efficiency http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11016/all en-US The High Cost of Keeping Warm http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-keeping-warm <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-high-cost-of-keeping-warm" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-175238511.jpg" alt="Spend less to heat your home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feeling chilly? You're not alone. As temperatures plummet across the United States and beyond, people are reaching for their scarves and sweaters, inching up their thermostats, and finding all sorts of other ways to keep warm. How much does it all cost? Here are a few numbers to mull over while you microwave your hot cocoa.</p> <h2>Cost of Keeping Warm</h2> <p>Let's start our look at the costs associated with keeping warm close to home &mdash; in fact this starts right at home.</p> <h3>The Price of Home Heating</h3> <p>Likely one of the biggest ticket items of all is heating your home. The state of Massachusetts, for example, released projections for <a href="http://www.mass.gov/eea/energy-utilities-clean-tech/misc/household-heating-costs.html" target="_blank">annual home heating costs</a> last year by fuel type. These numbers are staggering, but &mdash; surprisingly &mdash; are down an average of 22% from the previous year.</p> <ul> <li>$879 for natural gas;</li> <li>$2,248 for oil;</li> <li>$2,569 for propane;</li> <li>$697 for electric heating.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Note</strong>: How much you'll spend on heat depends on a number of factors, including how energy efficient your home is, as well as the condition of your furnace or other heating appliances.</p> <p>My husband and I learned the hard way that a new gas furnace and installation can set you back $4,000 or more. And it's not exactly one of those things you can put off until next season or even next week, especially if it dies when the temperatures are below zero and you have a newborn in the house.</p> <h3>The Price of Home Energy Efficiency</h3> <p>Many people choose to undertake big home projects to make their houses more energy efficient. Adding insulation to attics and walls is a popular choice to help keep heat inside. The average cost of installing blown-in insulation ranges from $875 to $1,897, according to HomeAdvisor.</p> <p>Other insulation price averages include:</p> <ul> <li>$1,000 for spray foam insulation;</li> <li>$300 to $500 for fiberglass batt;</li> <li>$675 to $1,075 for reflective or radiant barrier.</li> </ul> <p>Thankfully, this cost is most often a one-time thing. And increasing your home's insulation can help save up to $500 (spray foam) a year in heating/cooling costs. Plus, some states even offer weatherization rebates and tax credits. To see if you apply, visit <a href="http://energy.gov/savings" target="_blank">Energy.gov</a>.</p> <h3>Environmental Costs</h3> <p>Perhaps more important than money, heating homes taxes the Earth's resources. It burns fossil fuels that are in relatively short supply. Not only that, but there's also energy and expense involved in extracting the fuels, transporting them, and &mdash; in the end &mdash; waste that is left behind when the process is done.</p> <p>Currently, fossil fuels are used in the United States to power up to <a href="http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/topics/encyclopedia/fossil-fuels/" target="_blank">81% of our energy needs</a>. And when you're talking about global warming &mdash; a good chunk of that has to do with home heating as well. In 2014, the fossil fuels burned for heating made up <a href="https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions" target="_blank">12% of overall greenhouse gas emissions</a>.</p> <h2>Sustainable and Cost-Effective Ways to Cozy Up</h2> <p>There's good news here: You can tweak your routine slightly and still keep warm, all while not breaking the bank or harming the environment.</p> <h3>Layer Up</h3> <p>Before you crank up the heat, look at what you're wearing. Slip on a base layer of a moisture-wicking fabric, like polyester, and don't skimp on the hats and scarves. Yes, even indoors! The folks at The Old Farmer's Almanac remind us to <a href="http://www.almanac.com/blog/editors-musings/blog-keeping-warm-winter" target="_blank">cover our feet as well</a>. Consider buying an inexpensive pair of <a href="http://amzn.to/2hFI0ML" target="_blank">rubber-soled slippers</a> or warming feet with a bulky pair of <a href="http://amzn.to/2hO0TZQ" target="_blank">wool socks</a>.</p> <h3>Program Your Thermostat</h3> <p>You can save up to <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats" target="_blank">10% off your energy bill</a> by setting your thermostat seven to 10 degrees cooler in the eight hours when you're at work. Better yet, take your own forgetfulness out of the equation and install a <a href="http://amzn.to/2illZ23" target="_blank">programmable thermostat</a> that will automatically do the work for you.</p> <h3>Try the Fan Trick</h3> <p>Switch the direction of your ceiling fan so it will circulate warm air during the winter (usually clockwise). How it works: The air is sucked up by the fan in the center of the room and then pushed down around the edges. The result is a more even temperature throughout the room (and your whole house, if you're performing this trick in multiple rooms).</p> <h3>Fill in Cracks</h3> <p>You may want to take a walk around your home to do a mini energy audit. Basically, you're looking for drafts around windows, doors, and any other openings or cracks in your home. You can inexpensively add weather stripping to doors and windows.</p> <p>You may even want to use some plastic or bubble wrap for particularly drafty windows. To do this yourself, frame the window with double-sided tape, peel off backing, and apply bubble wrap. You may want to add another layer of tape and cover the bubble wrap with <a href="http://amzn.to/2gLzMRy" target="_blank">plastic film insulation</a>.</p> <h3>Use the Sun</h3> <p>Try opening your curtains and letting the sunlight indoors during the day. Alternatively, close the curtains at night to keep the warm air inside. You could also consider investing in some <a href="http://amzn.to/2gLD6ff" target="_blank">thermal curtains</a>. Some claim they can help you save up to 25% on your heating and cooling bills.</p> <h3>Rearrange Your Spaces</h3> <p>Give your rooms a new look and feel by moving furniture around so it won't block vents, radiators, and other heating elements. You don't want your couch hogging all the heat and making your system less efficient. If your floors are bare, add a rug that helps insulate your space and keeps your toes warmer.</p> <p>Oh, and if you have rooms you don't often use, close them up. This way, you're heating a smaller area. Just make sure you close the vents in these spaces.</p> <h3>Use Alternatives</h3> <p>There are other ways to heat your home that don't involve using a furnace or boiler. Wood heat is sustainable &mdash; if carbon intensive &mdash; because it utilizes a renewable resource. Modern woodstoves are much more efficient and produce less pollution than older models. Still, many environmentalists shy from wood because it does cause the most pollution of alternative heating sources. Pellet stoves, on the other hand, run on a similar idea, but they are friendlier to the planet.</p> <p>One of the cleanest alternatives? Harnessing the power of the sun. You may want to look into a solar hot air system to supplement your primary heating source. It involves collectors placed on southern-facing walls and fans to push the air indoors. If you're building a new home, look into passive solar design, which can supply <a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/energy-efficiency/home-heating-options-zm0z12djzsor?pageid=6#PageContent6" target="_blank">50% to 80% of your home's heat</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-keeping-warm">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/opt-out-of-the-wasteful-26-billion-phone-directory-industry">Opt-out of the wasteful $26 billion phone directory industry</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home cost-effective heating costs efficiency energy environment heating costs natural gas oil tricks Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1859597 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_road_trip_21640056.jpg" alt="Women finding smart ways to boost gas mileage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is just around the corner, and if you're one of the lucky ones, you'll be hittin' the road before you know it. Cut a bit of the cost from your road trip(s) by saving on gas with these fuel-efficient tips and tricks.</p> <h2>1. Switch to a More Fuel-Efficient Vehicle</h2> <p>It seems like an obvious solution, and it's certainly easier said than done to upgrade your vehicle to a more fuel-efficient model like a fully electric car or hybrid. But if it's time for a new whip, or you want to invest in a ride that will you save you dough in the long term, it's the only way to go. If nothing else, it's at least worth a trip to the dealership to see what it has to offer and <a href="http://www.afdc.energy.gov/calc/">then crunch the numbers</a>.</p> <h2>2. Lighten Your Load Before Long Hauls</h2> <p>Over-packing your car for a road trip &mdash; or, the more likely scenario, hauling around a bunch of junk on a regular basis for no reason at all &mdash; weighs down your vehicle, and that requires it work harder for all that get up-and-go, thus consuming more gas.</p> <p>&quot;Do you go to the garden center, buy several bags of topsoil, then forget to unload your car for a week?&quot; asks auto expert Richard Reina. &quot;Perhaps you have a trunk full of tools, sports equipment, or project supplies which don't need to be there. Think about this: Automotive engineers sweat the details to remove ounces of weight to improve a vehicle's EPA mileage rating. Imagine what happens if you remove several pounds. Make it a habit to only carry what needs to be in the car.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated</h2> <p>Tires low on air don't roll easily, requiring more engine power (and more fuel) to make them rotate &mdash; but tire pressure is one of the easiest checks to perform.</p> <p>&quot;Buy an inexpensive pressure gauge, keep it in your glove box, and make a habit of checking the tires at fill-ups,&quot; Reina says. &quot;Be strict about using the numbers on the vehicle's tire pressure label, usually found in the driver's door jamb. Most vehicles have the same pressure rating for all four tires; but pay attention if your label requires different pressures front and rear.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Avoid Stop-and-Go Traffic</h2> <p>You'll save on gas if you keep your car moving at a steady pace opposed to braking often in traffic. If your morning and afternoon commutes are usually sluggish, try another route. Another reason your vehicle will consume more fuel in stop-and-go traffic is because it'll run longer than if you traveled from A to B quicker. If you have the option, test out different departing times &mdash; maybe leave home/work a little earlier or later, depending on what your schedule (and boss) allows &mdash; to avoid gridlock.</p> <h2>5. Take Your Foot Off the Pedal and Coast for a While</h2> <p>Instead of driving to the absolute last second when you need to stop, take your foot off the pedal well before the light to allow your car to coast to a stop. Make this a habit and you'll start seeing the difference in how often you have to refuel.</p> <h2>6. Turn on Cruise Control to Keep an Even Speed</h2> <p>Personally, I love cruise control. Not so much for the gas-saving factor, but because my feet get tired of always being on the pedal when I'm on long drives &mdash; though the former is as good a reason as any to use it when you hop on the highway.</p> <p>&quot;The best thing you can do to increase your gas mileage is to travel where you can keep an even speed,&quot; say savings expert Paul Moyer. &quot;Most vehicles get the best mileage somewhere between 45 and 55 miles per hour. If you can maintain that speed for long periods of time, you will greatly reduce your gas usage.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Plan Your Errands About Town Efficiently</h2> <p>I'm notoriously forgetful in the morning. I run back in the house at least twice every day to get something I forgot before heading to work. But, I'm much more put together when I'm running weekend errands. I plan out my stops so I can get to one end of town and back without having to cut across roads, make any unnecessary turns, or do the back-and-forth routine. I head north and hit everything on one side of the road, then south to get the rest on the way back. Granted, your errands may not be mapped out so neatly, but there are probably ways you can make your about-town travels more efficient if you tried.</p> <h2>8. Don't Let Your Car Idle if You're Not in It</h2> <p>Even when your car is sitting idle &mdash; like when you're heating it up in the morning when it's cold out &mdash; it's still using gas. If this is your daily practice in the winter, wean yourself off of it. As an alternative, bundle up and let the car heat up gradually as you drive. I know, it's not as cozy-comfortable as getting into a toasty-hot car that's had 20 minutes to sit, but at least your wallet won't feel the burn at the pump. Plus, you'll greatly reduce the chances that your car will get stolen from your own driveway. Do you really want to tell your local law enforcement that embarrassing tale?</p> <h2>9. Take Advantage of the Weather to Heat/Cool the Car Naturally</h2> <p>When it's cold out, park your car in the sun. Vice versa, when it's hot as the dickens, park in the shade. By consciously regulating the temperature inside the car naturally, you may be able to cut down on the times you want to crank up the heat or the A/C&hellip; although the latter isn't as bad as you think it is.