Category Archives: Time Management

Life, Health, Fitness, Balance, Spiritual, Family, Relationships, Career, Financial, Life Balance, Parenting, Work, Children, Time Management, Procrastination, Priority, Priorities, Goals, Personal

Do You Live Like an Inbox?

What is your work style? Could you be an inbox type of person?

People who live like inboxes don’t prioritize. Instead of looking at their work and formulating a plan, they get straight to work at whatever is dumped on them. If you do this . . . STOP! Planning is a critical part of generating results. Your time is limited. Be selective in how you spend it. Decide what you will and will not do. You don’t have enough time to finish everything. Determine what your priorities are and start with those.

Managing your time is not someone else’s responsibility. It is yours. You are responsible for your own time management and prioritization management, so do not allow others to dictate your life and your schedule.

When someone gives you a new task, don’t automatically do it. Take the time to look at each item to decide whether or not it is a good investment of your time and talents. Ask 1) Is it important? 2) Am I the right person for the job? and 3) Should I say no?

Every day, evaluate how you will spend your time. Prioritize. How do these items align with your personal goals, priorities, and mission? Think before you work.


You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach LLC
“Helping You Get Your Financial House In Order”
2280 W William St., Suite A
Delaware, OH 43015

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Filed under Attitude, Balance, Goal Setting, Goals, Inspiration, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Priorities, Resolutions, Stress, Time, Time Management

Personal Improvement: Interest Isn’t the Only Thing that Compounds!

What do you say when you get a 1.25% annual return on your savings account? You’re excited, of course! But have you ever thought about the idea of compounding personal improvement?

Look at it this way. Say that you improve yourself 1% each week for a year. Over the course of a year, that’s 52% just by adding the weekly “interest.”

But wait- there’s more! Do you remember the magic of compounding interest? It’s more than 52%! Not only do you gain the 1% each week, but you also gain improvements on those improvements as time goes on. It’s easy to improve yourself 1% each week. Do you watch TV? How do you use the commercial time? Instead of watching them, find something productive to do during that time. Clip some coupons. Fold the laundry. You get the idea.

Speaking of TV, have you ever considered taking that idea further? What if you reduced it? What could you accomplish during that saved time? What about your commute to work? Instead of listening to a talk show about celebrity gossip, is there something else you could be listening to? Try an educational CD or MP3 download to attend what the late Zig Ziglar called Automobile University. Now that’s a great way to improve your time management! You can add hours of learning to your life without an additional time commitment since you’re replacing rather than adding an activity.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper
My Financial Life Coach LLC
“Helping You Get Your Financial House In Order”
2280 W William St., Suite A
Delaware, OH 43015

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My Financial Life Coach – Week in Review – March 10-16, 2012

This blog entry includes everything from this week that I posted on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn; along with links to WordPress posts.

March 10

Consumer Credit Increased 8.6% in January 2012

The days of homebuyers going after the biggest, best house they can afford (and sometimes can’t afford) are over.

March 11

Banks foreclosing on churches in record numbers

Thought for Tomorrow: When your life is busy and stressful, sleep. Just as relaxation and recreation are necessary to help you recover from a busy day, a good night’s sleep will help you to rejuvenate so that you can be ready to pursue your goals. So why not start the week out right by going to bed on time tonight?

March 12

Time Tip: While delegation is generally a means to efficiency, it can sometimes create frustration and poor results. Be careful to delegate tasks to the correct people, those who understand them and can complete them well. Also be clear as to who has which responsibilities. Accidentally assigning the task to multiple people is a huge time waster.

Money Tip: When you go out to eat, skip the drinks and dessert. For example, say a family of four purchased four drinks at $1.50 each and four desserts costing $2.50 each. If they were to eliminate those items, they could save $16 every time they go out to eat. If they only go out to eat an average of four times per month, they would still be saving $768 per year!

Thought for Tomorrow: There are people so poor, that the only thing they have is money. –Unknown.  How about you? Don’t go to work tomorrow just for the money. Go there to meet needs of your customer, and the result will be a paycheck to meet the needs of your family. -Bryan

March 13

Time Tip: While multitasking is often detrimental when doing two or more needed tasks, it can work when one task requires little or no thought. For instance, if you want to listen to music, do it while you clean the house. Call your mother during your evening walk.

Article: Government records highest-ever monthly deficit:

My Financial Life Coach Blog Article:  Enemies of Your Financial Goals

Money Tip: Wrap an insulating jacket or blanket around your hot water heater to help it be more efficient in retaining heat.  What ideas can you share?

