Do Things When You’re In The Mood!

I just wrapped up a pretty cool blogging interview that you’ll see below, but I wanted to highlight that second Q&A there because I REALLY think it makes a big difference. Taking on tasks when you’re *in the mood.* (I also give y’all mad love in it too, so be sure to read the rest! :))

I know I’ve written about it before, but I think I’m gonna continue doing so as the years go on here because it gets proved to me every single day when working.  Like, even right now when I’m hyped up on coffee and ready to pound out some words before my motivation wears off!  Haha… Seriously, once 1 or 2pm hits, my writing creativity goes down the drain and if I don’t do it then, I’m screwed.  It’s like my brain just does a 180 and wants to work on anything BUT writing at that point.  So the trick is to know yourself well enough to work around yourself ;)

There are some other good tips in the interview too, I think – which is the reason I’m sharing it all so it hopefully helps! – but the main takeaway for the day is to learn how your mind works, and do you best to maximize efficiency.  Whether it’s paying your bills, hustling on the side, balancing your checkbook (do people still do that??), or maybe de-cluttering your closets.  I did that yesterday for 3 hours the second I was in “power mode.”  The first time in 6 months, so I jumped on it! Haha… and got a half dozen trash bags worth of donating to do now too ;)  Yeah tax write offs!

Anyways, here’s clips of the interview – I hope it helps!  If you’d like to read it all in Spanish, go over to Finanzas Personales Para Todos where my boy translates it for his audience, haha… awesome. (Actually, I think he broke it down into two parts, but still – pretty cool to read it in another language :))

Give us your 30 second story about Budgets are Sexy. How and why did you start? Why did you keep on going? Where is the blog now and where is it going?

I actually started the blog off a fluke – I was searching around for ways to budget better since I had just bought a house (Another fluke — I went apartment shopping for rentals, only to come away BUYING a place 3 days later – yikes!) and kept stumbling across all these personal stories about managing money.  I had no idea what a blog was, or any interest in even jumping into one myself, but the more I read, the more I got engaged and really kept learning day in and day out.  Then one day while bored at work I decided to just start one, figuring I had a bunch of crazy stories I could tell too.  And as someone w/ massive A.D.D., and no experience writing whatsoever, I figured it would either crash and burn or take off and give me something fun to do every day.  I had no idea it would become my life 4 years later or that I’d meet thousands and thousands of new online friends :) And that’s really what keeps me going, to be honest with you. The community we’ve all helped build over time.  Our audience in the PF niche is just incredible, and every blog out there helped to form it. I love it!

What have you learned about the way you handle your own finances? What significant changes have you brought to your own money management as a result of this experience?

I learned that I get really hardcore about stuff, really fast, and to just run with it for however long I’m in the mood :)  Which I know isn’t the right way to do things, but I’ve come to terms with it and I’ve managed to apply it to many different aspects of my life – esp. money.  When I save, I save a LOT and I do everything in my power to make it happen like it was some sort of challenge.  And then it fades away, and maybe I switch to paying off debt, or to earning MORE money, or whatever the case may be.  But as long as I’m taking advantage of the times I’m super focused and eager to get something done, it’s worked out for me pretty well.  And I highly recommend it.  Not being so extreme one way or the other (that’s never really good), but noticing the way your brain works, and tweaking our habits to move along with it accordingly.  The same can be said about doing your laundry, or writing that paper you’ve been putting off, or whatever.  The second you’re in the mood to do it, jump on it and ride it through!  You’ll get a TON more accomplished, and in a shorter amount of time.  It really is efficient.

What can you conclude – from your interaction with readers and followers – is the biggest problem people experience with money?

