We live in a capitalistic society; what that means is money is up for grabs for anyone with the ingenuity and perseverance to chase it. Jumping in a wind tunnel full of Ben Franklins and grabbing as much as you can is profitable, but you can’t do that for a living. Instead you have to plan and execute specific actions to ensure you remain financially solvent. If you want to spend your retirement years swimming in a vault full of coins like Scrooge McDuck, avoid these nine dumb habits that keep you from earning money.
1. Float Like a Social Butterfly.
Social media is a useful marketing tool, and every so often you need to connect with your followers. The problem comes when you spend all your time on social media. The likelihood of links posted in social media being clicked is dependent on how many followers you have. Expect a 1/1000 ratio (one person clicking a link for every thousand that view it) on average, and don’t waste all your time marketing on social media.
One of the easiest ways to avoid wasting time on social media is to avoid reading feeds. If you use Twitter to keep up with trending topics, make a list to ensure you’re only seeing the subsection of people you follow whose updates consistently keep you in the loop on topics you follow. Also, downloading a social media aggregator such as Hootsuite or RebelMouse will allow you to merge multiple social media accounts, so you can expand the reach of your message while minimizing time spent socializing. Now get back to working on something more important!
2. It’s Called a Lunch Hour for a Reason.
It’s OK to take breaks, and we have a great lifehack discussing the importance of them. If you work for a company, it’s mandatory they give you a break; if you work on your own, you need a lunch break to give you time away from working. An hour is usually a decent enough break, although 30-minute and two-hour lunches have their uses as well. The problem comes when your lunch takes up too much of your work day.
You don’t want to eat a heavy meal that will make you lethargic, and as for heading to the movie theater every day at lunch: you’re triple-dipping into your resources, as you’re not being paid to work, spending money with no return, and wasting time that could be productive. If you’re going to take a long lunch, you need to make up the hours on the back-end, or you’ll never get ahead financially.
3. Waiting for the Right One.
Some people will turn down job offers because they’re waiting for the right one. This does have its advantages, but you can still be doing something to make money while you’re waiting. Instead of sitting by the phone, waiting for someone to call, try pursuing odd jobs, temp work, or selling art online.
You can also pick up freelance and temp work or get paid to blog as a guest expert. The internet is filled with ways to make money online. Make use of the time you’re waiting to make money by making money, or you’ll never make any money.
4. Me Fail English? Unpossible!
Communication is important; if not for communication, human beings would never have banded together to form society, invention, and the Internet. If you don’t know how to communicate what you want, you’ll never get it. It goes much deeper than just a grasp of the mechanics of English, though.
The world is filled with people with a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. It’s important to understand how to craft a message specific to your audience. Different words and phrases are taken different ways by people with different perceptions. Be sure to think carefully about the methods, words, and tone used when communicating for business. Otherwise you’ll come off as either overly wonky or out in left field. Either way, people will perceive you as incapable and won’t want to hire or pay you.
5. Motivated by Money.
It’s OK to be motivated by money, but it shouldn’t be the sole motivation driving you. In order to keep up with inflation, at the very least, you need a decent and consistent raise. We have several lifehacks discussing how to ask for a raise, and it all involves proving your worth before asking for more money. If the only reason you’re working is for money, it’ll show in your work. You may think you do enough, but there is always someone doing more, and they’ll get the hefty raise you wanted.
The same thing works for promotions; if a hiring manager has to choose between someone whose focus is on making more money vs someone whose focus is helping the company get ahead, it’s clear who will receive the promotion. We discuss other ways to get a promotion in this lifehack. By working on a career path you love, you’ll reach monetary bliss well before your financially-motivated foes.
6. The Early Bird Stole Your Worm.
I have a goal to see as many sunrises and sunsets as I can in my life. It’s OK to sleep in every so often, but according to the 11 sleep habits of successful people, waking up early (and consistently doing so) is the key to success. It may not be your personal key, but it is to someone; just because you’re sleeping in doesn’t mean everyone else is. If you sleep late, know you’ll have last pick of available jobs, gigs, and opportunities to make money.
7. You Just Practice, Baby … Practice.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is being too scared to follow their dreams. You tell yourself there’s a risk, and the timing isn’t right, so you fall into neutral and treat your life as though it’s all just practice for some future event that never happens. Instead of looking into some unknown optimistic future, focus on the here and now. Treat your life like it’s always game day, and live like you’re never going to die. When you work hard enough, the money comes sooner or later (and loving what you do makes the wait easier).
8. I’ll Procrastinate Tomorrow.
Procrastination is the single biggest reason for loss of productivity. You may not want to do something right now, but you’re not going to want to do it later either. The time between now and then will be filled with stress and wasted thoughts about something you could already have done by now. Instead of putting things off, get to work!
I realize this is easier said than done, so we’ve prepared lifehacks to help you identify the types of procrastination, techniques to manage it, and ways to make procrastination productive for those inevitable times when you actually need to put things off. Combining these tools and techniques, you’ll be able to eliminate procrastination’s negative effects on your bank account.
9. You Quit While You’re Ahead.
Stop getting comfortable every time you get a paycheck – it’s the equivalent of stopping for gas at every gas station you pass while driving across the country. Payday Friday isn’t a day to run out and waste all your money on overpriced beer and appetizers (and yes I’m aware it’s “cheaper” during happy hour).
Bonuses aren’t free money either – if you’re lucky enough to get an extra paycheck month, pay raise, bonus, etc, don’t overspend on your celebration, and don’t think now’s the time to sit back. Whoever gave you that money did so because they love what you do, and that love can fade quickly if you rest on your laurels. If you let your financial situation determine how hard you work, you’ll always be broke, because that’s the only time you’ll ever work hard.
Making money isn’t difficult; every year Forbes releases a list of people who make the majority of the money in the world. Instead of envying these people, pick up the pace. It’s a rat race out there, but if you navigate efficiently and run the maze fast enough, you can prove your worth by earning the money you think you deserve.