</p> <h2>10. Keep the Windows Up When Driving</h2> <p>As I just mentioned, using the A/C isn't the gas-guzzler you might expect it to be. No need to feel wasteful if you require more climate control than Mother Nature is providing.</p> <p>&quot;This tip may run counter to what you were taught: 'Avoid using the A/C unless necessary, because it uses gas!' While this was true 25 years ago, modern electronics have overridden this concern,&quot; Reina says. &quot;Computer controls run the A/C only when needed while still keeping you cool. Automotive aerodynamics have improved so much that driving with windows down actually creates drag. The net effect is that a vehicle gets better mileage if the windows stay up, and the A/C's effect on fuel economy is nil.&quot;</p> <h2>11. Maintain Your Vehicle Regularly to Keep the Engine Running Clean</h2> <p>Of course, the best way to ensure that your car is running clean is to get regular maintenance. Nobody likes to have their car worked on (because what are they going to find wrong with it <em>this time</em>, right?), but if you stay on top of your car's needs, like clean air filters, you'll cut down on costs across the board (not just gas) over the lifetime of the vehicle &mdash; and that's just money in the bank.</p> <h2>Bonus Tip</h2> <p>You can also save on gas purchases and earn cash back when you fill up if you pay with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=travel">gas rewards credit card</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>What are some things you do to boost your gas mileage? I'd love to hear your travel tactics in the comments below.</em>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-cant-make-it-as-a-one-car-family-now-what">You Can&#039;t Make It as a One-Car Family: Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know">Buying a Rental Car? Here&#039;s What You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-still-smart-to-buy-an-electric-car-while-gas-prices-are-low">Is It Still Smart to Buy an Electric Car While Gas Prices Are Low?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-it-cost-every-time-you-get-into-your-car">How Much Does it Cost Every Time you Get Into Your Car?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation commuting driving efficiency fuels costs gas mileage maintenance road trips vehicles Mon, 13 Jun 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1728673 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Get More Out of Business Trips http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_business_trip_000015958604.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways to get more out of business trips" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whenever I travel for work, I find the time on planes to be relaxing, and I get lots of work done. For me, recreational Internet use is a major distraction, and with less distraction comes more productivity. This travel work ethic is something that isn't just me either. The Atlantic notes the same phenomenon that occurs at coffee shops, where <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/04/working-best-at-coffee-shops/237372/">most people are more effective</a> outside of their offices, even though it's noisy. But there also seems to be more personal responsibility. Because people can see your screen, you're <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5793436/why-some-of-us-get-more-done-at-coffee-shops">more likely to actually do work</a> and not just scroll through Facebook, as Life Hacker notes. These examples can be equated directly to travel.</p> <p>And while Bloomberg Business <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-03-21/eight-reasons-business-travelers-shouldnt-work-on-planes">doesn't recommend working on an airplane</a>, there is a way to take advantage of your time without causing a headache or stress. Here are 10 ways to maximize your travel time when you fly.</p> <h2>Before You Take Off</h2> <p>Here are little things you can do before you're in the air that'll make flying an enjoyable &mdash; and efficient &mdash; experience.</p> <h3>1. Buy Noise-Canceling Headphones</h3> <p>Planes can be loud. That's where headphones come in handy. I even use them when I forget my iPod (yes, I'm probably one of the few who still uses an iPod). It helps me rest and keeps the distractions out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-wireless-headphones?ref=seealso">Best Wireless Headphones</a>)</p> <h3>2. Download Podcasts</h3> <p>Don't forget to download any podcasts or songs ahead of time. Planes can be the perfect time to catch up on <em>This American Life</em>, a business podcast, or even a comedy podcast. My friend listens to a lot of inspirational podcasts that have been great for her as she has been trying to start a new business. Find something that works for you and make sure you have it on your phone or other electronic device.</p> <h3>3. Set Your Google Drive to Work Offline</h3> <p>If you do a lot of work in Google Drive, make sure to download your drive on your computer. It lets you make changes online and then loads them when you connect to the Internet again. It's great!</p> <h3>4. Get Your To-Do List Together</h3> <p>To maximize your time on the plane, make sure you have your to-do list together so you can be effective. I have a bad habit of writing down my list on every scrap of paper I can find. I now use Flow on my iPhone instead, which has been more effective lately since I can't remember when I've finished something, and deadlines help make me more productive. Unfortunately, they don't currently have an offline version, so you might have to print your list or save it elsewhere.</p> <h2>On the Plane</h2> <p>Once you're onboard, here's what you can do maximize time in your seat.</p> <h3>5. Meditate</h3> <p>Practicing mindfulness is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to relax and become centered. On a plane, it can be used to quell those moments of fearfulness, but it's also a great way to get your mind ready for the big trip. If you're <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness">new to mindfulness</a>, practice it a bit before leaving so you understand how to really take advantage of your time. Also download some soothing music to listen to.</p> <h3>6. Write</h3> <p>As a writer, I get some of my best work done while on a plane. Even if you don't enjoy writing, there are some great observations to be made while traveling. Carry around a little notebook and note every time the toddler behind you kicks your chair or demands crackers. It can actually help you put your mind at ease and make light of a stressful situation. If you love to write, plane trips can relieve writer's block.</p> <h3>7. Read</h3> <p>Because I never make time to just sit and read in my everyday routine, I rarely do it at all. However, reading is one of my favorite things to do. You don't have the pressure of the Internet calling your name or someone texting you while you're lost in the pages of a good book, so take advantage of being disconnected!</p> <h3>8. Brainstorm</h3> <p>Because I work at a nonprofit that provides affordable housing solutions, my mind is constantly buzzing with ideas for projects we can undertake. I also run a nonprofit that conducts classes, which means my brain never gets a break from ideas. I've spent a large amount of time on planes brainstorming and creating a vision for the coming months and I highly recommend it.</p> <h3>9. Budget</h3> <p>I recently had a hospital visit that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-hit-with-a-huge-medical-bill">proved to be very costly</a> and I've had to really sit down and budget how I'm going to spend my money. On a plane ride not long ago, I figured out how to take care of my medical bills, and I've been using the method ever since. While online tools like Mint are great, I prefer using Excel to track my expenses. It really depends on what your goals are and how you want to get there.</p> <h3>10. Sleep</h3> <p>If you're mentally exhausted, sleeping on the plane might be the best option. There are days when I get no alone time, and being an introvert, I really value that time. So sometimes I plan ahead to sleep on the plane. Just make sure you don't sleep during takeoff and landing.</p> <p><em>What do you do to be productive while traveling?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%20Ways%20to%20Get%20More%20Out%20of%20Business%20Trips.jpg&amp;description=10%20Ways%20to%20Get%20More%20Out%20of%20Business%20Trips" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Ways%20to%20Get%20More%20Out%20of%20Business%20Trips.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jennifer-holder">Jennifer Holder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-free-tools-to-improve-your-work-performance">The 7 Best Free Tools to Improve Your Work Performance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-46-easy-ways-to-be-more-productive">Flashback Friday: 46 Easy Ways to Be More Productive</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-say-no-at-work-and-still-get-ahead">How to Say &quot;No&quot; at Work and Still Get Ahead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-get-people-to-respond-to-your-email">15 Ways to Get People to Respond to Your Email</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-trendy-destinations-for-digital-nomads">7 Trendy Destinations for Digital Nomads</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Productivity Travel business travel business trip efficiency productivity work trip Mon, 28 Dec 2015 10:00:03 +0000 Jennifer Holder 1625937 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Time-Saving Tools Everyone Should Own http://www.wisebread.com/15-time-saving-tools-everyone-should-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-time-saving-tools-everyone-should-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-smartphone-462363713-small.jpg" alt="woman smartphone" title="woman smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feel like there's just not enough time in the day? Join the club. It feels like I'm going nonstop from before sunup to waaaay past sundown every day. I haven't found a solution that will add any time to my daily routine, but I have found a few ways to cut back on the time I'm spending on tasks that otherwise could be more efficient. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-a-time-budget-and-how-to-create-it?ref=seealso">You Need a Time Budget</a>)</p> <p>Take a look at some of my time-saving solutions here, then let me know how you shave a few minutes off your day in the comments below.</p> <h2>1. Food Processor</h2> <p>I enjoy cooking, and I usually make time to eat a healthy meal at home, but I don't always have the time (or energy) to cut, chop, peel, grate, and slice my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rather, I use a food processor whenever it makes sense to quickly and effortlessly manipulate the ingredients I need so I can speed up the cooking process and feed my hungry tummy faster. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A6JHPK8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00A6JHPK8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ZWCJVCQYHLUO3GZJ">KitchenAid makes a great processor</a> (the assortment of blades are beyond helpful), but <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003O47MKA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003O47MKA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ZR6ZGBIKSY3QGPL5">Ninja also makes a line of powerful food prep products</a> that I personally give my seal of approval.</p> <h2>2. Backup Gadget Batteries</h2> <p>iPhone users in particular know the daily struggle of seeing 1% at 11 a.m. even though they awoke four hours before with a fully charged device. Thus, we're forced to charge our phones multiple times a day to avoid being without power when we're not near a socket. In fact, I've personally spent 20 minutes or more on multiple occasions in an actual Apple store just to get a little juice. A rechargeable, on-the-go battery, however &mdash; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=mophie&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=4MOINVFV3IS6JINE">like the ones from Mophie</a> &mdash; drastically cuts back on the instances that I have to stop and recharge my phone when I'm out and about. I plug it in at night and take it with me to avert any low-battery crises.</p> <h2>3. Slow Cooker</h2> <p>There's not much better in this world than coming home after a long, hard day at work to a house that smells delicious because dinner is ready to eat. I don't use my slow cooker much in the summer, but I'm looking forward to stealing a little me-time this fall and winter thanks to my Crock-Pot. I'm also fond of this handy little attachment for slow cookers called the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ET9E7U2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00ET9E7U2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WLEWWACF42T4LJW4">Lid Pocket</a>, which helps me reduce the potential of an OCD attack when I have to put the lid on the counter or sink when taking it off &mdash; and I know I'm not alone.</p> <h2>4. Smartphone and Apps</h2> <p>There's no denying that smartphones help us save time in innumerable ways, from eliminating the need to clip coupons and helping us make lists to managing the security on our homes and keeping in touch with friends. If I had to pick my favorite time-saving app though, I think it would be my mobile banking app. When my bank launched it, it was like trumpets from the heavens were playin' my jam. Now I deposit my checks online, transfer money easily, and even sign up for in-app deals that give me cash back on participating purchases.</p> <h2>5. BB Cream</h2> <p>Erin Konrad, a spokesperson for CouponPal.com, told me about BB Cream. I didn't know much about this facial cosmetic product before Erin chimed in, but Wiki describes it as an all-in-one replacement for serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sunblock. &quot;I love using a BB cream in my beauty regimen; it has multiple uses, which can help save me time during my morning routine,&quot; Erin says. &quot;I love anything that allows me to sleep in a few more minutes.