Funemployment Report: October 2014

I was less focused this month than I was in August and September. I think I do need to implement one of the time-tracking suggestions that some commenters told me about last month. Listing what I’ve accomplished each day is going well, but there are still some days that I wonder what I was really up to. Even if I don’t start time tracking, I think I need to be more detailed with my daily notes, not just “worked on seminar.” Although funemployment is still fun and I feel very fortunate, in October I wasn’t waking up as raring to go as I was in previous months, and I think I’ve let more evenings slip into watching a couple TV shows with Kyle instead of keeping on working.


This month also went a little sideways because because I diverted a lot more energy to my PF-for-grad students presentation than my online projects. I’ve been trying to schedule presentations at the other two local universities for sometime in the next couple months and those pitches have actually taken quite a bit of time and thought.


I also interviewed for two short-term full-time jobs this month. I know that I didn’t get one of them and I’m waiting to hear about the other.


You can see that this month was in general a major fail on the goals front. I think my productivity slipped a little bit and I need to develop better systems to keep me moving forward. That truism that the busier you are the more productive you are applies to me, I think, which is a problem right now since I don’t have much keeping me busy. I don’t mean this to sound weird and whiny, but I can see my perfectionism rearing its ugly head. My perfectionism actually held me back in grad school, I realize in retrospect. I have a really hard time drawing a line in the sand on an ambiguous project and declaring it done; I just want to keep tinkering. That is happening for sure with my seminar right now and I have to be careful to not let it crowd out everything else I want to do.





Goals for October 2014


1: Finish my PF-for-grad students seminar and practice it for a small audience. Grade: D


I put in a ton of work into my seminar, but it is nowhere near finished. I mean, I did create a full draft by about mid-month, but it’s gone through a couple rounds of revisions since and still needs more. I gave it to an audience of one (another person on the PF@Duke committee), so that part of the goal was again only partially achieved. I did make this my top priority this month, though. It just became a lot bigger in scope than I expected!


2: Launch Website #1. Grade: A


We officially launched PhD Stipends on October 30 and I posted about the launch on October 31. By the end of the month we had about 120 submissions! If you are/were/will be a grad student, would you please share the site through social media to help keep it growing?


3: Plan and code Website #2. Grade: 0


No plans. No coding. It was all we could do to get PhD Stipends out! But I think we can get Website #2 up by the end of the year.


4: Launch Grad Student Finances. Grade: D


I worked on Grad Student Finances quite a bit early in the month, but then my seminar took over. I’m definitely more motivated by my publically accountable November 13 deadline for my seminar than by my self-imposed “this fall” deadline for GSF. I created an intro email for the mailing list that I think is pretty good. It explains how grad students on the mailing list can get involved with GSF’s launch. If you are a grad student, please go over to GSF and sign up for the list, and then respond to the email with your input!


5: Meet with my supervisor about my church service. Grade: F


I did work on this goal a bit, but didn’t do enough and didn’t schedule a meeting.


6: Finish a slide deck for my taxes-for-grad students presentation. Grade: 0


I didn’t work on this at all! But I have new motivation for it now – see below.


7: Outline my ebook. Grade: 0


I didn’t work on this at all.


8: Commission a header for EPF. Grade: 0


I thought about this, but didn’t do anything about it. 😉



Extra Money Earned in October


My personal income in October was just from my contract job (earned in September). No online income was paid out.


personal: $565

online: $0



Goals for November 2014


In addition to the goals below, I’m challenging myself to earn $1,000 (gross) from my contract job. Work was slower in October than I would have liked but it picked up toward the end of the month and has continued into these first couple days of November.


1: Finish thoroughly preparing for and deliver my PF-for-grad students seminar.


This one has a hard deadline so it’s going to happen, but I want to rehearse it a bunch in advance in front of a few different people. If you are a student at my university (hint: I live in Durham, NC), check your most recent GPSC email and register for and attend the seminar! If you tell me after the presentation that you read EPF I will be super excited!


2: Pin down dates for two local PF-for-grad school presentations and pitch one non-local.


I’m already in contact with potential hosts at the other two local universities but I’d like to get some specifics down before Thanksgiving. I have another university in mind to take the talk to in January (if possible) and I’ll pitch it to some groups there this month.


3: Outline and start building spin-off presentations.


I have two ways in mind to spin off my PF-for-grad students seminar: for other audiences and expansions of the topics. My first draft of my seminar was over two hours long (my goal was one hour) so I think I can easily create four hours of content on the PF sub-topics that grad students need to know. My passion is really for the PhD audience and not college students or adults generally, but I can also speak to that group in an impactful way when they are preparing to go to grad school, in grad school, and in postdocs.


4: Finish writing the core content for GSF.


Saying that I’ll “launch” the site is too broad of a goal! First I need to finish the written content. I estimate that I’ve written 40% of what I want in that first wave at the start of November, so I’ll finish that 60%.


5: Ask for content submission for GSF from other grad students.


I have it in mind to contact the other PF bloggers I know who are grad students to contribute some content/links to GSF, so this month I’ll let them know about the project and invite them to contribute. I want non-bloggers to do this as well so go sign up for the mailing list!


Once again, my main focus this month is going to be my seminar at my university – preparing for it, giving it, and using the experience to improve the presentation for when I give it elsewhere.


Do you find that you’re more productive when you’re busy? How do you balance the desire for perfection in big projects with actually getting things accomplished?


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19 Responses to "Funemployment Report: October 2014"

  1. Jenna says:

    I’m trying really hard to stay focused too to make the most of my time. I came up with a daily habits checklist to keep myself on track. That’s helping. For example, one of my goals is to write 500 words a day.
    Jenna recently posted..How Money Gave Me Confidence to Pursue Freelancing

    1. Emily says:

      I set myself a 500 words/day goal and then gave up on it after about 2 days! I wasn’t serious about it. When I return to working on the GSF content I will set that goal though. It worked well for me while I was writing my dissertation. What else is on your daily habits list? I seem to be doing different things basically every day.

  2. Liquid says:

    Great goals. Hopefully you hear back about the second interview with some good news 🙂 I wouldn’t be too hard on myself about setting and meeting goals. Personally I’m not a perfectionist and just try to get things done as quickly as possible lol. The quality of my work suffers as a result, but I think there’s more value in quantity than quality. There are always exceptions though of course.
    Liquid recently posted..Fiscal Update Oct 2014 – Wealth Inequality

    1. Emily says:

      I value quantity over quality much of the time – when busy – but now that I’m not busy I seem to think it’s okay to obsess endlessly over details. Maybe I will be freed from this after I give this seminar for the first time. Or I can make myself more busy?

  3. I’m not a perfectionist, but sometimes I get caught up in the details of a project and I just keep working and working and don’t get any closer to being finished. So I feel you on this seminar prep.

    I find I’m just productive when I’m in the mood to be. It comes in waves.
    Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom recently posted..5 Things To Consider Before Giving Up Your Dryer

    1. Emily says:

      I do think I’m making a bit of progress, but it’s circuitous and just taking much longer than I thought it would. I’m not exactly lazing around but I want to be more efficient!

  4. “I thought about this, but didn’t do anything about it”

    Hey, sometimes it’s all about keeping things on your to-do list fresh in your mind. Better luck at making progress on your goals in November!
    Justin @ Root of Good recently posted..October 2014 Financial Update

    1. Emily says:

      Yes, I definitely still want to complete that goal, but I think I’m a little intimidated about putting money on the line!

  5. October was not one of my best months. I was really busy (it’s the crazy time period at work) and my brain was just a little scattered about. I’m hoping to get back on track soon.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..10 Christmas Gift Ideas For Men Under $35!

    1. Emily says:

      Hey, work and family have to be higher priorities than blogging! We all have months like that from time to time. Best of luck getting all your goals accomplished once the work craziness abates.

  6. I am certainly more productive when I’m busy. When I have free time, I tend to get sidetracked, but I am also exhausted at the end of an overly scheduled day. There must be a happy medium in there somewhere.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..What If My Kid Wants To Go To Stanford?

    1. Emily says:

      I think I have a lot of work in me before I get exhausted, especially if I’m excited about the projects. Yesterday I worked until after midnight with only a couple breaks and I was very satisfied with what I got done! But I agree, there is a tipping point. I’m making sure to get enough sleep. 🙂

  7. Mrs. Maroon says:

    I really appreciate hearing your mission to educate other young people about personal finance. I was just talking to Mrs. SSC over at Slowly Sipping Coffee today about how she’d like to go into high schools to teach kids about responsible spending and saving habits once she reaches her early retirement goal. Of all the things we learn in high school / college, this topic would be one of the most beneficial lessons to walk away with.
    Mrs. Maroon recently posted..Daytime Television

    1. Emily says:

      I’m tangentially connected to some undergrads at my university who are going into middle and high schools to teach financial literacy. I’m glad Mrs. SSC is into that because my focus is on the grad students (future, current, former)! It’s never too early or too late to learn this stuff.

  8. E 2 says:

    Take some evenings off and enjoy tv without beating yourself up! This is a great time to reestablish balance, you have the rest of your life to push to the limit.

    1. Emily says:

      Hmm, true. I think it’s harder to relax when I don’t know what my next job will be. I said to Kyle yesterday when I was complaining about an assignment from my contract job, “I didn’t know funemployment would be so stressful!” But overall I do enjoy everything I’m doing!

  9. […] I started getting a lot more offers in November and am well on my way to meeting my goal of earning $1,000 in contract work income, even if I take off Thanksgiving […]

  10. […] can trace my entrepreneurship to when Kyle and I started EPF.) During my funemployment, I developed my first product, a live presentation, which I sold for the first time this past […]

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