There’s something about the last month of the year. For all it’s magic, December always passes by in a blur. Still, as I looked through our numbers for November and thought about the month ahead, I realized that we’re making progress. And two little tweaks I made a few months back have been paying off big time for me personally.
Drive All At Once
It’s no secret that I love my car. I bought it new, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. It’s also no secret that I have put next to no miles on my car since I bought it six years ago. I believe my odometer clocks in around 32,000 miles at the moment, give or take a thousand.
While I’ve never been a big driver in terms of distance, I used to be the queen of errands. For the past few months, I have really focused on tacking my errands onto my commute. I might leave the house 20 minutes earlier to hit the grocery store right by my work. Or I might stop by the store on my way home. I have even tried to adjust my tutoring schedule to make sure that I can swing by the library on my way home. While not every day goes according to plan, many days I pull out of and back into my driveway exactly once.
What’s the big deal? For starters, I only needed on tank of gas in November. That’s right. My fuel spending last month clocked in at $18. But beyond that, I find that I’m having a easier time separating my to-do list from my home life. When I walk in the door, I know that I’m usually in for the evening. I can focus my energy on cooking, writing, lesson planning, reading, or hanging out with Mr. P without worrying about having to dash off someone where in 40 minutes. These longer stretches of uninterrupted time help me maximize my productivity. And added benefit? I’m even learning how to relax a bit more. At least, sort of.
Swap Out “I’m Sorry”
I am a chronic over-apologizer. If someone bumps into me, I apologize. If someone drops a commitment, I’m the one who says sorry. If a spammy online casino keeps emails me about guest posting on my blog and I don’t reply to the first email right away? You guessed it. I beg forgiveness from a spambot.
It’s a filler and a buffer that is incredibly pervasive. And I’ve been working on only apologizing when I truly have something to apologize for. One situation that almost always induced an apology out of me is when I am overcommitted. If I couldn’t pick up a class hour as a sub or I was unable to make a coffee date, I used to immediately fall back on “I’m sorry”.
Now that I’ve made a conscious effort to cut it out of my vocabulary, it felt a little odd to just say no. I don’t want to be rude or ungrateful. So now I substitute “I appreciate the opportunity” or “No thank you” at the start of my statements. This shift in language is nothing earth shattering or Shakespearean, but it does leave me feeling differently. I’m still able to show my manners–I got this, Mom!–and my gratitude, but now I also feel more confident and sincere.
Neither of these switches are going to make me rich. There’s no book deal lurking or re-branding opportunity afoot. But if changes that are this seemingly simple can make my life more purposeful and pay out this significantly, I’ll take it.
So Tell Me…What little adjustments or tweaks have you made that pack the most punch?