My wife and I are discussing finances. Seeing as we just bought a new house, as well as are about to welcome two new humanoid creatures into the world (continue to send prayers), we felt it was a good time to examine all accounts to see what’s up.
You know. Adulting.
We’ve considered a few different at-home strategies to manage the finances. You never want to just pick one and run with it from the get go. Experiment. Play around. Find what seems to be working the best, THEN follow through on that. The follow through is most important, but the last thing you want to do is commit yourself to 6 months of financial advice from a source that isn’t working. Do your research, as in all things.
One of the sources we’ve considered is Dave Ramsey, noted “I Can Help You Fix Your Money” man. While I’m not here to discuss my opinions of the guy, I will talk about one of his methods and how I’m adapting it to my work:
The Debt Snowball.
According to the official Dave Ramsey website:
The debt snowball method is a debt reduction strategy where you pay off debt in order of smallest to largest, gaining momentum as you knock out each balance. When the smallest debt is paid in full, you roll the money you were paying on that debt into the next smallest balance.
It looks something like this:
Step 1: List your debts from smallest to largest regardless of interest rate.
Step 2: Make minimum payments on all your debts except the smallest.
Step 3: Pay as much as possible on your smallest debt.
Step 4: Repeat until each debt is paid in full.
Makes sense, right? You divert all your available money (minus the minimum payment) to the smallest debt you got. Then, once that’s all paid off, you ride the high of finally knocking out a monthly payment to tackle the next highest one. Rinse, repeat, success.
Now, I’m not sure of this technique’s actual success rate (I’m sure Mr. Ramsey would only want the successful stories in his book), but the mentality behind it is sound.
We WANT victories. We want to feel like we’re actually doing something, like the art in front of us is going to lead somewhere. Unfortunately, we’re often so far out from the finishing strokes of our master manuscript that it’s impossible to see the forest through the blindfold we’ve shuffled over eyes.
My idea was to adapt the “focus majorly on one task, the second task a little less, then the third task least of all” to my writing. Currently, I have the next manuscript, plot points for a potentially new story I could begin writing by the end of the year/early next year, and research and querying for Project: GREY going on. This might not seem like a lot to a professional writer, who might have as many projects going on at once that our young, unprofessional minds would finish in the next 3 years. (I believe Warren Ellis writes about 7 different things, be they tv shows, comics, movies, magic scrolls, all at once. However he is a dead space wizard from Magical England, so, yeah.)
How do we organize our thoughts so we can complete each task?
A – > B – > C
Or, if you want to sound even COOLER:
Alpha – > Beta – > Gamma
With how chaotic things have been lately, house buying and baby prepping, I figured I can muster up an average of 2 free hours at a time to work on writing. So, within that two hours, each task is assigned a label. A(Alpha), B(Beta), and C(Gamma).
Alpha tasks can be worked on for 1 hour at a time.
Beta tasks can be worked on for 30 minutes at a time.
Gamma tasks can be worked on for 15 minutes at a time.
In total, this amounts to about 1:45 of actual work, so there’s some wiggle room in there if I want to stick to the 2-hour limit. But it functions as a snowball rolling down a hill, like Ramsey suggested. I put priority work at the top, spending long amounts of time with it. Then, once it’s finished, I move it off the list and the project that was listed at Beta becomes Alpha and I start working on that one for an hour at a time.
The benefit is that each project is always in motion.
They say if a shark stops moving it dies. So, even if it’s just 15 minutes, that can start to add up after a few days. A few weeks? Even more. Then once that project gets bumped up to the next time slot, from 15 minutes to 30 minutes or from 30 minutes to an hour, you’ve already got a crazy head start.
This is what it’s like inside my mind.
Thanks for reading,
September 15, 2019 at 1:55 PM
I like this strategy. Right now I’m mostly focusing on writing SOMETHING every day, but as I get more firmly established in a writing habit, I will definitely have to start using a system to prioritize my projects.
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September 16, 2019 at 8:33 PM
I understand completely. Sometimes it’s a challenge to even get a sentence down, but honestly, some days that has to be enough? I tried to make this system work in the way that as long as I’m at a desk for 2 hours then progress is happening. Let me know if you find something more efficient.
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