On Outrage: Killing a Lion Sparks Outrage but Tamir Rice…Not So Much

There is a lot of universal outrage over the senseless killing of Cecil the Lion, and rightfully so, but I just have one question to the Universe:

Where is the same outrage over the killing of Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, or Trayvon Martin ETC, ETC, ETC.?

And Sam Dubose

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Where is the universal voice that says All LIVES MATTER yet are silent when it comes to BLACK LIVES? Because not ALL LIVES LIVE IN DANGER but BLACK LIVES DO.

Guess we should be a lion then…

On Money: Keeping Card in My Wallet

I know its only day three of me watching what I spend but I feel I have made considerable discoveries with my spending habits.

As I mentioned before I spend a lot of money on things I don’t need or already have at home, like coffee and food for lunch.

I have made a mental note on what my co-workers have spent this week on lunch because any other week I would be ordering right along with them.

Monday: It was lunch at a deli, I would have gotten the pastrami on a roll, $8.00 with a bag of chips

Tuesday: They ordered pizza-small pizza’s eight slices per pizza. I would have ordered the small extra cheese (.50 extra) with anchovies. $9.50

Wednesday: Applebees, matter of fact I am typing this as they are off to pick it up. You know Applebees has that curbside pick up. I usually get the grilled chicken Caesar salad or hot wings AND dessert. $15

In three days I would have spent $32.50 and if you add in my $1 coffee from Cumberland Farms everyday it’s 35.50

Not my Life, unfortunately LOL

I spent $120 Sunday on groceries like I do just about every week. I have been conscientious about actually EATING what I buy and tried not to stock up on veggies and fruit that will go bad quickly. Sunday I made up my little kale and fruit baggies to make smoothies every morning and it has saved me time and reduced stress in the morning. I also made up salad for lunch and added chicken and tuna for toppers at lunch.

So, although the week is not over I feel I am making better decisions with my money…or at least being very conscience of what I’m spending. The bit I save can be used in other more fulfilling areas. I will determine by looking over the budget I created in Excel where that money can see better use. I actually feel better planning my money than I did just haphazardly spending it.

The lesson for me is to THINK BEFORE I SPEND

On Money: Saving Tip

I was probably one of the first subscribers to Amazon. I signed up when I got my Kindle-the first generation which I still own-and I love it. I do tend to spend a bit much on books but overall I do not take advantage of my membership.

As I was creating my excel budget tracker last night I remembered my Pantry Prime on Amazon. I can have my household items like laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, and toiletries delivered to my door with my subscription and right now I have a $10 coupon.

amazon

Here’s why this is a win/win for me

By ordering on prime and setting up a delivery for every two weeks to once a month it stops a lot of impulsive spending I do when I run to grab soap or fabric softener. I’m guessing I could save at the most $50 or more a month! I never have to go into the store for those little items again…

On Money: Looking At My Bank Statement

Saving money takes commitment and diligence, both of which I, unfortunately, lack. I tell people I am a thrifty type shopper but looking at my bank statement this week I realize I am lying to myself and others. I spend more money than I should thus taking away from my savings.

I joke about Target and CVS taking all of my money but it’s not funny, not funny at all. Reviewing my bank statement  this weekend was a very disappointing task. If I bought big ticket items I would not feel so bad but I spent a lot of money on very little things.

money

I ate out for lunch practically the entire month, blowing at least $50 a week.
I spent way too much on toys for both my little ones but Ninja Turtles took a decent chunk.

I bought way too much junk food/fast food and not enough staples to prepare for meals.
I spent too much on hair products when I haven’t even finished the ones I currently have in my bathroom.

I’m disappointed because it is always my plan to do better when I know better and I sure as hell know better than to spend money like I have a fat P Diddy reserve.

I write about preparation a lot here on this blog, remember this post on prepping lunch, because I know how planning keeps me focused and I try to incorporate a plan for everything I do. Now, I have to be diligent about planning my shopping trips and being consistent with a budget. I want to enjoy more out of life but a lot of what I enjoy takes preparation and financial planning and it just makes good damn sense.

My New Plan-

Goal One- Spend nothing this week. I grocery shopped Sunday to have the items needed for lunch and dinner. I picked up the miscellaneous household items I need for the next few weeks so I really have no reason to go in the store till the weekend .
I actually prepped all my lunches this week. I spent most of Sunday evening cooking and bagging my meals in freezer bags. It felt good this morning to see everything all lined up for me.

Goal Two-Stop Avoiding. I have been dodging looking at my finances for some time now, simply because I didn’t want to deal with the discipline required to change. Believe it or not I’m pretty good at saving when I want something. I put away my little coins diligently for trips and big ticket items but I’m not very good at saving for a rainy day? Avoiding my bank statement I avoided reviewing where I really could save more. Just lunch alone for the month I could save over $200.

Goal Three-Use Those Excel Spreadsheets– Great, I took an excel class and I use it for work but why don’t I use it for my personal finances? I don’t use it because, again, it involves actively knowing what I’m spending and wasting money on day to day. This will take a lot of work to make myself FULLY accountable to keep receipts and record but I’m going to commit myself to this for at least one full month, starting today.

Goal Four- Ask Myself The Important Question Before I Buy. Do I really need this or do I just want this? I think a lot of my shopping is emotionally driven. New things make me feel happy even tiny things like a bottle of Clorox. Buying for my grandchildren makes me feel happy, especially my older one who gets excited when a new better Ninja Turtle lands in his tiny fingers. He expects a toy every time we go into the store. I have not been a great role model because that lesson is not good for him and it’s not good for me.

a plan

I am hoping that by the end of thirty days I will see an increase in my savings and a more disciplined Shahidah.

