Welcome to this post, “13 Lessons I Learned From The Craziest Month of My Life”!
A month ago I wrote a post called “The World of Finance Has Consumed Me“. In it I talked about how finance had started to take over every decision, every action, and every thought in my life. I talked about how I needed to take a little break from consuming finance content and publishing finance content. So, I took a one month break from writing on Teen Financial Freedom.
But, if I’m being honest that wasn’t the only reason why I took a break from writing. When I wrote that post I was in the middle of the craziest month of my life. I needed to step away from a few things so I could better prioritize what I absolutely had to get done. Writing blogs is something I enjoy doing, but don’t always have the time for. In this case, I knew I needed to take a month off to wrap other projects up, move in to college, and get acclimated to a new normal before I could start writing again.
Well…here we are almost exactly a month later. This is the first post that I am writing since my break. I figured I would kick things off with a more personal post. You see, I learned a lot this last month through all of the craziness. In fact, I might venture to say that I learned more about myself this last month than any other time in my life.
Recap of the Last Month
For those of you that didn’t read my personal section of the August 2021 Monthly Blog Review, I’ll give you a quick recap of the last month and why it was the craziest month of my life:
- August was my last month at home before I moved off to college in Arizona
- I tried to do at least one more get together with each friend and family group
- My Fiverr freelancing business had it’s best month it has ever had
- We were still setting up the new TFF team members and getting that system set up
- I got presented a job opportunity that I went through the interview process for
- I made a weekend trip to visit some family out-of-state
- There were several side projects around the house I had to wrap up before I left
- I tried to soak up every minute I could with my immediate family by trying to talk and play games with them daily
- It felt like I went to run errands everyday whether it was shopping or last minute doctors’ appointments
- There were several meetups that I went to for people that were going to my college
- I packed my entire life into 3 suitcases and flew to Arizona
- I got moved into my new dorm
- The entire first week of college was non-stop events and meeting new people
- Last week was the first week of classes
- Then I got COVID-19 and had to quarantine
I’m not sure if that seems like a lot or not, but trust me when I say it was the busiest, most stressful, and most productive month of my life. But as I said in the introduction, I also learned more about myself this month than ever before. Let’s get into the 13 lessons I learned from the craziest month of my life!
1. You Can Get Through Anything
There were times this last month where I thought there wasn’t enough time in the day. I know this is a cliché thing people say, but I literally thought there was not enough time to get everything done. I saw the window of time I had to work before college rapidly shrinking while the giant to-do list wasn’t. Looking back now, there was plenty of time to do everything and there always is. When you have something you really need to get done, you’ll find a way whether it means by avoiding distractions, sacrificing free time, or staying up to a ridiculous hour.
2. Know Your Priorities
At the same time, I may not have got through the last month as well as I did if I didn’t make my priorities very clear from the beginning. First and foremost, I knew that I wanted to spend a lot of time with family and friends since I knew that wouldn’t really be an option once I moved to Arizona. Then, I knew there were certain things that had to get done. I’m talking about things like packing for college. It’s basically non-negotiable that I pack for college if I am moving there. While everything else might be important, I started by prioritizing relationships and non-negotiables from the get-go.
3. Don’t Overcommit
About halfway through the month of August I realized that I couldn’t keep up with everything that I was currently doing. That’s why I took a break from writing blog posts on TFF for awhile. I also stepped back from two jobs I had. One was helping this accounting firm with preparing tax returns and the other was a financial advisor position that I was interviewing for. I didn’t turn them down permanently, I just told them I would revisit them in a few weeks. I actually just made the decision a few days ago to wait until second semester to continue with either. Learning to say no to things that are outside of your current priorities is crucial for keeping up with everything.
4. You Can Do More Than You Think You Can
On the flip side of overcommitting, there’s such thing as undercommitting. Just kidding, I think I just made that word up. Regardless, human beings can do a lot more than they think they are capable of. Don’t restrict yourself by saying that you’re too busy or you have too many things going on. I think most people have a lot more time than they realize (or that they tell themselves they have). I look back at this past month and see all of the little things that came up along the way that I still managed to get done. It’s almost impossible to go through life without things popping up and getting in your way. Don’t get frustrated by it, just accept it and realize that you have time to get it all done.
5. Organize. Prioritize. Take Action.
Now in order to do more than you think you currently can you must be organized, you must prioritize, and you must take action. The only reason why I was able to achieve as much as I did this last month was because I was incredibly organized before and during the entire month. Whenever I started to get a little unorganized, I would get back to an organized state as soon as possible. Once I had everything organized, I got clear on my priorities and worked on those things first. This helped me get the most important things done and left the unimportant things for later. Finally, I took action. You can spend all day getting organized and prioritizing your tasks, but if you don’t take action nothing will ever get done.
