30 Things: Open my Roth IRA

30 things before 30
As you may know,
I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

Number 8 on my list is to open my own Roth IRA or similar type of retirement fund.

With a husband who is a real estate agent you meet a lot of people in the client service businesses, including financial planners and advisors. One week The Guns told me he wanted us to meet with an advisor that he’d met who is part of Edward Jones Investment. Joel C. Morgan met with us and spent a lot of time talking about financial planning… for now, for emergency, and for the future. Most of it we were already pretty familiar with, but having never worked for a corporation (except as a contract employee) the big miss in our financial plan was my retirement fund.

Which of course is really fun to think about at 28, but whatever. Anyway, after 2 meetings and a lot of talk about my comfort level (which pretty much amounts to “I’d rather not think about it, use your expertise, please”) with investing, now I have a Roth IRA… and the plan is to not really think about it for about 35 years and then be super impressed with my 28 year old self.

And of course that’s another item off my 30 list! Which is really, incredibly satisfying.

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September Shorts: Care and Communication

Ways I’m caring for myself, my home, my career this month:

barre and gyrotonic/gyrokinesis workouts
dance classes
cleaning (? well, I try)
grocery shopping (you gotta eat)
cleaning up my photo and music files
vitamins
scheduling my yearly wellness exam

People I’m talking to/meeting with/and thanking this month:

our board of directors of FurtherDance Fort Worth
our board officers
my team teachers at ACBA
my team teachers at Kids Who Care
my Grandparents (birthdays!)
wonderful FurtherDance contributors and participants (thank yous!)

September Shorts: Consume

You have to consume in order to create. There is not output without the proper input.

Here’s what I’m consuming this month:

social media (ie, Blogs, my facebook and Twitter feed, instagram)

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my to read pile (which consists of a pointe shoe book, an already outdated issue of Fort Worth, Texas magazine, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, and Still Writing, a book on creativity. I have not gotten very far on this pile but I’ll be travelling over the next few weeks so I’m hoping to get a bit further)

Dance Performances! I’ve seen 2 this month already and could literally fill this month’s weekends if I was able. So glad to live in a place where I have so many opportunities to see great work!

my training manual for barre classes

HBOGo and Netflix (we can’t wait for Parks and Rec season 6 to be available on September 26 and currently we’re watching Big Love since our current HBO favorites- Veep, Girls, and Silicon Valley- are on hiatus).

The Bible (I’m on a year long reading plan)

Spotify (for choreography music choices as well as class playlists)

B12 vitamins

Coffee

What are you consuming this month?

September Shorts: Create

You know about the way I structure my to do list.

Now to share with you some things I’m creating this month.

Lesson Plans
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I teach 3-4 ballet classes/week, 3-4 contemporary classes/week, and I’m training to teach at a local barre studio. All my lessons go in this notebook which has become my new best friend.

Blog Posts

Duh.

Social Media Content/Strategy

For myself but also for the organization I direct. Buffer is my friend.

Choreography

My new work premieres in December. It’s unlike anything I’ve made before- or I assume it will be since I’m not exactly finished creating the movement- but it will be part of a larger work with 2 other choreographers and in the round. So that’s new for me!

Meeting Agendas

For the aforementioned organization. This takes surprisingly more effort but is crucial for a productive meeting.

Meal Plans

Takes way more brain space than I would like but if it’s not done I end up eating Chick Fil A, Chipotle, and Panda Express all week. If anyone has any suggestions for streamlining this… please tell me!

What are you creating this month?

September Shorts: How I Structure My To Do List

When I have things to do for the week (or, in a particularly busy time, for the day) I divide them into 4 categories:

1) Create

Do I have to make this thing? Do I have to write, plan, assemble this thing? Does it require a lot of output of brain energy to do this? Then it goes on my create list.  Things on my create list generally need to be allotted 1 hour or more of my time, uninterrupted.

2) Consume

What  am I consuming? What is on my list that requires me to take in new information? What informs what I’m creating right now? These things go on my consume list, and can be caught up on in the margins of my day; 15 minutes here and there.

3) Communication

Who do I need to talk to/contact/thank? Who should I be checking in with about that thing? Are there any meetings I should take? Again, this can be done on the fly (in 5-15 minutes), but if I have a particularly long list of communication to dos, then I often wrangle all of those into a larger chunk of time, usually before 7AM.