Video: This three minute video puts the US deficit into perspective –

Thought for Tomorrow: The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. Take responsibility of your situation & take action.

March 14

Time Tip: Work expands to fill your time frame. If you schedule a single project, it will likely take you all day. Instead, plan to accomplish several tasks.

My Financial Life Coach Blog Article: Poor vs. Broke – How do you look at it?

Money Tip: Ask for your children’s input on your family’s financial decisions. You will be educating them, and they may even come up with some great ideas you hadn’t even considered.

Thought for Tomorrow:  Television viewing results in an upscaling of desire which in turn leads people to buy. Every additional hour of TV viewing per week boosts spending by roughly $200 a year. –Harvard Study

 March 15

Time Tip: Work on important tasks when you are more alert. Save more mundane pursuits for the times you are naturally less active.

Dave Say’s

Money Tip: Heating and cooling costs generally comprise the majority of energy bills. To lower those costs, use appliances that require less energy. Some appliances may cost more initially but will save money over time. Before purchasing one, compare the operating costs over the expected life of the appliance to determine which model is the most cost effective.

And the Winner is… Single Mom’s Ask Sara

Thought for Tomorrow: Want to feel rich? Count all the things you have that money cannot buy. So what you are thankful for tonight?

March 16

Time Tip: When you watch T.V., fold the laundry or clip the coupons. You can eliminate some work while watching your favorite show!

Money Tip: Avoid places where you make unnecessary purchases. For example, if you often buy clothing impulsively, don’t go to a clothing store unless you need and plan to purchase a particular item.

Thought for Tomorrow: You cannot live a positive life with a negative attitude. Are your finances negatively impacting your attitude? Take action this weekend.

Thank you for reading the My Financial Life Coach blog where we talk about money, goals, family, life events, spending, and economic news. We do make every attempt to avoid the topic of politics but we will bring up economic policies that need communicated. Our job is to educate and motivate you to the debt-free life style.

Don’t forget to checkout our website (  for 100’s of resources including tips, articles, spreadsheets, web-based training, and more.  Why not tell a friend? Looking for daily motivation? Checkout the My Financial Life Coach Facebook page.

Bryan Cooper
My Financial Life Coach
2280 W William St., Suite A
Delaware, OH 43015

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Filed under Balance, Blog, Dave Ramsey, Events, Family, Finance, Goals, household budget, Life, Personal Finance, Saving Money, Time, Time Management, Uncategorized

Week in Review: February 13-17

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I’m trying something new. This blog entry will include everything in the week that I posted on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn; along with links to WordPress posts.

February 13

Proactive people take the initiative and responsibility to make things happen. They cause action rather than being victims of circumstance. -Chris MacAllister

By concentrating single-mindedly on your most important task, you can reduce the time required to complete it by 50% or more. –Brian Tracy

Blog – Paying the Bills


Shared ArticleFear the FAFSA? Here are five mistakes to avoid when applying for college financial aid

Decide today to change your $ habits. Procrastination costs you $ and opportunity. – Bryan Cooper

February 14

Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

Want more time? Stop worrying about your money and start managing it. Better money management equals better time management.–Bryan Cooper

Shared Article401(k) plans: Did yours grow? Most didn’t in 2011.

A wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.-Epictetus

February 15

Don’t make your life all about money, take your money and make it all about life. – Bryan Cooper

The #1 and probably most important, key to consistently doing what’s right is actually quite simple: think before you act.-Eric Harvey

Blog – Is Saving a Lost Art?

If you only need to use an item once or twice, consider borrowing or renting the item instead of purchasing it.

February 16

Optimism is a crucial choice we make in establishing expectations for ourselves and others as we begin to move forward through adversity. -Christopher Novak

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. -Michael Altshuler

Men are like bank accounts. Without a lot of money, they don’t generate much interest. – Unknown

Don’t like the idea of changing your spending habits? Don’t; but you’ll dislike being broke the rest of your life even more. –Bryan Cooper

February 17

When someone offers you a challenge, don’t think of all the reasons why you can’t do it. Instead say, “Yes!” Then figure out how to get it done. -Katherine Hudson

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down. -Lily Tomlin



Shared ArticleMore Americans say it’s OK to cheat on taxes

The number who advocated cheating ‘as much as possible’ doubled last year, to 8% of taxpayers. An additional 6% say it’s OK to cheat a little.

Don’t forget to stop by the My Financial Life Coach Facebook page and click like.

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Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 25-27

Day 25—-Get Smart

(Posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program)

Remember SMART? This is important, so we’re going to go over it one more time.


