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= money = time = money = time = money =

May 27, 2010

What is it that matters most to you? Protecting the environment for future generations? Fighting for women’s rights in third world countries? Supporting arts education for youth?

Now take a look at your calendar and checkbook ledger. Do they reflect what matters most? What would your closest friends say if invited to provide honest, critical feedback on your time and money management records?

It’s easy to say that you care about others, to say that you are ready to redeem your purpose. But if you don’t focus your resources and commit time and money to what matters most, you invite frustration and disappointment.

= time =

There are a lot of time management products available. Over the last three decades I’ve used Day-Timer, FranklinCovey, a Palm Pilot, and MS Outlook. Now I’m using Google Calendar, Gmail, and my journal. Here are a couple more systems that I’ve heard good things about:

Charlie Gilkey’s Productive Flourishing Planners*

Getting Things Done by David Allen*

= money =

In terms of money management, I’m a big fan of Dave Ramsey.* We follow many of his principles, and we are debt free with the exception of our home mortgage. But I know Dave rubs some people the wrong way. (Maybe you need to be agitated?) Either way, there are plenty of other programs out there, and I’ve heard good things about Get Rich Slowly.*

Remember that time is money.

(Benjamin Franklin, Advice To A Young Tradesman, 1748)

Why was I able to invest so much time and energy in leading the music at my church — and still meet the goals and objectives of my full-time job? In large part, because of effective time and money management. The church grew, expanded its reach, and now provides food, shelter, and education to AIDS orphans in a village in South Africa; and through H.O.P.E. we provide food and clothing to the homeless in Kansas City. I’d a lot rather invest $40 a month in food for an orphan than $40 a month in credit card interest. And I’d rather invest my free time in creative endeavors than a second job to keep the debt-wolves at bay.

How about you?

*I receive no remuneration from these endorsements.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2010 9:02 pm

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

    • May 28, 2010 6:55 am

      Thanks for visiting and for the compliment, Allen. Writing is one of my primary means of making it click.

  2. May 27, 2010 11:31 pm

    I am still so old-school – I use real paper and make lists, lists, lists! That’s one of the things I’m doing tonight – typing up a schedule that should work for a few months…and another list of specific tasks I need to get done over the next few weeks/months.

    But for people like my husband and 16-year old son, who have distraction issues, I think technology like a Blackberry etc. is critical. Using a Blackberry has made my husband 100% more organized. And I think it is so cute (sorry I’m a mom!) when my 16-year old son told me the other day that he keeps his Smartphone by at night so if he thinks of something he needs to do while he’s falling asleep he can put it in his calendar!

    For money management my preference by far is David Bach’s “Finish Rich…” series. I am familiar with both of the above mentioned (and GRS’ J.D. Roth often mentions Dave Ramsey just for a little trivia) – but I think David Bach’s system is more practical – just my 2 cents.

    • May 28, 2010 6:54 am

      Thank you for the comment, Anne. Nothing wrong with paper lists, in my opinion. If you haven’t checked out David Allen’s Getting Things Done, you might want to take a look. I listened to an abridged version on CD (from the library) and am going to give his methods a try. They would sync well with a hard-copy or electronic system. Life looks like it could be getting more complicated for me in the next several months; I need all the help I can get!

      I’ve resisted the smart phone so far. Just can’t part with the extra $20/mo in data service fees (for now, anyway). When my palm pilot died last summer I invested in a Netbook, and it’s serving me well with no add’l data fees. I imagine it’s just a matter of time before I surrender to the smart phone, though.

      Thanks also for the tip on David Bach’s system. I’ll have to check that out. We tried several systems (Larry Burkett, Ron Blue, Crown, etc.) before finally clicking with Dave Ramsey. Like most things, I think people need to find what works for them.

      • May 28, 2010 3:20 pm

        I agree with people needing to find what works for them. I know a number of people who use Dave Ramsey’s system.

        The thing about David Bach’s system that is superior, I think, is that he advises (and teaches you how to) you automate everything – hence his “Automatic Millionaire” titles. Those titles don’t imply a “do this automatic system and you will get-rich-quick scheme.” It means that if you automate such things as: saving, paying off your mortgage early, etc. you are eons ahead in terms of achieving your goals.

        For instance, Dave Ramsey believes you should study different mutual funds and make choices about where to invest your retirement savings yourself. I have a real problem with this because most people don’t have the time and expertise to do this and therefore, will end up putting off saving for retirement. I use a targeted retirement fund (T. Rowe Price in my case) and put money there (in a Roth) for my husband and I via automatic draft. This is David Bach’s system.

        The same thing with paying off your mortgage early. Dave Ramsey says you shouldn’t pay a service to make extra payments to your mortgage, you should do it yourself. But most people won’t. They will always find something else they “need” that money for.

        Over the life of my mortgage (approx. 23 years since I am paying if off early) I will pay about a thousand dollars to a service (Equity Accelerator) which drafts my checking account weekly for my mortgage payment, and they handle making the extra payments for me. Simple. Makes my life a lot easier at a cost of a few bucks a month.

      • May 28, 2010 3:38 pm

        Thanks for the additional information on David Bach. Looks like a good system. We’ve got less than 10 years left on our mortgage, and I really look forward to celebrating when we write that last check!

  3. June 10, 2010 9:55 am

    This reminds me of a recent conversation I had with an acquaintance. She asked, “What do you do?” and I answered, “Well, I love to cook, I have a cool cat, I read, I write, I go for walks, I meditate…” as I trailed off (due to the wry look on her face) she asked again, “No. I mean, what do you do?” I said, “That is what I do. Are you asking me what do I do to make money?” She (clearly getting annoyed) nodded and I said, “Oh, well I work on a variety of projects but one of my main projects is career development. And a big part of that is helping people see that they are more than a paycheck. Hence my reason for messing with you.” She smiled and lightened up a bit after that. What we do and what we do for fiscal renumeration can be similar, can be totally different, or can be complimentary. Regardless, I do know that we are a lot more than just a paycheck and chasing that debt-wolf off is usually not the most fulfilling answer to how to spend your time and energy.

    • June 10, 2010 12:13 pm

      Absolutely! Best advice I ever received re: the debt-wolf: pay cash for everything! In the words of SNL: “Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford.”

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