Concentration and other things I don’t have

It’s getting closer to 3pm and for me, it means what I call “The Dip”. It’s that time fo the day where your concentration and willpower is on the verge of becoming depleted. When I hear the word “dip” I imagine a graph with a line that goes just a little bit down before plateauing towards the right.

Except in my case, not always, but some days, it looks more like the Grand Canyon.

It’s hard to fight these canyon moments, especially since I’ve quit coffee a few months ago. Not that coffee helped. It just made me fidgety.

Another thing I can’t seem to stand these days is routine.

There are times in my life where I want to be one of those people who feel like having a change and goes on to totally redo their apartments, get a new haircut AND a hair color, adopt a few new routines and become a master in Asian cooking.

But I don’t do that. I will get bored of redecorating while I am moving my sofa. I love my hair natural hair color, and as much as I want to kick ass in Asian cooking, the Asian markets in my city are just too far away to be bothered to visit.

So, I guess it’s laziness.


Guilt-free day off

It’s funny. I became a freelancer to have more flexibility in my life, yet I follow a strict monday to friday, 10:00 to 17:00 (yes, I work only 7 hours. 6, if you take away lunch) kind of work schedule. Taking a day off in the middle of the week, even if it’s because I am sick or just need some time off it incredibly hard.

Usually, I walk around feeling guilty. Doing house choirs or trying to read a non-fiction book that is going to teach me something. Today though was the first time in a long time where I did not feel even a drop of guilt by not working.

What did I do? Nothing. Caught up on my favorite Australian YouTuber who plays The Sims. Found a bank letter I was sure I didn’t receive and therefore got angry with my bank on their support chat a few months ago (sorry bank). Made food. Petted my cats.

You get the gist.

And it felt great.

Week 3 update: on entreprenuership

Again this week has been busy with work. I don’t mind that to be honest. I think that is one of the beauties of following your dreams and building your own business – you don’t mind the shit sandwich!

For those of you who are not familiar with Elisabeth Gilbert, she once said in an interview that every job, no matter how wonderful, has aspect you are not going to enjoy but have to do anyway. The shit sandwich. Elizabeth Gilbert

This week has really been all about chewing on the shit sandwich – communication with clients who ask for too much, negotiation a fair price for a project, doing accounting etc – and trying to get some sort of life going on outside of work.

I know for many, especially those who are fellow Dave Ramsey listeners, a life outside of getting out of debt should not exist until the balance hits zero, but I’ve been struggling to get into the “gazelle mode” as Ramsey puts it while being in the first year of building my own business.

On one hand, I feel more motivated than ever to charge the price my time is worth and not settle for exposure or portfolio-building job because getting paid pennies is just not an option for me anymore. But on the other hand, I’m not in a position to charge super-high nor do I feel like I have the time to get a second job. Also, I just moved to another country where I don’t speak the language, so getting a job is not easy.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic this week, especially as I was looking over the finances for my business for this year and assessing how much I can grow next year. One positive thing about having your own business is that the limit on earnings potential is lifted but the other side of that coin is that you have to get there yourself.

Are you in the same position as me, or you have been in the past? If you have any advice or experience to share, I would love to hear from you!

Until next time!
– M

Week 2 update: you reap what you sow

This week has been wonderful compared to last week. In the last weekly update, I talked about how difficult it was (already!) to stay motivated, and this week the universe send me a little gift of encouragement.

Hard work pays off

Starting on the debt free journey has done wonders for my business. The excuses of “I don’t feel good enough” or “I don’t feel like doing it” are almost not relevant anymore because if I don’t put in the effort and don’t grow my business, I’ll never get out of my current situation.

So, for the past two weeks, I’ve been putting in the work and it’s really rewarding to see that some small payouts are coming back. I got a new high-paying client, I’m applying to better projects because I have a much clearer vision of where I want my business to go. It’s almost magical.

This week was not only good though.

Wasted money

This week I had to go further into debt because of a tax payment for my company. It’s totally my fault because I knew this payment was coming months ago, and I should have set aside some money for it. But let’s blame it on past-Maria who was much less educated about personal finance.

In addition, I managed to spend $117 on basically nothing. I sat down and actually tried to come up with where I spent that money, and the results were just dinners and lunches out.

As much as it sucked to realized that I’ve wasted all that money, instead of staying in or packing a lunch for work, it taught me an important lesson about what I’m most likely to waste money on. Although, it’s a tiny bit embarrassing because eating out is number one post every financial guru is telling you to cut out, and still I fell into that trap.

Strangely enough, I feel more motivated about achieving my goal now.

Until next week!
– M

The best gift to give this Christmas

Since it’s already December, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about Christmas gifts. If you are like me, you might not have a ton of money to spend on gifts this year but if you still want to give the people you care about something, there is only one thing worth spending money on:


I think books can be some of the greatest gifts you can give. They are not just paper with words on it. They can be experiences, knowledge, or even a ticket to another dimension. If you read the right book it can change your life.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, here is a list of my favorite fiction and non-fiction books.

“Quiet” by Susan Cain

Our lives are highly determined by where on the introvert/extrovert scale we land. It dictates how we interact with people, how we think, create new things, and recharge after a long day. Therefore, in my opinion, understanding the differenced between being an introvert or an extrovert is fundamental to living a happier life, especially if you are more on the introverted side.