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Programmable Coffee Maker</h2> <p>I'm not a coffee drinker myself &mdash; to be honest, I don't get it at all &mdash; but I don't have to be a java head to know that a programmable coffee maker can shave a good five to 10 minutes off your morning routine if you set it to brew just before you get up or while you're doing your other daily routines. There's also another cool gadget that will help you save time in the morning, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GKNOH8W/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00GKNOH8W&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4GMUXPG5QLDH53QJ">Gamila Impress Coffee Brewer</a>, which gives you the fresh taste of a French Press while you're on the move. I had a chance to try it for another post and even I was impressed.</p> <h2>7. Dishwasher</h2> <p>Most homes have dishwashers nowadays, so let's consider this one an &quot;oldie but a goodie.&quot; In fact, it may even be the biggest time saver of them all. Remember when you had to wash and dry all those dishes by hand? How long did it take you &mdash; 20, 30 minutes? More? Who has time for that &mdash; or dishpan hands? Not me. I just load it and forget it. Until it's time to unload it, of course; you know nobody else in the house is gonna do it.</p> <h2>8. Exercise Equipment</h2> <p>You can save a lot of time and money by buying exercise equipment for your home. I'm not talking about expensive machines, but rather inexpensive pieces like dumbbells, resistance bands, and over-the-door pull-up bars that will help you stay in shape without wasting time going back and forth to the gym multiple times a week. You'll also save anywhere from $10 to $100 a month on gym membership after the initial investment on the equipment.</p> <h2>9. Coin Sorter</h2> <p>My dad used to keep a huge water jug full of coins in his bedroom when I was a kid. Every year or so he would empty it out and spend hours &mdash; like many hours! &mdash; counting and wrapping the coins so he could take them to the bank and cash them in. Of course, these days you also can take your coins to a public machine and have them sorted and counted for you, but that'll cost you upwards of 8% to 10% of your total take.</p> <p>A great solution to save time and money is to purchase a coin sorter for your home and get in the habit of throwing your change into it every day. When the coin wrappers are full, set them aside until you're ready to take them to the bank. I'd also advise buying a fairly decent sorter. I purchased a relatively cheap one in the past and it wasn't worth the plastic it cost to make it.</p> <h2>10. DVR</h2> <p>I don't watch much TV anymore, but back in the day I was a junkie, scheduling my activities around my favorite shows. But thanks to my DVR, I now can do more of what I want and need to do &mdash; like pump out these Wise Bread articles to help you live a more efficient and fiscally responsible life &mdash; because I know I can watch my programs later. Which is perfect for a lazy Sunday when there's nothing else on anyway.</p> <h2>11. Autonomous Cleaning Robots</h2> <p>When <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UUBCNO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000UUBCNO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RRJ3CWOUE4UVFCJC">Roomba</a> was first invented the line only consisted of a round disc that would move around your carpeted floor and suck up all the junk that you used to have pick up by manually pushing a vacuum cleaner. That product still exists, though it's now a much more advanced version, but the line also include models that will scrub and mop floors and clean pools and gutters. I can't even begin to quantify how much time these little babies save, but it's not drop in the bucket.</p> <h2>12. All-in-One Washer Dryer</h2> <p>I'm not sure if it's okay for a grown man to look at shiny new appliances like a wild cat eyes a juicy piece of fresh meat, but my obsession is real and perhaps a tad frightening. Nonetheless, I'm totally into the high-efficiency, all-in-one washer-dryers. I know I'm not the only person who hates going back and forth to the washer and dryer putting clothes in and taking them out of one machine on another all day long, and this is the perfect solution.</p> <p>It's important to note, however, that while the machine's TurboWash will dramatically reduce wash time, the dryer (because it's non-vented) may take longer than you're used to. But who cares? When it's done, it's done, and you can get back to your DVR.</p> <h2>13. No-Iron Clothing</h2> <p>I would probably have to iron no-iron clothing &mdash; because I'm totally a freak about ironing my clothes &mdash; but for people who loathe it but have to do it if they want to look presentable and professional, I think this is a great compromise. If you're skeptical about how well no-iron clothing performs, Good Housekeeping put a few brands to the test, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=127614">as reported by ABC News</a>.</p> <h2>14. George Foreman Grill</h2> <p>For those of us who live in urban areas and have no room for a real grill &mdash; or can't own one altogether &mdash; a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001NXC65K/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001NXC65K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QJ5RAST22J6QQ6NM">George Foreman Grill</a> is a great compromise appliance. There's no charcoal to burn of course, so you're saving time there, but the other awesome time-saving aspect of these grills is that they cook both sides of the food at once, essentially cutting your time in the kitchen in half. Plus, reviews have always been on the positive side for the grills, so you know you're getting a good product.</p> <h2>15. Hybrid or Electric Car</h2> <p>I left this entry last because as a society we're still not quite ready to fully embrace hybrid and electric cars, but we are moving steadily in that direction. Alas, once these kind of cars become commonplace, positive results will abound. We won't pollute the environment as much, we won't have to rely on foreign oil so heavily, and we won't have to pop in and out of gas stations as much (or ever if your car is completely electric). You can get where you're going faster and cheaper, which will make your trip all the more relaxing. Aaaah.</p> <p><em>Do you have more time-saving items that everyone should own to suggest? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-time-saving-tools-everyone-should-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it">10 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Time Without Realizing It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-soda-tidy-a-room-in-three-minutes-cure-a-hangover-and-become-a-movie-extra-phew">How To Make Your Own Soda, Tidy A Room In Three Minutes, Cure A Hangover And Become A Movie Extra. Phew!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-genius-little-button-thats-saving-me-a-whole-bunch-of-time">One genius little button that&#039;s saving me a whole bunch of time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tech-gadgets-with-the-best-resale-value">8 Tech Gadgets With the Best Resale Value</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Productivity Shopping efficiency gadgets labor savers time time savers Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1220280 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways You're Wasting Time Without Realizing It http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-working-headphones-175219954-small.jpg" alt="woman working headphones" title="woman working headphones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Time is one thing that we seem to have less of as life wears on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-essential-life-hacks-that-will-save-you-time-in-the-morning?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Save Time in the Morning</a>)</p> <p>The days fly by and we're stressed to come up with any extra minutes. But what if we could free up our schedule and finish our to-do lists? Some people are just busy with little or no recourse, but others are wasting time without even knowing that it's happening. Here's a look at a few ways we can be more aware of our time and be better managers of it.</p> <h2>1. Leaving Email &quot;Up&quot;</h2> <p>You may work a job where you must have email up on a constant basis. But if you don't, there's no reason to run it when you aren't waiting on a particular message. If you're working on a project, just close your email and check them periodically throughout the day. Avoiding that catchy little &quot;(1)&quot; that often distracts your train of thought can save you a lot of time.</p> <h2>2. Listening to Music</h2> <p>In some cases, listening to music can help pass the time when engaging in mundane or mindless tasks. But when it comes to work that you need to think intentionally about, like crafting a sales pitch, writing a report, or even just reading something, <a href="http://tech.co/listening-to-music-at-work-2013-11">music can slow you down</a>, thereby increasing the time spent on the task and decreasing the resulting quality of your work.</p> <h2>3. Paying for Lunch</h2> <p>In some cases, you need to spend money to make money. But paying for lunch is often a double-figure investment and can cost you close to (or more than) an hour of work. <a href="http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/cheap-and-healthy-brown-bag-lunch-ideas-for-grownups">Pack a lunch instead</a> of eating out and you'll get back an hour's worth of pay, which<a href="http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/budgeting/how-much-cheaper-to-pack-lunch.htm"> can really add up</a>.</p> <h2>4. Not Taking a Break</h2> <p>It might seem counterproductive (or even impossible) to stop what you're doing at work or home to take a break. However, <a href="http://healthdecide.orcahealth.com/orcatheme_imagepost/take-a-break-it-may-increase-productivity/#.VBcv5vldWSo">numerous studies have shown</a> that taking a break, or even a short nap, can actually boost your productivity and increase the quality of your work output.</p> <h2>5. Not Making a To-Do List</h2> <p>Even if you can remember everything you need to do, making a to-do list can help you focus by streamlining your schedule and giving you a failsafe to avoid forgetting important tasks.</p> <h2>6. Using a Gadget When Pen and Paper Will Do</h2> <p>Tablets and smartphones can be excellent productivity tools. But when it comes to taking notes or <a href="http://bulletjournal.com/">quickly writing down ideas</a>, you may be better off with the much simpler pen and paper.</p> <h2>7. Going to Meetings</h2> <p>It's becoming increasingly common for meetings to be viewed as <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201204/why-meetings-kill-productivity">productivity killers</a>. That's not to say they don't have their place, but a<a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/09/20/why-business-meetings-are-often-a-waste-of-time-and-productivity/"> brutally objective view</a> of the typical workplace meeting shows us that we're wasting a lot of precious time.</p> <h2>8. Attending Technology-Related Classes</h2> <p>It's not to say that all work-related classes are a waste of time, but a lot of the information that used to only exist inside classrooms now exists for free on the Internet. Particularly when it comes to technology-related topics, you can learn almost everything there is to know in a free, online format.</p> <p>Places like <a href="https://www.khanacademy.org/">Khanacademy</a> and <a href="http://www.codecademy.com/">Code Academy</a> are great places to start.</p> <h2>9. Running Dual Monitors</h2> <p>A lot of people find dual monitors to be more productive because it allows them to avoid having to switch back and forth between different applications or documents. While that's true, it only applies in certain professions. For example, graphic designers and programmers will often have need for more than one screen. But if it's not an obvious necessity, more than one monitor often makes things more distracting because it tempts you to put something that's not work-related on the second screen. In most cases, it'll be more efficient to stick with one monitor.</p> <h2>10. Not Putting Your Clothes Out the Night Before</h2> <p>One incredibly simple thing you can do to save time before you go to bed is set your clothes out for the next day the night before. It makes early mornings a lot quicker as it gets you out of your bedroom without having to search through drawers, possibly in the dark out of fear that you'll wake someone up.</p> <h2>Time to Be Saved</h2> <p>There's no question that it's easy to crowd our lives with obligations and tight schedules. But there is time to be saved if we're willing to be objective about our own scheduling and work habits. If we remove the unnecessary time wasters and get specific about where we can get be more efficient, most of us can get back more than 60 minutes a day. For many, that can make a huge difference by allowing them to be more focused, relaxed and allow them to feel less rushed every day.</p> <p><em>How do you conserve and avoid wasting time? Are the tactics you employ at home and work much different? Let me know in the comments section.