How to Get Things Done When You have Anxiety.

Do you ever look around or think about all the tasks that you have to do and feel immediately overwhelmed? You feel like what all you have to do is literally so much that it is impossible to get done and you may as well just not even start?

Then, your chest starts feeling tight and you feel like your brain goes into a panic mode. And it’s all over. You’re having a panic attack. And then you think about how instead of having a panic attack, you should be getting stuff done. Oh, the horror.

So, you can imagine the hell I’m in when we move into our house we’re remodeling with our newborn baby. We’re living in a construction zone with tools and supplies scattered on the floor and against the walls in every room.

The house we’re moving from-it was a disaster. Being pregnant and miserable led to me being a very-less-than-model housekeeper. But my fiance took that mess, boxed it up, and moved it in to our new place so that it could keep all the scattered tools company.

With my anxiety being high-even if everything was going perfectly, panic began to set it as soon as I’d wake up. When you’re anxious, your brain’s ability to handle and organize information is subpar, along with your ability to prioritize and make decisions. So, I used some of my favorite strategies to manage anxiety so that I could still function and help actually get our lives back on track!

Seconds before a panic attack? Start a timer Easy. You’re about to go full on panic attack as you feel your eyes dart around the room at all the stuff you need to do. Put a 5 minute timer on your watch. You can get through 5 minutes of whatever it is you need to do. Starting the timer gives you permission to not worry about prioritizing or thinking through how you could be most efficient BLAH BLAH BLAH. But gives you permission to START.

Who cares if you that 5 minutes could have been spent doing X instead of Y? More often than not, once I start the timer and get working on the project, I often start another timer-sometimes another 5 minutes, or sometimes 10-and I just continue doing this until I can feel the panic ease and I can start working more effectively. The timer is a two-parter. It gives you the ability to start the project, and gives you a small sense of achievement-and a small rush of dopamine.

If you have a lot to do, but nothing that HAS TO be done today, play a game. Yeah, I know, that sounds silly. But as you feel your chest tightening, and the overwhelm set in, you deserve to have fun with your task list. Stop, don’t worry about which task is more important or whatever… just write them in an app that lets you put them in a wheel and spin the wheel! WOOHOO! Yeah, it’ll get done. And you’ll have fun and get that dopamine drip doing it.

Now, we’re not panicked, but we are dreading what we’ve got to do. First, you should give yourself a pat on the back for not being on the verge of a panic attack. Really this is where that beautiful brain of yours is useful-planning, prioritizing, and just working your list.

If you want to get tips on setting up the perfect to do list, see my last blog post.

todoist

How to GTD when you have too much to do!

Having a thousand projects going at once, it’s so important to have a way to organize what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and understanding what needs to happen next.

So, the app called “todoist”… I’ve had it for a long time… and for the longest time, I just thought it was a glorified to do list app. But holy guacamole! It has been so useful on our house project-and I want to describe how we’ve been using it to stay on track, so that if anyone else out there is looking at their home remodel (or really, any other huge project) and feeling overwhelmed, you’ve got one more tool in your toolbox to be a badass.

First, I want to just chat about a few features I like, and then tell ya bout the simple meat and potatoes of how this is really powerful.

INBOX So first, there’s an “inbox” that is just literally a place where you get your list out of your head and on paper. Something just pop into your head that you know you need to do/look into/think about later/etc.? Just put it into your inbox. Have a one-off kind of project that doesn’t fit into your categories-just add it to your inbox. Boom, done!

JUST TYPE IT It’s set up to be intuitive. So if you type in “write a blog post every sunday”, it will put in a task “write a blog post” and then it will create a recurring task for every Sunday. You’re welcome to go in and click buttons to assign it to every Sunday, but it’s so much quicker to just write what you want! I’m not even sure how you’d click buttons for this one since the days of the week would change… I typed in today, “give Ella a bath every 3 days”. Boom. Added. So cool.

ALL THE OTHER LITTLE SHIT Yes, of course, it’s got where you can move tasks up and down, or mark items as higher priorities (actually 4 different priority levels), you can share it so multiple can work on it. You can even email your todoist a task and it’ll add it to the correct place for you.

