Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ideas for Budgeting Time, Taxes, and Donuts

I was gathering all of my financial information to complete my tax return last night and depression began to sink in... How could I have spent so much money on what now seems like such frivolous ideas?

All of these purchases seemed like GREAT ideas at the time, but when you aggregate those expenditures on an annual basis you can get scared and feel really stupid. I mean, I did have a line item in my personal budget for donuts, didn't I???

After contemplating my annual donut, coffee, and fast food expenditures my evening was complete and I headed for bed without really even starting my tax return. So this morning I'm thinking about my remarkably superior procastination skills and then I see some new posts on the Sacha Chua: Living an Awesome Life blog on my RSS feed. I decided to procrastinate the start of my day and take a glance at her newest posts and I now feel even more depressed.

I don't typically copy an entire post, but I'm amazed at Sacha's ability to set goals for her business and PERSONAL LIFE (relationships and life) on a weekly basis and to reflect on her successes or failures! Take a look at the following entry that she posts on a weekly basis:
From last week’s plans
  • [-] Start on new project involving Facebook and Rails
  • [-] Work on ITSC blog post, keynote presentation
  • [X] Post more Lotusphere-related reflections
  • [-] Work on Deeper Insights presentation on social learning
  • [-] Work on Remote Presentations that Rock presentation
  • [C] Possibly sign up for consulting course – skipping this for now
  • Learned how to use estimating worksheet
  • Talked to Boz about productivity
  • Worked on newsletter tool
  • Estimated and scoped projects, yay!
  • Got back into Ruby on Rails, prototyped a project
  • [X] Catch up with tasks at home
  • [-] Give Maira some of the spices – will do that today
  • [X] Organize get-together
  • Celebrated my mom’s 65th birthday
  • Looked for some experiences to share with people (movie, opera)

  • [X] Share more reflections from Lotusphere
  • [-] Open up investing TFSA with Waterhouse – will do that on Monday
  • [-] Review my goals and upcoming projects
  • Experimented with lower-key daily routine; need to mix in more social interaction or shared experiences?
  • Brainstormed books I would like to write/read some day

Plans for next week

  • [  ] Clarify scope and prepare estimates for other Drupal or Rails projects
  • [  ] Work on Facebook/Rails project
  • [  ] Work on newsletter tool – fix bugs, implement requests
  • [  ] Look into AIS IP address bug with simpleaccess
  • [  ] Put together ITSC presentation and blog post
  • [  ] Sketch Remote Presentations That Rock revision
  • [  ] Outline Org-mode talk

  • [  ] Give spices to Maira; cook Louisiana-style shrimp
  • [  ] Watch The King’s Speech with W-
  • [  ] Possibly get people together for opera
  • [  ] Prepare paperwork for Dutch visa
  • [  ] Go to Dutch embassy
  • [  ] Meet Mike Nurse
  • [  ] Chat with David Singer

  • [  ] Write about things I’m working on improving
  • [  ] Get through busy week
Time analysis

Tried new routine: wake up early-ish, have breakfast, do personal stuff or work, switch to work, have lunch, work, have dinner, tidy up, go to bed. This meant not doing anything that required a lot of thought or creativity in the evenings, and moving those activities to the morning instead.
Category                   Hours   Last Week     Notes
Sleep                           62:36        53.8            8.9 hours average
Work                           47:17        59.9            Got carried away prototyping and estimating
Social                          13:00        14.8            Chinese New Year dinner with W-’s family
Writing                        11:03          3.6            Assorted reflections
Travel                           3:24        19.6            Some commuting
Routines – general        7:49          7.8
Exercise                        5:39          0.5            Walking around
Break                            5:12          3.8
Routines – tidying         5:08
Learning                        1:49
Routines – cooking        0:43
Drawing                        0:33
Prep – general                                4.0
Prep – planning
Observations: I slept more than expected because I gave in to the temptation to snooze. W- simultaneously shifted to a late-night routine, so he woke up later in the mornings, which influenced the snoozing bit too. I think I’ll try this again, but with activities blocked off for morning hours so that (a) I don’t fill it with work by default, and (b) I have a clear reason to get up and get going.

It was a quiet week, which was a good way to recover from the buzz of Lotusphere. I suspect a good balance may be more towards the social side, though, and I spent some time focusing on developing relationships (finally answered my e-mail, for example!). Next week is going to be pretty busy on the social front. Something in the middle, perhaps. Maybe one occasion planned each week.

I have a feeling that it would be worth spending time developing friendships. I miss that sense of knowing other people that I had with my friends, and the extra richness of shared experiences. I have to consciously reach out and be interested in people to deal with the asymmetry of knowledge. It’s generally easy to know what I’m thinking about because I write about it, but other people tend not to.
I think I will start trying to plan my personal life. It might be nearly impossible when you factor in two kids, but I think it is a great idea to set goals in your professional AND personal life. I also believe that Sacha is right when she takes a few minutes to reflect upon her successes and failures. It does make you feel better to be able to check things off a list and to get that feeling of accomplishment.

I just don't know what I'll do this year on a reduced donut intake??? Beignets anyone?

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