I’ve written before that I am a big fan of making up rules for my bullet journal. After all, it’s a system for productivity. If you take the time to develop it as a system, you ought to be more productive, right? I used to think that meant I had to follow a complex system of listing and managing tasks while constantly coming up with ideas for new tasks to complete. I’m really great at thinking up new tasks to do! I’m not so great at accomplishing them as quickly.
My struggle was one of blank boxes. After a couple of weeks in my clogged system, I had a very long list of tasks that I was simply rewriting at the beginning of the day. The sheer weight of it overwhelmed me and I would only end up getting a couple of things done. My long list of boxes was still empty, I had new tasks to add for the next day, and I didn’t even want to open my bullet journal after a while.
That’s when I started to lean into the Level 10 Life system, which I’ve written about before. Level 10 Life has really changed the way I approach time and task management. Instead of boosting my anxiety, Level 10 Life calms me down and helps me remember what’s really important.
As of Aug 1, I am in a new bullet journal and it’s always so magically writing in a brand new book. But that also means I have a brand new set of 100 life goals to work towards.
This week, my main focus is going to be on my financial and career goals. The summer is almost over and I want to squeeze in a few more fun activities with the kids and my husband. But I also have a lot of writing clients at the moment, so if I want time off later this month I have to earn it now.
Financial and Career goals go hand in hand, obviously. The more money I make, the more I can smash my financial goals. But I’m also lucky enough that my income isn’t the primary support my family has. My career goals include making money, yes, but I have some space in my budget to work on other projects that don’t make money. This blog is a good example of that. There are lots of great reasons for me to keep a blog, like having a space to write about things that interest me, getting in the habit of keeping a personal project going, connecting with a larger audience of people who share my interests. It’s good for me as a writer and it’s good for me as a person, even though I’m a very long distance away from making money here.
I also want to focus more time on developing my professional website. I write web pages constantly for clients, but there is something so much more difficult about writing your own website. It needs a lot of work and I’ve largely ignored it for more than a year. It’s a major goal for me to revamp it, but since I haven’t developed much of a marketing plan it won’t directly translate to more dollars right away.
My other big set of career goals is to focus on local clients. I’ve been picking up freelance work online for almost 10 years, but it’s a completely different set of skills required to pitch an online job board than it is to sell your services in a face-to-face meeting. It makes me break out into a cold sweat to thinking about meeting with local business owners in person. Regardless, it’s a skill I need to build if I want to take my career to the next level.
My last career goal is to finish the manuscript I’m working on. I already created a spread to track its progress. I have a long way to go but if I can just keep plugging away at it, I know I can accomplish my goal.
My husband and I are very close to breaking through to the “next level” when it comes to our money. To give you a brief overview of our finances, we scrimped and saved for a couple of years in order to spend a lot of money in 2015. We got married, we bought a house, and we took a lavish 10-day honeymoon in Playa del Carmen. We knew the trade-off would be working hard for the next couple of years to pay down our debt and save money again. It’s been 3 years but we can finally see the finish line in the distance.
My biggest goals right now involve our vehicles. We have two vehicles, both badly in need of repairs, both severely depreciated, and neither one quite paid off yet. We have some money saved up and it’s time for us to make a decision about our way forward. We think we’re going to fix one car and pay it off, which would give us double payment money to pay on the second, broken car, which would then become a trade in on a more reliable car. That would allow us to go down to one car payment and still have a second vehicle to loan out to our teenager.
The money we save in car payments would go straight to our credit card debt. If everything goes according to plan, we could be in a great position by the end of the year to prioritize my student loan payments (basically the succubus of my life). At the same time, we need to build a larger emergency fund and get in the habit of regularly saving money, even if it’s only $20 a week.
How I Will Work Towards My Goals This Week
This week, I have a lot of client work. That means I will work hard to meet my goal of earning $2000 this month. My struggle for this goal is finding more than an hour or two a day to work. This week, the kids can do some chores around the house to help me have more time to work.
I am going to try to add 2,000 words to my manuscript today, which I could accomplish in a couple of hours if I just sit down to do it. Or, if I don’t feel inspired, I can pluck that out at 400 awkward words a day and smooth it out later.
I am going to make an appointment to get my car fixed. Once I know how much that’s going to cost, I can use the rest of the money we’ve saved (hopefully) to pay that loan off entirely.
How My Bullet Journal Helps
These goals are my focus for the week. When I have ideas this week about accomplishing other goals, I can make notes in my bullet journal for later, when it’s time to focus on those goals. There were things I didn’t get done last week, but the world isn’t going to end if I put those tasks on hold.
The only boxes I need to write on my day log are the things I can accomplish today to move me towards these goals. Sure, I have to remember to pick my kids up from football practice, get the baby to the pediatrician, cook dinner every night, etc. But other than that, this week is dedicated to smashing some career goals.