The Simple Dollar Podcast #3 – Short Term Goals

The third episode of The Simple Dollar Podcast focuses on short-term goals. I talk about several of my own short-term goals and discuss some tactics anyone can apply to make their short term goals and projects a reality. Also discussed: C.S. Lewis, awful corporate motivational posters, Woodward and Bernstein, and which baseball announcer I sound the most like. Total time – 14:20.

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Episode Notes
Here are some additional notes that go alongside the comments in the podcast. Approximate times for the corresponding links and notes are listed.

0:00 – The theme song is a public domain recording of a Camper van Beethoven concert on October 25, 1986. Listen to the concert in its entirety.
0:16 – Some background reading on short term goals.
0:42 – Uh-oh, dry mouth setting in!
0:53 – Quick gulp of water!
1:11 – An excellent book on procrastination is The Now Habit by Neil Fiore.
1:21 – I can be an awful procrastinator.
1:57 – Here’s An overview of The Chronicles of Narnia.
2:14 – I thought The Magician’s Nephew was the best one in the series.
3:35 – Here’s that very non-motivational poster.
4:02 – And here’s a much better one, with a Lao Tzu quote.
4:22 – Some notes on Getting Things Done by David Allen.
5:42 – Here’s how to plan ahead for meals like I’m talking about.
9:39 – Here’s my notes on a Roth IRA and other retirement savings tools.
9:43 – … and here’s how to develop your own debt repayment plan.
10:19 – A nice guide for installing a programmable thermostat from Frugal Dad.
10:22 – Here’s the Department of Energy’s guide to air sealing your home.
11:35 – All the President’s Men is a great movie.
11:41 – … and so is The Natural.
11:55 – Do I sound more like Ernie Harwell, Vin Scully, or Harry Caray? Or Chip Caray? Or Bob Uecker?
12:30 – Evernote is great!
13:08 – Action Method is a pretty good way of keeping track of what you need to do next.
14:03 – A preview of next week’s topic, food.

One thing I’d like to do in a future episode is have an audio reader’s mailbag. If you have a microphone on your computer and can record an MP3 of a simple, short question you might have on personal finance, careers, pop culture, or anything else you’d like me to answer, record it as an MP3 and send it to me. Keep the total recording under 15 seconds, please.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

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  1. Chris says:

    That CVB recording is definitely not in the public domain. I’m pretty confident that your use of that recording in your podcast actually violates their taping policy (http://bit.ly/wdJpw), since your podcast and site are money-makers.

  2. Michael says:

    Do you think Michael Ward’s theory about the planets, books and medieval cosmology is correct? The more I read Lewis, the more I am convinced. It’s an exciting discovery if he’s right!

  3. kat says:

    Trent and everyone who reads/listens on this site-check out despair.com for some REAlly funny and cynical unmotivational posters. I sent my boss to the site for the absolute power one, and he almost fell out of his chair laughing.

  4. fairydust says:

    kat, those are hysterical!

  5. Mz Ruby says:

    Trent, your podcasts are improving by leaps and bounds with each new episode! I had to laugh about the motivational posters – ugh! kat already mentioned despair.com, one of my favorite sites.
    The Chronicles of Narnia bring back such good memories of my (now 32-year old) twin daughters when they were around 8 years old. My husband read to them every night from the time they were infants and they read the entire series together. They are still avid readers and both of them have the entire series in their own libraries. Another book you will want to find (think it is out of print, but you may be able to get a copy) is The Never Ending Story by a German author.
    Can’t wait to hear the food podcast!

  6. Matt @ Ratoinal Imperative says:

    “The Now Habit” looks like a great read, I’m definitely going to check that out. Trent, I’m really surprised at your voice for some reason. I didn’t expect it to be deep.

  7. Chris B. says:

    Allowing recordings of concerts to be freely hosted on Archive.org does not necessarily place them in the “Public Domain“. That’s a very specific term with a very specific meaning. The Camper van Beethoven taping policy (link) pretty much precludes any notion that this recording might be in the Public Domain.

    If anything, I’d argue that your use of that recording violates the taping policy (linked above) in that you’re using it to promote your site, which is a for-profit project.

  8. Johanna says:

    OK, I’m not the world’s expert on podcasts, but I still don’t get the tangents. You don’t ramble off topic in your blog posts, so why do it in a podcast? It seems to me that if anything, it would be even worse to jump from topic to topic in a spoken-word format than in a written format. Readers of a blog post can scroll back up the page if they forgot what you were talking about before you went off on your tangent, or they can skip over a paragraph if you start talking about something that doesn’t interest them. Listeners to a podcast can’t do that. They either follow what you’re saying while you’re saying it, or they tune out entirely.