6. Have Systems Set Up
Along those lines, I would have been a complete failure last month if I didn’t have systems in place to help me function. I call this my productivity system, but it’s basically the things you do to get stuff done. Terry and I have been talking a lot recently about how important it is to have a productivity system in place. Without one, you can’t get anything else done. So, Terry and I both made it a priority this last month to make sure that our productivity systems were up to date and functioning well. As a result we both are performing at better levels than ever before. In this case I’m super happy that I already had a pretty good productivity system set up. It was nice to be able to rely on such a system when things got pretty crazy this month. The point is, don’t wait for things to get crazy to make a system to deal with it. Spend some time now setting up a system that you can rely on when things get crazy.
7. You Can’t Expect Perfection
As much as I wish the last month or so all went perfectly, it didn’t. Life hardly ever works the way you want it do. For the most part, the month went really well but there were still things that came up that were unexpected. At one point I had the goal to try to have 0 items on my to-do list by the time I went to college (for context there is usually 50-100 items on my to-do list). I did a pretty good job getting the list as small as possible, but it never got close to 0. There were always new things that came up that had to be dealt with. So, I had to adjust my goal once I realized the first goal was a little unrealistic. The lesson here is to not expect perfection and to be okay with things not going to plan.
8. Stick To Your Routines
If there’s one thing that helped me get through this last month more than anything else, it was sticking to my routines. When I say routines, I’m talking about my morning and night routines that help me get ready at start of the day and wind down at the end of the day. I know it sounds a little silly but these two routines are essential to a successful day in my opinion. In particular, I noticed how crucial sleep is to functioning well. I know it is something we all know, but I really saw the difference between the days I had good sleep and the days I didn’t this month. Also, I tried to do the best I could to stick to a free time routine in the evenings. It was really challenging with everything that I had to do. But, I kept some free time in there whenever possible to avoid burnout.
9. Be Flexible
While it’s important that you stick to your routines, it’s also important that you’re willing and able to be flexible. I always considered myself to be a pretty flexible person. Since I’ve been self-employed for almost two years, I always feel like I’m the one changing my plans around to accommodate other people. But, recently I realized that I sometimes struggle to be flexible when it comes to my routines. For example, one Sunday this last month I missed one of my Sunday weekly resets and it completely threw off the start of my week until I had a chance do a weekly reset a few weeks late. While it’s good to have routines, you still need to be able to function without them.
10. Appreciate Every Moment
I know this is another cliché thing to say, but I was reminded of this over the last month. It was an emotional month for me as I did my “last” everything. My last time with this friend group. My last week at home. My last time seeing my family. Of course, none of these things are permanent. But, it will be several weeks or months before I get to see these people again. I’m glad I recognized very early on this summer how important it was to me to spend as much time with family and friends. However, I still would do anything to get to spend more time with them. I realized that I’m now terrified of my entire life going by too quickly. I’m trying to take efforts each day to slow down and appreciate every moment.
11. It’s Okay To Not Be Okay
As I wrote in the monthly review, this month was an emotional roller coaster like no other. My mood would change from day to day or in some cases, from minute to minute. I would go from feelings of excitement to feelings of sadness. Or from feelings of nervousness to feelings of stress. I soon realized that I was experiencing a lot of these feelings (and still am) because I haven’t adjusted to the new normal yet. I’ve realized this month that it’s okay to not be okay. Sometimes we go through rough areas of life. I’m referring to this as an adjustment period as I wait for the new normal to sink in.
12. Take What You Are Given
This last month I really had to squeeze in work whenever I could. Honestly, nothing has changed now that I am in college. With distractions and things to do always happening, it’s hard to find time in solitude to get work done. However, a few days ago I tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to quarantine. At first I was kind of bummed, but I tried to stay positive and realized this was a fantastic opportunity. I now have 10 days to get as much work done as possible. I also have some time to catch up on YouTube and Netflix, since I hardly had any time to do that for the last month or so. The point is, take what you have been given and use it to your advantage.
13. Understand You Are Not Alone
Finally, the last lesson I learned this month was that I am never alone. When it comes to anything in life, there are other people going through the exact same thing. In the case of my feeling stressed before college, all of my friends were feeling the exact same way. When it came to me being a little nervous when I moved into college, all of the other freshman felt the same way. Or now that I’m quarantined and feeling a little lonely, everyone who has ever quarantined felt the exact same way. This little shift in mindset has helped me keep things in perspective.
That’s it! There’s 13 Lessons I Learned From The Craziest Month Of My Life. The biggest takeaway I want you all to have is that you will have crazy times come up in your life. These times are inevitable and there’s really no way to prepare for them. Often times you may find yourself just having to make it through. That’s exactly how I felt this last month. The best thing you can do when these things happen is try to learn something from them. That way you come out better on the other side. Maybe it’ll also help you the next time something crazy happens. I hope you enjoyed this post! If you did enjoy, please share it with someone who needs it. Also, feel free to leave any comments, questions, or concerns down below. Best of luck!
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