Back to School

Okay, I know you’re probably thinking “Whaaat?”. Actually, it’s me who’s going back to school, not my kids. Although, I do have their full support on it.

It’s not a traditional classroom or schedule by any means, but it does mean work and dedication on my part.

Let me back up just a little.

As some of you know, I am an independent author in addition to a library assistant. As my LA position is very part-time (six days a month), I am wanting to further my writing career. I love to write, and do just for the sake of writing. Sometimes I sell a book, pattern or printable, but it’s not enough to add to my nest egg. (And we all know how important having one of them is.)

Anyway, I recently became a member of the Writer’s Guild of Alberta. While perusing the Members area, I found out about a conference in Banff in October, plus some provincial colleges that offer distance learning. To add to my excitement, I realized GPRC offers writing courses. I haven’t had any formal training or education as far as writing goes, so decided to register for a couple. I mean, it can’t hurt can it?

When I told my kids about it, then made a comment about my age, they both said “You got this!”. It’s wonderful to have their support.

The photo is of my bubbles showing the topics I am including in my upcoming Reference Guide for Romance Authors.

I spent some time on the first one last night, and am working on it again today. One of the lessons stresses the use of bubbling (or mind mapping), which I haven’t done much of. My first attempt was on a loose leaf sheet of lined paper, but today I bought a larger pad of paper; simply because I ran out of room.

It’s never too late to enroll in a class, nor is it never too late to begin a writing career. Or if writing isn’t your thing, then that’s okay too. There are plenty of other career choices available if you’re not happy in your current one.

With the distance learning options available, there’s no reason why anyone can’t learn something new. And for those who are happy in your career, what about taking a crafting class? Or perhaps learn more about a hobby? The possibilities are endless. I can see myself delving a little deeper into the writing field; perhaps deep enough to earn a full time income.

Before I close this post, I am curious to know: have you changed careers or taken a course online after the age of fifty? (And for the readers who aren’t in that age group yet, do you see yourself pursuing an online education to change or expand your career ?)

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, as well as the other trials and tribulations of being over fifty. Have a great week!

Diane

Mastering Time Management

Stock image courtesy of Canva.

The week has flown by, and the weekend is already half over. The scariest part, is July is almost over. Where has our summer gone?

My work weeks never seem to be productive at home, because after spending all day on my feet I just don’t feel like doing much. I probably shouldn’t let it bother me, but it does.

I hate to admit it, but something I struggle with is time management. When I’m working my shift at the library, I seem to get a lot done in a day. But when I’m home it’s a whole different story.

I have been using a bullet journal for about a year and a half (give or take). I have tried several different layouts and have decided simple is best. Sure, the bujos on Instagram are nice to look at, but they must take a lot of time to make pretty. When I started out, I followed the pretty layouts but soon found myself spending more time journaling and planning than doing what I was supposed to be.

I borrowed a copy of Ryder Carroll’s The Bullet Journal from my local library (yes, the one I work at) and his method is super simple. Granted it doesn’t look as fancy and colourful as others I have seen, but there’s something to be said about the simplicity.

I have added a habit tracker this month to mine, because I found myself rewriting some of the same things day after day. I stepped away from the habit tracker for several months, but found it’s something I benefit from. This way I can keep track of how often I do my morning pages, water my plants, vacuum, do laundry and so forth. Plus, I also have the bottom half of it as a health tracker. I like to keep track of how often I walk in a month, how many nights I get to bed before midnight, do my yoga/pilates and even lady days.

Not all planning and time management systems work for everyone, which is why I like the flexibility of my BuJo. I like the concept of the future log, as pictured below. I can plan the major events a year in advance if I like, then add to it each month as occasions and appointments pop up. It’s looking pretty empty right now, but it will fill up as time goes on.

In previous months, I have actually drawn out a calendar but am finding Ryder’s method much easier. The days of the month are listed, one per line, and events, holidays and appointments are added as the month goes on. It not only takes up less space, but I can see at a glance what I can schedule for when.

When it comes to the daily pages, I had been dedicating one page per day, but found some days the pages were almost empty. Now I’m filling the pages with one, two or even three days worth of tasks/notes. I haven’t been doing a task list for each week anymore, but the daily pages take care of what needs to be done each day. I’ve gotten into the habit of filling it out right before bed, or first thing in the morning. That way, I don’t miss anything.

The photo below shows a couple of entries for days earlier this month. The tenth has a list starting on the previous page, but notice what was scheduled, what was done and the notes added to the days.

I know I still have a long way to go to manage my time perfectly (or even relatively close), but having it in writing has been positive for me. I find the more things I have going on, the more I need to schedule them in. One thing I haven’t scheduled in is novel-writing time, and have thus not touched it.

My manager and I were checking out Lynda.com yesterday; an online resource for courses available to library patrons. One of the first I will be taking is on time management. Since I work from home more than the library, I really need to learn some tricks to keep my household obligations separate from my work time (side hustle). I may be doing a follow up post after I take the course, providing I find it helpful.

