Why Working 2 Days a Week Has Increased Productivity.

Why Working 2 Days a Week Has Increased Productivity.

1. It motivates me to earn more.

Although going down to two days a week was initially a shock to my mind and body, I am so grateful because it has driven to earn more in unconventional ways.

It has been quite difficult to let go of the “safety net” of a 9-5 job, but it has been equally thrilling to try new things and push my comfort zone further.

Over the last 5 months, I started selling furniture and clothing on Marketplace.

The more I sold, the more motivated I was to get the same results.

I decided to focus on a few avenues to achieve these results:

  • Continue selling furniture.
  • Begin a niche of pre-loved petite clothing.
  • Blogging.
  • Apply as an UberEats Driver for flexible income.

Although the above are volatile forms of income, I am working on making these permanent enough to last the 2019-2020 summer before I go back to university.

Now that I work less, it means more time to use the creative side of my brain!

It has been a challenge so far, but I would rather this experience, as it is teaching me a lot about self-discipline and work ethic.

Years ago, not working meant I binge-watched TV shows, movies and YouTube videos.

Now, it is an opportunity to become a better person in all aspects of my personal life and career.

I know that I can live on a bare-minimum income because over the last 7 years, I had to. Earning triple that amount this year taught me that more money doesn’t always mean ‘more wealthy’.

Although I was putting over 50% of my income into savings, a portion was spent on critical medical appointments (understandably, an uncontrollable variable).

Another portion of that was going straight into a travel-credit-card which required debt payments.

Yet another portion would go into retail spending because I love fashion and my restraint was low on account of personal-family crises.

Over half of what I was “saving” went straight to expenses.

This was a hard pill for me to swallow once my contract was amended.

Since I conditioned myself to ‘survive on minimum wage’, it meant I had a long way to go before I could properly manage a higher income. (It probably sounds weird AF, but that’s the truth!)

Now, I can easily break down where my money is going.

Each month, I know:

  • All necessary bills are paid.
  • A portion of income goes into savings (for travel, etc).
  • A portion of income goes into investment (a new experiment).

This knowledge will teach me vigilance once my income increases again.

This gives me the confidence to move forward in my writing and e-commerce business.

Basically, I have the motivation to earn more because I am not relying on a conventional pay-check.

2. New sense of fulfilment.

When I was working 4 days a week, I was already building The Tiny Healer.

30 hours a week was committed to my job. On top of that, the usual commitments needed tending to: dinner, laundry, meal-prep (if any), social life.

Realistically, I could only churn out one article per fortnight or once a month at times.

At least once a month, I would read or listen to a podcast where that person would emphasise, “consistency matters”.

So I tried to write weekly. I wanted to be more consistent.

So, whenever I had spare time (after 5PM or on weekends), I consciously made the decision to draft as many articles as I could.

I also started reading more: before 9AM at work and after dinner at home.

As each week passed, my passion for writing increased. In turn, my productivity increased.

Now that my job requires two days a week, I have more time to do the same tasks but within a flexible range of time.

Doing things that I enjoy = more fulfilment.

I have more flexibility to read blog posts, books (I’m currently reading Rich Dad Poor Dad) and spending time with people that matter.

When I EMBRACE the opportunity I’ve been given, the fulfilment is tenfold. I can sit back in this chair, at this desk I’m writing at and feel true contentment in what I’m doing.

Side note: I’m not perfect. I’m still working on my mindset and habits.

Yes, I have moments of contentment and joy, but there are also many moments of self-doubt and the “Poor Dad Mindset” thinking I should just find a full-time job because ‘it would be easier’ or so most people say. Even myself until very recently.

I’ve known for years that it was possible to make a living out of one’s passion. However, the people that actually do, are few and far between compared to the masses. This was something I didn’t know.

It takes hard work, commitment and patience. I have the hard-work down, but commitment and patience is still a work in progress for me.

For the time being, I can be at peace knowing that at this point in my life, I am fulfilled.

3. Mastering The 3 C’s – Content, Creation, Connection.

Every time I’d read an article or see a graphic about content creation, the consensus was the same: content is king.