A few sites for tips on saving

Frugal Feminista
Life Hacker
Get Rich Slowly

Any tips any of you might have on saving is greatly appreciated!

On Writing: Secrets of Ultra-Productive People

I make a conscientious effort everyday to be as productive as I can be and I’m always reading articles on how I can do better.

I came across this little gem in entrepreneur magazine but when I read it I interpreted  it as a motivation to stay in writing form. Like business, I think many of us who want to one day be printed authors, need to look at our writing like a start up business. A start up we need to wake up everyday and be prepared for. I don’t think preparation hinders creativity but definitely helps to foster and strengthen it.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248063+
1. They Never Touch Things Twice
Productive people never put anything in a holding pattern, because touching things twice is a huge time-waster. Don’t save an email or a phone call to deal with later. As soon as something gets your attention you should act on it, delegate it or delete it.

I agree, I can’t tell you how many times a great line or great idea has come to me and I have said I’ll get to it later only to have it lost when the day is over.

2. They Get Ready for Tomorrow Before They Leave the Office
Productive people end each day by preparing for the next. This practice accomplishes two things: it helps you solidify what you’ve accomplished today, and it ensures you’ll have a productive tomorrow. It only takes a few minutes and it’s a great way to end your workday.
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” –Benjamin Franklin

Preparation, preparation, perpetration. I have been resistant to setting a writing schedule but most great authors I love say they swear by them. Great, if I can write extra but I’m going to start incorporating a time just for my fiction writing and my blog writing. I need to change my mindset to think of all of my writing like its my business and business needs more attention than a spare twenty mins in my day.

3. They Eat Frogs
“Eating a frog” is the best antidote for procrastination, and ultra-productive people start each morning with this tasty treat. In other words, they do the least appetizing, most dreaded item on their to-do list before they do anything else. After that, they’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires them.

MMMMM, I know I need to set a time to edit at least once a week.
4. They Fight The Tyranny Of The Urgent
The tyranny of the urgent refers to the tendency of little things that have to be done right now to get in the way of what really matters. This creates a huge problem as urgent actions often have little impact.

ugggh I hate when I sit down to write and all of a sudden I see a spot on the floor and then jump up and decide I HAVE to mop the floor RIGHT THEN. Note to self: STOP DOING THIS!

If you succumb to the tyranny of the urgent, you can find yourself going days, or even weeks, without touching the important stuff. Productive people are good at spotting when putting out fires is getting in the way of their performance, and they’re willing to ignore or delegate the things that get in the way of real forward momentum.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” –William Penn

  1. They Stick to the Schedule During Meetings

Meetings are the biggest time waster there is. Ultra-productive people know that a meeting will drag on forever if they let it, so they inform everyone at the onset that they’ll stick to the intended schedule. This sets a limit that motivates everyone to be more focused and efficient.

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” –Michael Altshuler

  1. They Say No

No is a powerful word that ultra-productive people are not afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, they avoid phrases such as I don’t think I can or I’m not certain. Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

I need to do better with this especially when it comes to not using social media and answering the phone when I’m working.

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Learn to use no, and it will lift your mood, as well as your productivity. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! So True

  1. They Only Check E-mail At Designated Times

Ultra-productive people don’t allow e-mail to be a constant interruption. In addition to checking e-mail on a schedule, they take advantage of features that prioritize messages by sender. They set alerts for their most important vendors and their best customers, and they save the rest until they reach a stopping point. Some people even set up an autoresponder that lets senders know when they’ll be checking their e-mail again.

  1. They Don’t Multitask

Ultra-productive people know that multitasking is a real productivity killer. Research conducted at Stanford University confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch.

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

  1. They Go off The Grid

Don’t be afraid to go off grid when you need to. Give one trusted person a number to call in case of emergency, and let that person be your filter. Everything has to go through them, and anything they don’t clear has to wait. This strategy is a bulletproof way to complete high-priority projects.

Honestly, some of my best days are the days where I have totally disconnected. SHUT IT DOWN!

“One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.” –Charles Richards

  1. They Delegate

Ultra-productive people accept the fact that they’re not the only smart, talented person in their organization. They trust people to do their jobs so that they can focus on their own.

  1. They Put Technology to Work for Them

Technology catches a lot of flak for being a distraction, but it can also help you focus. Ultra-productive people put technology to work for them. Beyond setting up filters in their e-mail accounts so that messages are sorted and prioritized as they come in, they use apps like IFTTT, which sets up contingencies on your smart phone and alerts you when something important happens. This way, when your stock hits a certain price or you have an email from your best customer, you’ll know it. There’s no need to be constantly checking your phone for status updates.

All of these are simply wonderful tactics to practice to keep us writing and creating.

Good luck

On Black America: Sandra Bland Video

He clearly became upset because she didn’t comply with putting out her cigarette? He seriously, escalated a situation because she was annoyed? Every person stopped by a cop is basically annoyed. He seemed to take it entirely TOO PERSONAL. In my opinion he was clearly in his feelings because she didn’t greet her with a smile and a damn twinkle in her eye.

I read earlier that it is believed the video was heavily edited. I have no doubt it was because…(sigh)TEXAS

On Black America: Sandra Bland

I find it hard to believe that a woman would be thrown in jail after being stopped by police for not using her signal to change lanes on a small residential street but that is what happened to Sandra Bland. Now she is dead from asphyxiation, from the most minor traffic stop. Of course, the police say she resisted arrest and mouthed off to cop.

Too many instances of dehumanization of people of color by police officers. The contrast is pretty damn clear with all the video footage showing the world how officers view African American citizens. My soul weeps. Sigh…My soul weeps.

It’s hard for me to type this because of the tears that well up in my eyes because of the very clear  harassment that we, people of color suffer at the hands of police. It’s hard to stay positive in this America.

sandra-bland