For the first time in more than a year, I feel as if my life is under control. I’m getting things done that need to get done. I have balance. After being overwhelmed for so long, the book stuff is winding down, and I’ve made some changes behind the scenes here at GRS (about which more soon) that allow me to ignore the stuff that doesn’t matter so that I can focus on the stuff that does.

In fact, I’ve settled into something of a routine. I’m not the sort of guy who usually likes routines, but this one’s nice. It goes something like this:

  • Out of bed at 5:30, quick check of e-mail and blog comments, then brush teeth, wash face, and out the door to:
  • One hour at the Crossfit gym starting at 6:30.
  • Back home by 8:00 am. If I’m feeling industrious, I bike or run a bit. After breakfast and a shower, I…
  • Head up to the office by 10:00 am. Spend the next six hours answering e-mail, taking calls, and writing about money.
  • At 4:00 pm, I head hoome to spend an hour studying French.
  • If I don’t have something else planned (such as a Portland Timbers soccer match), Kris and I eat dinner together. Then we read, watch a TV show from iTunes, or work in the yard.
  • I try to be in bed by 9pm for pleasure reading. (I’m just finishing The Egg and I, as recommended by GRS readers.) Lights out by 10pm.

I follow this schedule from Monday through Thursday, and then get three weekend days to do all sorts of other stuff. (Though I usually spend about eight hours on Sunday working at the office.) It feels great! And my workload has dropped from 60+ hours a week all last year to just 24-32 hours a week now. Not Tim Ferriss levels, but much more balanced than before.

As a result, I feel like I’ve been able to produce some better articles lately. I’ve also had time to do more reading about personal finance, both in books and around the web. You know what that means, right? I may be able to post link round-ups a few times a week again — starting with today! Here are some recent articles that have caught my attention:

First up, Flexo at Consumerism Commentary posted the latest edition of his podcast earlier this week, and it features an interview with Donna Freedman. Many of you enjoyed Donna’s guest post here last Sunday. If you’d like to hear more from her, spend half an hour listening to the podcast.

Next, Lisa wrote to tell me that one of her favorite blogs, A Practical Wedding, has been running a series on money and marriage (part two). The first two posts in the series discuss the practical considerations of merging finances (and the comments on the posts argue for alternatives). Lisa thinks I should get the author to a guest post for GRS. I like Meg’s style, so I plan to drop her a line.

Chris from Software Advice recently offered a 10-step guide explaining how to negotiate your rent. What does this have to do with software advice? Who knows? But this post gives a great run-down of the things you can do when negotiating with a landlord.

Steve pointed me to an article at Science and Money that compares 529 plans from Fidelity and Vanguard. I know nothing about 529 plans (which are tax-advantaged plans designed to encourage saving for college), and have never published an article at GRS about them. However, Helen at Science and Money has been doing some research, and this article is a nice round-up of what she’s learned.

Finally, after Katie’s recent guest post about having frugal fun with board games, Josh dropped me a line to tell me about a game he’s been putting together. That game now has a website. If you’d like to see what one of your fellow readers has been up to, go check out Heroes of Feonora. I haven’t downloaded the game yet myself, but I intend to do so soon!

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