Starting The Tiny Healer, I wanted to foster a sense of connection with readers who perhaps had similar experiences or interests in mental health and self-development.

Over the last year, I found that posting once a month did not garner much connection or interest.

Now that I’m working two days a week, I can’t use the excuse that most of my time is spent at a job.

I can take charge of my writing, when I write and when I post.

The last few months in particular, I’ve been using my time to experiment with different ways to create content. Mainly, it has to do with writing and ways to present it differently using Photoshop and Canva.

I often think about:

  • What I’ve told myself in the past.
  • What conversations inspired or hurt me.
  • Who gave me the confidence to continue on with life.

Most importantly:

  • What is the message I want to convey every time I post? What value does this add to someone’s life?

This is a skill that needs a lot of work and harnessing, but in time, I know I’ll find a way that feels most natural.

We are all a work in progress.

Even if we reach one goal, we will soon grow restless and want to find something new to look forward to — that’s okay!

Embrace life’s changes.

Even though this new-found time has allowed me to explore my passion for creativity, my main focus is to write as I feel inspired and hopefully add value to those who happen to read my content.

At the end of the day, one life inspired is time well-spent.

What has helped you increase productivity? Was it having less time to work on your passion or did more time push you further?

4 Things to Consider When Looking for a Counsellor.

4 Things to Consider When Looking for a Counsellor.

Before I started my journey, I didn’t know where to begin. I only knew that I needed help. In this post, I’ll be listing several things to consider when looking for a counsellor. In case you or someone you love is seeking guidance, I hope this post will help.

Please note that when I mention counsellor, I’m referring to both a clinical psychologist and a diploma-certified counsellor in Australia.

1. Qualifications.

In my experience, knowing that the professional you’re going to be seeing has the qualifications to practice is a high priority.

Check their LinkedIn profile or even their business website if they have one. It could help with nerves once you know where the counsellor got their accreditation and organisations they’ve practiced at over the years.

You may be able to find client reviews too, which can be really helpful.

Websites and profiles can also clarify a list of industries and expertise the counsellor is passionate about including: working in hospitals, in a clinic helping people with eating disorders or in private-practice helping clients overcome depression, manage PTSD, family counselling and so forth.

Does their qualification and experience line up with what you’ve been struggling with? Do you think they could help you manage what you’re going through? If yes, that’s great! If you’re unsure, you can send an enquiry, call them or keep looking for other counsellors in the area.

2. Fees & affordability

Our mental health is important of course, but so is affordability.

Let’s not pretend this isn’t a topic to discuss. When I was looking for a professional to see, no one would mention or bring up the cost. At the time, I don’t think people around me knew or considered it to be a hindering factor.

Sometimes the counsellor’s website will have a fee section. In the instances where there is no mention, don’t be afraid to reach out either through email or phone to enquire. I know, enquiring can be daunting, but if you don’t ask, you will never know!

You may be able to find ball-park figures in Australian-based forums or on government/health/psychological websites.

Can appointments be factored in your budget? If not, are there ways to strategically shift your finances to put your mental health first and not break the bank? Would the Medicare rebate assist you at all?

I am a huge believer of compromise and doing my best to make the “impossible” work. So yes, I am biased in this way of thinking, but I do believe in the human ability to balance responsibilities for a healthier, happier life!

Once you have found a counsellor that is within your budget, you can look at other factors like where they’re located to prepare for a consultation.

3. Accessibility.

Is there a car park? Is the distance a hindering factor for your budget? Do they have wheelchair access? Can you take public transport if you don’t have a car? Is getting to-and-from the practice safe and sustainable long-term if sessions continued? Another thing to think about, is when their next available session is – if it is in 2 weeks, would that be viable? If it is in 3 months, will you need to consider other options before then?

Take all of these questions into consideration. If you have any other queries and can’t find the answer online, give the practice a call, send a text message (if their mobile number is provided) or email the counsellor directly for clarification.

Now that you know the counsellor, what their fees are and where they’re located, it’s time to attend your first consult!