I think there’s two answers to that: 1)  People usually want the FAST way of doing things, and tune out when you don’t give them any sexy way to do that (because let’s face it, there isn’t one).  So the biggest hurdle I find is keeping people MOTIVATED to continue to want to do better, and get them into the habit of applying the “money concept” in small ways every single day.  Even if they realize they’re doing it or not.  Which brings us to #2)  People are lazy.  Everyone wants a lot of money and the perfect job or vacation/etc, but it takes ACTION to get to that point.  There’s a lot of talkers in this world, and unfortunately not as many do-ers. So if you can get in the habit of walking the walk, I think you’ll get a lot more out of your life both financially, and mentally. You just have to START.

If you could reset people’s minds with regards to ONE financial matter, which would it be and why?

That managing your finances is hard.  It really isn’t, it just takes motivation and some time to get a good game plan down.  It’s funny because it all boils down to a pretty simple rule – spend less than you make – but society gives us SOOOOO many chances to screw it up, or go around it somehow, and no one seems to notice until it’s “too late” (and I put that in quotations because I think it’s never too late to turn your ship around).  That’s the problem to this whole thing – everyone is doing it!  Everyone is buying homes and cars and big fancy electronics when it’s truly not a good fit in their budget.  I’m all for a lot of those things, but it has to make financial sense and land pretty high on the priority list.  There’s no problem splurging on the stuff that makes you happy, but if you’re gonna do it, you better cut the things out that land lower on that list of yours or you’re heavily skewed.  The second you overindulge, that entire “spend less thank you make” mantra goes out of the window.  And credit cards and loans don’t help w/ that either (even though I’m a huge fan of them when used correctly).

So really, I just urge people to PAY ATTENTION more to their finances, and learn what works, and doesn’t, so you can get back to your life and enjoy the stuff that’s important without being weighed down so much with the stress.  Everyone has a chance of financial freedom, but you gotta take that first step in changing your habits.

What has given you the most satisfaction during your personal finance blogging experience?

I think the overall change in mindset it gave me. That you can really build something from scratch, all by yourself, and turn it into something that literally changes your life in all different kinds of direction.  The blogging part itself is pretty fun, but ALLLLLL the stuff that comes out of it is even more so.  Like the friendships you make over time, the connections to your readers or other blog friends, and even career-speaking all the new *opportunities* that come up on a regular basis.  The blog is kinda that first foot in the door to be able to do a number of other things that may, or may not, interest you down the road.  And I think if you’re open to accepting new opportunities like that here and there, it really opens up the world to you and what’s possible. I never knew I had that entrepreneurial spirit, and I attribute 100% of that directly to starting the blog :)  I don’t think I could ever go back to a 9-5 anymore knowing what I do now.

If you had to motivate a person with troubled finances and had only 1 sentence to do it, what would you say?

Take action.  I don’t care if it’s saving 1 penny a day or working around the clock to cut down your debt, just take that first step to progress and do your best to continue pushing forward.

(Photo by EvelynGiggles – haha, GREAT name!)

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  1. KC @ PsychoMoney January 17, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    Thanks for sharing. I like the format a lot. You should think about do a question and answer thing like this more often.

  2. Nick January 17, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    Great stuff. I like the “take action” advice, too. If I’m not motivated sometimes I force myself to “just do 15 minutes” with no distractions. Usually by the time I’m 10 minutes in I’m focused and keep going until it’s done. (It’s also how I got my wife to do a budget with me years ago for the first time – “Just spend 15 minutes going over some numbers with me.”

  3. Eduardo January 17, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Great idea to share it with your readers, J. I think some of these questions might have been in their heads too!!!
    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this. If you remember, when I first sent you an e-mail to tell you I wanted to meet you, I used the “pick your mind” term… and I think getting to know your thought process behind all these topics and your own motivation to get involved is really valuable stuff!!!
    I would also want to let you know that the first part of the interview had lots of visits yesterday. I think there’s other people out there interested in knowing what you think, what you’ve learned, and your overall experience.
    Big thanks!!!! And yes, I split it in 2 parts. The second one will be published next Monday.

