The Stress From Work

stress-during-work_64

The last few days have been very stressful for me at work. I am in the process of learning new procedures that are taking place in my company and in the near future, I will be the “go to guy” for all these new processes. I am going to work earlier and going home later trying to learn as much as possible and trying not to fall behind on my existing priorities. Overall, not a good week for me at all.

Stress!

After quitting my second job, I thought my work related stress was going to be reduced significantly.  That has not been the case so far.

For a person such as myself who doesn’t really enjoy working to begin with, the added stress caused by extra work, annoying co-workers or just living through the daily grind of Monday to Friday is something I do not want to do for the rest of my life.

In the mean time, I must find ways to reduce stress at all costs as it poses a  really serious health risk in the future. In times like this, I try anything possible to limit the amount of work related stress by doing the following:

Take Breaks

Taking a breather every now and then helps cool me down. Doing something as simple as walking around the office or taking a quick stroll around your building quickly makes you regain control of your nerves. I have done this and never heard any complaints from anyone.

Eat Lunch Outside the Workplace

I am not suggesting going out and spend money on food. What I do sometimes, if the weather permits, is go outside to a park close by and eat my lunch there. It is really peaceful as you have nature surrounding you and it literally feels like you escaped work for a while as the scenery and environment are so different.

Enjoy Personal Time After Work

Very simple yet so many people do not follow this rule. I for one am also at fault here sometimes as stress from work does get to me. I would suggest trying to do activities that you enjoy and do not give you time to reflect on your day at work. Playing sports is great for occupying your mind as well as activities such as reading a book, hanging out with friends, loved ones and pets.

Have Goals

A great stress relief, in my opinion is planning for an escape. Even if your plan for escape is a while away, planning makes you feel like you are heading in the right direction. Maybe your dream is to start your own business? If that is the case, why not take some continuing education courses to set you on your path? Want to be a writer? Start up a blog! The world wide web is an excellent place to write about  your hopes and dreams and you might even be profitable from  it.

Nothing can completely relieve you from work related stress but doing things you love is always beneficial in the long run. You might even be one of the lucky ones and actually enjoy your job. If that is the case, good for you! Sadly, a large percentage of people in North America are unhappy at the workforce.

For now, I am going to continue to pursue my goals and try to live each day as it comes. This is never an easy task, but nothing really is in life. If life were easy, we wouldn’t have to work to begin with. 🙂

Posted in Work. Tags: , , , , . 1 Comment »

Review – Journey to the Edge of the Universe

Last night, I was having a difficult time trying to sleep. I was feeling restless and would not stop tossing and turning for the life of me. I decided to turn on the television to ease my mind. As I will flipping through the channels, I came upon this special presentation titled “Journey to the Edge of the Universe” on the Discovery Channel(although it is a National Geographic special).

I was lucky enough to catch the show from the beginning and was pleasantly surprised at the journey that was unfolding before my eyes! This animated story is simple: a  journey to the end of the universe from a first person perspective, with wonderful shots of our solar system, our galaxy, black holes and into inter galactic space.

The sense of wonder created from watching this program was worth the 2 hours of viewing time alone.  Journey to the Edge of the Universe really does a great job of showing the beauty, mystery and awesome power of the universe while hinting throughout how insignificant us humans, as a race really are. This film is not meant to leave you in despair, actually, it is quite the opposite. After watching, I immediately wanted to begin learning more about our universe and try to uncover some of its vast assortment of mysteries. I am even concidering  stargazing as a potential new hobby.

Take the Journey!

If you are feeling down and are finding your life unbearable from anything that is causing you worry, or  love adventure and mystery and have a keen interest in outer space, then I strongly suggest you go watch this movie. I believe this movie will leave you in awe as you will realize there is so much to life that we don’t know. We take Earth for granted daily in our lives and after watching this movie, I now know how beautiful our planet really is. If humans as a whole keep taking from the Earth without trying to nurture and preserve it, we will come to realize that the options in our solar system and beyond for human residency is harsh indeed.

Even if you find that after watching this movie, your interest into the world around you hasn’t changed, you will at least think that this was a good animated movie worth watching.

As a child, I always had a keen interest in our solar system and space in general. As I slowly creeped into adulthood, I sadly lost interest striving to live my busy lifestyle from work and chasing money. The Journey to the Edge of the Universe, has rekindled my interest.

For more informtion on this movie, Please click here

Freedom! – My Second Job is No More

pic_financial_freedom_girl

The last couple of days have been pretty hectic for me as 2 major events just took place in my life.

Yesterday, I finally paid off the remaining debt on my car loan which I am extremely proud of. Today, I gave notice to my part time job that I am leaving in 2 weeks. I was debating with myself when would be the proper time for me to once again, live on a single income. I like to move fast and see results, so I decided to pull the plug on the second job very quickly.

I must admit, it is going to be tough to adapt to living on the income only generated from my day job. Even though I was only working 2 jobs for a short amount of time, I really have grown accustomed to that extra $450 I got on a monthly basis. I am usually a creature of habit and like things to be pretty normal during my life.