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-time-saving-tools-everyone-should-own">15 Time-Saving Tools Everyone Should Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-automate-your-everyday-life">4 Easy Ways to Automate Your Everyday Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-checklists-will-make-your-life-better">These Checklists Will Make Your Life Better</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Productivity efficiency saving time shortcuts time time savers time sucks Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1218888 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Tested Tips for Creative Efficiency http://www.wisebread.com/15-tested-tips-for-creative-efficiency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-tested-tips-for-creative-efficiency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3567817729_e2d7f4f937_z.jpg" alt="woman holding brush" title="woman holding brush" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="219" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Creative pursuits and efficiency don't always seem to go together; in fact, our age-old wisdom tells us that in order to be truly creative, we need wide open swaths of time, unbounded by other obligations like work, kids, and the need to get dinner on the table. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fun-and-cheap-ways-to-get-creative-when-you-re-bored" title="Fun and Cheap Ways to Get Creative When You&rsquo;re Bored">Fun and Cheap Ways to Get Creative When You&rsquo;re Bored</a>)</p> <p>Then there's real life, which includes work, kids, the need to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/menu-planning-backwards-and-forwards" title="Menu Planning Backwards and Forwards">get dinner on the table</a>&hellip;little things like that which won't go away. <strong>Life won't be put on hold while we decide to get creative.</strong></p> <p>So what's the answer? Unless we've found &quot;being creative&quot; a way to also earn a living, we find ourselves having to fit our creative pursuits around the edges of our day. If you're in a boat like mine, you're trying to do all that and then some: being a mom, while also using your creative skills (in my case, writing) to supplement your family's income&hellip; oh, and also carve a little time in to write that novel or book of poems that you don't expect will make you any money but which simply must be written.</p> <p>I'm writing this right now with my third child snuggled up next to me. He's 2 1/2, and he and the other three kids have been sick for the last week. We're all starting to get better now, but for the last seven days I've not had more than a couple of hours of <a title="5 Effective Sleep Tips You Haven't Tried Yet" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-effective-sleep-tips-you-havent-tried-yet">uninterrupted sleep</a> at a time. To say I'm tired is a drastic understatement. My oldest is five. My youngest is 5 months. Also, right now, we're living in my in-laws' basement due to the black mold problem discovered in our house. We've been living away from home for a couple of weeks, running back and forth to get what we need, moving back in once only to find more mold so moving back out again. Needless to say, my life is a bit unsettled.</p> <p>What I'm trying to say with that long drawn-out story is that life is rarely going to bless you with long open hours to sit around and paint portraits or write songs or write novels.</p> <p><strong>If you want the time, you have to fight for it. And chances are, you'll win it in minutes and snatches, not in hours and days.</strong></p> <p>So here are 15 tips I've discovered/gathered/collected from the last seven years of being a wife, a mom, and someone who values creativity too much to let it wait until the kids are grown and we're retired and I have all the time in the world. Which I don't expect will happen anyway (the all the time in the world part, I mean. I do expect the kids to be grown, someday).</p> <h3>1. Create simple routines for your day</h3> <p>Routines simplify the repetitive tasks of the day, helping you to get them done on autopilot so your brain is free for creative pursuits while your body does the routine work.</p> <h3>2. Keep your supplies on hand</h3> <p>Accessibility is a big part of being more creative. If you have to get involved in any sort of major set-up before you can be creative, you're putting up a road block.</p> <h3>3. Focus on one project at a time</h3> <p>It simplifies what your brain needs to do, and allows your unconscious to work on the project and be ready with creativity when the time comes.</p> <h3>4. Do something related to your art every single day</h3> <p>Keep it fresh and front of mind. Even if all you have time for is something very basic, get in five minutes of an activity related to your creative project. For a writer, that could be just keeping a daily journal, or a five-minute creative writing break. For artists, it could be making a sketch, or reviewing your sketches.</p> <h3>5. Have an easy way to catch ideas</h3> <p>Keep a notebook in your pocket or get good at quickly recording ideas on your phone. They don't need to be good ideas, just treat them as valuable and put them in a place where you can find them later. This has a double benefit of freeing your brain up from the work of holding those ideas and giving you a place to start when you're out of ideas, later.</p> <h3>6. Focus on one medium/method at a time</h3> <p>Focus is powerful; it sets boundaries for your creativity, which actually kicks it into gear.</p> <h3>7. Immerse yourself</h3> <p>Read books on or related to your creative pursuit. Read biographies, or watch biographies and documentaries of others in the field. Go to workshops, talk to peers, listen to inspiring music, study, immerse yourself in what you're doing and things related to it. Give your brain plenty of fodder.</p> <h3>8. Think in 5- to 10-minute blocks</h3> <p>What can you do in five minutes? In ten minutes? Think in these terms. It's different than having hours of unbroken time, but that kind of luxury isn't always possible. Five minutes is long enough to write a few sentences, analyze the light in the corner, listen to the line of a song, try a new stitch pattern, match some colors, play with a logo design. It's not enough to do everything, or even much, but it's enough to do something.</p> <h3>9. Make creativity mobile</h3> <p>How can you work on your creative project while you're on the go? Can you listen to related recordings, podcasts, music? Can you jot down ideas in your notebook? Talk about it with a peer or mentor?</p> <h3>10. Eliminate time wasters that eat up your free time</h3> <p>Keep a time log if you're not sure what your time wasters are. You'll find some. Pick one, and get it out of your life.</p> <h3>11. Turn off the TV</h3> <p>It eats your time and your brain cells. If you truly want time to do your creative work, kill it. For that matter, unplug yourself entirely when you're off work and able to be unavailable. Silence the phone, shut down the browser. Give your brain some free space.</p> <h3>12. Train your muse</h3> <p>Do some work every day at the same time in the same place. It trains your muse to show up and be ready.</p> <h3>13. Hang out with inspiring people</h3> <p>Find the people in your life who inspire you to work harder, think bigger, be better. Put yourself around them. Limit your time around the people who distract you with gossip, negativity, same-old same-old ruts of life.</p> <h3>14. Define creative work so you know when you're doing it</h3> <p>There are so many ways to be creative. You probably have a lot more creativity in your life than you know. Cooking, baking, sewing, humming, playing games&hellip; define creativity beyond art/music/writing.</p> <h3>15. Use your creative strengths on obligatory tasks</h3> <p>Need to <a title="Throwing Awesome Parties on a Budget" href="http://www.wisebread.com/throwing-awesome-parties-on-a-budget">plan a birthday party</a>? Find a way to use your creative strengths. You'll pull off a better party <em>and</em> use the time &quot;planning&quot; as creative time. Try to do that with everything possible: volunteer for things that fit your creatively. Take on the work projects that allow you to use your creative strengths. So on.</p> <p><em>What are your tips for creative efficiency? How do you fit creative work into your busy life? Share in the comments so we can all benefit.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-tested-tips-for-creative-efficiency">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-power-of-lists-getting-more-creative-and-efficient">The Power of Lists: Getting More Creative and Efficient</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/execution-not-ideas-is-key-duh">Execution, Not Ideas, is Key. Duh!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-you-are-causing-road-rage">16 Ways You Are Causing Road Rage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-happiness-habits-7-ways-to-feel-better-now">The Happiness Habits: 7 Ways to Feel Better Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development creativity efficiency personal development productivity Wed, 08 Feb 2012 11:36:23 +0000 Annie Mueller 890583 at http://www.wisebread.com Productivity Tips to Carry You Through 2012 http://www.wisebread.com/productivity-tips-to-carry-you-through-2012 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/productivity-tips-to-carry-you-through-2012" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_in_office.jpg" alt="Woman in office" title="Woman in office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The start of a new year is a good time to take a review of the best productivity tips we have shared with you. These tips help maximize your efficiency at work so you're getting more done in less time. Read on to find out what our best picks for productivity tips are so you can use them to have an even more efficient 2012!</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Self-Motivate-20965409">RELATED:&nbsp;How to Self-Motivate in 5 Steps</a></p> <h3>Doodle During Meetings to Help Retain More Information</h3> <p>Scientific research has shown that humans can pay attention to one thing for up to 20 minutes. After that period, it gets harder and harder to focus on it. If you feel your attention span has reached its limit, perhaps you should take a notepad out to doodle. A study in the <em>Applied Cognitive Psychology Journal</em> <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/acp.1561/abstract">tested the doodling theory</a> on a group of participants. Half were instructed to listen to a phone call that recited a list of names of people and places, and the other half were told to doodle when listening to the message. Those who doodled were able to remember 29 percent more than those who didn't. <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/minding-the-body/201110/do-doodle-mindbody-wellness">Psychology Today says</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>In the study, the phone message was intentionally designed to be boring. One possibility is that doodling distracted participants from their boredom. Yet it demanded less concentration than drifting off into a daydream, so the doodlers may actually have been more focused than non-doodlers. </p></blockquote> <h3>Make a Do-Not-Do List</h3> <p>If you're like me, you may constantly find yourself <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Easy--Do-List-Tips-10385775">tackling never-ending to-do lists</a>. I think one of the worst drawbacks of a to-do list is that it becomes entrenched in your mind &mdash; you're always thinking about what you have left to do, and that can take a toll on you. For example, sometimes I can't help thinking about it when I'm in bed, and that leaves me restless.</p> <p>The solution to reducing the stress of a to-do list is to counter it with a do-not-do list. Russell Bishop, a life coach, gave some <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/russell-bishop/workarounds-stress-relief_b_819336.html">great advice on Huffington Post</a>: at the end of each day or workweek, not only should you cross out the items you have accomplished, but you should also mark that you're not going to do the remaining tasks for the rest of the night or weekend. Writing it off on your list will help to give your mind a mental break from the to-do list. This is such a savvy, yet simple tip &mdash; do you have more ideas on how to better manage a to-do list?</p> <h3>Leave a Text Instead of a Voicemail Message</h3> <p>I recently heard a unique voicemail message I thought was a great idea. Her voicemail said the best way to reach her is to &quot;leave a text instead of a voicemail message&quot; because she barely checks her voicemail messages. For those of you who are super texters, this is a great way to keep track of missed calls.</p> <p>Another awesome alternative is the function on Google Voice that gives you <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHuai7-jVlY">transcripts of your voicemail messages</a>.</p> <h3>Use Nature to Beat Work Fatigue</h3> <p>Although it's recommended to take a short walk to unwind from work, what you're surrounded by during your walk actually matters a lot. For example, if you're walking through a busy street filled with flashing lights and loud noises, the stroll won't really be an effective time-out.</p> <p>University of Michigan researchers found that subjects who strolled through a nature setting saw a 20% improvement in attention and focus tests. However, participants who took a brief walk in a busy city did not see any cognitive benefits. Even spending time in a quiet room with a picture depicting nature was more effective than a city stroll.</p> <h3>Schedule Emails to Be Sent Later With Boomerang</h3> <p><a href="http://www.boomeranggmail.com/">Boomerang</a> is a Firefox and Chrome plug-in that will let you schedule your emails to be sent at a later time and date, anywhere from a minute later to years later. You can install one for Gmail or for Outlook. The tool even lets you take out emails from your inbox and resend them back to you at a later time when you actually need them. For example, if your friend sent you an email today, but you're not going to have any time to respond until the weekend, you can use Boomerang to remove the email from your inbox and resend it to you on Saturday.</p> <p>I just downloaded the plug-in for my Gmail account, and I love it! I wrote an email late last night that I scheduled to be sent at 9 a.m. today, which went off without a hitch. I even had time to look over it before it was sent.