In order to reach the priorities you set, you need a logical (SMART) approach. So what if you find you can’t apply the SMART principles to your goals? No problem. Not being able to apply the SMART elements to your goals, is just a signal that you need to change the goal, or eliminate it in favor of one of the goals you initially removed from your list.

Today’s short lesson gives you time to go back and review some previous lessons. Because it takes a few months to get a feel for managing your money in a new way, reviewing the lessons on working with the paycheck allocation and the “envelopes” are a great idea.

Day 26–Do you have an emergency living expense fund?

Who doesn’t want one of these? Who has one? I have a little one. Because I am focused on eliminating debt, I don’t have a big emergency fund. Both Bryan, and my long term financial planning guy feel this is the next step after you demo the debt.

All I know is that I would love to feel covered in an emergency or a job loss. After having many job losses with no emergency fund, I can say on some pretty good authority that this does not feel good at all!

Bryan suggests you sock away 3 to 6 months of your living expenses, and if you live in a location with greater than 8% unemployment (that would pretty much be the USA these days) you should consider a nest egg of 5-8 months. Sound impossible? It sure did to me.

However, ever the financial ray of hope, Bryan explains that with the joys of compound interest you can truly make this happen.

Needing new tires doesn't need to cause a financial emergency.

Bryan then goes on to explain Sinking Fund Purchases or SFPs (my acronym). You create an SFP to put money away for things you will want or need in the future. Novel concept, huh?

Here’s one of Bryan’s examples. Say you know you will need tires for the car, and those tires cost $400. (I remember when you could get 4 tires for 100 bucks!)

If you need those tires in 6 months, you need to save $67/month.

If you need them in 12 months, that would be $37/month, and if you can wait 24 months, you only need to set aside $17/month.

However, if you buy them at the last minute and charge them, paying over that 24 months, you will pay an extra $111.88 (at 24.9% interest).

Of course it makes far more sense to save for the tires, but we don’t tend to do this. It may take a while to get your thinking and your finances turned around so that you are able to proactively put money away for these purchases, but that’s OK. If you think about it…if you can afford to make the payment after you buy the tires, you can likely make the smaller set aside payment before you buy the tires. Even if you don’t get to the full amount before you have to make your major purchase, in money, every little bit helps.

Day 27: Insurance!

Insurance. We hate to pay for it, we are so thankful to have it when we need it, and we really don’t quite understand it.

Today Bryan shares the ins, outs, and definitions of all those different insurances we need to know about. You will definitely want to print this handout and keep it with all your important paperwork!

So what kind of insurance are we talking about?

Here’s the list:

Property Insurance

Auto Insurance

Personal Umbrella

Life Insurance

Disability Insurance

Identity Theft*

Health Insurance*

Long-term Care*

Just like an emergency fund, insurance saves your behind in a crisis. The only difference is that while your emergency fund is there for day-to-day shortfalls, insurance covers the catastrophic events that could wipe you out financially for a long, long time.

Here are Bryan’s 7 General Principles of Insurance:

1. Understand the purpose of insurance.

2. Know your needs and your coverage.

3. Carry adequate insurance.

4. Understand the real cost of deductibles.

5. Watch your credit score.

6. Avoid filing too many claims.

7. Shop around.

With Bryan’s definitions, coverage details, and tips for decreasing your insurance premiums, you will most certainly have the protection you need should Mr. Mayhem come to visit you!

*Not included in today’s lesson. 

– Sara

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

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Filed under Budget, Finance, Goal Setting, Goals, Health, household budget, Insurance, Life Balance, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Time, Time Management

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 22-24

Day 22–Balancing Part 2

(Posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program).

Today Bryan takes us through the second half of our goal assessment, and he asks some pretty tough questions.

Bryan starts with “How do you feel each morning?” For so many of us, how we feel in the morning isn’t even something we want to think about!

I remember when I was working a lot of hours, getting kids to and frow, and in grad school. I was so exhausted my stomach hurt. Being nearly unable to move I reached for the coffee, which made me feel like a bomb had exploded in my stomach, but got me moving. I am very grateful that was a short period of time in my life, and for a good cause. For too many of us, it is the norm.

Bryan goes on to ask if we are eating correctly, exercising, taking vitamins as needed, and are we resting???

 Is my lack of energy keeping me from the life I want to live?

Ouch! While I know a lot of people who would say they can’t possibly make time to be healthy, I know everyone of them would stop dead (no pun intended) in their tracks if asked the above question. We tend to disassociate our crazy lives from the idea that by living them, we are missing our primary purpose, and our pleasure.

Bryan presses on. Are our relationships getting in the way of having balance in our lives, and/or do we have relationships that are getting in the way of our families? Are we in the career that satisfies our calling? Are we maximizing our income? Can we retire when it’s time?