4. Are you comfortable?

Now that you have made a decision to attend a consultation, are you comfortable sitting in the room? Do you feel heard? How does the dynamic make you feel when you talk?

Note: A 21 year old female was having her first consult with a male psychologist. During the consult, she explained how childhood abuse from her father affected her in adulthood. The psychologist listened and enquired whether him being a male psychologist might hinder progress and perhaps cause discomfort (considering the therapist-client relationship).

It is the responsibility of a mental health professional to have the best interests in mind for each person.

It is also important for us to be mindful of our own role in noticing how we feel during and after a counselling session and take action if things aren’t working.

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

Albus Dumbledore

A lot of people tend to talk about how important looking after our mental-health is, but not many people talk about the small steps it takes before you begin healing.

Here is a list of organisations that are here to help you:

  • healthengine – Find a psychologist in Australia
  • healthengine – Find a counsellor in Australia
  • blueknot helpline 1300 657 380 – complex trauma
  • beyondblue.org.au 1300 22 4636 – depression/anxiety awareness
  • kidshelpline.com.au 1800 55 1800 – private, confidential counselling
  • lifeline.org.au 13 11 14 – crisis support, suicide prevention
  • qlife.org.au 1800 184 527 – LGBTI support site
  • vvcs.gov.au 1800 011 046 – veteran, war-related support
  • ReachOut – youth mental health and community forums

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to visit the above organisations, email me or leave a comment below!

Image by Joshua Ness.

A Big Serving of Thank You with a dash of Roll-call.

A Big Serving of Thank You with a dash of Roll-call.

I appreciate you.

The last few weeks have included a lot of reflection on my part as a blogger. Since my contract at my day-job has adjusted, I’ve realised how being creative (writing/creating positive content) is an integral part of my life.

I guess what I’m trying to say (by beating around the bush until the last episode like they do on Terrace House) is that I have fallen in love with creativity again.

In saying that, I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the success and I’m afraid of failure.

Let me try and explain further.

Knowing that there are people from Colombia, Canada, USA, Croatia, South Africa, China, Philippines and Malaysia who read what I write is overwhelming and mind-boggling!

It has been over a year since I took this hobby seriously and it is time to express my appreciation for all you amazing readers.

I can’t thank you enough for your support!

The roll-call. AKA Q&A.

To connect with you on a deeper level, I invite you to ask me anything on my Tumblr site whether it be about mental health, my blog posts, growing up, relationships, mindset, friendships and so on.

It is a great feature where people on the interwebs can ask questions and share ideas. Suggestions and general feedback is most welcome!

As usual, there is motivating and positive content there too! Like the incentive that there’s food at a party, there is food for thought!

For short answer questions, I will leave them on the Tumblr page. For long answers or clarification, I will post them to The Tiny Healer website and link directly to the post.

To protect your privacy, you can choose to stay anonymous. If you would like me to sign your name/alias, please let me know. It may help to remember who asked what question once it is posted.

You may be wondering, what sparked this curiosity?

Growing up, there were moments where I felt a lot of pressure to behave, feel and act a certain way. When I’d express my struggles or concerns, it was often met with insensitive comments or flat-out ignorance. It made me think that my emotions were invalid. Perhaps the way my brain processed things and the way my body looked was less-than.

You can probably see why I chose to create The Tiny Healer. I am building a space where it is SAFE to talk about mental health, life struggles and development.

I am a huge believer in learning, whether it’s life-experience from a job, happiness, travel or tragedy.

It is through learning that we can heal, be better and do better.

There is a response I learned in the first module of Japanese at uni: Okagesamade genki desu. Translation according to our tutor: thanks to those around me, I am good.

Because of your continued support and feedback, I can continue to write and share positivity! If you feel inclined, let’s have a conversation!

Ask Me Anything

By clicking the links in this post, it will take you directly to the “Ask Box”. Please type in your question/thought and click “ask”. If you don’t see your question in the following days, please Ask through the link again or email me with “Ask Me Anything” in the subject line.

