By Ira Bowman

Are you drowning in debt, always behind on tasks, tired all the time and frankly miserable?  There are far too many people with good intentions who suffer from one or more of these conditions.  Life is hard and you are certainly not alone.  Fear not because you have stumbled upon a man who used to suffer from all these things.   I am going to share with you some simple life hacks on how you can significantly improve the quality of your life without spending any extra money.

Drowning in Debt

There are three things you need to know that will help you get out of debt quickly and permanently.

  1. Make a budget and stick to it. I know it sounds like being locked in a cell, but you have it wrong.  If you budget your money correctly, it’s the single most freeing thing you’ll ever do.  Do you feel guilty when you spend on an indulgence?  If you make a budget that properly accounts for all your income and expenses, and the indulgence is included in the expense, then you can enjoy guilt-free.
  2. Credit Cards are not your friend. If you have multiple cards, pick the one with the lowest interest rate and save it.  Cut up the rest.  Now pay the minimum payment on all but the highest rate card you have each month.  Pay the absolute most you can on the highest interest rate card until it’s paid off.  Continue this process until all your credit cards are paid off.  Don’t sign up for any more credit cards, ever.  If you don’t have the cash, you don’t need it.
  3. You don’t need to keep up with the Jones family. Seriously, stop buying name brands and start buying value.  Learn to shop for items by the unit.  When I go to the store, for most things from food to clothing, I look at the cost per unit.  To be clear, let’s say I’m looking to buy some cereal.  I’m looking on the shelf at the price and underneath the total price, there’s a smaller number that says the price per ounce.  I usually buy cereal anywhere from $0.11 to $0.19 per ounce.  Many of the name brand cereals are $0.39-$0.45 per ounce.

Behind on Tasks

The hardest thing to teach some people is how to manage their time.  I have written entire blogs on this topic but here are some helpful hints in a condensed version.

  1. Write out your daily priority list, and then rank them with the most important thing being the lowest number and the least important thing being the higher number. Once the list is complete, work on the lowest number you can and check them off as you go.  Always work on the lowest number that is available.  Even when you don’t finish the list, you’ll still have finished the most important things each day and you’ll feel good about your accomplishments.
  2. Have block schedules for your day, week, month, quarter and year. What is a block schedule?  A block schedule is an allotment of time, where you break up a period into sections.  You fill in specific tasks that you will focus on in each block.  The blocks help you stay focused, so you can achieve your goals in the designated period.
  3. Eliminate time wasters. Sounds so simple yet too many people get lost in binge-watching TV or YouTube videos on social media.  Want to read more, exercise, spend time with your kids, help with philanthropic activities, sleep better and more?  There are only 24 hours in a day.  Pay attention to how you’re spending your time now.  Like a surgeon, cut out the activities that are wasting your time.  Also, tighten up and become more efficient on tasks that you can finish in less time.  By cutting out and reducing time spent on other tasks, you’ll gain time to add some of the other things back into your life.

Tired All the Time

Eat right, get good sleep and exercise.  You know this.  How do you do it?  Well, that’s where the hacks come in right?

  1. Eating right for me was as simple as cutting out all fast food and eating less in general. I used to live on the cheap drive-through burger meal.  To be clear, I am not a dietician, and this is not intended to be medical advice.  You’ve heard the expression, “you are what you eat” and “garbage in, garbage out.”  Food is fuel.  You don’t need to store extra fuel for hibernation.  Eat less, eat better, and you’ll have more energy.
  2. Need more energy? How are you sleeping?  Most of us in the 21st Century are spending too much time on activities other than sleep.  There is a portion of our society who oversleep which can be just as draining on your body.  The trick to increasing energy with sleep is to get a good amount.  I have incorporated “cat naps” into my weekend days too.  These naps help me with my energy levels until bedtime.
  3. I have had to relearn what exercise is because I grew up an athlete. A lot of us spend most of our time sitting at a desk, staring at a screen.  We need to be active.  One of the things I’ve done is to take advantage of my smartphone.  You can keep track of your daily walking.  A good goal is 10,000 steps.  The phone not only tracks your steps, with Wi-Fi access, but you can also still read and respond to emails, and do a lot of business tasks as you walk.  I find walking, getting my blood circulating helps my mood, my energy and reduce my weight all at the same time.

Wrapping it Up

I didn’t specifically address being miserable because the reason most of us are miserable is tied to the effects of the way we spend our lives.  From the bad eating habits, lack of sleep and wasting time on useless activities, we subconsciously know we can do better.  To feel better, implement steps to correct your overall performance.  We can’t be perfect, but we can be better.  Be the best you, that you can be by making yourself a priority.  Use the hacks listed above to help you.  You are worth the investment.

Thank you for reading and you’re invited to provide your feedback and thoughts in the comments below.  I look forward to building a win-win networking relationship with you here on SPN.

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