These are all incredibly important questions. They say cemetaries are filled with ignored dreams. What are your dreams, and are you living in a way that allows you fulfill them? (I have a more information on this topic for those on my mailing list…so if you aren’t there yet, sign up!)

Your money should be used to support you as you move down the path toward your dreams. It should not be the primary cause of your stress and the very reason you CAN’T fulfill your dreams.

If you haven’t signed up yet, what’s holding you back? Balance UP! is clearly the simplest most straightforward method to getting your money and life together in a way that moves your money to a position of support for your life. I am great at squeezing the life out of a dollar, but where I was putting the juice from that dollar wasn’t giving me full benefit. I am excited to be learning a new approach.

Day 23–Prioritizing your goals

Today’s video was less than 2 minutes long, but the instructions will change your life!

Bryan supplies a Goal Brainstorming Worksheet. You complete the worksheet by goal topic area and list what you would like to achieve in each area. Sometimes people get hung up on defining their goals because life is messy and things happen. That’s OK. These are your goals today.

For example: Say you have the spiritual goal of attending church or temple each week. Things are trucking along just fine and then your appendix bursts (I hope this doesn’t happen to you!) and you aren’t going to be leaving the house for a while. Do you get an F in this goal? Of course not! You can table it until you are able to work on it again, or you can change it to watching a service on TV. These are your goals. You don’t have to share them, and you don’t get a grade. You just need to get started.

Once you have your goals established, prioritize them by category. Take your time and think about what you want to achieve in your life. We know that what we focus on, grows in our life. So if you write “I will be out of debt”, what are you focusing on? Debt! Bryan suggests something like, “I will pay an extra $430 on my bills each month.” The focus here is on having an extra $430 each month. Maybe you can make that $430 grow to an even bigger amount!

Have fun with this part. By setting goals, you are defining what you want to do to make your life better!

Day 24…Finalizing that prioritizing

Ok. So we have our goals down from our brainstorming session and we have taken the time to really think about what we’d like to achieve in all the areas of our life.

Today we are going to look at our list again, and we’re going to whittle it down so that we are only working on the 10 or so goals we really want to get started on. We are whittling because our little heads can’t wrap around a large stack of goals. We have to do a few, accomplish, celebrate, and repeat.

If you are working through Balance UP! as a couple, this is where the two of you finally come together. You will pool your goals and whittle them down together so that you know your goals aren’t in conflict with each other, and ideally the two of you are headed in the same direction.

Bryan reminds us to make sure our goals are SMART.


SMART goals help us to assure the greatest opportunities for success. Next, we go back to the Paycheck Distribution Tool…and let me say this is my very favorite thing about the entire Balance UP! program so far. It is so easy to play with where my money goes each month when I use this tool. I can play around with the scenarios until I land right where I want to be for each month.

Using this tool you can easily set aside funds for a vacation, Christmas, a new stove (that’s on my list), etc. Then…handy dandy Form 7 tracks each month’s set aside amount. Wa-la! How nice to see a Christmas, vacation, or stove fund growing each month!

– Sara

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

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Filed under Budget, Finance, Goal Setting, Goals, Health, household budget, Life Balance, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Time, Time Management, Uncategorized

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 19-21

Day 19…Debt Snowball

(Posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Upprogram

I have to confess that I have been eyeing this debt snowball thing with much trepidation. I am very familiar with the many ways debt can snowball, and I was not excited to see I had finally arrived at Debt Snowball Day.

However, Mr. Bryan is full of surprises. Debt Snowball Day is not about the ways debt can build into a snowball, it’s about the ways you can eliminate your debt–snowball style.

I have long been a student of Suze Orman. Suze says, when eliminating debt you should pay the minimum payment plus $10 on every bill, and throw all the money you can at the bill that has highest interest rate. Intellectually, this approach makes perfect sense to me. Unfortunately, my biggest interest rate bills also have the biggest balances. It was discouraging to follow this format and never feel like I was getting ahead. Not feeling like I was getting ahead, I abandoned the plan. I lost focus and started paying bills over here, then bills over there. Still no progress.

Bryan’s approach is so much more logical to me. Here’s the plan:

1. Make a list of all your bills, list them lowest balance to highest.

2. Make the minumum payment on all your bills but the one with the lowest balance.

3. Throw as much money as you can at the bill with the lowest balance.

The result? Wa-la! That low balance bill is paid off and you get a quick win! Yeah!

Now, take the money you were putting on that bill, and apply it to the new lowest balance bill + the minimum payment you had been making. Before you know it…debt be gone!