HOW WE’RE USING IT TO ORGANIZE THE HOUSE REMODEL Okay, we’re here. Right near the end. Most of the house is… pretty functional. But the devil is in the detail. So we have our projects around the house under one project in todoist: “Our Dream House”. Under that, we’ve got a board for each room. The boards go in order of what rooms I want done from first to last. Then, the tasks on each board go in order of what I want us to get done from first to last.

I color code them with the priority levels. You can make the bullet/check box turn from no color, to red, yellow, or blue. I use red for tasks we have everything to be able to get done. I use blue for tasks we need to order something to get that task done.

Then, everyday when we are making our plan for the day, we start on the first board, do the first task; if we can’t do that task for whatever reason, we do what we need to do to make sure we will be able to do it ASAP. Then we move down the list and do whatever we can that isn’t contingent on a task above it. Then move on to the next board and continue the same process.

This takes so much of the stress and decision making out of the day-to-day decisions on where the fuck to just start!

Shave Your Damn Legs!

So, I have a four week old. And she is super cute and great in every way. She also can’t do anything by herself. So I take care of every single need or want that she has.

Yesterday, I use the bathroom, go to wash my hands, and I see myself in the mirror. There are bags under my eyes, my hair is oily, somehow my hair is still in a ponytail, but half of it is out-kind of?

As I continue to inspect myself, I’m embarrassed that I haven’t changed my clothes in two days (Nevermind deodorant or makeup!). My toenails still have the same paint on them from when I delivered her-three weeks ago-and I needed to repaint them back then!

But what upsets me most? I need to shave my damn legs!

When I get stressed or “have a lot going on”, my legs are the first thing to get neglected. And my god, were they!

One thing I’m coming to realize is the value of taking care of yourself first. I look run down, and I am run down. Ella shouldn’t be looking at me to model herself after if it’s obvious I shouldn’t be a role model.

This same concept applies to ensuring you’re getting the work-life balance that you need. Working in a high stress environment with unlimited hours to be able to work-I know firsthand how difficult managing the two can be!

Staying late: helps me hit x target. Right now. Immediately. I go home a little more tired… exhausted. But no big deal. I get a little less sleep. I wake up a little less alert. And the next day is just as hard as the day before. I stay late to tie up loose ends, and shit just keeps rolling downhill.

Over time, this causes chronic stress, leading to hypertension, digestive problems, fatigue, and much more! After a lifetime of this, retirement would be no fun! Instead of spending time and retirement money on traveling and fun, I’d have to spend my time and money on doctor visits and hospital stays! No thank you.

Going home earlier: I don’t hit exactly where I wanted to. I have to explain why my team didn’t hit x target. I go home, spend time with my family. Come back to work refreshed. now, alert, I can make decisions just a little bit better. I can see the inefficiencies in our day. I can help my team and myself get more done, in less time.

Over time, my team and I will be more efficient, I’ll learn from having to analyze our day-figure out where we went wrong-and correct for tomorrow. I’ll see my family more. Not miss things in life like sporting events, family gatherings, and just the every night family dinner at the table.

Not only will my retirement be better because I’m in better health (physically, mentally, and emotionally), but I’ll be able to look back at my life and not regret how and where I spent my time.

So, moving forward, I’m going to ensure I am my first priority. By taking care of myself, I’ll be able to take care of everyone and everything else much better.

I Planned a Happy Life… and Life Didn’t Go as Planned.

So, as you know, I have detailed plans for my life. I know what I want my life to be like. I know exactly what I need to do to make my dream a reality. And I am great at sticking to a plan!

On December 23rd, 2020, my Loubug and I bought a fixer-upper. A beautiful house in Irvington that needs a ton of attention. And a week later, I got pregnant. Pregnancy—was not in my plan. A baby—not in my plan. Raising a human being for at least 18 years—not in my plan.

Now, my beautiful baby Ella is here. And I am in love. All of my old plans? Adjusted. Changed. For the better. All of my goals? Adjusted. Changed. For the better. This is the first time in my life, a roadblock to my plan that caused me to pivot—is making my life exponentially better.

I guess the life lesson I learned (and am still learning) is that life can not go according to plan and sometimes it takes us on a path that’s even better than we had planned for ourselves.

