Occasionally instead of listening to music while I work, I’ll put on a movie. Either something I’ve seen before, or a new movie or TV show. Strangely enough, at times this can help me to concentrate on the task at hand — by giving me something to watch and listen to so I don’t browse the internet.
I’ve got to say, it’s a strange thing, but it keeps me focused to have something on to distract me. It’s as if half of my brain is bored with my task — maybe a mundane task — and just wants to be entertained.
While the rest of my brain works — on paperwork, design, or whatnot.
This is a fascinating point from Scott Adams. I’m going to be thinking about this for a while.
But the most dangerous case of all is when successful people directly give advice. For example, you often hear them say that you should “follow your passion.” That sounds perfectly reasonable the first time you hear it. Passion will presumably give you high energy, high resistance to rejection and high determination. Passionate people are more persuasive, too. Those are all good things, right?
Here’s the counterargument: When I was a commercial loan officer for a large bank, my boss taught us that you should never make a loan to someone who is following his passion. For example, you don’t want to give money to a sports enthusiast who is starting a sports store to pursue his passion for all things sporty. That guy is a bad bet, passion and all. He’s in business for the wrong reason.
My boss, who had been a commercial lender for over 30 years, said that the best loan customer is someone who has no passion whatsoever, just a desire to work hard at something that looks good on a spreadsheet. Maybe the loan customer wants to start a dry-cleaning store or invest in a fast-food franchise—boring stuff. That’s the person you bet on. You want the grinder, not the guy who loves his job.
I was recently pitched on the value of a Global Indexed Universal Life Policy from ING. I came up with some math showing how it’s a really bad value in the shorter term (20-30 years). Obviously, these policies have potential for tax savings at the 70 year old mark (assuming an investor in their early 30s), however they lock you in to a single investment strategy over a very long period of time.
I was quoted $438.06 per month fee for the GIUL.
Contrast: I think I can get term life insurance for approximately $100/month.
I took the last 20 years of the S&P 500 and it looks like it had an annual rate of 6.24% from Dec 31, 1992 through Jan 2, 2013. Investing $338.06 per month for those 20 years would have resulted in a return of approximately $162,692.37 which is more than the 20 year net surrender value of the GIUL policy. The GIUL policy has a surrender value of $149,307 at 20 years (assuming 8.5% return).
Assuming a term life policy only cost me $100 month during that period, I would be only down $24,000. Plus, if I were to die 20 years from now, and carried a term policy at that time, I’d have the death benefit from that + my investment return as well. I am having difficulty seeing why I wouldn’t want to do that.
It’s very important to run the math on these! Instead, fund your Roth IRA to the max.
Here’s a great video that explains some of the short comings:
There are a ton of videos on YouTube where insurance salespeople will pitch life insurance, and provide various examples of why term-life insurance is a bad deal. Here’s one example showing a sales person attempting to show how to handle a customers objections.
A lot of people probably are unaware that we maintain a list of time tracking applications. We realize that everybody tracks time for different reasons and a time tracking tool that works for one person might not be perfect for another.
That’s why we encourage you to check out TimeTrackingResources.com where we currently have links to over 50 time tracking apps — from software to web. We’ll be maintaining this list and adding new apps whenever we spot a new one. Thanks!
Note: Our list is often updated, and the latest update was on August 5, 2013.
When selecting a time tracking tool it is important to choose something that offers you both flexibility and is easy to use. If you’ve ever used Basecamp, Freshbooks, or Harvest to track your time you’ll be familiar with the fixed “Client > Project > Tasks” structure which you must follow. Time must fit into that a project and projects must be associated with a client.
But what if you want to track your non-billable time or don’t need a whole “project” just to track a few hours here and there? That’s where these tools break down. If you want to track time for trivial tasks like “Email” or “Writing Proposals” you’re out of luck.
Most time tracking tools make it difficult to calculate your billable efficiency — the percentage of your time that is billable compared to non-billable. If you track all of your time this is possible.
Something I’ve been thinking about lately is the cost of commuting. If your daily commute takes 20 minutes (round trip), as mine does, how much time are you really spending per-month, and per-year behind the wheel?
Let’s do the math.
There are 251 working days in 2013, and assuming 10 days of vacation per year it’s safe to assume the average person will commute 241 days out of the year.
Therefore, we come down to total time behind the wheel in 1 year: 80.33 hrs. DANG! So, yeah, for a short commute like that, the average person spends two-work-weeks behind the wheel. Tragic.
You could be spending more than 160 hours, or a months worth of work-time behind the wheel every year if you have a 20 minute one-way drive.
What time tracking application do you currently use for your business? There’s definitely a lot to consider, and I think everybody is looking for something a little bit different.
Here’s what I have been looking for:
Logging of time with start and end date stamps – I need to know when this time was logged… not just the day it was logged.
Easy invoicing – either in the service, or really great export options to Excel or another invoicing app – like Freshbooks.
An OS X app – it’s 2012 people, I need to do this on the desktop. Also, iPhone apps are great and I like that as a bonus.
Daily report – I posted a few years ago about how I work, and one of the things I love about Complete Time Tracking Pro is the daily report. It’s beautiful and shows me the gaps in my time logs.
So, what are some of the apps I am considering:
Complete Time Tracking Pro – have used this for over 5 years – awesome Windows app, but it’s time to move on to something that’s a little more modern, and web based, and has an OS X desktop app. I know certain people (yes, you) will think it’s crazy to move on, but I’m not so convinced that another app will really reduce my productivity or reduce my ease in invoicing.
Harvest – seriously considering this as a viable option.
Toggl – looks really nice and I like some of the interface ideas they have implemented.
I may do another post in the future about my selection. If you’re interested in this topic, check out my article from 2010 about my obsession with time tracking.
“No matter how organized we are, we must continue to care for the stuff we organize, cleaning and sorting our methodically structured belongings. When we get rid of the superfluous stuff, however, we can focus on life’s more important aspects. Said another way: We can spend the day focusing on our health, on our relationships, on pursuing what we’re passionate about. Or we could, of course, reorganize our basement again.”
Keeping as much state persistent across sessions as possible. I leave all my editors, browser windows, etc exactly the way they are so I can pick up and resume where I left off. This means I usually never shut down my computer, preferring to put it to sleep or standby where possible.
When people have to make sacrifices for work – like missing their child’s soccer game – they end up being resentful. She is proactive with her employees to make sure they don’t experience lots of resentment-causing activities. If being at tuesday night dinner with friends is the one thing you need to keep you happy, you should be there every week.
Instead of using some elaborate organizing system, I stuck with a very basic pen and paper to-do list. My only organizing tool was a notepad where I wrote down all my assignments and their deadlines. I didn’t worry about doing any advance scheduling or prioritizing. I would simply scan the list to select the most pressing item which fit the time I had available. Then I’d complete it, and cross it off the list.
If I had a 10-hour term paper to write, I would do the whole thing at once instead of breaking it into smaller tasks. I’d usually do large projects on weekends. I’d go to the library in the morning, do the necessary research, and then go back to my dorm room and continue working until the final text was rolling off my printer. If I needed to take a break, I would take a break. It didn’t matter how big the project was supposed to be or how many weeks the professor allowed for it. Once I began an assignment, I would stay with it until it was 100% complete and ready to be turned in.