</p> <p>I can imagine this feature coming in really handy on Friday when I'm writing work emails, because people are more likely to forget to reply as they usually put off replying to Friday emails until after the weekend. Using Boomerang to schedule those emails for Monday mornings may cut down on the hassle of sending follow-up emails.</p> <h3>Be Specific When Setting Goals</h3> <p>Whether it be saving more or deciding to lose weight, achieving goals can be quite hard for most people. It's easy to set them and pledge to yourself that you're turning over a leaf. And then when you find yourself making excuses to skip the gym or indulging in something you can't afford, you're wondering how your plan got derailed. I came across this neat tip that'll help you better achieve goals in an email from Ramit Sethi's blog <a href="http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/">I Will Teach You to Be Rich</a>. Ramit says:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;'When it comes to self-persuasion, vague goals are death. For example, people have really vague goals &mdash; 'I want to get a six-pack' &mdash; which is an excuse to do nothing, since the path to a six-pack is unclear. It would be better to say 'I want to go to the gym two times this week.' Once you accomplish that minor goal, you can escalate it: 'I want to run on the treadmill for 10 minutes without stopping . . . now 15 minutes . . . now 30 . . . ' and finally, once you get to an advanced level, you can set more ambitious, vague goals like a six-pack.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Whenever you're making goals, try applying this concept to them. For example, if you're trying to save money, write down some concrete and specific steps you can take, such as shave $200 off your monthly rent by getting a roommate or moving to a smaller apartment, or saving $24 a week by bringing lunch to work three times a week.</p> <h3>Organize Your Workdays by Theme</h3> <p>I really don't know how Jack Dorsey does it. He's currently managing two fast-growing tech companies &mdash; Twitter and Square. He apparently spends eight hours at each firm every day and he says the only way to juggle two companies is to &quot;be very disciplined.&quot; He also themes his 16-hour days. Here's what his schedule is like, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/13/technology/dorsey_techonomy/index.htm">according to CNN</a>:</p> <p><strong>Monday</strong>: Management meetings and &quot;running the company&quot; work<br /> <strong>Tuesday</strong>: Product development<br /> <strong>Wednesday</strong>: Marketing, communications, and growth<br /> <strong>Thursday</strong>: Developers and partnerships<br /> <strong>Friday</strong>: The company and its culture<br /> <strong>Saturday</strong>: Hiking<br /> <strong>Sunday</strong>: Reflection, feedback, and strategy</p> <p>I actually think Jack's &quot;theme your days&quot; idea is a good one, and I think I'm going to start implementing a slight variation of that strategy at work. However, I don't think I'll plan my weekends out. I like to be as spontaneous as possible on Saturdays and Sundays!</p> <h3>Don't Drink More Caffeine Than Necessary</h3> <p>If you intake more coffee than your usual amount, it might make you more stressed if you're already feeling some tension, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Bristol. Stick to your regular cup of joe, and if you think the taste of coffee will calm you down, try opting for a decaf coffee instead.</p> <h3>Stop Spammy Calls</h3> <p>Spam calls can be a frustrating waste of time. Get rid of those pesky calls with these tips:</p> <p><strong>Do Not Call Registry</strong></p> <p>This is probably the best piece of advice for putting an end to those telemarketing calls. Once I registered my cell phone number with the <a href="https://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx">Do Not Call registry</a>, which is managed by the Federal Communications Commission, I stopped received telemarketing calls. Let me tell you, silence is truly golden! If the calls still persist, you can even file a complaint with <a href="http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm">the FCC online</a>.</p> <p><strong>Keep It Private</strong></p> <p>Be wary of giving out your phone number and try to limit it to friends. Be very careful about entering in your phone number when you're participating in contests or signing up for promotions.</p> <p><strong>Straight to Voicemail</strong></p> <p>If you're getting too many telemarketing calls, you can save yourself the hassle of dealing with them each time by letting an unknown number go straight to voicemail. You can then check your voicemail messages at the end of the day to see who you should really call back.</p> <h3>Stay Optimistic</h3> <p>People who have a positive view about their willpower and believe they have an unlimited amount of it are able to work longer without a decrease in performance quality versus those who believe they have a limited amount, Stanford University researchers found. The</p> <p>And remember, being happy doesn't have to cost you anything! Check out these <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Increase-My-Happiness-20753887">feel-good tips</a> on how to have a happier life for free.</p> <h3>Write Down Your Big Wins</h3> <p>Time passes so quickly, doesn't it? Before you know it, it's performance evaluation time again. Here's a tip for you: write down your big wins as they happen over the year. It doesn't matter if it's in Excel, Google Docs, or a plain notebook, start keeping track of your accomplishments. That way when you're pushing a raise, you'll be able to easily whip out the detailed facts and be able to make a stronger case of why you deserve one. After all, memories can fail, and it's easy to forget certain achievements over the course of a year.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> This year, you can be more efficient, happier, and less stressed. From work to the weekend, make 2012 your best year yet with these suggestions. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Organize-Your-Email-Inbox-20945323">How to Organize Your Inbox Into a To-Do List in 5 Easy Steps</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Productive-Monday-5679691">5&nbsp;Little Tips to Help Kick-Start Your Work&nbsp;Week</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Tips-Handling-Personal-Finances-18910245">6 Personal Finance Tips for Forgetful People<br /> </a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/productivity-tips-to-carry-you-through-2012">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/effort-vs-results-the-difference-between-trying-and-getting-it-done">Effort vs. Results: The Difference Between Trying and Getting It Done</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking">The Fallacy of Multitasking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own">Excel: The Most Underrated Software You Already Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-areas-where-you-can-eliminate-distractions">6 Areas Where You Can Eliminate Distractions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Productivity Technology efficiency New Year self-improvement Wed, 04 Jan 2012 10:48:10 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 853907 at http://www.wisebread.com The Power of Lists: Getting More Creative and Efficient http://www.wisebread.com/the-power-of-lists-getting-more-creative-and-efficient <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-power-of-lists-getting-more-creative-and-efficient" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/making_a_list.jpg" alt="Making a list" title="Making a list" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Efficiency and creativity aren&rsquo;t two qualities that typically go hand in hand. You never picture the creative genius going, &quot;I'll spend five more minutes on this idea because I need to get started on the next project.&quot;</p> <p>So what&rsquo;s the best way to become more efficient and more creative? Read a bunch of books? Take some classes? Spend a whole bunch of money?</p> <p>I have a much simpler solution &mdash; create a list.</p> <p>Here are two techniques that can help you get things done faster and come up with great ideas, whether you work in a creative field or not. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/solve-problems-study-and-brainstorm-using-mind-maps">Solve Problems, Study, and Brainstorm Using Mind Maps</a>)</p> <h2>Becoming More Efficient</h2> <p>I&rsquo;m horrible at remembering things &mdash; I must&rsquo;ve been dropped on my head as a baby, as a young boy, and a few times as an adult. My memory just plain sucks.</p> <p>I used to spend a lot of my time at work and at home trying to remember things. Errands, article ideas, putting on my pants before I leave the house, etc. It&rsquo;s really bad.</p> <p>But after reading a piece in the New Yorker about the <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/12/10/071210fa_fact_gawande">power of checklists</a>, I had one of those &quot;aha&quot; moments &mdash; a list was my way around my memory problems! If a simple checklist can help doctors improve their patient care and save lives, then I can surely use that same strategy to remember where I left my shoes.</p> <p>The concept is simple &mdash; you&rsquo;re offloading the responsibility of remembering to a sheet of paper. Spend a decent amount of time on the checklist, and the next time you need to do a project or complete a task, you just follow the checklist to make sure you completed all the steps.</p> <p>So as a freelance writer it could be things like:</p> <ul> <li>Great headline</li> <li>SEO-friendly headline and keywords</li> <li>Some humor</li> <li>Something interesting/useful</li> <li>Strong voice</li> </ul> <p>Sounds silly, but once you sit down to write (or do anything), this isn&rsquo;t the stuff you want to be focusing on. We forget about it.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve used checklists at work, and they&rsquo;ve made my life a lot easier. Once you find the fastest way to complete a task, write it down as a checklist. Then, next time you can just run through it and be done instead of agonizing over how to go about it. Again.</p> <p>Checklists are like the crumbs of bread that you leave behind for the next time so you'll find your way faster. That&rsquo;s efficiency.</p> <h2>Creativity and Good Ideas</h2> <p>A lot of people think that being creative is simply in your blood. These people wake up in the morning and write a three-act play on their way to the shower.</p> <p>Those people do exist (I hate you all), but that&rsquo;s not how most people come up with great ideas. This is something we&rsquo;re all capable of &mdash; we just have to put in a little bit of work to get there.</p> <p>If you really want to see how creative you can be, you&rsquo;re going to have to do some digging. Don&rsquo;t expect to sit down with a sheet of paper, spend a few minutes thinking, and then boom &mdash; you&rsquo;ll hit on a great idea that will be brilliant. Not gonna happen.</p> <p>Instead, try this tip from the copywriting world &mdash; come up with a <a href="http://litemind.com/tackle-any-issue-with-a-list-of-100/">list of 100</a>.</p> <p>Wait &mdash; 100 ideas??!!</p> <p>Yup, that&rsquo;s right. This will force you to do a few things:</p> <ul> <li>Churn out a bunch of ideas</li> <li>Turn off your inner editor that&rsquo;s constantly telling you an idea is dumb</li> <li>Force your brain to keep working, to keep digging, to keep churning and coming up with more and more ideas until you hit 100</li> </ul> <p>The first few ideas will be pretty predictable. But then you&rsquo;ll hit a wall. You&rsquo;ll want to quit. You&rsquo;ll think it&rsquo;s a dumb idea to sit down and write 100 ideas down. You&rsquo;ll think I&rsquo;m an idiot that can&rsquo;t remember squat. Which is true, but give it a chance.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;re done, you&rsquo;ll have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">100 ideas</a> to choose the very best from. This is a concept a photographer once told me about &mdash; in order to get an amazing picture, you have to take a whole bunch of crappy ones.</p> <p>Your brain has pushed through a few walls and taken you into some random places to keep coming up with ideas. You&rsquo;ve managed to shut off your <a href="http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/01/quieting-the-lizard-brain.html">lizard brain</a> and open up your mind to the possibility of new, different, creative ideas. Some of them will suck. Some will be OK. What you&rsquo;re hoping for is to review the list later on and fall in love with one or two of them.</p> <p>Welcome to the creative process.</p> <p>Even if you're not a writer, this is a technique you can use. You can come up with lists of ways to make your company more efficient, new products/services your company should start selling, etc. Anything new can be born this way.</p> <p>Now get a sheet of paper, and start getting <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-accomplishing-more-in-a-day">more efficient</a> and creative.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-power-of-lists-getting-more-creative-and-efficient">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity">25 Ways to Boost Creativity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-go-for-inspiration">10 Places to Go for Inspiration</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-tested-tips-for-creative-efficiency">15 Tested Tips for Creative Efficiency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-more-eureka-shower-moments">How to Have More Eureka! Shower Moments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Productivity creativity efficiency lists Fri, 02 Dec 2011 11:25:20 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 791585 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Easy Ways to Green Your Small Business http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-easy-ways-to-green-your-small-business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/8-easy-ways-to-green-your-small-business" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/8-easy-ways-to-green-your-small-business</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/8-easy-ways-to-green-your-small-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000017018615Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For businesses, going green not only helps the environment, it can <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/be-standby-power-smart-and-save-serious-money-1" target="_blank">boost the bottom line</a>, too. Organizations that make a company-wide commitment to more environmentally-friendly practices can benefit from short and long-term savings, some great PR opportunities, and higher employee engagement.