Since arriving home to Portland at the end of June, I’ve felt frustrated. There’s so much I want to do but never enough time to do it. At the same time, I feel like a total whiner. I mean, how lucky am I to be in this situation? I have tons of free time, no job, and I’m really able to do whatever I want. I’m damned lucky is what I am.

Yet it feels like I never do what I want. It feels like I’m always doing things I have to do or things for other people.

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with my friend Paula Pant about this problem. “I wish I could figure out where all of the time is going,” I said.

“You should do a time inventory,” Paula said.

“What’s a time inventory?” I asked.

“Well, you know how the first step to losing weight is tracking calories? And you know how the first step to getting out of debt is logging how much you earn and spend? Well, a time inventory is sort of the same thing. For a certain length of time, you write down exactly how you’re spending your time. Here. I’ll send you a link.”

Paula pointed me to Laura Vanderkam’s website. Vanderkam offers free downloadable PDF forms and spreadsheets to help people track their time in fifteen-minute increments. As you go about your day, you jot down what you’re doing at various intervals.

Paula recently performed this time inventory exercise in her own life and found she was wasting almost eighteen hours a week on mindless stuff. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, last week I logged exactly where my time has been going. I’m afraid my results are worse than Paula’s…

The Good

First up, let’s look at what I’m doing right. The results of this experiment weren’t all bad, after all.

For instance, I’m getting an average of one hour per day of exercise. Last week I went to Crossfit three times, yoga once, and enjoyed a few bike rides. That doesn’t include all of the times I walked to do errands or took the dog for her exercise.

Note: I haven’t mentioned it here, but Kim and I got a dog. Near the end of our trip, we stopped to visit my cousins in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. They had a littler of seven puppies, and Kim fell in love with the runt. We adopted her, named her Tahlequah, and brought her along for the last three weeks in the motorhome. Since returning to Portland, Tally has probably been the dominant theme in our lives. Puppies need a lot of attention.

Speaking of the new dog, Kim and I also adopted two kittens recently. According to my time inventory, I’m spending a full 2-1/2 hours per day with the pets. The cats don’t require much effort, of course (although they’re happy to play with humans), but Tally takes 3-5 hours each day, which Kim and I split between us. She needs two daily walks and plenty of play around the house. So far, we’ve been great about engaging with her. We hope this produces a happy, healthy dog in the long run, one that needs less time. (Fingers crossed!)

Finally, I’ve been averaging one hour per day with family and friends. On paper, that doesn’t actually sound like a lot, but turns out it’s actually quite a bit compared to most people.

The Bad

I wouldn’t be writing this post if I were doing a good job with time management. I’m not. I’m wasting more than thirty hours each week on non-productive activities. Like what?

Like, I spent an average of 2-1/2 hours each day watching TV and movies. Yikes! For a guy who says he doesn’t watch much TV, that’s an awful lot of TV. All told, that’s 17-1/2 hours I could have used for something more rewarding. To be fair, seven of those hours came when Kim and I decided to have a movie night. And two more were devoted to watching my Portland Timbers defeat the Seattle Sounders. But still…

But that’s not all.

I also frittered away thirteen hours and fifteen minutes on what I consider computer-based time-wasters: browsing Reddit, playing Hearthstone, and so on. That’s nearly two hours per day of time lost. Not good.

Aside from thirty hours of total wasted time, I lost hours in other ways.

For example, I spent a total of four hours in the car last week, which is just over half an hour per day. That might not sound like much, but it’s a lot for me. That’s time I’ll never get back.

It took me over eight hours to do chores and errands last week. That seems like a lot. Now part of that was because I did a deep clean of the house on Thursday, it’s true. And another part is because I tend to walk for my errands, which means they take a bit longer. All the same, this seems like a lot of time to have used for menial tasks. Maybe I can find ways to be more efficient?

Finally, I averaged nine hours and twenty minutes of sleep per night. WTF? When did I start hibernating? In the olden days, I was perfectly content with 7-1/2 hours per night. And often I could get by with six hours per night. I’ll bet that I could still get by with less sleep, but I got into the habit of sleeping tons during our roadtrip.

