3. Click on Save
  4. Click on Share
  5. Invite People as Viewers
  6. Write a short Message & Click Send

And there you have it! So easy and everyone will have a copy of it in their gmail account to look over it anytime they need. And the great thing about this is everyone in the family can put up their own Christmas “Wish Lists”.

What ways do you make wish lists? I would love some new ideas!

Fall Cleaning Tips – How to Unload Your Crap

Summer has sadly slipped into that past and we are now into the cooler fall weather. Right now is the perfect time to do some fall cleaning. This is not like “Spring Cleaning”, I’m talking about cleaning out your closet and dresser draws when the season changes.

When you start to pack your summer clothes away, make sure and go through everything you are about to pack away and get rid of anything you haven’t wore at least once over the summer. The same with when you pull out your fall and winter clothes, if you don’t remember the last time you wore it, than get rid of it.

Tips for unloading your crap and making a little dough at the same time:

1. Ebay– Try your hand at putting your clothes on Ebay. Some well known brands sell very well. Make sure and include photos and a detailed description with the items you sell.

2. Craigslist – Sell your old clothes in lots on Craigslist. Make sure and be honest if there is anything wrong with it. Again photos are very helpful.

3. Consignment Shop – Check out your local consignment shop. They will usually only take items that are for the upcoming season and after the item sells they will take a percentage of what it sold for.

If you are suffering from the same clothes addiction I am and have clothes falling out every time you open the closet doors than unloading some of that crap will do you some good. So lets get cleaning!

5 Steps to Boosting Your Self-Image

Low self-esteem can negatively affect virtually every area of you life, including relationships, your job, and your health. You can raise your self-esteem to a healthy level even if you have been harboring a negative self-image.

From the OHSU employee wellness program:

Step 1 – Identify troubling conditions or situations.

Think about what conditions or situations about your life you find troubling and that seem to deflate your self-esteem.

Step 2 – Become aware of beliefs and thoughts.

What do you tell yourself? What do you believe about yourself?

Step 3 – Pinpoint negative or inaccurate thinking.

How do you react? Emotionally? Behaviorally? Do you experience physical symptoms(stiff neck, stomachache, back ache)?

Step 4 – Challenge negative or inaccurate thinking.

All-or-nothing thinking. Mental filtering. Jumping to negative conclusions. Mistaking feelings for fact. Self put-downs.

Step 5 – Change your thoughts and beliefs.

Use hopeful statements. Forgive yourself. Avoid ‘Should’ or ‘must’ statements. Focus on the positive.

It may take time to get yourself to think in a new way and change the negative thinking to positive, but over time you are bound to notice change and continue developing your new self-image.

What do you do to improve your self-image?

7 Ways To Use The Books That are Laying About the House

If you are like me, everywhere you look you see stacks of books. This is not a strange phenomenon but a sick obsession my husband has with books. My sweet hubby has gone back to school and each book he buys, whether he needs it for class or not, he feels he has to keep because some day he may need it again. I say “lets scale it down” but right now that is not an option so I have found ways to deal with these trillions of books that lay around my house taunting me.

1. End Table – Depending on the size of the books, you can stack them to a nice height for setting coffee mugs on at the end of a couch or next to an overstuffed chair.

2. Table Stabilizer – Because books come in so many great sizes and thicknesses, they work wonders on tables or dressers that aren’t completely level. And if the book is needed you can just grab another to replace that one.

3. Decoration – Stack and display some of the more interesting books on a book shelf for decoration.

4. Coffee Table Legs – Stack four sets of smaller books for the legs of a table at equal heights and put a funky old door or large piece of glass over them for a nice coffee table. This can be done in many different ways with three bigger stacks of books instead of four or just two large stacks. Whatever you desire. Shopaholicsdaily.com shows an example. Daily Danny also had a brilliant idea of how to use books as a side table.

5. Step Ladder – If you have some tall cupboards in the kitchen or other area in the home and no step ladder, stack some larger books together and Vuala you have your very own step ladder.

6. Washer and Dryer Lift – If your tired of bending over to get into your front loaders, try this, 1.) Get the amount of books you need for the height you need, 2.) Wrap them up with a brown paper bag or other sturdy material, 3.) Tape them together so they don’t come apart when the washer or dryer is doing its job 4.) set them under the front loaders.

7. Centerpiece – Chances are you already have them on the dining table anyhow so arrange them nicely in the middle and stick a candle or some flowers on them or wrap a pretty ribbon around them. Ideas – New York Social Diary Nina Griscom.

I know there are many more ideas out there on how to use books that are laying about the house so please if you have any that I missed, leave me a comment. I would love to hear some of your ideas and try something new. Cause the great Lord above knows we have more books coming!