Budgeting is a discipline every person should practice both
in their personal and professional lives. A budget represents a plan to help you
organize and spend your money. Ultimately, a budget represents income (net
monies that you earn through work or business) and expenses (costs of an item
or money spent on something). Here are 6 quick tips to help you setup, organize,
and track a budget:
Set a Goal
You must have definitive goals for your budget in order to stay on top of it and stay disciplined with your money. To provide yourself with accountability to your goals, determine short-term and long-term timelines so you have a deadline to work towards.
Example: “Save X Amount of Money Each Month, Save X Amount of Money By Next Year” – at the end of each month, review your goal and see if you’re on track. If you’re not on track, take action to correct your course.
Track Your Spending Daily
There are a variety of online tools, business apps and professional services that can help minimize the time and effort it takes to track your spending habits. Most people know how much money they make, but few people have any idea where it goes. If you’re serious about creating better financial habits and accomplishing your personal or business goals, then it is no longer acceptable to avoid budgeting! For most people, this is a new skill, so be patient and learn to be consistent.
If you do not have the financial resources to employ a financial services firm, you should consider using an online app as an alternative and efficient way to budget and track your spending patterns. An app, such as Mint.com, is simple to use and can help you track your budget to actual performance in real time.
Develop A Monthly Budget
By reviewing your detailed expenses each month (in addition with consistent daily review of expenditure activity), you can adjust current and future spending by making changes to your budget to better monitor cash flow.
Categorize Your Expenses
If you are a business owner or have multiple budget setups; you should categorize your expenses. Categorizing your expenses means you are determining which expenses are fixed or static costs (e.g. rent/mortgage, insurance, etc.) vs. variable costs (e.g. entertainment, beauty salon, clothing, etc.). You may also want to become familiar with the tax code in order to understand and separate tax deductible vs. non tax deductible expenditures. It is extremely important to track business-related expenses separately from personal expenses. This will help you more easily identify business deductible expenses during income tax filing and help better identify categories to re-adjust or rebalance your budgeted spending.
Rebalance Your Spending
Everyone goes through unexpected scenarios when it comes to personal or business finances. It is important that you review your budget history and identify trends (both positive and negative). Once you identify potential budget short-comings (or successes), you should revisit your variable expenses and determine if you need to adjust your budget to keep expenses below income. Our team always recommends the principle of delayed gratification (delaying the current opportunity for a better opportunity in the future) when it comes to discretionary spending.
Prioritize Your Payments
Anyone who has come to the end of a paycheck before the end of the month knows that managing the timing of cash flow is important. Everyone has bills to be paid, and for most professionals starting out, the timing of your payments can make the difference between personal financial success and failure for the month. Most people have predictable bills that can be scheduled to manage their cash flow. This is essential if you want to be in business or a fiscally responsible professional, because most personal financial money challenges or businesses fail due to a lack cash flow. To mitigate this issue, create a periodic schedule of payments (outflows) and income (inflows). This will help you proactively manage your budget and get ahead of potential money management issues.
The Power of Visualization
been said that every created object you see now, was first created in someone
else’s mind. Everything is essentially created twice, first in the mind of the
creator, and then it is manifested in real life.
A few of
us have our goals written down, but how many of us are picturing what it’s like
to live life as if we’ve already reached that goal? If you are like the
majority of people, the answer is not often.
architect of your future, you cannot let this power go untapped. Most of us
walk around with a vision of the past, which is to say that we obsess about our
problems. What are your first thoughts when you wake up in the morning? Do you
immediately remember your problems from the day before? Do you constantly
obsess over what’s not going your way? This is more than just negative
thinking, this is a mental rut that keeps you chained to your past.
think about are the ingredients that create your future, and should be taken
seriously. It seems the older we get, the easier it is just to focus on our
responsibilities rather than our goals; to survive rather than thrive. This is
why our future will look almost exactly the same (or worse) as our present if
we do not impose our will.
about how often you visualize your future, and then think about how often that
visualization is negative or positive. Are you anxious or stressed? If you ever
experience anxiety about the future, you’re not alone, but that does not mean
you should settle for that state of mind. Business tycoon and best-selling
author, Tony Robbins, has coached millions of people on having the right state
of mind. Robbins has provided the following insight:
quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you
can comfortably deal with.”
reality is that most people choose unhappiness over uncertainty.
good news is… that can change! Neuroscientist and corporate consultant, Dr. Joe
Dispenza, states, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” The
power of your thoughts translates to the physical, which means that almost
everything you are currently experiencing in your life is due to the reality
you first created in your mind. Even an architect doesn’t begin to build the
home until it is “finished.” That is to say, the home does not begin
construction until the plans or the mental picture is first completed. Even
when you are losing weight, you must first visualize yourself as a fit person,
living a fit person’s lifestyle. It’s the same thing for your business and your
finally take control of your future, start by developing a clear, detailed,
visualization of your future. It’s also known as a “mental movie” for
your ideal future. This movie needs be as detailed as if it is happening in
real life, so when you picture it, your mind is actually experiencing all the
sights, sounds, and even emotions of that moment in time. Your mind cannot tell
the difference between real and imagined if it is detailed enough.