The Ugly

So, that’s where my time is going. And it’s not pretty. But perhaps even worse is where I’m not devoting my energy. My stated number-one goal is to build and promote Money Boss, my new financial blog. But am I doing that? No, I am not.

Last week, I only spent 7-1/2 hours writing material for Money Boss — and most of that came on Sunday morning. I consider this my top priority, yet I’m not treating it as such. This needs to change.

I spent another 7-1/2 hours working on Money Boss business matters last week: answering email, preparing talks, tinkering with the website. That’s a total of fifteen hours devoted to my business. I want to double that. I want to spend 30-40 hours each week on Money Boss and related projects.

Meanwhile, I’m not taking care of me. Over the past seven days, I allocated a mere four hours to personal care and self-improvement — and most of that was stuff like showering and shaving! I did take an hour to practice Spanish mid-week, and I took my usual hour to work on my personal finances on the weekend. But that’s it. This too needs to change.

Time to Change

In order for an exercise like this to be useful, you’ve got to be completely honest about your habits. And you can’t try to make changes during the assessment period. When you initially log your spending, your eating, or your time, your goal is to document what you’re doing in normal day-to-day life. If you try to make changes during the assessment period, you’re defeating the purpose.

Now that the assessment period is over for me, it’s clear what I need to do.

First up, I’d like to find at least two hours more per day to devote to Money Boss. And I’d like that time to be structured so that I know it’s there and I can use it productively. Those are two separate problems.

I feel like there are several ways I can approach the first part of the problem. Just as you should tackle the big things in your household budget before trying to pinch pennies on the smaller line-items, I’m going to start by trying to trim the biggest timesinks.

I can create more time in my day by:

  • Sleeping less. I should be able to easily move to 7-1/2 hours of sleep per night, which would free up nearly two hours per day. Boom! There’s fourteen hours per week — almost the amount I want to find for working on business.
  • I don’t want to eliminate TV, movies, websurfing, and videogames from my life. I like spending a bit of time on those hobbies. But do I need to spend four hours and twenty minutes per day on these things combined? Hell no! If I budget two hours per day for time-wasters, I think that’s plenty.

With these two changes alone, I’d free four hours and fifteen minutes each day to spend on more important things, such as business and personal growth. For instance, if I take three of those hours for Money Boss, that’ll give me 36 hours per week of work. Perfect. And if I use the other hour and a quarter I’ve freed up to work on becoming a better person, that’ll give me nearly two hours a day for self-improvement. Nice.

The second part of the problem is more difficult. Where do I put this time in my schedule? The ideal situation would be to wake early or go to bed late. I like going to bed with Kim, so that means my only option is to wake early. I’ve done well with rising early in the past, but by that I mean 5:30 or 6:00. To do what I want to do, I’m going to have to wake even earlier. I’m going to need to get up at 4:00 or 4:30, make coffee, and get directly to work.

Another option is to wake at 4:30, go to the 5:00 Crossfit class, come home and walk the dog, then sit down to work from eight until noon. Actually, thinking out loud, that’s probably the best option. It’ll suck at first — no question! — but in the long run, I’ll be much more productive.

The Ideal Schedule

So, there you have it. After all that, I’ve arrived at an “ideal schedule”. It looks something like this:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
04:30 wake
04:45 drive to gym (sorry, Mr. Money Mustache)
05:00 Crossfit
06:15 drive home
06:30 take the dog for a walk
08:00 grab breakfast and sit down to work
13:00 end work, eat lunch (with somebody, if possible)
14:00 personal development
16:00 go into evening mode

Tuesday, Thursday
04:30 wake, grab coffee, start working
06:30 take the dog for a walk
08:00 grab breakfast and resume work
13:00 end work, eat lunch (with somebody, if possible)
14:00 personal development
16:00 go into evening mode

Look at that! With this schedule, I’ve built in 29 hours of work — and that doesn’t count afternoons or weekends. I love it. I’ve also built in ten hours for self-improvement. Yay!

