The Rule of 5: the simple approach to time and money management!

Print Ok. It's gotten to that point. I looked at cash flow over the past three months and decided that while I liked my experiences and earning power over that same period of time, I didn't really like where I ended up- both on the money and the productivity results. Before I dive into what I'm changing and why, I do want to acknowledge the great consulting and coaching work I've done, the progress I've made with my exercise routine, speaking at SXSW V2V, hosting Alexandra Franzen's workshop, and that trip to Italy. All good stuff! Above all I want to affirm that this post is not about Not Enough-ness.

But. (Oh yes, there is a but.) Another three months have gone by. I did accomplish some great things (work stuff,  fun personal life stuff.)

But two specific things didn't happen. 1. I didn't tackle some financial goals very mindfully,


2. I didn't get much closer to creating more product (be it digital, perfume, poster or otherwise).

So, while the past three months were decidedly not fallow, I recognize the need to put in place a structure to help me achieve what I want to achieve using time management and money management.

It's called the Rule of Five. I made it up this weekend.

The Rule of 5 is essentially this: you get five pots. Five activities. Five "slots" for both money and time.

The Rule of 5 for productivity and time management:  I get five things to work on at all times.

(I'm a "scanner" or Renaissance Soul. Try to make me pick one thing and I become despondent and less productive. Click here to read more.) 

What that means right now is that my "work" or Enjoyable Money Making Activities (EMMA) are capped at five.

My top five right now?

1. Content Creation- blogs, newsletters, videos

2. Coaching- marketing and delivery of services and training

3. Consulting- marketing and delivery of services for current clients


5. Productization- stand alone products for my site The idea is that I spend roughly an hour on each of these DAILY (if not more).

**Meditation/Exercise are not on my top 5 because they're just sort of integrated into my life. Still if they're not scheduled I tend not to do them. You'll see them on my daily block below.

In my life, I typically work six days a week because I like a few days to be less intense. Plus I get sad if I don't work. For me, that means that I apply my Rule of 5 to each and every day. Now, I know that I basically need to switch gears every 45 to 90 minutes, so unless I am onsite with clients, it's best for me to stick to that paradigm. Instead of blocking each work week day with one of my top five, I put several items into one day but make sure that each one gets pretty equal billing.

My daily block always includes:

1. Coaching (continuing ed/marketing/admin)


3. Content creation (video or writing)

4. Consulting (continuing ed/marketing/admin)

5. Productization


The only thing NOT on my daily block of five is coaching/consulting delivery of services and networking? Why? Because I KNOW I'm going to do those things- I have concrete client meetings, networking meetings and networking events. I know that I'll show up to those No Matter What.

The items on my daily block o' five are things that get pushed into nevernever land UNLESS I prioritize them. They are the "long game" items that are crucial to the future whereas the delivery of services/networking are the short game and provide immediate returns.

I do this block of activities sometime between 7 am and 12 pm daily. I don't always do the same order, nor do I do equal amounts of time, but they are always the focus of my morning "me time."

I have found that if I don't prioritize them, then I fart around on facebook or other people's sites until my client appointments and then have to scramble to get dressed and such. If I start out my day with my daily block, then I find I am much more productive and on time over all. Cool, right?

If I have less time, then I shorten my daily block- so instead of taking one of my activities out entirely, I'll do only 20 minutes per activity instead of an hour. Then, the rest of my day is:

Client work (coaching and consulting) between 12 and 5

Networking/meetings between 4 and 6

Weekly I book in: cash flow/reporting invoicing speaking outreach

Now, on to the incredibly simple Rule of Five for money management.

It looks like this: I have five pots for my money.

They are:

1. Taxes

2. Household

3. Business

4. Funtimes

5. Investment

It's a simple 20/20/20/20/20 split as soon as it comes in. And that's what I've got to work from in each of those areas. (I put travel into funtimes. Dining out into household.) Simple!

I'll let you know how it goes on a month-by-month basis. I'm pretty excited to re-implement this as I've done variations of it in the past. This is the first time that I realized how easy it could be! Do let me know if you try the Rule of Five!