I look forward to hearing from you!

10 Lessons I Learned Moving Out at 18.

10 Lessons I Learned Moving Out at 18.

In Australia, 18 is the legal adult age. It is culturally appropriate to celebrate big – go hard or go home type of celebration. Yes I was excited to have a huge party, but I also thought often of moving out.

For those of you who know me personally, probably know how often I would get grounded throughout high school. Yes, I said high school.

I was stubborn, strong-willed and hated being controlled. I thought I knew everything. Seeing my younger brothers out late while I was not allowed out after a certain time drove me mad. Not only was it double-standards, it was expected that I obeyed (hint: of course I didn’t). I rebelled. A lot. And got grounded for it. A lot.

Because of this, I made my mind up about moving out as soon as I was a legal adult. I realised years later, my parents were just trying their best to raise a girl in a world where our safety is statistically threatened.

Although my first rental experience was with extended family, the amount of freedom I suddenly had was such a relief. Yes, I now had responsibility with rent and being more organised, but this responsibility meant that I was free.

Since then, I have lived in 5 different homes over the last 7 years. All with their own benefits and challenges. I share these with you below!

Here is a snapshot of the 10 things I learned:

1 – Prioritise financial responsibility. From ages 15-20, saving money wasn’t a huge priority in my life. What I earned, I spent – and quickly. However, moving from home to home, I soon realised that having savings was a smart decision. The kind of decision where past-Angela would always be grateful once I took this responsibility seriously.

2 – You never know what a person is like until you live with them. Life gets stressful for all of us. Some days are so difficult that we lash out at others – our friends, family or even housemates if we live in the same vicinity. Be aware of your own behaviour and respect your fellow housemates when times get tough.

3 – Communication skills. For the most part, I thought my communication skills were great. I’d be told by relatives and strangers alike how well I spoke and when I speak in front of groups/crowds, I could command attention. However, interpersonally, I struggled to let others know how I truly felt. After a few years of meeting new people, going through many ups and downs, my communication is becoming clearer. I’m better at saying what I mean and that is an accomplishment!

4 – I’m responsible for my own life, not anyone else. But if I need help, I have to ask. This is a work in progress. When I was younger, asking for help meant I “didn’t know anything” and the gesture of asking was a shameful thing. However, asking for help when it is needed has been a tremendous benefit. Taking responsibility for my life as an adult, means networking and finding resources when I can’t do things on my own.

5 – People make a home, not the items. Decluttering was a game changer for me. Realising that I could let go of items that no longer served its purpose was a lesson of freedom I will always cherish.

6 – Relationships are a two-way street. Early on, I was busy working 3 jobs and studying at uni that I didn’t make time for a my friends or family. We can’t expect others to be in our life if we never balance our time with other commitments. Spend time with the people you care about! The present is all we have!

7 – Acceptance of others and yourself. *Huge lesson alert!* Growing up in a family of 7, it wasn’t new being surrounded by people. However, what was new, were the differing personalities, clashing schedules and sharing a space with non-family members. I learned a lot about patience, compromise and communication.

8 – Do whatever it takes. Whether it be financially, emotionally or physically, just do it. Achieve the tasks that you set. Pave the way for others in your family of your social circle. Remind yourself why you do what you do. If you’re stressing about money, get a second job or sacrifice Netflix for a year so you have enough to live.

9 – Remember what you’ve been through. There would be many moments I was terrified of not being able to pay rent due to working casual jobs (obviously my choice). I forgot about the plans I put in place to offset my lack in income. I forgot about the reminders I used to set for deadlines. Remembering that I’ve tackled similar tasks in the past, is such a good encouragement!

10 – Stand up for yourself and don’t take anyone’s crap. People have told me in the past that I can be easily persuaded or that I put up with “too much”. I finally took their advice and started saying “no” to demands and people who seek to treat me with disrespect. We all get hurt by others, it is a condition of the human experience. That doesn’t mean we let people take advantage of us! If something isn’t right, stand up against it!

If you have ever thought of moving out of home or perhaps you need a new start, I hope these tips are helpful!