I like this schedule because:

  • I’m free to do as I please after four o’clock every weekday afternoon.
  • Aside from Crossfit on Saturday mornings, my weekends are entirely free.

The challenge for me is to be militant about protecting my mornings. That’s my time. No meetings, no appointments, no errands. Only my priorities. It can be done. (I’ve done it before!)

Today is my second day on this ideal schedule. Yesterday morning, I woke early and went to Crossfit. I didn’t make the 5 a.m. class, but I did make it to the six o’clock session. Then I came home and walked the dog. Then I worked until one. And this morning, Kim and I got up together at 4:45. Here, two hours later, I’m done with this article and ready to take the dog for a walk. (She’s ready too!)

I have high hopes that this ideal schedule will allow me to get stuff done and give me plenty of time left over for play.

Note: By chance, my pal Chris Guillebeau recently published a related article: Eight ways to have more time.

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Guardians of BeingSince arriving home from our cross-country RV trip at the end of June, Kim and I have both been overwhelmed by modern life. We’re overwhelmed by the busy-ness of it all: the pace, the scheduling, all of the requests for time and attention.

“Why is this so tough for us?” I asked the other day. “We didn’t have problems before we left.”

“I don’t know,” Kim said. “But it sucks.” She’s right — it does suck.

This morning, I was reading Guardians of Being, a short book that mixes the philosophy of Eckhart Tolle with the animal art of Patrick McDonnell (from Mutts). Tolle, of course, is best known for his massive bestseller, The Power of Now, which encourages readers to get out of their heads and be more “present in the moment”. I was struck by this quote from Guardians:

Most of us live in a world of mental abstraction, conceptualization, and image making — a world of thought. We are immersed in a continuous stream of mental noise…We get lost in doing, thinking, remembering, anticipating — lost in a maze of complexity and a world of problems.

While we were on the road, Kim and I lived in the Now. We were always present in the moment. We might have vague plans for where we wanted to be in a few days or a few weeks, but mostly we made things up as we went along.

“Where do you want to go next?” Kim might ask, and then we’d pick a spot.

“Where should we camp tonight?” I might ask as we drove to the new town, and Kim would find a campground. “What should we do for dinner? Should we visit that park? This site is awesome — let’s stay a few more nights.” Nearly everything we did was spontaneous. We had no plans or commitments and it was wonderful.

But back home, even without jobs to go to (yet) and few plans, the pace of modern life is staggering. We’re always doing something with somebody. We schedule appointments and anticipate commitments. We have to-do lists. We go to the gym three mornings a week, take the puppy to puppy classes, agree to help colleagues, and so on. There’s so much going on that there’s never a chance to simply be present in the Here and Now.

And the stuff! There’s so much stuff! We had few possessions in the motorhome; we didn’t miss what we did not have. Here at home, even though we own less than many folks, we have tons of stuff. Tons of stuff! So many books! So many clothes! So many dishes! So much in every closet and cupboard.

Kim and I are overwhelmed because we’ve made a sudden transition from doing and having very little to doing and having a lot. All of the stuff and commitments comes with mental baggage. It takes brainwidth.

Be present

Last week, I met with my friend Michael. He’s a career and marriage counselor. I told him how overwhelmed we are. “We feel like we need to move to a small house in the country,” I said.

Michael nodded. “I can see how that might help,” he said. “But you know what? I’ve found that many of my clients who crave change can find happiness closer to home. They think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, that they’ll fix things by making big moves.”

“What do you suggest instead?” I asked.

“Something less drastic,” Michael said. “I try to get folks to find ways to shape their current situation to meet their needs. If they want a new job because they think it’ll allow them to be more fulfilled, I ask if there’s a way they can restructure their current position so that it gives them that fulfillment. In your case, I’d suggest you don’t need to buy two acres in the country to get what you want. You can probably find ways to stay where you are — because you have a great home in a great location! — while simultaneously reducing the stress and the stuff.”

I’ve been thinking about Michael’s advice for the past week. He’s right. We do live in a great spot. We both love it. It’s not the spot that’s the problem. It’s being surrounded by so much stuff in the house, and by the sudden need to schedule our time. We can’t remove all of the stuff and we can’t live completely free of schedules, but we can certainly be more judicious with both. We can guard our time assiduously, which would allow us to be more spontaneous (like we were on the road). We can purge some of our possessions, then be cautious about what we allow to come into the condo.

Here’s another quote I liked from Guardians of Being:

We have forgotten what rocks, plants, and animals still know. We have forgotten how to be — to be still, to be ourselves, to be where life is: Here and Now.

While traveling the country for fifteen months, Kim and I learned how to be Here and Now. It was awesome. Now the challenge is discovering how to be Here and Now while living a modern life in a modern city. We need to ignore (or reject) the hustle and bustle, to embrace the stillness.

Michael is right: We don’t need to move the country to reduce complexity. We can do it here. And now.

Just bee

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Several years ago, our book group read American Nations by Colin Woodard. The book has a fascinating premise: While the United States is nominally a single unified country, it’s actually a conglomerate of eleven smaller “nations”, each with its own unique history, culture, and attitudes. The U.S. is more like the E.U. than we think.

I’m not going to go into the details of the eleven distinct cultures Woodard posits. Instead, I’ll simply share a map and some brief descriptions:

American Nations
Click for a larger version.

Here are how the eleven “American nations” differ (these capsule summaries are taken from this Washington Post piece):

    American Nations
  • Yankeedom — Founded by Puritans, residents in Northeastern states and the industrial Midwest tend to be more comfortable with government regulation. They value education and the common good more than other regions.
  • New Netherland — The Netherlands was the most sophisticated society in the Western world when New York was founded, Woodard writes, so it’s no wonder that the region has been a hub of global commerce. It’s also the region most accepting of historically persecuted populations.
  • The Midlands — Stretching from Quaker territory west through Iowa and into more populated areas of the Midwest, the Midlands are “pluralistic and organized around the middle class.” Government intrusion is unwelcome, and ethnic and ideological purity isn’t a priority.
  • Tidewater — The coastal regions in the English colonies of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware tend to respect authority and value tradition. Once the most powerful American nation, it began to decline during Westward expansion.
  • Greater Appalachia — Extending from West Virginia through the Great Smoky Mountains and into Northwest Texas, the descendants of Irish, English and Scottish settlers value individual liberty. Residents are “intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers.”
  • Deep South — Dixie still traces its roots to the caste system established by masters who tried to duplicate West Indies-style slave society, Woodard writes. The Old South values states’ rights and local control and fights the expansion of federal powers.
  • El Norte — Southwest Texas and the border region is the oldest, and most linguistically different, nation in the Americas. Hard work and self-sufficiency are prized values.
  • The Left Coast — A hybrid, Woodard says, of Appalachian independence and Yankee utopianism loosely defined by the Pacific Ocean on one side and coastal mountain ranges like the Cascades and the Sierra Nevadas on the other. The independence and innovation required of early explorers continues to manifest in places like Silicon Valley and the tech companies around Seattle.
  • The Far West — The Great Plains and the Mountain West were built by industry, made necessary by harsh, sometimes inhospitable climates. Far Westerners are intensely libertarian and deeply distrustful of big institutions, whether they are railroads and monopolies or the federal government.
  • New France — Former French colonies in and around New Orleans and Quebec tend toward consensus and egalitarian, “among the most liberal on the continent, with unusually tolerant attitudes toward gays and people of all races and a ready acceptance of government involvement in the economy,” Woodard writes.
  • First Nation — The few First Nation peoples left — Native Americans who never gave up their land to white settlers — are mainly in the harshly Arctic north of Canada and Alaska. They have sovereignty over their lands, but their population is only around 300,000.

In the book, of course, the author goes into greater detail about the differences between each region.