Do you have trouble budgeting your time? If not, what system (if any) do you use to stay on track?

Photos (Copyright Diane Ziomek 2019) were taken specifically for this post, and are intended for single use only.

10 Ways to Add to Your Nest Egg

Image by SidLitke from Pixabay

Let’s face it; the cost of living keeps increasing while our wages stay the same. This post will show you how to earn a little extra cash you can squirrel away.

If you’re like me, you may be worried about not having enough in your savings to fund the golden years. Pensions for the average person barely cover living expenses, not to mention luxuries such as going out occasionally or taking the time to travel.

As long as I can remember, I have always made a little extra cash here and there when I needed it. That hasn’t changed as I’ve gotten older, but the amount I need to earn has changed. My paycheque barely covers my share of our household expenses, so I supplement it with little side hustles. Below are 10 ways I have been able to earn money over the years, and you can too. Note you will not find links to survey sites or game sites. These are practical ways to earn, and if you put in the effort you can earn a lot.

  1. Etsy. I have had an Etsy Shop for almost five years. I started it in September 2014, and have sold crocheted items, handspun yarn, dryer balls, printables, patterns and more.
  2. Fiverr. Fiverr is a platform where you can post gigs you’ll do for five dollars and up. I am currently taking a break from the site, but only because summer is here and I am unable to commit to fulfilling my obligations. I would rather deactivate my gigs than be unable to deliver them. The site is reputable and they pay on time.
  3. Sellfy. I have been selling digital products on Sellfy for a few years now. Some things have changed since I began, with the biggest change being it is now completely up to the seller to generate traffic to their products. The five percent of the selling price they take as a fee is one of the lowest out there, so the earning potential is great. I don’t earn that type of royalty when I sell a book on Amazon or Kobo, so sales on Sellfy are always a bonus.
  4. Crafts Sales. If you’re a crafty person and enjoy socializing, you can sell your creations at Farmer’s Markets, Craft Sales and Holiday Markets. My personal experience with sales has been positive, although I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert. I found having practical items along with some more specialized items is a good balance. When catering to holiday shoppers, it’s always a good idea to have items in varying price points. Wood workers, fiber artists, painters, jewelry makers, quilters, etc are always welcome at holiday markets.
  5. Pattern Design. I enjoy designing crochet patterns for practical items. If you click on the Etsy link above, you’ll be taken to my shop where you can see how many I have designed. If you like to design patterns of any craft, I highly recommend it. The best part is you just put the time in once, and can sell as many copies as you wish. I have sold several copies of a sweater pattern I designed, and it still sells even without active promotion.
  6. Baking. This isn’t one I have done much of, especially since food handling regulations have changed. In my early days of markets, I have baked cakes and cookies and they sold quickly. If you like to bake and would like to supplement your income, then fresh-baked goods are always good sellers. I do suggest you check with the rules and regulations concerning selling food items in your area.
  7. Clothing Alterations and Repair. If you are one of those people who doesn’t mind hemming jeans or replacing zippers, you could find yourself with a growing customer base. Back when my children were little, I did hemming and basic repairs to help pay some bills. I did it to supplement our income, not because I enjoyed it. I would sooner cut and sew fabric into a quilt than spend hours doing repairs, but that’s just me. Clothing repair is a profitable venture for the right person.
  8. Babysitting. When my children were little, my ex husband said I had to get a job to help pay the bills. After my paycheques mostly went to the babysitter I had to hire, I decided to be a Dayhome Provider instead. Not only did I contribute more to our household income, I was there to raise my own children. I no longer had to worry about whether or not they were being taken care of properly.
  9. Revenue Share Sites. If you like to write, I highly recommend HubPages as a platform. It was the first platform I submitted my own articles on, and I still earn from some of the first articles today. Other revenue share sites have come and gone, but HubPages has been there for several years. They do have a payment threshold, but there’s no reason you can’t cash in every month or two. I suggest tutorials and evergreen articles, as they will earn income over the long term.
  10. eBooks. Once again, if you like to write then there’s no reason you can’t earn an income from your writing. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, you have the power to publish your own work and earn royalties. I have self-published all of my books, and earn a little each and every month. Some months it’s cents, other months it’s dollars. If you’re interested in taking the nonfiction route, I have written a twelve module course to walk you through it from idea to publishing and beyond.

The above list consists of ways I have (and in some cases, still do) made extra money. I have tried the survey sites and playing games for points, but there’s nothing as reliable as doing some honest work. Plus, when you create your own product, you have full control over pricing, distribution and can make any changes necessary. In the case of babysitting and clothing repair, you choose your own hours and how much you want to do.

I appreciate the clicks on the links I have provided, although you’re under no obligation to sign up or purchase anything. The links are simply provided so you can get a feel for what I do, and what some of the sites I deal with offer.

Thanks for reading, and I sincerely hope you have found something valuable in this post.