Thinking back on all the memories, joyful times and challenges, reminds me that if I ever find myself in a similar situation that I will make it through. I’ve been through it before, I will get through it again. You will too! Our experiences make us wiser and stronger!

What lessons did you learn when you started renting? Share your experiences below!

You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramDepop and Twitter!

How To: Save Money Living Paycheck to Paycheck.

How To: Save Money Living Paycheck to Paycheck.

The last 10 years (9 considering the unstable hours), I have worked mostly casual positions in hospitality and retail. I became inspired by these motivational speakers and YouTubers when they’d share their experiences. How they would save and what that would afford them – e.g. freedom, travel, security. Could I have this life? If I had this life, what would it mean?

Saving money would address two important needs for me: financial security and personal accomplishment. This would be my “why”.

Below, I share some tips I learned over the years to save money, no matter what income you’re earning.

Find your “why”, goal setting & approximate earnings.

What’s your reason to save? University payments? Buying a house? Attending a concert?Travelling? It could be similar to my goal of personal accomplishment and financial freedom. No matter what your “why” is, write it down somewhere or repeat it to yourself each day from here on out. When things get difficult – and it will – your “why” can serve as a reminder.

I set myself a goal of $5,000 over 12 months. This may seem like too much time to save this amount, but with my earnings (usually minimum wage or less = AUD $18-$20 or less per hour) it would be an accomplishment.

Discussing my goals with my boyfriend, we agreed that I would deposit savings into his account. That way, I wouldn’t have access to it. It would be like a slow-cooker — set it and forget it, except with money!

I spent a few months collating my approximate earnings over time. I made sure that working my minimum shifts, I could afford necessities of life: rent, phone bill, car payments, groceries. If all went south, I knew I could sell my car or phone and still survive on a skeleton wage.

Rent Assistance.

Disclaimer: I understand that not everyone has access to this or that everyone has the same benefits within and outside of Australia. 

Being on minimum wage and paying the amount of rent I was paying back then, meant that I qualified for Rent Assistance. If you’ve never heard of that, it is a small payment you can receive from the Australian government to help with rent. You must be eligible, apply and await approval before receiving this payment. For me, this made a huge difference.

Click the link below if you’d like more information.

Rent Assistance.

Expect the unexpected. 

During this time, things came up that I didn’t account for: family events, special holidays, not to mention winter and the dreaded flu… there were times where I’d put little to no savings away. I struggled to accept these normal occurrences like illness, drop in business at work and general life hiccups. Every second I wasn’t working, meant I wasn’t working toward my goals.

I needed to start expecting the unexpected – go back to basics: one of the reasons I started saving was for financial security. And when I got sick or if a family event came up, I could afford to pay for it.

And just like that, slowly but surely, financial security = check!

Stay consistent.

Every week, as soon as I got paid, I’d pay my rent and my bills. Without question. I’d then transfer money to my boyfriends’ account. This kept me accountable. If I asked for money, it would need to be under either of these conditions:

  1. Would not put my savings into a 50% deficit.
  2. Emergencies only! Meaning, illness, unexpected bill or special occasion.

Staying consistent was the biggest lesson for me. I was used to spending money without a care. Now I had this responsibility and accountability on my shoulders. I began to think about money differently. If I could achieve my goals, it would mean being a step closer to a future of financial stability.

Celebrate, track & automate.

Each month, I would ask Luke where I was at with my savings. These conversations were sometimes difficult to have because I’d be so disappointed in myself if I missed a payment or was $100-200 off my progress mark. Looking back, I wished I remembered that progress no matter how small, was still progress!

To track and plan expenses, you can draw up a monthly table, use an Excel spreadsheet or even create a table in Word. Predicting upcoming expenses including medical bills, birthdays, sentimental anniversaries or family holidays can really help you to achieve your goals.

Automation was new to me, but I utilised it without realising! I used my iPhone calendar to plan expenses every week, no matter what the event. I set my rent/bills on “recurring” for so I didn’t need to re-type it. I also automated my phone bill each month. Without lifting a finger, one of my bills were always paid. I no longer needed to worry about whether I missed a payment or think about when it was due.