When I first read American Nations, I was skeptical of Woodard’s divisions. Even early in this RV trip, I didn’t agree with how he divided things. Now, as we near the end of our journey, I’m beginning to think he’s more right than wrong.

Note: Kim and I have now experienced all eleven of these American nations. Of them, we vastly prefer New France (in the form of southern Louisiana), New Netherland (in the form of New York City), and the Left Coast (where we were both born and raised). We “get” The Far West and El Norte. But much of the rest of the U.S. — meaning most of the eastern half — seems foreign to us, especially the Deep South.

There’s a common misconception that the United States was once united. Everyone I know complains about how our national government is so contentious and unwilling to work together. Donald Trump promises to “make America great again”. We have a sort of shared national dream that we were once a unified whole. I’m not sure that has ever been the case.

From my reading, it seems like the United States has almost never been united. Our history is one of division rather than unification. We’re always fighting with each other.

One place you commonly see the myth of American oneness is in reference to the Founding Fathers. People from both sides of the political fence like to claim things like, “The Founding Fathers believed X.” But you know what? The Founding Fathers didn’t agree on anything except that they wanted to break away from British rule.

A decade ago, I read a great book from Joseph J. Ellis. In Founding Brothers (which won the Pulitzer Prize), Ellis tells the stories of George Washington; John and Abigail Adams; Thomas Jefferson; Alexander Hamilton; James Madison; Benjamin Franklin; and Aaron Burr. I came away from the book with a better understanding of just why U.S. politics are so contentious. The division and arguments are actually baked into our Constitution. They’ve been here since the birth of the nation.

Here’s an extended passage from the beginning of Founding Brothers. This is long but it’s important. Reading it will help you better understand the U.S. political system.

It is truly humbling, perhaps even dispiriting, to realize that the [modern] historical debate over the revolutionary era and the early republic merely recapitulates the ideological debate conducted at the time, that historians have essentially been fighting the same battles, over and over again, that the members of the revolutionary generation fought originally among themselves. Though many historians have taken a compromise or split-the-difference position over the ensuing years, the basic choice has remained constant, as historians have declared themselves Jeffersonians or Hamiltonians, committed individualists or dedicated nationalists, liberals or conservatives, then written accounts that favor one camp over the other, or that stigmatize one side by viewing it through the eyes of the other, much as the contestants did back then. While we might be able to forestall intellectual embarrassment by claiming that the underlying values at stake are timeless, and the salient questions classical in character, the awkward truth is that we have been chasing our own tails in an apparently endless cycle of partisan pleading. Perhaps because we are still living their legacy, we have yet to reach a genuinely historical perspective on the revolutionary generation.

But, again, in a way that Paine would tell us was commonsensical and Jefferson would tell us was self-evident, both sides in the debate have legitimate claims on historical truth and both sides speak for the deepest impulses of the American Revolution. With the American Revolution, as with all revolutions, different factions came together in common cause to overthrow the reigning regime, then discovered in the aftermath of their triumph that they had fundamentally different and politically incompatible notions of what they intended. In the dizzying sequence of events that comprises the political history of the 1790s, the full range of their disagreement was exposed and their different agenda for the United States collided head-on. Taking sides in this debate is like choosing between the words and the music of the American Revolution.

What distinguishes the American Revolution from most, if not all, subsequent revolutions worth of the name is that in the battle for supremacy, for the “true meaning” of the Revolution, neither side completely triumphed. Here I do not just mean that the American Revolution did not “devour its own children” and lead to blood-soaked scenes a the guillotine or the firing-squad wall, though that is true enough. Instead, I mean that the revolutionary generation found a way to contain the explosive energies of the debate in the form of an ongoing argument or dialogue that was eventually institutionalized and rendered safe by the creation of political parties. And the subsequent political history of the United States then became an oscillation between new versions of the old tension, which broke out in violence only on the occasion of the Civil War. In its most familiar form, dominant in the nineteenth century, the tension assumes a constitutional appearance as a conflict between state and federal sovereignty. The source of the disagreement goes much deeper, however, involving conflicting attitudes toward government itself, competing versions of citizenship, differing postures toward the twin goals of freedom and equality.