I’m an introvert myself, and before I read this book I honestly thought something was wrong with me. I didn’t relate to people the same way my chatty best friend did, and I honestly disliked parties. Reading this book answered so many questions for me that I honestly cried tears of happiness when I finished it. For anyone who has not read this book yet, I highly recommend it.

Where to get the book:  Bookdepository | Amazon UK | Kindle

“Vicious” by V.E. Schwab

This a modern tale of good and evil. Victor and Eli, both brilliant outcasts, bond over a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveal an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, the lines between good and evil have blurred, and Victor and Eli face the past and each other once again.

This is definitely one of those books where you stay up until 3 am on a work/school night because there is no way you can put it down. The story has so many new and fresh elements, its characters are so human and flawed that you can’t really predict where it’s going to go. Pick it up and experience the roller coaster of emotions for yourself.

Where to get the book:  Bookdepository | Amazon UK | Kindle

“The gifts of imperfection” by Brene Brown

I’m a huge fan of Brene Brown. Ever since I saw her first TED Talk, I was fascinated by her research and her work ethics. This book is one of her first. It’s short but it delivers so many great insights about how to let go the hunt for perfection and instead enjoy life as the person you are, not the person you think you should be.

In its essence, this book is a big permission slip to stop caring about looking good in the eyes of people who don’t really care about you. Even though this is a short book, I would advise setting aside some time to read it because you will be going back and rereading every sentence in order to soak up all the knowledge that she is giving in this book.

Where to get the book:  Bookdepository | Amazon UK | Kindle

“The first fifteen years lives of Harry August” by Claire North

This is a story about Harry August. Harry is born, he lives a fairly good life, and he dies. By then he is born again. And again. And again. And then twelve more times, meanwhile he keeps the memories from all of his previous lives. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. “I nearly missed you, Doctor August,” she says. “I need to send a message.” This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow. This book is a masterpiece that has to be experienced!

Where to get the book:  Bookdepository | Amazon UK | Kindle

“I’ll give you the sun” by Jandy Nelson

Warming! This one is a real tear-jerker. At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.

Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways. This story is told from two perspectives – Noah counts down from the past, while Jude is in the present telling her story backward. When their narratives meet you better have a box of tissues next to you!

Where to get the book:  Bookdepository | Amazon UK | Kindle

Week 1: Staying motivated

This week has been a roller coaster of finding and losing motivation and being honest both with myself and my boyfriend. There are two lessons I learned this week that I wanted to share.

Motivation is hard to find

I know that a week is not a long time. It took me much longer to accumulate this debt, why would it take me shorter to get out of it? But still, this week I struggled a lot with motivation. One of the reasons was my work. I run my own freelance writing business, which I started 1.5 years ago. Given the fact that I had no writing education or experience, I’m doing pretty well. But in the light of my debt, I’m struggling to celebrate my victories because my income is not enough to pay back all my debt and live a comfortable life.

There is a constant feeling of not being good enough that hands over me. Not getting good enough clients, not getting paid enough per article, not doing anything to promote my self. All of those things wipe out any achievements at the end of the day.

Being a lone wolf is not glamorous

I’m also a loner, meaning I don’t share the hard stuff with people around me. Not my boyfriend, not my best friend, and especially not my mom. I don’t want to bother them but at the end of the day, I only make it worse for myself, because I hurt them by not sharing the difficult aspects of my life.

Also, when I’m alone with my problems I feel like I have a much better handle on them, which cannot be further away from the truth. Always share with the people you love. Don’t keep it inside you, thinking that you can handle it. I learned it the hard way this week.

My boyfriend was somewhat aware of my financial and professional situation but I kept so many small details from him because I was ashamed to share what I viewed as my shortcomings, that in the end it all kind of exploded. It was not a proud moment for me but the way he listened and supported me, without any judgment actually wiped away some of that shame I was carrying around.

So, if you are trying to deal with your problems alone – don’t. Tell someone who loves you. They will be there to help.


Until next time
– M

The two ingredients of success

For the past few days, I’ve been thinking about success. I’ve been listening to Dave Ramsey a lot (again) as well as binging on other types of content to keep my pumped to achieve my goals. What I’ve come to realize is no revolutionary idea. It’s something everybody knows.

In order to succeed in something, you need consistency over a long period of time and the right tools. 

That is it. If you want to save money, you need to be putting away some every month. You also need to learn about investing that money so it can work for you instead of declining in value in a standard bank account. For that, you need some tools, like books, podcasts, and courses, that can teach you how the market works.

If you don’t have access to those tools or don’t know they exist in the first place, your chances of success are significantly smaller. Sure, you can be smart and figure it on your own, but it will take longer time than necessary. For me, knowing what I know now (aka in the recent weeks) about money give me much more confidence that I will make it because the tools provide a roadmap.

The tools alone don’t matter. You have to choose to use them.

And you have to do it every day for a longer time than you are comfortable with.

That’s it. I don’t have any speech that will tell you how I overcame laziness and reached my goals. I’m still a lazy person who would rather sit around and dream about the results (at least so far in life). But I feel like that realization helped me understand that my successes and failures are my to earn. Whether I succeed or fail is up to me, and that is a very liberating feeling.

Until next time.
– M