I had somewhat of a plan before my dreams of quitting my second job became a reality. Paying off the car was the first step as it costed me nearly $300 a month. I am going to mentally think that the $300 not spent on my car will act as a supplement to the income I lose from quitting my second job. The way I look at it, I am only down $150 a month and  that is something I believe I can adapt to quickly.

My next step is going to be to figure out other means to generate income minus the slavery from working at a job. I am hoping to somehow earn some passive income or, work at something I really enjoy in which money earned would be a bonus. In the meantime, I am going to continue saving as much as possible while trying to enjoy life.

Time

One thing I am looking forward to is the extra time that I will be having once I am only at my day job. I am so used to working all through the night and day with barely anytime to sleep. Free time for me was just a memory.

That is not the case anymore! I am going to take full advantage of this free time by:

Trying to learn as much as possible  – I really like to learn by reading books and articles about subjects that are of interest to me. I fully expect to begin reading more books by borrowing them from the library and the occasional purchase at Amazon or the local bookstore.

Spend more time with family and fiance – Before my second job,  I always felt like I never had any free time on my hands. I now know the value of time and will try not to waste it doing meaningless activities all the time. More time spend with my immediate family and my fiance is something that I am planning on doing.

Spend time with nature – Sometimes, walking alone in a park surrounded by trees and hearing the trickle of a flowing creek creates inner peace and lets your imagination and thoughts come alive. Spending time and becoming one with nature is something that I plan to do more of.

Fun things!– I am a big believer in keeping some of your childhood with you as it gives you a greater appreciation of life and sort of calms the daily pressures and stress of adulthood. Playing video games, watching and playing sports, and just hanging out are all things I like to do and am not ashamed to admit it. One of our main weaknesses, in my opinion is losing our childhood as we grow older. How many of you think back to your childhood as the good old days? I sure do on some occasions.

I am really looking forward to the day when I will be financially free and will not need any income from a job. The thought of having that kind of freedom alone gives me the strength to carry on.

Posted in Life, Work. 5 Comments »

My Car Payment is a Thing of the Past

Today has been a great day for me. I decided to go the root of paying the remaining balance on my car from my savings account.

for the last few years, I have been nearly paying $300 dollars monthly for my car and it was beginning to irritate me knowing that such a large expense was being regularly deducted from my account.

I mentally struggled on what I was going to do between keeping my savings or paying off my car. It all came down to interest rates. I simply just saved $70 this year by paying off the balance. The interest I was being charged for my car loan was close to 4% higher than interest I was making on my savings account. No matter how small the amount saved, it was the deciding factor for me.

I am glad to say that moving forward, I have just created more options for myself by freeing another $300 a month. I believe that I will benefit the most for paying off my car in these 3 ways:

  1. The greatest way I can see myself benefiting is by making my second, night shift job expendable. I will be giving my notice any day now and will slightly reduce my slavery to the work force
  2. Secondly, I can use the extra money to repay  my savings account and rebuild the balance or pay off the remaining debt I have left.
  3. Finally, I will free up some money to donate to charities and start helping out. I am still currently researching what will be the best charity to donate to.

As of now I only have $1,900 remaining in debt which is the balance on my line of credit. I expect this to be paid off in full within the next few months. This will be easier as my expenses are now lower then they were a few months ago when I had close to $8,000 in debt.

I do not think I will ever finance another car again as it becomes a financial and mental strain as time progresses. Sure it is really nice to have a new car but my next approach is going to be to purchase a very slightly used car(maybe 1 -2 years old) and paid in full. In time, I plan to make monthly payments to my high interest savings account to mimic  a car payment. Once I have generated enough money, only then will I purchase another car.

A Visit to Montreal for the Weekend

This past week, I treated my fiance to a small little weekend trip to Montreal, Quebec for our 6 year anniversary! We were both really excited as we have been saving money for quite a while and not really enjoying our time together or even life in general. We both live in Ontario and it was about a 5 hour drive but a good time to enjoy the scenery and really talk about life and eat some junk food together!

 

Let me just say Montreal is a beautiful place! The old architecture and atmosphere makes you feel like you are in Europe. There are many churches and museums to visit and lots of fine dining and shopping available.

mon4

As you can see from the picture, Montreal really is a beautiful place. I spent way more this weekend then I have in a very long time for anything. Here is the breakdown of what I spent on our 3 day stay:

Hotel (Hotel Place D’arms) – $500 – This was pretty expensive but man was it ever a beautiful hotel. Very elegant and the most comfortable bed in the world. Plus there was a great continental breakfast and free wine and cheese in the evening.

Food – $125 – I paid for some of our dining out choices and my fiance paid others. We went to one fancy restaurant and some cafes and smaller deli’s.

Gas – $70– I love my car! I made it to drive all the way to Montreal and back, over 10 hours of driving for just $70.00 I was worried gas would have been much more pricier but that was not the case at all. My Fiance paid (alot!) for the gas for this trip.

Activities – $100– Most money was spent shopping but also on visiting old historic churches and museums. There is no shortage of historic buildings in Montreal.