But the key point is that the debate was not resolved so much as built into the fabric of our national identity. If that means the United States is founded on a contradiction, then so be it. With that one bloody exception, we have been living with it successfully for over two hundred years. Lincoln once said that America was founded on a proposition that was written by Jefferson in 1776. We are really founded on an argument about what that proposition means. When shown in this light, it all makes sense to me. The friction between Republicans and Democrats, and the structure of our two party system, is not something to chafe against; it’s inherent in our political system, it’s an integral part of our Constitution. It’s as if there wasn’t one country founded as the United States, but two, and they’ve been living together, hopelessly tangles, for two hundred years. It’s like yin and yang. It’s like a schizophrenic child. We cannot have one without the other. Democrats need Republicans, both for balance and to provide a source against which they can contrast their own ideas. Conversely, Republicans need Democrats for the same reasons.

Taken together, American Nations and Founding Brothers combine to paint a portrait of a country divided…and united at the same time.

Founding BrothersMy RV trip around the country has made this intellectual idea more real to me. When you spend a year (or fourteen months, in my case) traveling from state to state and city to city, you begin to pick up on subtle differences — everything from food, to race relations, to appreciation for nature, to friendliness, to respect for the rule of law.

For me anyhow, seeing these differences makes me much more empathetic to different ways of thought. Do I agree with the political ideas that hold sway in the Deep South? I do not! But having lived there for six months (and traveled there for an additional three), I get it. I get why the people think and behave the way do, and I can’t fault them for it. (That said, I can’t wait to get back to my home on the Left Coast!)

A couple of weeks ago in Gulf Shores, Alabama, Kim and I had drinks with a couple that had driven down from Jackson, Mississippi. They too had traveled the U.S. extensively. We discussed the differences between the states. The man in the couple then gave us an important insight into the Southern mindset.

“We don’t like being told what to do,” he said. From his perspective, the rest of the U.S. is always trying to make the South over in its image. This goes all the way back to the Civil War (or the “War Between the States”, as they still call it down here), if not further. It continues to this day. Southerners just want to be left alone, but they feel like other parts of the country are constantly trying to change their way of life.

Kim and I keep going back to this conversation. Whenever we see something we don’t like about the South, something we’d like to change, we remember what our acquaintance said. And we haven’t been able to think of a single way in which the South has imposed its will on us out in Oregon.

Interesting stuff, right?

Over the past fifty years, there’s been a huge unconscious push toward “same-ification”. (This is due largely to the omnipresence of television, I think.) But I’m not sure homogenization is such a good thing. I like the parts of the U.S. that feel different and unique. I like when we work together despite our differences. In fact, I think it’s all of our differences that make this nation great.

But how do you find a balance between respecting cultural differences and respecting each and every person? I don’t know. I’m not sure anybody does. Still, it’s a worthwhile conversation for the American nations to have.

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This is a brief update on what I’ve been up to for a past few months. I know I’ve been quiet around Foldedspace, but that doesn’t mean I’m sitting at home reading comic books and playing videogames. Far from it!

During our six months in Savannah, the bulk of my time was spent prepping and launching Money Boss, my new blog about “advanced personal finance”. It’s a site targeted at folks who are working toward Financial Independence — or who have already achieved it. My goal is to go beyond the basics that I explored at Get Rich Slowly. (Speaking of which, that blog turned ten yesterday! Can you believe I started GRS a decade ago? I can’t…)

I’ve waited to officially announce Money Boss here because I wanted to make sure I’d follow through on my commitment to the site. I’m a notorious starter and stopper of projects, and I didn’t want to publicize this until I was sure I’d stick at it. Now I’m sure. (I’ve been at it six months already.) In fact, I’m proud of what I’ve already done with the blog. Money Boss contains the best material I’ve ever produced about personal finance. The site has 2000 email subscribers already and is growing rapidly. You should come join us!

