Posts Tagged ‘charitable giving’

Volunteering is the Secret

Need to be reinvigorated? Try this secret formula          

You know the feeling. You have determination, drive, and the skills to achieve your dreams. You’ve worked long, hard hours to reach your goal and it still seems miles out of site. You’re not letting go, but it’s starting to feel like you’re just spinning your wheels.

I learned a not-so-obvious solution for this common struggle, when I began studying productivity experts. I found it hard to believe at first, but they stressed that you’ll accomplish more by doing less at a time. If you plan regular breaks, you’ll work faster than if you maintain long, stressed-out hours. Because life (and your art) is a marathon, it’s better to work ten hour days and keep moving than it is to work a single 12 hour grind that leaves you fried for the next three days. That last two hours can put you in an early grave!

I found it difficult

Taking breaks didn’t make sense to me at first. I didn’t feel like I deserved them. When you’re on the road to success, you need to be at the wheel, don’t you? …and every pit stop slows you down.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that you don’t take breaks because you “deserve” them. You take them because you must have them to continue moving.

Ultra long distance runners—those crazy people who run 50 or 100 miles (or more) at a time–break regularly for food, drinks, or to chat. They know that the body is a collection of organs that all need rest. Even the winners of these super long races will break for ten to twenty minutes at a time, even though that’s putting them further behind the clock at that particular moment.

They’ve learned that by slowing down, they actually speed up in the long run!

Almost there…just needed a tweak

So, I began taking breaks while working on a new monologue, or developing course materials for Abundance Bound. They were good for me. I’d walk in the neighborhood, visit with friends, surf online, and let my mind wander. Still, the residue of my business and art continued to seep into these times. After a few breaks, I discovered that I wasn’t really taking a full “break.” I was using the walk for creative time to think about the work I was doing! While that was helpful over the short run, I was missing out on the key component of the break that makes it successful: I wasn’t completely away.

Then I discovered how I could escape AND rejuvenate. (more…)

4 Year End Financial Moves To End 2012 With a Bang!

4 Year End Financial Moves To End 2012 With a Bang!

I can’t believe it’s almost that time of year again! We’re saying goodbye to 2012….and it seems like we just said goodbye to 2011. This can be a crazy time for creatives. We’re busy building, sculpting, performing. But don’t forget that the end of the year is also a time to close the books on your financial life so you can begin 2013 fresh. Here are some of my favorite year end moves:


Paperwork & Technology Moves

This is a great time to shred unnecessary papers from the year and delete unnecessary emails. Set up your systems to ensure you roll easily into 2013.

–  If you haven’t yet, create a series of email folders to funnel important financial documents. I also like the free financial tool Dropbox to store important papers in “the cloud” so they’re available from any computer.

–  Adjust your budget. Automate budget tracking if you have a smart phone or computer using programs such as Mint. Last week I went over my grocery budget and before I’d unloaded the groceries into my car, Mint had already emailed me a warning.

–  Create times to plan. Take out your 2013 calendar (or purchase one!) and lay out non-negotiable times to review your overall financial picture. You might want a quick once-a-week to review your budget, pay bills and review any new investment correspondence. More important is a twice-yearly “where am I” session. (more…)

Seven Tax Tips For 2010

THE REALITIES of business sometimes get in the way of our artistic pursuits.  Because we earn money from our work, reporting income to the government is something that has to be done.  That’s why this is my busiest time of year for tax tip questions; but I’m afraid it’s also the worst time of year to try and implement tax strategies.  The truth is that most of your real tax planning for 2010 should have been done long ago. Still, there are at least seven steps that you can use to improve your 2010 taxes – strategies that should help you keep more money in your pocket.

Some people have tax documents in a neat stack, ready to be organized.  These aren’t usually artists like us!  But hopefully you at least have a general idea where to locate 1099’s, W2’s and other documents so you can quickly hand them off to your tax professional or input them into your tax accounting software program.  Since it’s too late to improve the numbers that are on those documents, it’s now a matter of arranging the puzzle of numbers in a way that decreases your tax bite most dramatically. (Once you use these seven tax tips don’t forget to seek out advance strategies to make your 2011 tax bite smaller.)

For now, let’s focus on arranging this year’s numbers as effectively as possible for your tax return.  Before we start, I’d like to warn you that a true tax professional is invaluable!  There’s nothing I can say here that will apply specifically to your situation. Consider hiring a company or individual that has direct experience working with other artists. They should have the most current information regarding the allowable deductions for your particular business.


Enjoy the Holiday Without Breaking the Bank

You’ve made it through Black Friday and the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, hopefully with your pocketbook intact. I hope that you had a warm, fun time with friends or relatives. As we wheel into a fantastic stretch of holidays on the calendar, I know there’s little I enjoy more than renewing old acquaintances, enjoying new friendships and watching the pageantry of the season.  It can truly be, to quote the classic holiday song, the “greatest time of year.”

This stretch can also be the worst time of year, though. I’ve spoken with people who see deals all around them and feel like they can’t take advantage of any because of money woes. A group stops off at Starbucks for a Peppermint-favored holiday drink and all you have in your pocket is enough for bus fare home. For this reason and others, the holidays can lead to depression and feelings of miserable loneliness.

Whether I’ve explained your situation or not, there are good ways to experience and enjoy this holiday season without spending every dollar you have.  Much as the Grinch discovered, there is more to this time of year than presents and shopping. Here are some tips to help you beat the holiday blues: