If you guys recall, I’ve been pretty good about tracking monthly expenses since January 2012. It’s been a great habit that I’ve developed that gives me a better understanding of where I stand each month as it can vary greatly. Some months I spend $500 on non-fixed expenses (food, gas, and everything else that’s not rent and fixed payments), and some months it balloons to $1,200. But even in those expensive months, I’ve been able to handle all my expenses and not accrue debt. But I have a terrible confession to make. I haven’t done a monthly spending spreadsheet since October. I know, six months of untracked spending. I’ve been meaning to catch up with them, and I plan to, but that’s six months where I haven’t had a clear number in my head of how much I’ve spent and whether I will be able to pay my credit card balance in full. So far I have, but this month I may not be able to. There are just way too many expenses at once and I can’t keep up. Between work, two nights of class, planning a wedding, buying a place, traveling for work and trying to stay normal, I took on too much. My life in 2014 has been at least 40% more fast-paced than it ever has been, and I haven’t kept my careful eye on daily expenses like I did in 2013.
It makes me wonder if that fast-paced lifestyle makes it easier to get into debt. It definitely doesn’t have to, but it’s easy to get into debt when you are doing many things at once, and especially when all of those activities cost money and you aren’t spending as much time creating new sources of income. I used to spend a lot more time writing posts, reaching out to buyers and people interested in my consulting work, and even blog income like growing my blog. But the fast pace of the day means I come home and can only think of the hot tub, dinner and maybe a little reading and TV before sleep overcomes me.
But it’s all about adjusting to this new pace of living. Plus, my life should slow down by midsummer, when all of these big events wrap up and we get into a quieter pace. I also want to appreciate this time because it is special. The way we react to things is pretty much the only tool we have that is dynamic and so powerful. Yes, it’s fast-paced but it feels great to work on so many different things. There are people out there who handle a high-paced life every single day with very little downtime. It’s easier to handle once you find ways to stay on top of your personal errands (so you’re not getting into debt or losing track of your expenses) and get enough sleep.
If you’re living that fast-paced lifestyle and are still adjusting from the days when you had entire days with nothing to do, or nights when you read a book for hours, here are a few tips to help you handle the transition:
- Don’t hit the snooze button: Start the day when it’s supposed to start so that you are not adding the rushed element to this already delicate dynamic
- Keep notes for yourself: Keep a journal on you (tiny one) for notes, thoughts, to-dos and spending
- Laugh: The biggest danger is taking yourself too seriously. When it all starts to seem like too much, just take a minute to laugh and think, “Oh come on” and then do whatever you need to do laugh: watch an old MadTV clip, read a funny article, call a friend.
Are you staying in the fast lane or slow lane these days?