    Also, some of the tangents themselves could be formulated a lot better. For example, I’m one of those people you were talking about who’s only read the first of the Narnia books, and I would have appreciated a few words about *why* The Magician’s Nephew made you think about good decisions and right and wrong and all of those things. And if it’s so deeply philosophical, how much do you expect your son to get out of it at his age? I might be curious enough to go read the book for myself and find out, but then again I might not. I think it would have been better to fill in some of those gaps.

    Also, when you described the motivational poster that you found really annoying, you didn’t say anything about why you found that particular poster particularly annoying. I almost expected it to be the set-up for a joke, or something (like “Every time I see that poster, I picture all the people in the office joining hands, ‘We Are The World’ style, waiting for their problems to magically turn into opportunities”). Instead, it falls flat.

    It sort of sounds like you’re starting with some formula that you got from somewhere for what a podcast is “supposed” to be like, and you’re trying to fill in all the ingredients. And I’m wondering why you think you need to do it that way. In my opinion, your podcasts would be a lot better if they were more like your blog posts.

  9. Lotsofbluesky says:

    Trent, I agree with Johanna (comment #5). The podcast rambled a bit too much for me. You can read at your own pace but listening to a podcast you are tied to the pace of the speaker. Of course, you can play the podcast while you are multitasking, but for me, doing more than one thing at a time cheats at least one of those things of enough focus to derive as much benefit from it as I might gain if I clearly focused on it. I started doing something else while listening to your podcast and you became background sound like a radio playing in another room and I lost interest. This difficulty I had maybe could be fixed if your podcast could be pared down, less conversational and all over the place and more focused like a one minute news summary. Well Trent, that’s just my two cents’ worth. The podcast doesn’t work for me the way your blog posts generally do.

  10. Andrea says:

    I’ve heard improvement over last week, and that is what you were aiming for I’m sure. This week seemed to flow a little easier, but I was still distracted by the things that were trying to be funny. It’s probably what I would sound like too.

    The good distraction was the *one thing* that was weighing on my mind. I went and took action on it while the podcast was playing. The good news is that my addresses are now in Access so I can print labels for Christmas cards this year instead of having to hand write them out again late in December.

    It was important to me, so I dont have to think about anymore. We’ll see what pops in my head next that i can take action on.

    Ultimately your post got me to move into action, so from that standpoint i’d say the post was a success.

  11. Kevin says:

    A couple of observations:

    In all 3 podcasts, your voice tends to trail off at the end of each sentence. This generally conveys a lack of energy or conviction; you may wish to try to avoid this.

    I know you are trying to keep the podcasts interesting with the digressions and tangents, but that’s awfully dicey – unless you can anticipate exactly what your audience is interested in. My opinion: the podcasts would be stronger with less extraneous stuff.

    Finally: they get better each week. I think J.D.’s suggestion that you engage with someone else – vs. a monologue – is worth consideration, though.

    Keep up the good work!

    PS: Hickory Park was awesome – thanks for the suggestion.

  12. Harry says:

    For tracking goals, you may want to check out http://www.GoalsOnTrack.com, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and has time tracking. It’s clear, focused, easy to navigate, worth a try.

  13. Nick says:

    I do like these podcasts and they show some great potential for a new aspect to your blog. You’ll get better over time and people are just trying to be constructive (though many here have a hard time of being constructive INSTEAD of just critical). Keep up the good work and I appreciate it.

  14. Sm4k says:

    I definitely am hearing improvements Trent, keep at it.

    I still recommend that you get it playing through both channels. Either convert it to mono, or duplicate the left channel into the right channel. Surely Garage Band (if you’re still on your mac) or Audacity can do that. It’s distracting when it only comes out of the left channel.

    Also, I know you can’t help the throat clearing, but if you wanted to spend a few minutes cropping some of the louder ones, or ones that have silence on either end of it, it would make the show easier to listen to.

    I think doing both of these would go along way to improving the perceived production quality.

  15. Trent Trent says:

    I’m not sure how my use violates any sort of taping policy, since I’m not selling the podcast. The podcast is completely free and is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license. The podcast is completely commercial free. The podcast site itself – http://trenttsd.podbean.com/ – is completely ad free. I make absolutely nothing from this podcast.

    I write about the podcast here because I know that it’s something the readers here are interested in. It’s decidedly not a money-making venture in any way, shape, or form – just another form of new media that I’m learning about.

  16. Michael says:

    Trent, obviously nobody will care about your using that song until hundreds of thousands of people listen to your podcasts. :) Until then, how hard would it be to secure written permission? It would be retroactive, of course, so even if it took three months to hear back it’s still be enough to shut people up.

  17. bsigrist says:

    I’m really enjoying the podcasts so far. Your idea on reading The Chronicles of Narnia aloud is an excellent one. The characters would just come alive with a dramatic reading. I know your son will love it!

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