Thursday, December 20, 2007

How Worrying Costs Me $6,500 a Year

I estimate that wheel-spinning worries cost me about $6,500 a year. With a 5 percent annual return, my worry machine will cost $36,000 in five years and $81,700 in 10 years. That's a high tab for running in circles.

Here's how I did the math:

          • my hourly rate: $50 (an estimate based on writing fees)

          • time spent worrying: 30 minutes a day (a really low-ball figure)

          • weekly cost in lost time/wages: 2.5 hours or $125

          • yearly cost: $6,500

          How I used one of Hugh Chou's On-line Calculators:

          • plugged in $25 in the Sharon's Muffin Calculator . The calculator's comment: "Wow, a $ 25 muffin! What is in that thing, truffles?"

          • plugged in five times a week

          • arrived at annual cost of $6,500

          • used 5 percent interest, which equals $325 annually

          My Anti-Worry Strategy

          1. Better planning. A large portion of my worries will be solved with better time management. I've been creating streamlined to-do lists, with priorities and realistic deadlines.

          2. Learn to say no. Over-commitment (too much work with unrealistic deadlines) is very expensive. My inflated ego periodically prompts me to accept more work than I can handle. Cutting back on commitments requires honesty and self-awareness.

          3. Learn to let go of past regrets. This is a big one. And a lot of management gurus echo the new-age advice from Deepak Chopra: "Only the present moment exists; past and future are mental projections," Chopra says, adding that we can liberate ourselves from the jail of regrets by "trying neither to relive the past nor to control the future." --Ageless Body, Timeless Mind (page 31).

          With that in mind, I'm halting the old movie clips in my head and cutting out the trailers of future scenes. The only picture on my screen is the here-and-now.

          4. Reading: From business to mysticism, reading relaxes and educates me.

          5. Write a letter or call someone: If we feel as if we have wronged someone: we should call, apologize and move on.

          6. Try to find the lesson: Usually when I'm obsessing about something, there is a hidden lesson or insight that I need tap into. Maybe I'm secretly worried about my financial well-being or I'm worried about an old fracture that never healed properly. It could be anything, but I try to honestly find the real source of worry.

          In Year to Success, (the book) Bo Bennett recommends these steps:

          • Let go of grudges.

          • Reality check: "Ask yourself: Is feeling this way doing me any good?"

          • Stay focused on goals.

          • Gain a sense of perspective. Put a new frame on the issue. Try to see the positives.

          • Fix what you can: "Make Amends and start living with a clean slate today."
          --page 266, "Day 148: Let it Go" Year to Success

          Previous Posts
          Airhead vs Workaholic: What I Learned about Money from Writing a Book
          Uncle Sam’s “Stocking Stuffers:” A Guest Post From a CPA

          Wait 'Til January & Other Great Last-Minute Shopping Tips
          Free Online Typing Drills: 10 Frugal Business & Craft Classes
          Frugal & Green Rx for Post-Holiday Cabin Fever

          No comments: