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TheFlyingAccountant: Ground School. Part I.


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Ground School: Part I

 

 

I spent some time this weekend doing some reflecting. Part of this was spurred from some things that happened between me and management and others (nothing bad--I expected it to turn out badly at the time, but I found out that things actually turned out really well, and that my prejudices had led me astray when it came to making judgments about certain personalities). Part of this is because the weekends are my time to reflect, and this is the output of said reflections.

 

So, for this (and future challenges), I think it's time to start looking at my life as a business.

 

Over the last four years or so, my life has been like that local mom and pop shop that had been bumbling along just fine, barely making ends meet, when suddenly, there's a huge shake-up. There was a huge merger, some stock traded hands, a healthy dose of pivoting, realignments, relocation of home office, etc. All of a sudden, this mom and pop shop started seeing massive growth and found itself competing on a whole new level.

 

The problem is that methods that used to work for the mom and pop shop like keeping receipts piled up in a cute little box on the front counter or just stuffing important papers in a bag somewhere no longer work. Now that I'm married, in a whole new career, and am pursuing a whole new way of life, I've outgrown my systems. Up to this point, I've been fine just cruising along and taking things as they come, but now, that approach isn't working. At best, I'm spinning my wheels or I'm just throwing shit at a wall to see what sticks. At worst, I'm exasperated and stressed out.

 

What does that mean for this and future challenges? That means much more attention to the systems that I have in place. It means a lot more decluttering and building on previous successes.

 

So without further ado, here's the challenge:

 

1. Re-calibration Session Nightly at 8 pm. This will involve such activities as updating this thread, checking in on my to-do lists, decluttering my paperwork, updating my finances, and doing other stuff to keep the knowledge wheels greased. It may not quite happen at 8 pm, but as long as I can kick it off by no later than 9:30, I'm a happy boy.

 

2. One six pack of beer per week, max. (or its equivalent). Reducing my alcohol intake was probably one of the best things I could have done for my body, and I want to keep this up. Having said that, it's nice having my little reward at the end of a hard week.

 

3. Stronglifts 3 X Per Week. I'm doing great at the lifts, and my wife claims that she's already seeing results, so I want to keep up the good work here.


4. 15 minutes minimum of Piano Practice. I'm seeing results from this, so again, I want to keep up the momentum here.

 

And I'm going to leave it at that for now. I may do other stuff, but again, the goal is building Systems, and my first System begins with a nightly re-calibration session to check in on how things are doing.

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"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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Day 2.

Day 1 did not start off things too hot. Had a few of my beers early and also didn't get that extra half-hour in. In fact, I got one hour less than I'm supposed to. I'm not going to beat myself up about it. Just going to keep it moving. I did get close to the bedtime mark though (10:45).

 

1. No alcohol for the week.

Beers earned: -5.

2. 10:30 pm bedtime:

Tonight's bedtime will be: 10:40

3. Extra half-hour of work today: Done. Granted, it was mainly because of a tech issue that kept me 30 mins late, but I'll take 'em where I find 'em.

4. Update finances: Updated.

5. Identify one community event to participate in:

6. Stronglifts today:

Squats: 145 X 5 X 5

Bench Press: 95 X 5 X 5.

Barbell Row: 95 X 5 X 5

 

Other:

Thought I'd add a section to track my piano practice since this is turning into an everyday thing now.

 

*All major scales in Bastien book-Fastest time: 7 mins; 58 seconds.

*All harmonic minor scales in Bastien book-Fastest time: 25 mins; 17 seconds (welp. Looks like I'm gonna be working on minor scales for a little while.)

*Will include slightly more than 12 scales since Bastien includes both accidentals for some scales (so both C# major and Db major). I'm fine with this because it means I get some extra practice on those obscure keys. Also, these are two octaves, hands separate, any speed.

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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What do you use for your finance organization? I've been looking around for some options :)

 

will be following along!

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2 minutes ago, RedStone said:

What do you use for your finance organization? I've been looking around for some options :)

 

Excel pivot tables. Let me see if I can figure out a way to post a data-scrubbed version, and I'll show you what it looks like.

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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No idea how to make the images any smaller than this (and let me know if you do know how-There's no need for these things to be this huge.)

 

Basically, the way it works is that you need two tabs: A data tab and a chart of accounts tab. The data tab lists transactions with each new row being a new transaction. Each "account" gets assigned an account number (1000's are assets, 2000's are liabilities, so on). There's always going to be an account that gets debited and and account that gets credited. So, for instance, if I'm recording a liability for my power bill, I would debit the utilities expense and credit the power bill payable accounts.

 

To the right of the data rows are two pivot tables. One adds up the sum of all debits for each account and one adds up the sum of all credits for each account.

