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Roxanne Ravago

Maker of Digital Arts & Crafts

41

3

balancing your checkbook is sexy

At this moment,

I have promised myself to

  • eat less meat
  • eat less carbs
  • eat more vegetables
  • be more compassionate towards people and animals
  • floss
  • practice mindfulness
  • smoke less
  • drink less coffee
  • chew more
  • breathe between every bite
  • practice yoga and meditate for at least 5 minutes
  • exercise regularly
  • code more
  • design more
  • network with one person
  • give gratitude to someone I care about
  • tweet my progress on personal development
  • read
  • write a journal entry
  • reconcile my expenses
  • and spend less money.

I have promised others to

  • code more
  • share my learning experiences online
  • demo the latest progress I have made in the projects I'm working on
  • work on prospective job opportunities
  • ship the ideas that I've told them.

This is "JUST A FEW" at the top of my head that I could immediately think of. It barely scratches the surface of all the things I've promised to myself and others.

My guilty (but actually not so guilty) pleasure is personal development. I think of myself in permanent beta, so habit-forging is natural territory to me. As an Upholder type, I have a strong tendency to pick overambitious habits. and lots of them at the same time while underestimating my ability to manage my energy effectively. as an Obliger type, I am a "YES" person...so much so that I realized I needed help and sought practical advice from close friends and James Altucher (via his book The Power of No). 

Having 100 "top priorities" is not the same as 2 top priorities.

the "quotations" around "top priorities" explains why I constantly feel like I'm spreading myself too thin across many areas of my life, never feeling like I did something very well, or got anything done at all. When burn out starts to creep in, and I'm accomplishing less and less, the demons come out--that of self-doubt and "not enough" syndrome, among other things.

It's time to change my behavior. 

less is more.

AND SO I START WITH ONE HABIT: Balancing my checkbook everyday.

cheers to this journey!

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PROJECT UPDATE: Trigger

At first, I was thinking to balance my checkbook before bed or right after my last expense of the night but I realized that my actions aren't as consistent and logical before bed or after last expense. For example, I could still be out having dinner with friends after my last expense and I don't have any system in place to efficiently balance my checkbook nor would I want to be doing that while out with friends. Also understanding that my energy levels are way lower right before bed, I wouldn't want to do something that requires my alertness. Balancing my checkbook at the end of the night wouldn't be a good idea either.

I picked my 1st and 2nd trigger for right after breakfast, and if I miss that, right before lunch. I will balance my checkbook from the income / expenses I incurred the day before on those triggers because my energy levels are highest then, I will be alert, and it practices reflection on the events that happened the day before.

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PROJECT UPDATE: Rewards

I am setting up 2 rewards:

  1. I set up a Trello board for "Balance my checkbook" habit. Each week (7-day period), I create a list. For every day that I balance my checkbook, I will add a card to the list that says "I balanced today!!!"
  2. Every Sunday after breakfast, I will look at how many days I balanced my checkbook during the week (7-day period). For every day that I balanced my checkbook, I will add $1 to my savings account.

Here are my reasons for setting up this rewards system.

I realized that

  • I get satisfaction out of the visual crossing out of things from to-do lists, in pen and paper and in the to-do list productivity system I've built on Trello.
  • I tried Lift once, and I wasn't able to get it to stick and so I deleted it from my phone.

Taking these data points into account, I decided against trying Lift again AND trying out a new app/system for visually displaying the # times I balanced my checkbook during the week (ex. using GoogleCal and manually inputting "I balanced today!!!" for every day I did). So I am using the same principle of rewarding myself on Trello for acomplishing my to-dos and applying it to this new habit.

In the near long-term, I plan to build a custom calendar on my online journal, Connect the Dots, that allows me to put a big "X" for every day I balance my checkbook. I'm thinking to use these calendar plug-ins. While there are many digital and analog systems that exists to track my progress (i.e. Lift, GoogleCal, Trello to name a few) I believe that the act of building a tracking system myself will hold me more accountable to sticking to my habit because I have built something especially to reward myself for the positive action I'm taking in my life.

Because the higher goal of balancing my checkbook is so that I increase my awareness about how I am spending and earning my money, and if it aligns with how I want to be living my life, I decided to tie the reward to some money component. What better way than to reward myself with $$$ towards my savings for every time I stick to my positive habit.  

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PROJECT UPDATE: Reminders

Gcal push notification, window and e-mail alert 5 mins before 8:30 am and 12:30 pm 

  • MON-SAT -- Balance check book AND add card that says "I balanced today!!!" on Trello board from Mon-Sat
  • SUN -- Reward myself with payday to savings account for every day I balanced checkbook

Add card that says "balance checkbook" on Trello "To-do" board under "Today" list

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