If you’re able to, automate one or all necessary payments. Even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, knowing that one of your bills will never be pending can ease one stress off your shoulders. If you can’t automate payments, automate the organisation of your expenses. Set reminders on “recurring” so eventually it won’t be a surprise when a bill comes up and it’ll become a habit. We all have responsibilities, it just depends how we carry them out!

Save within your means.

A famous phrase is to “live within your means” and that’s good advice but I think it frames your mindset to be rigid. You may have to see the doctor and pay for medication — which could mean you can only put away $50 or less into savings. So what? You’re still making the best effort. Save within your means.

Here’s an Example of My Weekly Expenses*: 

Screen Shot 2019-08-31 at 1.09.57 pm.png

**Job 1 and 3 were my main sources of income. It also fluctuated depending on whether we were low on staff, if there was a function/birthday on or if there was a live act that weekend.

Snapshot of my crazy life: I worked days, nights, weekends… I’m actually surprised how many jobs I took on just to get through at times. 7:30am start at the first job, 1-5pm at another job and then 9pm-4am at the third job. Being young, I had the energy and the motivation – that worked for me!

Please remember that if you’re spreading yourself too thin and become stressed, irritated or start losing sleep — STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND RE-EVALUATE. There’s no point in suffering and negatively affecting your mental or physical health.

Some people benefit in pushing through self-imposed, rigid rules. Some don’t. Find what works for you and stick to it!

Fight the boredom.

Another thing I struggled with was the feeling of boredom. After a few months of saving, the feeling of doing something new had worn off. I wanted to go back to my old life of shopping and going out until the early hours of the morning.

If your budget is tight, find free things to do – go for walks in a new neighbourhood, find a new trail, re-watch old movies, play board games, visit friends or have them visit you. If you have access to internet, there are so many platforms for expression, and passing the time: YouTube, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, Quora, Tumblr and so forth.

This journey was not glamorous by any means! Although you better believe that if I happened to work 28-30 hour weeks, I would live it up! It’s all about balance. You can’t keep yourself cooped up at home with a mindset of “I can’t”. You can, it’s about finding a new way of doing the things you love and enjoy whilst on a budget.

Create extra income. 

As you know,  a job that is casual in nature means it’s mind-numbing to predict how much income you’ll earn the following week.

However! It doesn’t make your goal impossible.

I would pick up extra shifts by scrolling through a local Facebook group where employers/managers were looking for staff to fill hours with last minute notice.

Another way I’d pick up shifts was to build rapport with other stores in the same company. In many instances, I was able to work at multiple locations to make up my hours. It did require travel whether it be public transport or paying for my car expenses but it was worth it for the extra dollars in my pocket! I would often take public transport to save on petrol. I figured that if I had the spare time, I’d rather spend it travelling to my next shift!

Lastly, I would flip items online. Whether it be clothes, furniture or luggage – I was selling it for extra income. I would warn that it can be slow, so it requires patience!

In this day and age, income possibilities are vast.

Remember that you’re doing the best you can.

Throughout this time of saving, I often felt like I wasn’t doing enough. But looking back, I know I was just being hard on myself.

A year later, I managed to save approximately $4,400. I predicted with the hours I was getting from two jobs, I’d at least reach $5,000 by the end of the month. Unfortunately, my hours were cut by 70% due to the decline in business (perks of a casual job, amirite?). Nevertheless, I saved a decent amount!

I was so proud of myself for getting to that point.

It can take time for us to reach the next step in our career, land a job with stable hours or find a place that pays us the equivalent for the work we do. So don’t give up. Give it your focus, patience and dedication!

I hope these tips have helped motivate you to save for your next trip or for a rainy day.

If you can save on minimum/below minimum wage, you will always have the ability, discipline and patience to work towards financial freedom as you move into higher income.

What tips have you found helpful when living paycheck to paycheck?

You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramDepop and Twitter!