</p> <p>We all know the best ways to go green at home and a few of those approaches translate well at the office, too, but what are some business-specific ways to &ldquo;green-up&rdquo;?</p> <p><strong>1. Power Down</strong></p> <p>Leaving our PCs and monitors on at the end of the day is a bad habit we&rsquo;ve all been guilty of. Multiply this practice by the millions of computers in offices all over the world and we&rsquo;re talking about some serious wattage. Turning off computers at the end of each work day (especially on Fridays) can reduce energy bills and cut waste. For employees that run programs after hours, suggest setting the computers to energy-sipping sleep mode.</p> <p><strong>2. Turn Off the Lights</strong></p> <p>Lighting can account for up to 40 percent of an office&rsquo;s energy consumption. Turning off the lights at the end of the day or installing an automatic timer or motion-sensitive switches conserves energy and saves cash. If your office is part of larger building that has its own lighting system, talk to the management about options for your floor or your particular space.</p> <p><strong>3. Recycle</strong></p> <p>Recycling is more than just buying the proper containers and posting an encouraging sign or two. Businesses with the most successful recycling programs do a few things differently.</p> <ol> <li>They present compelling statistics about the volume of paper, plastic, glass, and metal that ends up in landfills each year to make the case for any recycling hold-outs;</li> <li>They educate employees on dividing the recyclables correctly and clearly explain how different materials find new uses;</li> <li>They set recycling personal goals, such as reaching a 75 percent recycling rate in six months or reducing the garbage bill by 50 percent within a year&mdash;and they promote their successes. Framed in the context of multiple offices or businesses in a single building, this approach can be even more motivating.</li> </ol> <p><strong>4. Print Right</strong></p> <p>Even in our highly-mobile and digital world, our printers get a workout. Make a commitment to creating a more paperless office. Encourage employees to digitize contracts and use e-sign technology instead of printing and faxing the old-fashioned way. For those times when printing can&rsquo;t be avoided, choose recycled paper, reduce the font size, and print on both sides of the sheet. All of these approaches will save reams of paper (and groves of trees) in the long run.<b> </b></p> <p><strong>5. Buy Used</strong></p> <p>Nearly every family has bought a used chair, dinette set, or laptop at some point, but businesses almost never do. Why does launching or growing a business always mean going to a big box store and buying pallets of new stuff?</p> <p>With a little extra effort and planning, used office furniture and equipment can be had at a fraction of the cost of new. Explore refurbishing existing furniture or sourcing additional desks, chairs, rolling files or kitchen supplies from resellers that cater to business customers. It gives new purpose to used items and helps reduce demand for new.</p> <p><strong>6. Go Remote</strong></p> <p>Allowing some employees to work from home part-time or full-time reduces commuting costs and the associated fuel. Leverage your mobile tools to free your employees from gridlock traffic, frazzled nerves, and lost productivity. For those employees that must be on-site, promote eco-friendly commuting options by subsidizing mass-transit costs or initiating a car-pooling program.</p> <p><strong>7. Clean Green</strong></p> <p>Businesses tend to get cleaned with nuclear-powered chemicals that we&rsquo;d never consider using in our homes. Explore eco-friendly options like <a href="http://www.simplegreen.com/home.php?location=our_naturals_family" target="_blank">Simple Green Naturals</a> or <a href="http://www.seventhgeneration.com/" target="_blank">Seventh Generation</a> products for office use.</p> <p><strong>8. Get Involved</strong></p> <p>Creating a green office is part behavior and part attitude and commitment.</p> <p>Beyond all the logistics of setting up a more eco-friendly workplace, encourage participation in green events and champion local environmental efforts. While still being mindful of ideological differences among your employees, sponsor events that everyone can get behind:</p> <ul> <li>participate in a community clean up day;</li> <li>join in planting a neighborhood garden;</li> <li>devote one workday each quarter to lending your company muscle to a charitable activity like <a href="http://www.habitat.org/" target="_blank">Habitat for Humanity</a>.</li> </ul> <p>All are great ways to support local communities and such efforts are positive PR, too.</p> <p>Going green is always a team effort. Once a business identifies and commits to creating a more environmentally-friendly enterprise, employees tend to rally and come up with even more creative ideas. Tap the resources all around you and key in on the enthusiasm of your team. You&rsquo;ll be surprised how quickly old habits can be replaced by greener ones.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-easy-ways-to-green-your-small-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center cost savings eco-friendly business efficiency green business marketing small business Sun, 27 Nov 2011 00:02:39 +0000 Kentin Waits 792186 at http://www.wisebread.com How To Identify And Eliminate Waste In Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-identify-and-eliminate-waste-in-your-budget <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-identify-and-eliminate-waste-in-your-budget" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-identify-and-eliminate-waste-in-your-bu...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-to-identify-and-eliminate-waste-in-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011091164Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s never been more important for small and medium-sized business to know how every dollar is spent. Identifying and plugging those small drips and big leaks help every business stay afloat when competition is tight. But what are the most efficient strategies to target waste in a complex business budget? Let&rsquo;s explore how to get started:</p> <p><strong>1. Understand the ROI for Each Expenditure</strong></p> <p>Return on Investment&mdash;ROI&mdash;isn&rsquo;t just for the big stuff like marketing and technology. It&rsquo;s time to rethink the return on investment for every expense your business incurs.</p> <p>For this step, it often helps to think of your business as a brand new enterprise. If you were launching your business today, what would you change? What long-term commitments or contracts are working against you and is there room to renegotiate or reinvent a few things and save some dollars in the process? What would you lease instead of buy, buy instead of lease?</p> <p><strong>2. Get Granular</strong></p> <p>Avoid death by a thousand cuts.</p> <p>Take a look at all levels of your business in your effort to reduce waste. Can you refine your marketing strategies to reach a more targeted audience? Are you communicating with your customers too much and not optimizing each message? How can you deliver your product more efficiently? Are you paying too much for office space or paying for space you don&rsquo;t maximize? This soup-to-nuts approach can help reduce incremental expenses and catch operational inefficiencies that add up to big dollars over time.</p> <p><strong>3. Look for Repetition, Redundancies and Communication Gaps</strong></p> <p>Examine the entire lifecycle of your operations to see if there redundancies or unnecessary repetition and replication of duties.</p> <p>Often, the view from ten thousand feet can reveal clear opportunities to <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/creating-productive-workspaces-1" target="_blank">streamline workflow</a>, better divide tasks, eliminate unproductive steps and ultimately save money. Pay close attention to what consumes the largest amount of time in your business, like sourcing products, manufacturing, sales, fulfillment, or customer service. Take a critical look at each phase independently to see what can be done better and then examine how each phase works together. Is customer service missing opportunities to communicate upsell opportunities to the sales team? Are delays in fulfillment creating double work for customer service?</p> <p><strong>4. Tap Your Resources</strong></p> <p>Often, it&rsquo;s the people closest to the day-to-day operation of a business that can be your best waste-reducing advocates.</p> <p>Regardless of the size of your business, seek input from staff at all levels as you work to refine your budget and reduce unnecessary expenses. Reward employees who have the best suggestions for streamlining processes.</p> <p><strong>5. Formalize Efficiency Reviews</strong></p> <p>Businesses are constantly changing and evolving.</p> <p>A review of how things are done and how things can be done better, smarter, and faster is a continuous process. Consider scheduling a periodic efficiency audit or creating a permanent team that is tasked with identifying and reducing waste on an ongoing basis. But watch out that your efficiency committee doesn&rsquo;t become a source of inefficiency itself. Look for concrete results and empower committee members to review and vet each new opportunity to waste and bring only the best options to you for approval.</p> <p>Today&rsquo;s smartest companies realize that waste isn&rsquo;t just a drag on budgets&mdash;it can mean the difference between surviving and thriving. A holistic, process-focused, employee-driven review of inefficiencies and budgetary waste can free up capital for new ventures, help reward loyal employees, and speed new ideas to market. Companies that have a close eye on reducing waste are ultimately leaner and able to respond to the vagaries of the market&mdash;scaling up or scaling back to meet shifts in demand or respond to new economic challenges. Identifying and reducing waste becomes an opportunity for growth and can be the competitive advantage a company needs to stay ahead of the curve.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-identify-and-eliminate-waste-in-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-keeping-warm">The High Cost of Keeping Warm</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business planning cost-saving costs efficiency process review return on investment small business Wed, 09 Nov 2011 20:18:41 +0000 Kentin Waits 772749 at http://www.wisebread.com Save Like a Twentysomething Entrepreneur http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/save-like-a-twentysomething-entrepreneur <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/save-like-a-20-something-entrepreneur" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/save-like-a-20-something-entrepreneur</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/save-like-a-twentysomething-entrepreneur" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000002394217Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&rsquo;re searching for ideas about <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/how-to-cut-the-last-10-percent-of-costs-1">how to cut costs</a> so you can weather the uncertain economy, maybe it&rsquo;s time to look to young entrepreneurs. Those who have started their businesses in the downturn are experts at running a lean operation. They never had a chance to get addicted to the perks and inefficiencies of the boom years that can become unduly costly when times get tough.</p> <p>Take Willie Morris, an owner of The Pancake Movement, a Ft. Lauderdale-based digital consulting and design firm that launched in January and recently teamed up with Kitche Branding, another local firm, on a project for RIM. Morris, 27, incorporates strategies that would work at many businesses or could easily be adapted.</p> <p><strong>Rely on Flexible Teams</strong></p> <p>Morris and his business partner, Andy Vitale, learned early not to lock themselves into the high overhead that comes with a large crew of permanent employees. Morris says it generally makes more sense for them to hire freelancers with the precise skills they need to execute their current projects, &ldquo;instead of having huge overhead on payroll and being forced to only find projects that cater to the skill sets of full-time employees.&rdquo; Currently, the duo relies on a core group of 10-12 people.</p> <p>How do they make sure talent is available when they need it? &ldquo;I made it a point to cultivate our network and find people we could trust,&rdquo; says Morris, who met many of his freelancers by becoming active in local events in the tech community.</p> <p><strong>Dive into the Weeds</strong></p> <p>The conventional wisdom is that entrepreneurs should stay focused on the big picture of running a business and delegate day-to-day projects to others. Morris, a self-taught techie, and Vitale are willing to break that rule sometimes. Recently, for instance, they handled a simple website launch themselves, instead of bringing in contractors to help. Not only does it help them to keep outsourcing costs down, but it also gives them valuable perspective on operations. &ldquo;You lose sight of the production side until you start doing it yourself,&rdquo; Morris says.