  4. J. Money January 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    @KC @ PsychoMoney – Yeah? I’ve tried it in the beginning a few times, but usually the “interview” style doesn’t seem to excite people. So now I pick and choose the ones I think are important ;) I’m glad you enjoyed it!
    @Nick – HAH! Love it. So true too – if your brain thinks it’s just 15 mins – even if you DO stop at that – it’s soooooo much easier to get the ball rolling on things. Good job on the wifey ;)
    @Eduardo – Anytime buddy! I consider you a good blogging friend, so always feel free to reach out :) As you can see it made a good blog post for me too! Win-Win, baby. Also, I give mad respect to those who WANT to reach out to others and pick their brains – it shows you’re a very smart man and always eager to learn. So keep it up! One of the best ways to grow :)

  5. bogofdebt January 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Excellent adivce. I loved the it’s not hard to manage your finances part especially. Whenever money and budgeting comes up around my friends, its the first excuse given. I just think they aren’t motivated enough yet.

  6. KC @ PsychoMoney January 17, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    By not exciting people you mean you dont get as many comments or as much traffic or something? I wonder if as you get bigger and more first time visitors come to your site if it would be better then.

  7. Christa January 17, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    I agree with doing things when you’re in the mood. It takes me twice as long to complete a task if I’m not in the mood for it than if I am. Although, sometimes I have to jump start myself on a task I’m dreading by doing a related task. Like if I don’t want to write a blog, I’ll read a few blogs to get me started or write something completely off topic. Then I think, “While I’m at the computer…” Six hours later, I’m done with a ton of tasks!

  8. LB January 17, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Wow that was an awesome interview to read. I think most of your advice applies to all of life. Just start, stop wishing, stop whining and just take one step forward. At least that is my take on what you said and my daily mantra. Shit, today I got 4 teeth pulled for my adult braces and look like a freak, but you know what so f-ing what. Tomorrow is always a new day, but you need to start whether you are in debt, look like a freak or just plain lazy, start today!

  9. SmartAssetTeam January 18, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Some great down to earth advice here:

    Know yourself well enough to work with or around yourself
    Seize inspiration when it’s there!
    You just have to get started, and use momentum to stay motivated
    Managing your finances isn’t hard
    Pay attention, and take action!

    Thanks for the blog!

  10. J. Money January 19, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    @bogofdebt – Yeah I think you’re right about that. People have to really WANT the change in order for them to start acting on it. At least we’ll be here when they’re ready for us to help though! :)
    @KC @ PsychoMoney – That’s a great question actually. Every day I get new readers to the site (hence me leaving in that first q&a up there on why I started BudgetsAreSexy) but not too sure how to make these posts more exciting. Maybe they do help people but they just don’t tell me? I’ll continue posting them up as I feel they’re helpful though – most people read and never leave a comment anyways :) Any post that excites me, I’ll continue adding up.
    @Christa – Haha, yeah that’s true too. Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of picking *when* to do things – esp when it’s work-related. As long as we get most of our tasks done when in the mood though, that’ll have to suffice :) And it’s hard for me to blog too sometimes – I usually go back to my “list of ideas” in those cases, or do what you do and read others’ stuff to get pumped up (or to find something I can agree with or hate 100%, haha… all makes for more passionate blog posts!)
    @LB – HAH! You got that right, friend. You’ll only look like a freak temporarily anyways ;) It’s those long-timer missions that need to stick in our minds and keep us going forward. And one day your teeth are going to look amazing! yay!!!
    @SmartAssetTeam – Perfect summary. Can you do those for me every day? Maybe I’ll do a “5 seconds money managemnet” site where it’s just a brief summary for anyone with A.D.D., haha… that would be rad.

  11. LB January 19, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    I started feeling sorry for myself and started wondering why I was going through all this craziness for braces. Then I read this interview and I realized I was being lazy and dumb. So I took control and walked into Orthodontist appointment with gauze hanging out and my lip slightly askew. It was very empowering to do something like that. Anyway, long story short, I think I scared a little kid and now have a funny story to tell at parties HA!