Bryan suggests that you make a game out building your debt snowball. How much money can you apply to your bill of choice each month? Can you pack your lunch and apply that money to your snowball? How about turning down the heat a bit, making your coffee at home, or renting some videos instead of going to the movies?

This lesson comes with a web link to a debt calculator that lets you see, based on your payment schedule, how quickly you can be debt free. Can you beat the calculator?

Don’t procrastinate! Sign up!

Day 20…Should you consolidate your debt?

I finally sat down to pay my bills. I should have done this about 5 days ago. However, my only late fee appears to be a few dollars on the water bill. With my travel schedule, work schedule, and the holidays, my need for minutes far exceeded my access to minutes. Add being sick as a result of burning the candle at both ends as well, and let’s just say I am happy to pay the late charge on the water bill.

I am getting the hang of the paycheck allocation spreadsheets. I am not > quite completely proactive at assigning money to bills, but I am mastering the backend of things and allotting money appropriately for my bills. It’s only my second month at this, so I am pleased with my progress.

I went to the site Bryan suggested on Day 19 and plugged in my debts. It took a little fiddling with the numbers, but I got the hang of the chart and was able to play with different scenarios. If you recall, Bryan suggests paying off your smallest bill first so you get that feeling of a win. I am modifying this approach just a bit, as I have that stupid IRS bill hanging over my head. It has a very high monthly payment, and well, I find it to be a little nerve-wracking. While it is 3rd from the bottom on my list of balances, I have a fire in my belly to get the darn thing off the books. By following Bryan’s formula of putting minimum payments on everything else but the bill I am working on, I was able to put an extra $200 on this bill, even with the last of my Christmas shopping. I am beyond excited! I have promised my girls dinner at Olive Garden when this bill is finished and I do love my tiramisu!

Now for Day 20!

Today’s Balance UP! is all about debt consolidation. Through his counseling, Bryan has encountered clients who want to take their debt and use a mortgage based loan to just pay it off. Initially this sounds good. You trade in your interest, Bryan uses an example of $18,000 in debt with an interest amount of $1,935, and you dump this debt into a mortgage loan where you can deduct the interest from your taxes. Sounds like a great financial win.

It’s not. If you consolidate that debt into a 30 year mortgage you will end up paying $11,716 interest. Yep. You just swapped about $2000 of interest for nearly $12,000. Why? Because a principal you were going to pay off in 2 years, you are now paying off in 30, and if you add anything to it such as a car, a new TV, home repairs, new appliances, etc., the number just gets bigger. Certainly something to think twice about! Balance UP! and you won’t have to even consider consolidation! You can do it!


Day 21–Balancing your life–halfway there!

I am now halfway through the Balance UP! program and I have learned a lot!! I am certainly looking forward to the second half of my lessons!

Today is all about balance and goal setting. Bryan’s worksheets are, as usual, very helpful. Did you know that only 3% of us even bother to set goals? That means 97% of us are drifting around, hanging out, working our tails off, or whatever we’re doing, and we have no particular plan in mind. That certainly explains a lot now doesn’t it?

I have goals all over my walls, but I have to say I still have been a little scattered. Bryan points out that if you work on your goals each week, and improve just 1%, in a year’s time you will have improved 70.12%! (Thanks to the benefits of compound improvement.) Now who does not want to be 70% down the road to reaching their goals by the end of 2012. I KNOW I DO!

Bryan breaks down the 6 areas of a Balanced Life for you:
1. Spiritual

2. Family

3. Health & Life

4. Relationships

5. Career

6. Financial

All you have to do is follow the worksheets and give some thought to what you’d like to achieve in each area. Once you have that down, you need to ask yourself the million dollar question:

What is distracting you from your goals?

The answers to this question may be a little painful, but you can’t get to your goals until find those answers. Once you do find the answers, you may want to change your goals. For example, you think you want to be a world champion sky diver, but the thing that is in your way is that you are busy being a parent. You may need to reroute your career goals so they support your parenting versus conflicting with it. In other words,

Sometimes you need to say “NO”.

It was this very process that led me to pull back from some of my own pursuits. I haven’t been to belly dancing class in a few years, because I can’t fit it in with my kids’ schedules and needs right now. I want to publish my book so I am not even considering dating. You know what? I don’t mind any of this because I know what my goals are, and I really like the goals I have chosen. Once these goals are reached, I will write some new ones.

What are your goals? Find out when you Balance UP!

– Sara

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

Leave a comment

Filed under Budget, Finance, Goal Setting, household budget, Life Balance, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Time, Time Management, Uncategorized