4) Care

Grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, scheduling repairs, cleaning bathrooms. Must get done, might be time consuming, but require little thought? Then it’s on my care list.

Would this differentiation of your to do list work for you?

September Shorts: My New Brain

Sooo…. I cut down to 3x posting per week in the summer. And I’m still falling kind of behind. So. now I bring you “september Shorts.” Basically… a challenge to myself to create super succinct posts. Might be a glimpse into my life, my brain, or something I’m struggling with.

But less than 250 words. WHAT?

Here’s the first one:

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Meet my new brain planner. It has made my life much better. If you think you have your life under control but still struggle to get your tasks in order… PLANNER. Get one. And, honestly, unless you’ve completely committed to digitizing your entire life, just get a paper planner. I used to depend on my phone calendar and reminder system… but sometimes paper and pen is faster, and just having my planner with me as a reminder to check it is enough to keep me on track. I also find that using one that lists hours throughout the day and gives me space to write down “to dos” really helps.

Do you use a paper planner?

How I evaluate talent

If you got here and thought I was going to tell you how to evaluate the people you want to hire… errr, sorry, this title is misleading.

Here’s what I AM talking about: I see someone doing something they’re good at. A professional dancer, singer, actor, stand-up comic, writer whatever. And even if I don’t know much about their field, here’s how I know if it’s good.

Am I inspired to try my hand at their talent, and I am CONVINCED that I would be good at doing exactly what they’re doing. Because they make it look so fun and so easy.

So after watching that video I’m sure I could be a prima ballerina. It’s really just a matter of practice. Also, after watching Aziz Ansari’s stand-up special, I’m POSITIVE I could be the next great female comic. I only have to read an excerpt of Anne Lamott’s work to be convinced that writing a memoir is as simple as writing my thoughts down every moment of the day. I watch The Voice and I’m pretty sure I could be on it, and I have completely convinced myself that if Emma Stone met me, we would not only be best friends but she would also convince the director of her next movie that she’s found the perfect co-star (um, me, are you not following?) to play her scrappy sidekick best friend in the upcoming romantic comedy.

Anyway, that’s how I know that someone’s good at what they do. If I decide that I could probably do it. Yes, this is remarkably self-centered. Welcome to my blog.

Have you “found” something?

I’m working with a small group to start a new arts organization here in my city. I keep referring to myself as a “founder” or “founding member,” and it’s gotten me thinking about that word, “founder.”

Isn’t it interesting? Companies, countries, organizations, initiatives. They all have founders.

Something has to be found. The ideas, concepts, values… they already exist! You just have to discover it, uncover it. You just have to find it!

There’s a lot of pressure as a creative person to do all the creating, and that’s important.

But sometimes you just find it instead. Sure, you might polish it up, assemble it, rearrange it, optimize it.

But the wheel’s always existed. No one made it. They just found it.

What have you found (or founded) lately?

Keep it Visible to Get it Done

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Just a quick tip for your work today.

If you need to…

do it

read it

consume it

watch it

listen to it

plan it

use it

schedule it

or generally get it done…

then keep it visible.

Keep it on your desk

put it on your bulletin board

on your refrigerator!

put it on your home screen, desktop, home page,

whatever.

Keep it visible.

Get it done!

In the end, just be really good

I was listening to an archived episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Nerdist, a few months ago. Their guest was Aziz Ansari. Aziz is pretty awesome because he is Tom Haverford and he knows how to TREAT YO SELF! Also, he is a stand up comedian.

Anyway, the idea that Aziz shared on the podcast that sticks with me the most is this (paraphrased by me) :

Just be really good.

He was responding to a fan who wanted to know how to leverage Twitter to help him become a more successful comedian. I think the actual question was something like “What are your Twitter secrets to help me in my comedy.”

And Aziz, who is semi-frequently active on Twitter, just said, “Don’t worry about Twitter. Just get really good at comedy.”

It’s true that today you can’t really ignore social media, your Klout score, your online presence, or those wonderful things you do to pad your resume (thought I try to ignore ALL those things at time), but none of that matters if you’re not really good at what you do.

So just get good.

And then tweet about it.