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A key element to living a successful life is reducing the stress that you experience. If you have been a Drive Planning Member for long you will recognize the theme of automation. This continues to weigh on my mind as something that we need to continually emphasize.

 

automation

[aw-tuhmey-shuh n]

noun

  1. the technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum.
  2. a mechanical device, operated electronically, that functions automatically, without continuous input from an operator.
  3. act or process of automating.
  4. the state of being automated.

 

In other words, we want to remove our own ability to sabotage ourselves from the things that we most want in life. As part of living intentionally; we can pre-determine our outcomes simply by establishing systems around the actions which we know are best for us. I have discussed this topic at The Life You Can Afford to Live in a previous post Scheduling Your Success.

Most often our own ability to sabotage our success is through poor planning. Our own laziness or simply a lack of preparedness undermines us achieving what we really desire. So, with that in mind, I want to encourage you to automate as many facets of your life as possible. This post will explore a few ideas; there are certainly others. Let us know about some of your own suggestions or personal wins in this area on our social media channels; Facebook and twitter.

Below are some of the ways that I recommend automating your life so that you do more, waste less and live a more meaningful life.

Giving

Giving is a very personal decision. One that sometimes requires us to be prayerful or at minimum thoughtful. It’s for that reason that for years I have spoken negatively of automated giving. Today’s busyness has made me change my tune regarding this matter. Deciding to give isn’t less spiritual or obedient if its planned in advance. So, I say go ahead and establish automated drafts towards the church or charity of your choosing. This will ensure that a ballgame or any unexpected event doesn’t de-rail your plan for giving.

 

Saving

Most of our members do a great job in this area. We have consistently taught to establish a Wealth Coordination Account (WCA) as the initial recipient for all savings. If this isn’t something that you have completed; Let’s make it happen!

 Click to Tweet This:  Money without a purpose will never find its intended destination.

The WCA is the first place to direct a minimum of 15% of your income. This simple automation sets you up for years of success. It ensures that your own fleeting desires do not inadvertently interfere with your Hopes and Dreams.

We will now be encouraging you to create a more detailed savings plan to include future expenses;

Including:

  • Vacations
  • Classes
  • Personal Growth Areas
  • Holidays
  • Date Nights

This is all designed around creating a plan for spending. Living the life that you desire, not a reactionary life.

If you need direction in this area, please contact your Drive Planning Consultant to provide you step by step guidance.

 

Living

Most of our members are well established in the first two areas of Giving and Saving. This is where I believe that we can really transform our time and overall quality of life. Jackie and I have spent a lot of time and consideration in this area; automating our daily life. As two very career minded professionals involved in numerous charitable organizations, time is of the essence. I want to share with you a few things that…. Well, mostly she has taught me!

Health

Create automation around your health products, doctor visits and even how you schedule prevention techniques. Here are a few to consider:

Utilize Amazon Prime, Instacart or any delivery service to routinely deliver your vitamins, personal toiletries, air filters or the food necessary to be healthy (more to come about that). Place these things on your calendar as to do’s and automate them to arrive without wasted time at the store. Ex:  Look ahead and determine when you will be traveling for business or pleasure and schedule taking Airborne 5 days in advance of your trip. This simple planned technique will virtually ensure that you do not get sick while traveling and ultimately diminish your impact or lifestyle. Ex: Schedule air filters to arrive every three months (the suggested time to change them). Ex: Schedule toilet paper to arrive periodically (Something you should never run out of) Ex: Have Dollar Shave Club deliver razors at the predetermined time.

 

Food

Every parent knows the dread of the 5:30pm or 6pm hour. That dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?” We have found that Blue Apron is our preferred way of automating this area of our life. Each week or at the frequency of your choosing you can have every meal (every ingredient to prepare such meal) delivered to your doorstep. It costs slightly less than $10 per meal and there is no wasted time or ingredients. Most importantly the meals are brilliant! Dishes we wouldn’t ordinarily create on our own. Here are a few examples: Cumin-Crusted Pork, Tangelo & Honey Glazed Salmon, Chipotle Glazed Meatloaf and even the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten. This level of automation means you are always prepared for that dreaded question and you avoid costly and unhealthy restaurant meals.

 

Fitness

This may be a stretch because it isn’t true automation. However, I’d say that any effort towards pre=planning is a step in the right direction.

Plan your events for the year. Go ahead and pre-pay, pre-register for fitness classes, races etc for the entire year. Having already committed to them and paid will reduce/eliminate the wiggling out of them that often happens. Having them planned will also motivate you between events to keep training as you approach event time. Most events will also send you a recommended training schedule to be fully prepared. It’s like having a personal trainer!

 

Personal Time

Schedule and begin establishing a plan for paying for these nights out, vacations etc. in advance. Easily accomplished when put into the personal spending plan. One where the money is systematically/automatically transferred months in advance of the intended time. Beyond paying for these ahead of time and avoiding debt you will also find that the quality of your overall experiences will improve. Most of the improvement is due to the advanced planning/intentionality allowing you time to focus on your spouse or significant others Love Language.

 

These are just a few ideas that we have implemented to create an automated approach towards our life. We have found that typically this keeps us focused on the BIG Picture and less bogged down in the details. Allow me to encourage you to look for additional ways to automate areas of your life that will help you to lead the life you desire and do it with less stress. Maybe you won’t establish all of these at once but over time with an intentional approach towards automation you will begin to see that you are doing more, wasting less and creating a more meaningful life.

As you uncover ideas that work well, share them with us on Facebook or twitter.

 

 

Making the most of traffic

 

Does traffic stress you out? I can just picture the typical commuter. Rehashing the day’s events in their mind with mindless radio chatter blaring but yet unnoticed, simply noise. White knuckles gripping the wheel as frustration rises along with their blood pressure. To all of that I say STOP IT!

 

First, I would encourage you to design your life differently, if possible. Look for options that could minimize your travel time and create a better life.

  • Telecommute
  • Different hours
  • Change jobs
  • Ride share
  • Public transportation
  • Move your home

Certainly I recognize that these options aren’t always feasible. However, I would beg to suggest that some alternate travel/work options may be more reasonable if strongly considered. Consider breaking pre-conceived notions or simply old habits and give way to the options above.

Living in Atlanta, rated one of the worst cities in America for commute times, you may even experience delays when they aren’t expected. Lets face it sometimes things just happen. This blog post is designed to create a paradigm shift when faced with delays. Stop thinking of traffic delays as a nuisance but shift your mindset to see them as opportunities! Opportunities for personal growth.

Below are 6 options I’d encourage you to consider when you find yourself in traffic. Engaging these 6 ideas will allow you to Make The Most of Your Traffic Time.

 

Pray

God seeks us and desires a relationship with us. Relationships require communication. No better way to engage this down time than speaking with your creator. Don’t get hung up on not being able to close your eyes. You will benefit from the relationship/conversation and even get a free pass about the open eyes!

Podcasts

Located right on your phone is the Podcast icon. Open the App and explore the “Rich” content which is available to you for free. This is certainly my go to right now. A few of my favorites include:

Audio Books

This is one of my wife’s favorite ways to travel. She frequently is spending the day in her vehicle while seeing clients and chooses to listen to books on Audible. Here is a link to Try Audible for Free. You may also want to consider Blinkist which are Non-fiction book summaries. Here is a Blinkist Discount Code.

My first experience with listening to books was years ago while just beginning my career. My first firm was located in Decatur. Decatur was about an hour and a half from my home in North Atlanta. What a great experience when each time you start your car and you’re immediately thrust back into the plot. So, take the time to listen to some classics that you may have missed along the way. You may also follow my reading list at Goodreads.

Learn A New Language

I must confess that I’ve never actually done this one. However, Productivity guru Tim Ferris and others suggest this as way they have chosen to spend their drive times. Spending this time enhancing your skills and mind are far superior to wasting them being stressed over things which, at that point in time, are out of your control. I like and foresee utilizing this idea if I am ever faced with routine drive time in the future. Here is a link to a Fluentu Blog post on the The Best 5 Audio Language Learning Apps.

Expand Your Vocabulary

In my aforementioned firm, being my first real career position, I was anxious to fit in with the older partners and my new clients (all of which were older than me at 25) I spent $300+ dollars on a set of CD’s which were designed to expand my vocabulary. It was a lot of money for me at the time but I am glad that I did it. Always invest in yourself! The good news is that technology now allows you to create an expanded vocabulary without spending $300 or any dollars in some cases. PA word of caution to be careful with over sharing your newly expanded vocabulary to often; allow it to flow naturally! Here is a link to Minda Zetlin’s Inc. Magazine article sharing The 7 Best Vocabulary Apps. Again, I am glad that I used the time wisely to increase my knowledge. It is so easy while driving in traffic to veg out listening to nothing (which is OK sometimes) but a better option if you are just looking to decompress may be our next idea listed below.

Find Great Music

Be intentional about finding great new music! Lets face it; Mainstream radio plays the same artists over and over ad nausea um. Take your drive time to find artists that you haven’t previously heard their music. Expanding your palate for music, much like your vocabulary, opens your mind and expands its creativity. This is rarely done when listening to a song you’ve heard dozens or hundreds of times. Spend your drive time with different radio stations or if you have satellite radio try my favorite station, Coffeehouse. To really seek out new music try Gnoosic. Gnoosic is a service that points you to new artists based on your responses to questions about your likes and dislikes. Like all of the other suggestions; spend the time on purpose. The next time you impress your most hipster friend or kids by knowing the latest up and coming artist, you’ll be glad that you did!

 

Personally, I am thankful that extreme travel time isn’t a part of my life. Although it isn’t just by chance I have chosen to live intentionally and designed it as such. You can do that too! So, take the time to consider all of the ideas listed above and use them to enrich your life. Please share with me how you Make the Most of Traffic. Connect with me and other readers of The Life You Can Afford to Live through these social media channels. Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

 

The real estate market continues to stay red hot! We continue to get more and more questions about investment properties and just those looking to move their primary residence. So, I’m pleased to introduce our readers to our Guest Blogger, Larry Gavrich. Larry is an expert particularly in Golf Communities. He has written extensively on the subject so we should all benefit from his expertise. You can also re-visit my original article on Golf Real Estate for additional information.

 

 

Golf Communites

After visiting and writing about hundreds of golf communities over the last 10 years and helping dozens of couples, mostly retirees or those about to retire, identify the golf community best suited to them, it has become clear to me that some questions about golf communities are worth addressing and some best left alone.

Let’s start with those questions that are pretty much a waste of time:

 

Will the residents in the golf community like us, and will we like them?  When I am asked this question, my response is straightforward:  “Are you likable?”  If so, you will make friends, and probably quickly after you join the community’s golf club.  Keep in mind that in the typical golf community, everyone is from somewhere else.  Current residents recall their own anxieties about moving to a new place, and they will do all they can to make you comfortable.  (From a selfish standpoint, they are also happy you moved there to help stabilize the real estate in the community and pad the membership rolls of the club.)  Also, given human nature, folks who spent a few hundred thousand dollars on a home are not apt to admit readily to a stranger that they made a mistake.

 

Will we be bored if the community is at some distance from an urban area?  Many golf communities, especially those with bargain real estate, can be as much as an hour or more from an urban area that offers entertainment, restaurant and other services.  If you have ongoing medical service needs, the advice here is to look at communities closer to a city with a major hospital.  For others, the boredom question is easily answered with a multi-day visit to a community you are targeting.  Most offer “discovery packages,” low-priced stays that include lodging, maybe a few meals, a round or two of golf and access to the community’s other amenities.  You will learn over the course of a few days if activities “on campus” are enough to sustain you and if the distance to the nearest city is tolerable.  (Note:  I am happy to assist those interested in arranging a discovery package.)

 

Many customers ask me about the financial stability of a community.  Most communities will open their books to serious prospects; and if they don’t, my advice is to move on to another community that has nothing to hide.  If a community you are targeting is owned by its residents, ask specifically about the financial “reserves” available for both the homeowner’s association and the golf club.  These are the monies available in case of unexpected expenses, such as hurricane damage, a lost lawsuit (if insurance doesn’t cover it all), etc.  In most communities, reserves are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.  If the community is still owned by a developer, read the covenants to determine when the developer turns the community over to its residents and who will own the golf club at that time.  (Note:  In most states, developers are required to turn the community over to residents when property sales reach a certain point, typically around 75%.)

 

Of course, golfers will want to know the extent of the golf costs, both the initiation fee and ongoing monthly dues.  Most initiation fees these days are of the “non-equity” variety, which means you will not get any of it back when you resign your club membership.  I counsel my customers to focus more on the monthly dues than on the initiation fee.  Imagine you have set a budget of $400,000 for your golf home and $10,000 for initiation fees for the club.  Let’s say you fall in love with a community but the initiation fees are $25,000, and yet you identify a home you really like priced at $375,000.  Since your happiness will very much be tied to your social life in and around the club, consider the higher initiation fee as part of the cost of your home, rather than two separate items.  In total, you will still come in under budget.

 

I have visited and researched golf communities in which there are no initiation fees and no dues; golf membership is part of the homeowner association membership dues.  In general, semi-private golf clubs — those with memberships but that permit outsiders to pay green fees to play — have modest initiation fees (a couple thousand dollars) and monthly dues (between $200 and $400).  Fully private clubs tend to charge the highest initiation fees, and dues can approach and pass $1,000 per month, especially if multiple-courses are part of the club.  But, then again, I have visited fine private golf community clubs with initiation fees under $5,000 and dues under $500.

 

There is a lot to consider when searching for a golf community home.  If you would like assistance in sorting out country club and golf community options, please contact me at editor@homeonthecourse to arrange a no-obligation phone discussion.

 

 

Larry Gavrich is the founder and editor of Home On The Course, LLC, whose mission is to assist those looking to relocate to a home in the Southeast US near excellent golf.  In the last 10 years, he has visited and reviewed nearly 200 golf communities.  A licensed real estate agent, he has helped dozens of couples find golf communities that match their requirements and interests.  His blog site, GolfCommunityReviews.com, features more than 1,500 articles and reviews written by Mr. Gavrich.