 

Then you have the Chart of Accounts tab that displays this info (second pic). You have each account name and number listed. Beside each account number is a VLookup using the account number that looks back into the pivot table on the data tab to calculate the balance. For asset accounts, credits are subtracted from debits, and vice versa for liabilities. There's a few other tabs not shown that I use for various things-One that shows an amortization schedule for the mortgage, one I use for recons, etc.

 

It's a tool I've been working on and updating for about, eh, four years maybe? I'm pretty proud of it.

 

1152140986_Screenshot(4).png.cbe1aab06bf889403b396f912248840b.png

 

233956046_Screenshot(5).thumb.png.505d20714e4e6c1b11046744062465cd.png

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"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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The actual formula to calculate the account balances looks kinda like this: =IFERROR(SUM(VLOOKUP(B4,Data!$F$1:$G$122,2,FALSE)-VLOOKUP(B4,Data!$H$1:$I$122,2,FALSE)),VLOOKUP(B4,Data!$F$1:$G$122,2,FALSE)).

 

The IFERROR is there to just point to the Debit balance in case there haven't been any credits to that account. Otherwise, it shows an N/A error.

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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Got in about fifteen minutes of left hand work on Georgia on my Mind in my cocktail piano book.

 

Depending on whether I want to stretch that 10:30 requirement to 11, I might get some more practice in...sure is tempting...

 

Otherwise, gonna head out and watch some tv with the wife.

 

Really bummed out that all I got done was 15 minutes of repertoire work and some scale crap.

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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Day 3.

Got most of what I wanted to accomplish done yesterday. Decided to go ahead and polish off the rest of those two beers and go alcohol free for the next two weeks. Speaking of which, I need to stock up on La Croix again. Got in bed close to my goal despite my protestations on missing out on piano stuff. And the Stronglifts was knocked out.

 

My county is hosting a town hall this evening on YouTube in which they discuss zoning. Not the most exciting stuff in the world, but may also be a useful opportunity to dip my toes into the local community involvement pool.

 

1. No alcohol for the week.

Beers earned: -5.

2. 10:30 pm bedtime:

Tonight's bedtime will be: 12:00

3. Extra half-hour of work today: Done.

4. Update finances: Updated.

5. Identify one community event to participate in: Nothing going on yet.

6. Stronglifts today:

Rest day.

 

Other:

Thought I'd add a section to track my piano practice since this is turning into an everyday thing now.

 

*All harmonic minor scales in Bastien book-Fastest time: 33:59.91. But I was doing a little more intensive focus on HT stuff and trying to really get to know the scales, so I'm happy with this time.

* two octaves, hands separate, any speed.

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

Link to post

Day 4.

Didn't do so hot on the bedtime front. Wife and I watched some tv last night, plus, even though we were done at about 11:30, I desperately wanted to get some piano work in, so that meant a few more minutes doing that.

 

Just to keep my sanity going, I'm swapping out goal 5 for getting in some piano practice each day. I'll still keep an eye out for any community events to attend, but if I'm being honest with myself, I'm not that interested in that just yet. Not so interested that I'd eschew the things that I really love to do. Learn piano or listen to people drone about zoning? Learn piano.

 

1. No alcohol for the week.

Beers earned: -5.

2. 10:30 pm bedtime:

Tonight's bedtime will be: 12 am

3. Extra half-hour of work today: Not yet. In fact, I'm in the hole 2 hours (not counting the extra half hour). But I needed a break, so I can make it up this evening or on the weekend.

4. Update finances: Updated.

5. 15 minutes of piano practice: Done. See below.

6. Stronglifts today:

Squats: 145 X 5 X 5.

Overhead press: 75 X 5 X 5. No failures. That's a personal record for me (I think). On to 80 lbs.

Deadlift: 155 X 5 X 1

 

*All harmonic minor scales in Bastien book-Fastest time: 18:31.13  -New Personal record. Boom. Looks like that intensive minor scale work the other day paid off.

* two octaves, hands separate, any speed.

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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Day 5.

 

 

1. No alcohol for the week.

Beers earned: -5.

2. 10:30 pm bedtime:

Tonight's bedtime will be:12:00 midnight

3. Extra half-hour of work today: Nope. But I hit a full 8 hours. May put in another hour this evening, though.

4. Update finances: Yes.

5. 15 minutes of piano practice: Almost (I think I can squeeze in at least another 3 seconds worth).

6. Stronglifts today:

Rest day

 

*All harmonic minor scales in Bastien book-Fastest time: 14:57.53

* two octaves, hands separate, any speed.

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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2 hours ago, Chesire said:

This is great!   You made me aware that I was feeling much the same.  Time to do some investigating.