Overall we spent roughly $800 for this weekend trip.

This is a great deal of money but it’s an extreme rarity for us to do this. It was well worth it and I would recommend Montreal to anyone!

Winning the Lottery – What Would You Do?

lotteryImagine waking up in the morning, rubbing your eyes before getting out of bed, turning on the television and up pops the news. You turned on the TV at the perfect time, they are just about to reveal last nights lottery numbers. You  hurry over to grab your ticket, still half asleep and routinely look from your ticket in your hand to the television set.

The numbers match, you have just won the lottery!

I know this story is too good to be true for most of us, but I for one can’t help but wonder what it would be like to win the lottery and what I would do with such a large sum. For fun, let’s say I won 5 million dollars at this weeks lottery ( I can only wish).  I am well aware of the stories of past lottery winners going broke within 2 years. Let’s face it, there are a great number of people in this world who are not good at managing money. Some, are downright awful.

If I won 5 million dollars, I would put the following moves into action.

  • $1,000,000 For Family and Friends– Yes, you read this correctly, I would give 1 million dollars to the people I care most about. Making others happy around me is a very rewarding experience in life and it makes the good deed more fulfilling. 80% would go to family and the remaining 20% would go to friends.
  • $1,000,000 in High Dividend Paying Stocks – This might be considered risky but I am a buy and hold type of guy when it comes to investments. Setting up a DRIP plan will mean I will constantly gain wealth as all dividends will be reinvested which means the purchase of more stocks. Over time, I will hopefully be able to live off the passive income earned from the dividends alone without touching any of the initial investment.
  • $500,000 For a New House – I would be really happy if I could get a house with a purchase value of $500,000. Especially since it would be mortgage free. I am not looking for something extra fancy just a pretty nice home, in a nice neighbourhood.
  • $1,500,000 in Liquid Assets– This could be either a high interest savings account or something similar. The reason for this is for safety purposes. If I could get a savings account with interest earning 3.00%, I would be earning $30,000 in interest annually! Another reason I want to keep this amount in a high interest savings account is to give me options for investments in the future. The downside to this is the enormous taxes I would have to pay on an annual basis with so much of my money not in tax sheltered investments.
  • $300,000 For Business Opportunities – This could be starting up my own business or become a stakeholder in smaller companies. I might also consider investing in real estate if the markets are decent and such an opportunity exists. I would also probably keep this in a relatively safe investment vehicle for quick and easy access.
  • Remaining Money for my Goals and Passions– This will be donating to charities on a consistent basis, traveling with my fiance and maybe even starting my own charity organization. The point with this money would be to enjoy myself and feel good about life.

I am in no way a financial adviser or planner but I feel pretty good about where my money would be going. I would suggest that you try as much as possible to secure your winnings that you have not decided to give away to family friends and charities but to also enjoy your life and celebrate your rare victory.

I can only imagine what it would feel like to win the lottery and enjoy the pleasure of not having to work and be able to enjoy the fine things life has to offer. I think it is time for me to go buy a ticket.

Posted in Life, Money. 1 Comment »

Persuing My Passion: Charities

 

Over the last week I have been researching heavily in which charity I would like to donate my money to. Up until now I have donated a very small amount of $20 to the Canadian Cancer Society by sponsoring a co-worker in an annual run they participate in.

I want to make a larger donation and I am hoping this will be sometime in early August 2009. I will be aiming for $100 to a charity I really feel good about.

I have been increasingly paying off my debt and am only a month or two away from being debt free. Sure, I can use the $100 for debt repayment. Most people would think this is the smart thing to do. Personally, I find making an impact to the world is just as important as personal gain. I feel empowered and happy when others benefit from my little input.

Since I am such an animal lover, I am leaning toward an animal cruelty charity for my first donation. Other posibilities include, children in need or environmental protection organizations.

As I mentioned in one of my first posts, once I have decided and donated to my selected charity, I am going to make a blog post with a brief description of the organization and why it was chosen by me. I want to help create awareness to the things in my life that are important to me. Since I am acting out as an individual, it is the least I can do.

I am hoping that people reading this article will be somewhat inspired to also contribute to what is important to them. When it comes to myself, key points I reflect on when I feel the need to make an impact in this world are:

  • Never Feel Helpless – You as an individual can make an impact in this world. Charities are a great way to gain confidence in yourself knowing you have done something to help others. Sure, the dollar amount might be small but most organizations will really appreciate the extra help that you can provide.
  • Become Passionate – Passion breeds motivation and you will likely feel that way when obstacles stand in your way. Let passion be your guide to your goals.
  • Ignore Negativity – Everyone from friends, family members and co-workers will try to persuade you in the other direction. People that fall into this category tend to not be impact makers themselves. Follow your own road that is right for you as an individual.

Once I finally become financially independent, which I am planning on doing much sooner than later (I am still trying to figure out how to make this a reality). I want to help out the world even more. My goal is to have much more  free time for myself and my future wife to do what we feel is important to not only us but the world as a whole. If anything, this alone is what I am passionate about.