Pay Yourself First.

But in life.

If you’ve ever read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki, you’ve heard this phrase before. He uses this term to explain the importance of putting away a set amount of your paycheck/income to save/invest automatically as soon as it comes in.

Thankfully, my parents taught me this concept before I ever had a job.

But I’ve recently realized this shouldn’t apply to just saving/investing money, but should also apply to anything in life that you want to do beyond your career. Working 60+ hours a week, I often come home, tired, and think something like, “I’ll write my next blog post tomorrow.” or “After I finish doing [insert some huge task that I’ve been putting off] I’ll read a chapter of my book about different coaching methods.”

So… it’s been five months since my last blog post. And for whatever reason, I’ve now realized that I have to put aspirations for myself before work.

And the crazy reality is, when you’re a high performer at work, your results won’t waiver. You’ll find a way to get the work done that you’re supposed to do. You’re working all day anyway, so whatever you need to take a break to do, work will still be there.

The other things in life that you want to be a priority to you—you actually have to make a priority. It’s as simple as that.

Another interesting thing I’ve realized about this-is the extraneous and super helpful things that I do to help myself with my life—for instance using the beautiful, thoughtfully crafted planner that organizes MY life, or my habit tracker that ensures I’m living a healthier lifestyle are the first things to go when I’m “too busy” or “too stressed” to handle all the things that are coming my way.

It’s like a wild predator is hunting me, and I’m stressed about it so I put down my bow and arrow and try to run faster instead of using the tools I have at my disposal to help myself!

Well, no more. I’m picking my tools back up and ensuring I’m using them and prioritizing them ABOVE my work so that I can be even more prepared for whatever comes my way!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Alright. So if you know me, AT ALL, you know that I do, in fact, give a fuck.

Basically, about everything.

A friend, though, recommended the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (a counterintuitive approach to living a good life) by Mark Manson. I read it. It challenged my view on some ways that I currently view the world. I don’t think that it changed my personal views, but it at least gave me some key topics to really mull over as I approach planning my happy life.

Let’s dissect some of the highlights here:

  • Don’t try
  • Happiness is a problem
  • You are not special
  • You are always choosing
  • You’re wrong about everything

Just reading these titles, I immediately though, Oh here we go! If I were to have written a book, none of these chapter titles would be in it.

Either way, let’s go through it:

  • Don’t try
    • My first reaction: Go fuck yourself Mark Manson. You literally have a very successful blogging career and have a book that is an international best seller. You definitely tried to make that happen.
    • But then, he mind-fucks everyone by saying: The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.
    • And he is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. As we go about life, we are constantly trying to do things that bring us happiness or get rid of unhappiness. So when we are sitting around, watching an advertisement for something fun and or something that will help us lose weight or become fitter, we are now desiring our life to be better than it is- chasing a positive experience- which makes us less content with our life NOW.
    • So if you read my blog about how to be happy because you’re wanting to be happy-this is SO INSIGHTFUL. Just because you want your life to be different in some ways (who doesn’t?) doesn’t mean we shouldn’t appreciate the good in our life now- or accept some of the aspects as truths that we are working to change.
  • Happiness is a problem
    • My first reaction: What a dingus. Happiness is the point of being alive. Definitely not a problem, broski.
    • Then, after his metaphorical story, he drops a bomb: suffering is nature’s preferred agent for inspiring change. AND Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.
    • His premise is that happiness comes from solving problems. Not AVOIDING, but actively working to resolve a problem.
    • I like what he’s getting at-number one- we should work to RESOLVE issues in our life by coming up with a solution and executing it. But in the other hand, I think it’s equally as important to understand what issues cannot be solved, and require acceptance.
    • My dad gave me some advice that really stuck with me. He had grown up poor-so he was on a mission when entering adulthood. He didn’t want his bloodline to suffer from poverty like he did. He worked VERY HARD to ensure we climbed the economic ladder. My dad now is not even 50 and owns his house with no mortgage, owns a Corvette Stingray with no car payment, and has a job making great money-but has no bills. In the meantime, over the last thirty years, he has told himself, “I’ll be happy when…” always hanging his hat upon being happy when X was completed (like getting their first house paid off, getting that first promotion, etc.) You can’t hang your happiness hat up on the end goal and always be working towards that. You’ve got to be happy along the way, as well.
  • You are not special
    • I could relate to this very well. I know I went through the pain of realizing that I’m not special. I’m not actually different or better or more important than anyone else in any way. I do think that I’m special to the people whose life I’m apart of. But, coming to the realization as an adult that you are one of billions of people… and you’re probably going to do things with your life that are great-but you’re probably not going to be the next president of the United States, or the next Beyonce, or the next Gandhi, is for some reason, a hard thing to accept when you first realize it.
    • BUT! That should not allow you to discount your achievements and things that you accomplish with your life. Even when what you accomplish isn’t 1-in-7 billion awesome, it is still great and important!
  • You are always choosing
    • I love this point-because I live my life by this whole-heartedly; this chapter was mostly about taking responsibility for your life and your feelings and what you give a fuck about
    • You should ALWAYS be assuming control of your own life. Most of your life is built upon choices that YOU have made. You controlled who your friends would be; you controlled what job you would take; you control how much you want to interact with your family; you control what you’re going to spend your money on, etc. So your life is set up how YOU WANT IT TO BE. So if you are unhappy with something in your life-it’s your responsibility to fix it.
  • You are wrong about everything
    • Unfortunately, life is not black and white like we want it to be.
    • This paragraph might change your life (or maybe you’ll accept it as false because you so firmly believe what you believe that you will dig your heels in even deeper):
      • Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong. And when we learn something additional, we go from slightly less wrong to slightly less wrong than that, and then to even less wrong than that, and so on. We are always in the process of approaching truth and perfection without actually ever reaching truth or perfection.