</p> <p><strong>Share your office space</strong></p> <p>Through the site <a target="_blank" href="http://www.loosecubes.com/">Loosecubes</a>, The Pancake Movement rents out one or two unused desks in its offices by the day. Loosecubes offers the space to mobile types like freelancers and traveling business people who need a very short term place to work. &ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t mind sharing your desks with people, it&rsquo;s a great way to bring in money, as well as utilizing space,&rdquo; says Morris. Side benefit: By welcoming others to their office, they&rsquo;ve met talent they have tapped later for projects. The system has worked so well for The Pancake Movement that the company is planning a move to new office, where they plan to lease out desk space by the month.</p> <p><strong>Replace your Land Line</strong></p> <p>In what might seem like a radical step to those who have spent decades working in offices with traditional phone systems, The Pancake Movement uses the free service <a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/googlevoice/landing/index.html#utm_source=en-ha-na-us-sk&amp;utm_medium=ha&amp;utm_term=google%20voice&amp;utm_campaign=en">Google Voice</a> instead. Calls that come into the office number&mdash;the one The Pancake Movement has gotten from Google Voice, that is&mdash;ring on staffers&rsquo; cell phones. &ldquo;We have cell phones, anyway,&rdquo; says Morris. Because the service notifies them that a Google Voice call is coming in, they can distinguish between business and personal calls before answering. And fortunately, they have unlimited calling plans.</p> <p><strong>Milk Google Apps</strong></p> <p>The company has used one free service to send and receive mail from its own custom <a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=47283">email domain</a>, instead of paying for a custom email address.</p> <p><strong>Keep Your Files in Dropbox</strong></p> <p>Morris and his team minimize data storage costs by keeping their files in the folders available from this <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dropbox.com/">cloud-based service</a>. It&rsquo;s available for free in a basic form or in professional versions for $9.99 a month or $19.99 a month, depending on storage needs. Worried about accidentally losing documents? One of Morris&rsquo;s favorite features allows you to &ldquo;undelete&rdquo; a deleted file for up to 30 days.</p> <p><strong>Go Paperless</strong></p> <p>The Pancake Movement doesn&rsquo;t have a printer. Morris&rsquo;s team asks clients to sign and return contracts in pdf documents and scans the occasional paper document that arrives. Was it hard to break the paper habit? Apparently not. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t even think about it anymore,&rdquo; says Morris.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elaine-pofeldt">Elaine Pofeldt</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/save-like-a-twentysomething-entrepreneur">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-to-save-50-every-month">9 Easy Ways to Save $50 Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-big-expenses-you-can-easily-get-rid-of">10 Big Expenses You Can Easily Get Rid Of</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-make-yourself-love-saving-money">10 Smart Ways to Make Yourself Love Saving Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-always-think-things-will-cost-less-than-they-do">This Is Why You Always Think Things Will Cost Less Than They Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center cost cutting costs efficiency expenses saving small business Tue, 04 Oct 2011 20:03:46 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 717234 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways You May Be Wasting Money in Your Business http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-you-may-be-wasting-money-in-your-business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-ways-you-may-be-wasting-money-in-your-business" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-ways-you-may-be-wasting-money-in-your-busine...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-ways-you-may-be-wasting-money-in-your-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007506364Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="177" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to small business and money management, are you wasting money or using your resources wisely?</p> <p>You might be wasting money if you have...</p> <ul> <li>A stellar website with no conversion funnel.</li> <li>A star sales guy who's bogged down with meetings and red tape.</li> <li>An outdated product line you won't give up on.</li> <li>A leadership style that makes trying a new idea impossible.</li> <li>A bloated system that makes routine tasks far too complex.</li> </ul> <p>All of these issues are costing you money, either in charges you could avoid or in profits you could be making.</p> <p><strong>1. A Bait with No Hook</strong></p> <p>That great website you have, for example: you paid a professional design team to build it. You pay to host it. You pay for somebody to put new content on it (you are putting fresh content on it, right?). Maybe you're paying to get an SEO professional to tweak your website, or you're buying stacks of Google ads to get the traffic to your home page.</p> <p>But do your visitors know where to go once they get there?</p> <p>A stellar website with no conversion funnel is like bait with no hook. You aren't going to catch any fish.</p> <p><strong>2. Stuck Employees and Weak Teams</strong></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/7-ways-to-motivate-your-employees">What about your employees</a>? These people are the backbone of your business, but if you squelch their natural talents, ignore their strengths, and manage them poorly, they will lose all desire to help you succeed.</p> <p>Who do you have on your team? Do you have a guy who's a little out there, or a gal who's rather hard to manage? Maybe he has great people skills but stinks at time management. Maybe she excels at managing herself but doesn't like being told what to do.</p> <p>What can you do to put these people in a place where their strengths matter and their weaknesses don't?</p> <p>Play to Their Strengths</p> <p>Put your employees in places where their strengths matter and their weaknesses don't. Give your star sales guy the support he needs to stay on schedule, or give him the freedom to do things on his own time line by providing money-oriented goals rather than time-oriented tasks.</p> <p>An employee working in areas of strength will bring in more profit than an employee struggling daily to conquer weaknesses.</p> <p><strong>3. Outdated Products or Poor Marketing</strong></p> <p>Your products need the same analysis. Are they selling? If not, why not? Is the problem in the marketing or in the product itself? Do they need to be repackaged, or is the whole product line simply outdated?</p> <p>Don't be afraid to let go of what isn't working; that's the only way you'll find out what will work.</p> <p><strong>4. Resistance to New Ideas</strong></p> <p>A fear of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/article/3-must-read-blogs-for-developing-innovation-systems?intlink=us-openf-nav-gallery">new ideas</a>&mdash;and a leadership style that squelches them automatically&mdash;will cost you in terms of innovation that could improve your products, services, company image, processes, systems, and customer service.</p> <p>5. Consider the System</p> <p>So, next time you're faced with a new idea, take your time and consider it. And next time you find yourself spending twenty minutes to do a task that should take two, consider the system; is it time to make a change?</p> <p>The value of simplifying systems is that it allows you to focus on what is important. Detail work shouldn't be part of a complex process, but should be streamlined into a simple routine you can get through quickly.</p> <p>If you're wasting money stupidly, it's not because you're stupid; it's because you're busy in the work of running your business, too busy to stop and consider what you might be losing. But take a moment. Step back, look around, make some changes, and start making money instead of wasting it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-you-may-be-wasting-money-in-your-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-keeping-warm">The High Cost of Keeping Warm</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-44-sneaky-shopping-traps-to-avoid">Flashback Friday: 44 Sneaky Shopping Traps to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center costs efficiency employee management innovation saving money small business waste wasting money Thu, 29 Sep 2011 20:34:01 +0000 Annie Mueller 705935 at http://www.wisebread.com Excel: The Most Underrated Software You Already Own http://www.wisebread.com/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015680335Small_2.jpg" alt="Surprised man opening computer" title="Surprised man opening computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There&rsquo;s a program on your computer you&rsquo;ve used hundreds of times that can do all kinds of amazing things:</p> <ul> <li>It can grab information from the web and create crazy calculations and fancy charts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It can take pretty much any kind of data file and allow you to play with the data in an infinite number of ways.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It can take thousands of pages of text and give you a really good idea of what the main points are.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It can make a lot of processes automatic and save you hundreds of hours of mindless work.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It can beat Garry Kasparov at chess.*</li> </ul> <p>Microsoft Excel is one of those programs we&rsquo;ve all used at least a little bit, but most of us haven&rsquo;t even scratched the surface of what it can do.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s a reason why Excel costs $139 and Microsoft Office costs $279 &mdash; this is really powerful software that&rsquo;s capable of some truly amazing things.</p> <p>But very few of us take full advantage of it.</p> <h2>The Power of Excel</h2> <p>I got my first exposure to Excel&rsquo;s power a few years ago with an incredible <a href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com/2011/03/25/excel-and-efficiency/">stock-analysis spreadsheet</a> that blew my mind. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got stuck with a really tedious project and decided to <a href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com/2011/03/18/when-its-ok-to-disobey-your-boss/">disobey my boss</a> &mdash; I found a better way thanks to some developing ninja Excel skills.</p> <p>It saved me from wasting a bunch of hours of my day, and it made me look like a smart dude. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-efficient-ways-to-boost-productivity">5 Efficient Ways to Boost Productivity</a>)</p> <p>But let&rsquo;s face it &mdash; learning Excel isn&rsquo;t fun unless it&rsquo;s going to help you solve an immediate problem. It&rsquo;s like an umbrella &mdash; we only care about it when we need it. Once we&rsquo;re done, we throw it in the back of the closet and forget about it. But it pays off to learn some of the basics for the next time you run into a roadblock.</p> <h2>Learn by Doing</h2> <p>The next time you get stuck with a tedious task of collecting or organizing data, Google what you&rsquo;re trying to do along with &ldquo;excel,&rdquo; and you&rsquo;ll get an answer. You may find it tricky, because you have to come up with the overall plan and then figure out how Excel can help. But odds are there is a way Excel can make things easier for you.</p> <p>So if you&rsquo;re trying to take thousands of emails and you want to parse out some of the data, you&rsquo;d search for &quot;parsing data excel.&quot; It won&rsquo;t work 100% of the time, and you may have to learn some Excel lingo, but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-become-an-expert">eventually you'll get it</a>.</p> <p>There are other places to pick up some Excel basics. <a href="http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-excel/">Microsoft&rsquo;s Excel blog</a> is a good place to start. And pay attention to any and all Excel sheets you come across to see how they do certain tasks.</p> <p>Most important of all: If you meet people who are masters at Excel, ask tons of questions, get their email addresses, follow them on Twitter, and follow them on Facebook. These people will be a HUGE help as you learn all the cool, advanced stuff Excel can do. Believe it or not, people are still more useful than Google.</p> <h2>Improving Your Value</h2> <p>Excel is a powerful piece of software than can help you not only be more efficient at work, but make you look good. If you get really good at it and become the &ldquo;go to&rdquo; person for any and all advanced Excel tasks, you&rsquo;ve just become one of the most valuable people at your workplace.</p> <p>Think about it this way &mdash; if you&rsquo;re the doorway to getting things done faster and more efficiently, you just turned yourself into a VIP. And VIPs are invaluable to every company.</p> <p>Anyone else out there have a story of how Excel made your job easier and/or made you look good?</p> <p><em>*Microsoft Excel may or may not be actually able to beat Garry Kasparov at chess.