Visualization Exercise: For your
mental movie, pick a moment in time in your future – an event or even a typical
day, in which you experience all your future goals at once. An example could be
driving up to your new home, in the car you’ve always wanted, greeting your
spouse warmly, and you’re in the best health of your life (in more detail of
course). This moment in time can encompass all your goals in one vision. You
can always create multiple ones later, but perhaps begin with one. Do this exercise
at least twice in a day, ideally first thing in the morning and last thing at
night, when your subconscious mind is the most receptive to suggestion.
Note: As a team we have explained in previous posts that visualization is one
part of the equation, and hard work is another.
Work is not to be overlooked, visualization is just another critical
aspect of achieving your goals.
On a deeper level, remember that the mind is constantly moving toward equilibrium, which means the more you visualize your future the way you want it, the more your subconscious mind goes to work on bringing those circumstances to life. You must visualize yourself “being” the person that would have all the things that you want. Think about for a minute the type of person who would have an abundant, joy-filled life. Are they in control? Are they positive? You must see yourself as this new person and then make that visualization your reality.
“In order to have a new personal reality, you must have a new personality.” – Dr. Joe Dispenza
Tips for Having a Successful Meeting
Ever thought a meeting was a waste of time? You’re not
alone. In fact, one analysis found that, on average, 33% of meeting time is
unproductive for most participants.
Meetings will almost always be a necessity for professionals
though, especially if you work with a team. In this blog we outline the various
ways that you can improve your meetings, keep your team on track, and make the
most of your meetings!
Determine if any ideas, conversations, supplies,
etc. should be gathered prior to meeting start, and have that ready before the meeting.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “too many
cooks in the kitchen.” To avoid this, limit the number of attendees for your
meetings; you should be able to explain why each person is there. Too many
people or having wrong people can waste someone’s time or potentially
Every person present should contribute to specific
decisions that are to be made or take action after the meeting ends. If someone
is not going to be held accountable for the actions or decisions made, they
should not be in the meeting. Having someone in the room to generate ideas
isn’t enough of a reason to participate.
Have a defined meeting leader, not an assumed
role, so the leader can prepare in advance.
Set an agenda so everyone participating in the
meeting knows the primary activity or goal of the meeting. Then, STICK TO THE AGENDA. Keep the meeting
focused and moving forward. Do not get distracted by off topic plans or ideas.
The purpose of meetings should be making important
decisions, planning, information sharing, brainstorming, or problem solving.
Avoid side conversations. This is a major
distraction and can throw off an entire meeting. If you must, gently interrupt but
proactively be sure to steer the conversation back to the agenda and goal of
The meeting leader should be gentle but firm.
Keep the conversation focused and stay on task.
Respect one’s another time. Don’t waste others’
time with insignificant details. When you speak, speak with purpose.
Acknowledge everyone’s point and don’t interrupt.
should be a measurable objective stated at the beginning, before the
meeting starts. This will incentivize your team to focus the meeting toward reaching
that objective. Objectives should be clear and concise.
Ex: Proposal Due at End of Month
Goal: Break into Categories and Assign Duties
Purpose of Meeting: Determine How We Are Going to
Delegate the Work
Measurable Objective: Know exactly how we are
breaking down the proposal, approach, logistics required, and delegate specific
tasks to teams
Tip: Show measurable objective on whiteboard or
projector so everyone is aware and reminded of the purpose (if applicable)
If there are not measurable goals, then another
form of communication, such as a memo, may be the best way to accomplish the
information distribution. Make each meeting purposeful.
At the end of the meeting, make sure everyone
agrees that the objective has been achieved or that there has been significant
progress made toward that objective.
The Big Deadline
End each meeting with a plan and specific tasks
assigned to specific people with a deadline for completion for that action.
Be specific – be sure each person completely
understands and can restate their tasks to the meeting leader along with the
deadline for the delivery of the work.
Distribute a summary email that clearly states
all tasks, owners and deadlines so that your entire team is accountable to each
other and themselves.
Your meetings will be much more successful and productive if
you stick to these guidelines. By making your priorities and goals clear and transparent,
you will respect everyone’s time and provide more valuable teamwork.