So, although I didn’t like the titles of these chapters-this was actually a great read.

Royal United Mortgage: Giving Back

So, when looking for a new job, one of the major reasons I was drawn to Royal United Mortgage was their 3 pillars-major values.

  • Their People
  • Their Clients
  • Their Community

So far, I’ve participated in a couple of outreach programs… but this past Friday, we did something that is literally awe-inspiring.

Due to Covid-19, we are choosing to not have a Christmas party this year. The company brain-stormed on what to do instead… and they decided to give all employees cash to give out to the community!

My apprentice and I went out and brightened the day of community members on Post Rd and Pendleton Pike. We were given the opportunity to leave big tips, pay for customers’ groceries, etc.

It was so rewarding to get to see something like this unfold and to see how happy and thankful (and for some, relieved) that people were because of what we were given the opportunity to do.

See this story on the news!

That Duplex, Though.

Yep! We just bought our first investment property.

But Angel- you talk about your other “investment” properties all the time.

You’re right; but I lived in those properties before I started renting them out. I barely had to have any money down. When you buy a house for yourself, the cash requirement isn’t as high as when you buy an investment that you have no intention on living in.

This house, though, I had to put 25% down of my own money. And the appraisal came in low-so I had to put down even more to cover the difference! (Yikes!!)

But papers have now been signed and tomorrow will be the first day we collect rent! HOW EXCITING!

How to Be Happy.

Yep. You should be paying me the big bucks. In the next few lines, I’m going to tell you the secret to being happy.

At the end of the day, every feeling boils down to happiness (or unhappiness) and every single thing we do is to either to gain happiness or lessen the unhappiness. Some people think that money is behind everything we do but I would argue that money is a tool to ultimately gain happiness.

So, as the face of my page says: my goal in life is to be genuinely happy, while also finding a way to finance my happiness.

My own personal hang up is that so many people fill 40-80 hours of their week with an unfulfilling job/career, then waste their free time being less than their maximum happy because of exhaustion/stress/etc.

So, most of my posts detail what my real estate hustle is and how it’s progressing and sharing the information I think could be useful to hosts, landlords, lenders, consumers, etc.

But right now, I want to share some of the insights I learned from this book, Lucky Go Happy by Paul van der Merwe.