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-back-to-school-iphone-apps">10 Back-to-School iPhone Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/productivity-tips-to-carry-you-through-2012">Productivity Tips to Carry You Through 2012</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-skills-that-will-be-obsolete-soon">9 Skills That Will Be Obsolete Soon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-productivity-tips-for-it-professionals">10 Productivity Tips for IT Professionals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-calculate-future-value-and-why-it-matters">How to Calculate Future Value, and Why It Matters</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Productivity Technology computer software efficiency excel Microsoft Mon, 25 Apr 2011 09:36:56 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 525856 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Areas Where You Can Eliminate Distractions http://www.wisebread.com/6-areas-where-you-can-eliminate-distractions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-areas-where-you-can-eliminate-distractions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/distraction.jpg" alt="Woman playing video games" title="Woman playing video games" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="158" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In that post-New Year's resolution malaise that sets in at the end of January, I'm noticing an obvious thing I didn't think of before &mdash; distractions can break the best intentions. Coupling my distractions with an addictive personality, and I find myself on the brink of task-mastering disaster.</p> <p>Thirty days after my resolution to be more productive <em>and</em> somehow exercise myself down a few sizes at the same time, I'm beginning to notice an awful pattern. Left to my own devices of sloth, it takes me too long to do simple things. Productivity-wise, I'm really no better than a 14-year-old boy staring at a screen of video games for 10 hours who then sits at his school desk Monday morning completely ill-prepared for the week. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-efficient-ways-to-boost-productivity">5 Efficient Ways to Boost Productivity</a>)</p> <p>If admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, then I'm ready to take the first steps. Some people like to start out the year by uncluttering their living spaces or cleaning out their cars. For others, what we really need to do is to make some space in our bodies and minds. What is it we want to do with this year? What would we like to see by the end? What can we cut?&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Volunteering</h2> <p>Perhaps it's my Catholic upbringing or my overarching sense that when something needs to be done, I'm just the person to do it, but I tend to over-volunteer. Do this with me: Pick one or two things a year you are going to volunteer for. Have strict control over yourself to make sure you don't overextend your time, and for goodness sake, don't volunteer to be in charge. Volunteer for something that has a beginning and an end, but nothing that's not fully defined. A good friend of mine has this nasty habit of thinking that the world will end for our children if we don't volunteer to be coaches, room mothers, advocates, and the like. While yes, we are providing cool things for the kiddies, we're also teaching them that moms should sacrifice themselves on the altars of their kids' childhoods. That's not a good lesson.</p> <h2>2. Social Networking</h2> <p>On my honor, I will try to stay off Facebook and Twitter; how about you? Talk about time wasters! Go delete all those game applications right now. Don't even finish reading this sentence. Stick your mother's voice in your head for a moment: &quot;No, you may not have dessert until you've finished everything that's piled on your desk.&quot; If you can't break the online social networking habit, then at least establish a LinkedIn account instead and be more professional about your online time.</p> <p>If you work from home, the social networking distractions are often traded for in-the-flesh ones. Develop a loner mentality. Writer Ariel Gore talks about this in her great writing manual <em>How to be a Famous Writer Before You're Dead</em>. The writer at home is an easy target for lonely friends and neighbors. Don't fall into the trap that friends set for you. Remind them nicely that just because you're home, it does not mean you can walk their dogs or pick up something from the pharmacy!</p> <h2>3. Dieting and Exercising</h2> <p>I envy thin people; I really do. But those not thin by genetics have to work at it. They have to spend all sorts of time and energy thinking about it. Having spent January dieting, I can tell you that all I did was think about food, which left very little time to think about anything else. And don't get me started on all those fiberous trips to the bathroom.</p> <p>Don't give up on diet and exercise, but be smarter about it. I'm following writer Michael Ventura's advice when he said only do exercise that takes you somewhere. I'm cutting out all <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fitness-for-people-who-hate-exercise">non-walking, martial arts, and dance-related exercise</a> (physical activities that require no expensive equipment to pull off). Water doesn't cost any time or money if you have a tap and a thermos. The dieting is perplexing, but I'm starting to think that instead of following diet book makers' 101 tantalizing recipes, we who need time might better opt for fewer choices in food options &mdash; wasn't there that guy that ate two Subway sandwiches a day and nothing else? Former California governor Gray Davis was said to eat the same tuna sandwich every day. I had an aunt who made fixings for tacos on Sundays, rice, and beans, and then that was it for the week. Everything was ready-to-go in the fridge in Ziploc bags. There were no surprises, and she expended&nbsp;minimal energy during the week.</p> <h2>4. Working</h2> <p>I teach community college. This semester I've taken advantage of the Internet like never before. Why was I still grading longhand when I could set up quizzes online to grade automatically? Now my students have their results back faster, and I'm not spending Sunday night bleary-eyed. My breaks between classes (I have two hours between) have now become appointment time &mdash; be it student-related or a trip to the doctor.</p> <p>But saving time at work isn't limited to teachers taking advantage of technology &mdash; although there is a big lesson here. Go online and seek out things you normally create for work. Why reinvent the wheel when you don't have to? Teachers can take great advantage of swapping lesson plans and quizzes. When my husband has to implement something at work, he always researches online beforehand to see who is dong something similar to find out what the results are. He also answers all emails at home and on the way to work (he takes the bus), so that when he's there he's not bogged down in communication and is ready to work instead.</p> <h2>5. Communicating</h2> <p>Unless it's your grandmother or for your livelihood, do you really need to talk to the person on the phone? Do you need your phone to be set so you can hear every time someone has left you a message? Probably not. Email the person back instead, and that saves you from long, drawn-out conversations you don't have time for. Turn your email program off when you are working, or turn down the sound so you don't hear the ding of receiving mail. However many times a day you check your mail, cut it in half. I'm down to morning and night. Twice!</p> <h2>6. Running Around</h2> <p>Perhaps my maternal <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-lessons-from-great-grandmother">grandmother</a> was actually right about something. For 80 years, that woman could not be reached on a Friday morning because she did all of her errands (banking, post office, grocery shopping, etc.) on Fridays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. That's it for the entire week. By dedicating only those hours of time and having everyone in the family know that that's what she'd be doing on Fridays, we've all known not to call. She taught herself to stretch food to the end of the week and plan ahead so nothing runs out. I, of course, do errands whenever I'm in the car. I wonder how much more would be accomplished if I stuck to four hours a week instead of anytime I need something.</p> <p>Join me on these time experiments for March. Let's see if we aren't more productive.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to be smarter about your time?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maggie-wells">Maggie Wells</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-areas-where-you-can-eliminate-distractions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking">The Fallacy of Multitasking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/productivity-tips-to-carry-you-through-2012">Productivity Tips to Carry You Through 2012</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-career-tips-your-younger-self-would-give-you">9 Career Tips Your Younger Self Would Give You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips">10 Ways to Get More Out of Business Trips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Productivity declutter distraction efficiency friends social networks Tue, 22 Feb 2011 14:00:17 +0000 Maggie Wells 487127 at http://www.wisebread.com The Fallacy of Multitasking http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-fallacy-of-multitasking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/multitasking.jpg" alt="Man with four hands multitasking" title="Man with four hands multitasking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's imagine that you finally decide to ignore the latte factor and buy a cup of $5 iced coffee at the nearby coffee shop. It smells good, but you want to drive home before you drink it because your baby just started crying, and you know she wants to be home as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-keeping-your-latte-factor-will-help-you-save-money">3 Reasons Why Keeping Your &quot;Latte Factor&quot; Will Help You Save Money</a>)</p> <p>You get out of your car, holding the cup of coffee in one hand and while carrying your baby home, and she decides that the coffee is better on the ground than in your hand. Slap! With baby arms swinging, all you can manage is the look of disbelief as you see your coffee splattered all over your front lawn.&nbsp;</p> <p>You ask yourself why you didn't just carry the baby into the living room before going back out to get the coffee, but what's done is done. You make sure your child is safe, and then you quickly try to undo the new &quot;brown grass&quot; that you just created. In an effort to save about 35 seconds of your life, you wasted that cup of coffee, managed to wipe that smile off your face, and spent another 10 minutes trying to turn brown back to green.</p> <h3>Misconceptions of Multitasking</h3> <p>I hope this doesn't sound familiar, but how many times have you tried to do two things at once, only to end up taking more time than if you just focused on one task at a time?</p> <p>Every time I hire someone, I make it a point to discuss multitasking if the word ever shows up on the resume. Many people think that multitasking simply means doing two things at once, but it's seldom possible. What ends up happening is that the quality of work on both tasks suffers, and sometimes, things even need to be redone. This is the opposite of efficiency.</p> <h3>There's No True Multitasking</h3> <p>In reality, we just aren't wired to perform two tasks at once. And this may come as a surprise to some, but neither are computers. What actually happens is that all the resources of the computer are shared by each task, with some resources used to handle the switching between the tasks. The illusion of true multitasking only happens because the computer can do this so efficiently and quickly that it <em>seems</em> to be doing everything at once. Have you ever tried to open many different programs, and they all take forever to load? This is multitasking at work.</p> <h3>How to Improve Your Efficiency</h3> <p>Instead of trying to do two things at the same time, you should actually be trying to focus on one task at a time. Get one thing done, then move onto the next. In real life, there will no doubt be times when you have to handle two projects concurrently. In these cases, you still have to focus on one project at a time. Work on one, then set it aside while you work on the other. Anytime you try to switch between the two means time lost, so do your best to keep &quot;project hopping&quot; to a minimum!</p> <p>Additionally, here are some tips to help you focus on only one task:</p> <ul> <li>Cut out distractions by learning to say no.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-by-spending-time">Write down everything about the project</a> you aren't working on at the moment, so you don't have to think about it or worry that you will forget about little details.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Put a higher emphasis on having enough sleep. It's hard, I know, but when you aren't tired all the time, you will be able to concentrate better and you can get everything done more quickly, giving you a bit more time to have more sleep.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check out these tips to help you get more done.</li> </ul> <p>Next time you try to multitask, beware of the loss in efficiency, and think twice before you try to work on two tasks at once.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-areas-where-you-can-eliminate-distractions">6 Areas Where You Can Eliminate Distractions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/productivity-tips-to-carry-you-through-2012">Productivity Tips to Carry You Through 2012</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-career-tips-your-younger-self-would-give-you">9 Career Tips Your Younger Self Would Give You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-yourself-a-break-the-productivity-secret-thatll-change-the-way-you-work">Give Yourself a Break: The Productivity Secret That&#039;ll Change the Way You Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Productivity efficiency multitasking stay focused Tue, 15 Feb 2011 13:00:16 +0000 David Ning 490679 at http://www.wisebread.com