A Brief Guide to Financial Freedom

The Money Boss ManualSo that all Money Boss readers can share a common framework for talking about finance, I’ve collected my core philosophy into a free 70-page manual entitled A Brief Guide to Financial Freedom. This guide outlines everything I’ve learned about smart money management during the past decade.

You can get the same material in your inbox if you sign up for the Money Boss email list. Or you can follow these links to read the same articles on the blog:

Sometime soon(-ish), I intend to record audio versions of this material too, which will provide a fourth way to consume it. That project might have to wait until Kim and I are finished with our U.S. roadtrip, though.

Other Projects

Speaking of our roadtrip, Kim and I left Savannah on March 29th to begin our six-month journey back to Oregon. As always, we’ll be documenting our adventures at Far Away Places — although generally with a delay of around two weeks. I just posted the first installment for 2016, which is about our time in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina. I hope to finish the post about our ten days in Tennessee by tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, I have other projects cooking too. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I’ll be returning to Ecuador for another chautauqua on wealth and happiness. I’ll also be taking a break from our RV trip to fly home to Portland in August, where Mr. Money Mustache and I will present a workshop on financial freedom at World Domination Summit. (More details when I have them.)

Lastly, I’ve made several appearances on podcasts during recent months. The more I do this, the more comfortable I get — and the more useful my interviews seem to be. I’m especially proud of my recent appearance on the M.O.N.E.Y. Show with J. Money and Paula Pant. This might be the best interview I’ve ever given.

Other notable recent appearances include an episode of Radical Personal Finance with Joshua Sheats, a chat with my friend Eric Rosenberg on his Personal Profitability Podcast, and a conversation with the charming Michelle Jackson of Girl Gone Frugal.

Whew! As you can see, I haven’t been slacking. I haven’t had much to share here — though I’ll continue to post when I have something to say — but I’ve been busy elsewhere. (And this list doesn’t even include the projects I’m not ready to publicize yet.) I used to be a slacker. Now I’m a workaholic. What happened?

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24 March 2016

Join Me in Ecuador for the Fourth Annual Chautauqua on Wealth and Happiness

Three years ago, I joined Jim Collins and Pete Adeney (a.k.a. Mr. Money Mustache) for a sort of experiment in Ecuador. We participated in a chautauqua organized by Cheryl Reed of Above the Clouds Retreats. To be honest, I don’t think any of us knew what was going to happen when we brought a group […]

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28 February 2016

The Best Films of the Past Five Years

While browsing elsewhere on the interwebs (reddit, perhaps?), I came across David Ehrlich’s picks for the best films of 2015. For the past five years, he’s compiled his annual list of favorites into a short (roughly ten-minute) videos that highlights why he loves these movies. Because the Oscars will be announced today, I think it’d […]

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31 December 2015

My 2015 Year in Review

This has been quite a year for me. In 2015, I did a couple of Big Things that pushed me outside of my comfort zone. They were scary — but fun. And while my life was mostly awesome, it wasn’t perfect. (It never is, right?) I’ve struggled with my fitness, especially. By far the biggest […]

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26 November 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Long-time readers know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Despite attempts by retailers to turn the weekend into some sort of extended consumer orgy, I’m grateful that we set aside a day each year to remember the good things we have. Make no mistake — if you’re reading this, you’re among the world’s wealthy. Here’s […]

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20 November 2015

How I Got My Groove Back

It’s been an interesting week here in Savannah. After Kim and I settled here six weeks ago, I slipped into a sort of routine. I’d get up in the morning, answer email, do a bit of work, go for a five-mile walk, come back and do more work, and then call it a day. Much […]

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22 October 2015

Recent Reading: Rediscovering a Passion for Books

“You know what I miss?” Kim asked last night. We were sitting in bed, reading. “I miss the way we read The Martian together. That was fun.” Last month, during our week-long quest to find a place to live for the winter, we read/audited Andy Weir’s The Martian as we drove all over Florida, Georgia, […]

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