  • Attitude: every single thing in life that comes at you, should be approached as an opportunity (rather than a crisis). You have the power over how you choose to view the things that happen in your life. Your mindset often dictates how you view the obstacles that come your way.
  • Count your blessings: small wonderful things happen every single day. Even on a terrible day.
    • This is actually one of the most profound things that you can do that can have an insane impact on your happiness. If you don’t already see positive things in your life, challenge yourself to write down 5 good things that happen each day. If you wouldn’t label yourself as an optimistic/positive person right now, this will be hard when you start. But, if you make yourself do it each day, your brain starts looking for positive things throughout the day (because it knows you’ve got to have 5!).
    • Give when nothing is expected in return. Nothing feels better than knowing you impacted someone’s life. Even if you think it’s insignificant.
    • There is good in the bad. Sometimes, we generalize a day, or a specific part of our life as “bad.” Maybe, we had a lot of unhappy times during that part of our life. But, it was definitely not ALL bad.
      • My very basic example so that you can get the gist of what point I’m trying to make: you had a long day at work and want to go home. You get in your car, start driving, and come to a stop on the freeway. This just adds to your bad day, and adds 20 minutes to your trip home. But, while you were stopped, waiting, one of your favorite songs comes on the radio! You bust out in song for 4 minutes. Maybe, yeah, the 20 minutes were bad… but there was SOME good in there.
  • Event: don’t place your happiness on something happening. For instance, I’ll be happy when x happens. You are setting yourself up for failure. You’ll have wasted precious time being less happy than you could have been before x has happened-and you won’t gain a long lasting happiness afterwards, like you thought you would.
    • Planning: don’t wait to be happy until the weekend. Plan things-DURING the week to break up the mundane. Also, make sure you actually PLAN some fun things in advance-part of the happiness you get comes from the anticipation.

There were a ton of great lessons in that short and simple book-but what I’ve written above is what I feel like are some of the most important tenets of actualizing happiness.

Happiness is all around you- RIGHT NOW. Put this down and enjoy your life!

Discount Points

So, as many of you know, not only am I real estate investor, but I’m also a mortgage loan originator. What does that mean? That means I’m federally licensed to help a borrower choose a loan product and work through the application process-and finally, get a mortgage loan!

More importantly, I help my clients make a decision on what makes the most sense financially based on their personal situation.

I’d like to just briefly, in very basic terms, explain what discount points are and how they work and why you should or should not use them. I talk to consumers all day who say to me: “I want to lower my interest rate, but I don’t want to pay any points.”

Points are, in short, prepaid interest. You can use the points to buy down your interest rate. They show up as a cost on your loan estimate/closing paperwork.

Points go HAND-IN-HAND with your interest rate. So without paying points, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to be able to lower your interest rate enough to justify the cost of refinancing (unless you’re in a terribly inefficient loan right now).

But Angel, I’ve been working hard to pay extra on my mortgage. Does it really make sense to add money to what I owe?!

Sometimes! It really depends on how much extra you’re putting towards your mortgage, how much it would cost to refinance, and how efficient your current loan is.

If you have consistently been putting extra money towards your mortgage or are in a spot financially where you will realistically be putting more towards your mortgage than you’re required to, focus on the amortization table. Make sure you are aware of the loan amount you’d be borrowing, and are clear about where you are currently on your amortization table. Sometimes, it does make sense to add costs to your loan to take a lower rate to be able to make more of your monthly payment go towards principle. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense.

Make sure you’re very communicative with your loan advisor up front about what your goals are, what you’re currently paying towards your mortgage, and what your intentions are. If you feel like your advisor is trying to “sell you” on the loan, ask to see the math. If they can’t show you the math that illustrates the new loan accomplishing your goals better than your current mortgage, there’s your answer.

Angel, I want the maximum monthly savings possible!

That’s wonderful! If you want maximum monthly savings, use all the discount points you can possibly use. But Angel-that’s more costs-wouldn’t that make my payment go up?! Probably not as much as the interest rate would drive it down. Lean on your ADVISOR to help you make that choice correctly.

There’s more to it than the above mentioned, but I think those two points made are starters. In my experience, many clients I work with are concerned about this unnecessarily. It makes sense, the savings comes with a large price-tag, and can be a little overwhelming.

My best advice, find a good loan advisor who really understands math AND understands your goals.