Somewhere along the path of 2015, I saw an idea that appealed to me. You create a drawing of a tree with leaves, with each leaf representing an amount of money that you are in debt. Each time you pay off that amount, you color in a leaf.
I bought the canvas a couple of months ago at least, but it sat, neglected, beside my desk day after day. My Simpleology process today helped me get in touch with the short-term goal of creating my visual tree. I put a kaizen step on my daily task list to simply get the canvas and the markers out and in front of me.
As so often happens when I actually start something, I was motivated to keep going with the momentum. I enlisted the Resident Artist, aka my daughter, to create the tree, and then I made all the leaves. This thing might not qualify to be hung in the MOMA, but it works just beautifully in my family room.
If you would like to create your own tree, all you need is a work surface, the data you are working with, and some type of medium for drawing. I used a wrapped canvas 12″x36″, and some Prismacolor markers. Decide what quantity each of your leaves will represent. Draw the basic tree, then add the number of leaves which equals the total you are trying to save or pay off.
If you are saving, as you save one leaf’s worth, color in one leaf. If you are reducing debt, as you pay off one leaf’s worth, color in one leaf. We were able to color in two leaves today. I always knew I was a visual person, but I am pleasantly surprised just how motivating this is to me. Every time I see it, I think of how I might be able to color in more of the leaves.
There are free debt repayment calculators online. I know because we used one to get the facts. Ooh, the facts are not nearly as fun as combining creativity and color and a visual reminder. The facts may not change since they are based on loan amounts and interest rates and certain payment amounts, but I can see the changes on my little tree.
I took a picture of it today and will be taking a picture every month to see the progress. Question of the day: how soon can we get all the leaves on our tree colored in?