 

Yeah, I switched that one to some piano stuff after the fact. Having said that, it's still on my mind to do some general research on my local community if for no other reason than to make me a more informed citizen. Heck, I wonder if just learning the vocabulary of city planning (e.g. the concept of SPLOST) would go a long way towards making me able to discuss political issues intelligently.

 

Not trying to make things political in my thread (cause, as y'all can see from my challenge, other things take a much higher priority in my world), but I'm starting to learn that real change for the better is all about the boring stuff. Folks come out of the woodwork for stuff like primaries and presidential elections and the knock-down drag-out debates over social issues like abortion and gun control, but how many hashtags are there out there for stuff like millage rates and paving roads. I watched about 15 minutes of a town-hall meeting for my county, and when they showed the crowd, aside from a few outliers, it appeared to be comprised of mostly 50- and 60-somethings. What was the hot topic? Infrastructure improvement plans and SPLOST renewal projects.

 

The audio was awful. The video was ok. The speakers (mostly mayors) were decent, but not exactly captivating. Compared to some of the town halls I saw during the primaries, it was some pretty amateur-hour stuff, but literally everything that was discussed had a direct impact on my day-to-day life. The County Commissioner weighed in on property tax rates (conspicuously non-committal on whether such rates would be raised in the future); The various mayors in the county discussed their infrastructure budgets, and those included funds earmarked for local police departments, for paving roads (apparently it costs around 1 million to pave a road), installing traffic lights, and making parking lots in their respective downtown areas. Every single agenda item impacted my local community either directly or indirectly.

 

It was also kind of boring to watch.

 

That's my gripe these days with political activism. There's attention devoted to struggling for a cause, and "struggling" seems to frequently be interpreted as being beaten or called names or ostracized or whatever--things that make for viral videos. That sort of struggle is incredibly important because, in my opinion, it's pointing to where things hurt. But I also think we do ourselves a disservice when we fail to recognize another type of struggle-Struggling to wade through the dry, boring stuff. The problem is, as I see it, that if real change is going to happen, some of it's going to take place in contracts, bills, budgets, zoning ordinances, RFP's, and other stuff that's mind-numbingly boring to read.

 

So that ran a bit long. Sorry about that. Got inspired.

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"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

Link to post

Great challenge!

 

It sounds like your political system is worse than mine, although I'm also not aware of the details in my local community. I do know that there are more young people active though, and the local newspaper reports on many decisions like the parking lots and playgrounds, and also announces events where "normal citizens" can give their opinion. Is there something like that where you are?

 

I love your Excel-sheet by the way 😀. And good job on the daily piano practice; whenever I'm playing the clarinet more often I can really see the difference. I'm now struggling with pieces in Eb major (3 flats), and since I don't practice enough I'm not learning to play in that key very fast 😉.

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1 hour ago, Waanie said:

It sounds like your political system is worse than mine, although I'm also not aware of the details in my local community. I do know that there are more young people active though, and the local newspaper reports on many decisions like the parking lots and playgrounds, and also announces events where "normal citizens" can give their opinion. Is there something like that where you are?

 

I don't think my political system is bad at all, but that may just be because I'm so used to it. Sure, things aren't always wonderful, but compared to, for example, the Siege of Paris in the 1800's or Stalinist Russia, things aren't so bad.

 

I think the problem is that it's too easy to go about our day not noticing all of the small things that make normal life happen. It's kind of like when we were kids, we never noticed all of the work that our parents did behind the scenes to keep us fed and clothed and to keep the bad stuff at bay.

 

I've been going through so much of my life stopping at traffic lights and never thinking that 1) That traffic light costs money and 2) there may have been vigorous debate about whether to put that traffic light there in the first place because 3) one measly traffic light influences the flow of traffic which can impact the economic well being and safety of a community.

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"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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Also. This challenge is officially undergoing revision as of...now.

 

I think when I first put it together a week ago, it was a little half-baked. Over the last few days, I've been thinking about some of the mental struggles that I'm working through.

 

Mostly, it's this nagging feeling that I'm always playing catch up. Part of it is because of the big career change. I put the trajectory of my life on pause for probably a good three years so that I could switch to a completely different career. Over 2019, I was finally able to get my life to a point where my career-change debts were under control, and things finally started to feel stable. But now, I feel like I'm rushing to make those three years back.

 

Add to that the fact over the last decade or so, I've learned how to learn. If I want to learn to fly planes or play piano or grow a garden, there's resources that will get me there, and so much more of my world feels within my grasp. The problem is that I'm also ten years older which means that I'm ten years closer to not being able to do those things anymore.

 

What I need to do for this challenge, then, is to focus on grounding myself. I need to focus on putting systems in place that will give me the progress I need while also ensuring that I don't burn myself out by trying to cram three years of living into a week. I need to be less concerned with doing everything and more concerned with doing enough, and I need a little bit of perspective before I go completely nuts.

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"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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7 minutes ago, theflyingaccountant said:

I don't think my political system is bad at all, but that may just be because I'm so used to it. Sure, things aren't always wonderful, but compared to, for example, the Siege of Paris in the 1800's or Stalinist Russia, things aren't so bad.

Fair enough.

 

7 minutes ago, theflyingaccountant said:

I think the problem is that it's too easy to go about our day not noticing all of the small things that make normal life happen. It's kind of like when we were kids, we never noticed all of the work that our parents did behind the scenes to keep us fed and clothed and to keep the bad stuff at bay.

 

I've been going through so much of my life stopping at traffic lights and never thinking that 1) That traffic light costs money and 2) there may have been vigorous debate about whether to put that traffic light there in the first place because 3) one measly traffic light influences the flow of traffic which can impact the economic well being and safety of a community.

Oh yeah, and this with everything, up to what kind of trees to plant somewhere. I was aware of the traffic lights, since I'm always surprised about how well thought-out their schedules are and they do sometimes change. Because I live in a country where there's always many political parties in any election, it is always fun to read their views for the local elections, especially on the everyday things.

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3 minutes ago, theflyingaccountant said:

What I need to do for this challenge, then, is to focus on grounding myself. I need to focus on putting systems in place that will give me the progress I need while also ensuring that I don't burn myself out by trying to cram three years of living into a week. I need to be less concerned with doing everything and more concerned with doing enough, and I need a little bit of perspective before I go completely nuts.

That's smart! It's so easy to want to do aaaaall the things, and then burning out, feeling like you don't do enough, and start the cycle at the beginning again (been there, done that, didn't get the T-shirt ;)).

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On 6/20/2020 at 9:56 AM, theflyingaccountant said:

Yeah, I switched that one to some piano stuff after the fact.

I see that know.  And it absolutely makes sense to maintain your sanity without boredom melting your brain out your ears.  As you said there is great value in simply educating yourself about what is happening and doing what you can as you are able.

 

On 6/20/2020 at 9:56 AM, theflyingaccountant said:

So that ran a bit long. Sorry about that. Got inspired.

It was a quality rant.

 

4 hours ago, theflyingaccountant said:

What I need to do for this challenge, then, is to focus on grounding myself. I need to focus on putting systems in place that will give me the progress I need while also ensuring that I don't burn myself out by trying to cram three years of living into a week. I need to be less concerned with doing everything and more concerned with doing enough, and I need a little bit of perspective before I go completely nuts.

That right there is a power move.  Combine that recognition of burnout and being discerning about what is enough with having learned how to learn and you'll likely progress more in one year than those three.

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8 minutes ago, Chesire said:

I see that know.  And it absolutely makes sense to maintain your sanity without boredom melting your brain out your ears.  As you said there is great value in simply educating yourself about what is happening and doing what you can as you are able.

 

It was a quality rant.

 

That right there is a power move.  Combine that recognition of burnout and being discerning about what is enough with having learned how to learn and you'll likely progress more in one year than those three.

 

Just in case no one's ever told you, I'd like to point out that you are a world class encourager.

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"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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It's a little bit past 9:30, but here goes.

 

Stronglifts is done. Squats at 150 X 5 X 5; Bench press and barbell row both at 100 X 5 X 5. No failures for any of those.

 

Squats is starting to feel hard. So is bench press. Barbell row not as much, but it's getting there.

 

Six pack done, so no more beers for the rest of the week for me. And the 15 minute piano practice was knocked out a long time ago. Finances updated, too.

 

Not going to calibrate much other than that. Need to be starting this process earlier than 11:30, but an 11:30 bedtime is better than a midnight bedtime.

 

Tomorrow's another day. I'mma be all right.

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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Quick update:

No Stronglifts today.

Put in some piano time to go through all 12 majors and minors with the metronome on at 60 bpm.

No beers consumed today.

And time for my nightly re-calibration session...

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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Thought about it some more this morning. These "re-calibration" sessions need some parameters. How do I know when I'm done? What do I even do?

So here goes.

1. Update my to-do list;

2. Update NF;

3. Update the finances.

 

And for now, that's about it.

 

Got Stronglifts today. Also going to try to get in some studying now that I'm taking a new round of classes. And I think I have an 8 pm zoom meeting for one of my classes this evening.

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

Flight Plans: 1; 2; 3; 4;

 

The Hangar

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Have you ever read Getting Things Done.  It describes an organizational system that you apply to your life.  It would help as your life has changed and requires more organization now than before.  I use the system loosely and it has helped me a lot.  I felt like I had all kinds of things not getting done or that I was forgetting about.  the system helps to organize these things and get everything you need to do into a single system.  

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Open Fracture - Lvl 1 Ranger Class

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