social networks http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13077/all en-US 15 Modern Life Skills Everyone Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/15-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_tech_skills_000042638902.jpg" alt="Woman with basic tech skills needed for everyday life" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's 2015, people! That means there's no excuse not to learn these 15 basic tech skills that will save you money, time, and embarrassment when talking to more tech-savvy know-it-alls.</p> <h2>1. Use Uber and Lyft</h2> <p>Taxis are expensive, and not every city has a fast and expansive public transit system. That's why <a href="https://www.uber.com/">Uber</a> and <a href="https://www.lyft.com/">Lyft</a> are great alternatives, especially when you plan to drink.</p> <h2>2. Make a Basic Website</h2> <p>You never know when you might need to have your own website, and if you're a freelancer, it's a must. With platforms like <a href="http://squarespace.com/">Squarespace</a> and <a href="http://wix.com/">Wix</a>, it's never been easier (or cheaper) to make your own website.</p> <h2>3. Set-Up Online Banking</h2> <p>Are you still going to the bank to check balances and move money around? That's insane. It's about time you enrolled in online banking at your institution. It's as easy as going to your bank's website, clicking on &quot;online banking,&quot; and following the instructions.</p> <h2>4. Update Your Facebook Privacy Settings</h2> <p>Don't want just anyone to see your private posts? It's time to learn how to <a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/325807937506242/">edit your privacy settings</a> on social networks, especially Facebook.</p> <h2>5. Transfer Money Instantly</h2> <p>At this point, Western Union and other traditional money wire companies are useless. Every bank offers transfers within their banking app, and it's instant when transferring within the same bank. Failing that, <a href="https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/mobile-apps">PayPal's new app</a> is simpler than ever.</p> <h2>6. Operate Bluetooth Accessories</h2> <p>Want to use all the cool new speakers, keyboards, mouses, headphones, and more? You will need to master the Bluetooth connection. Here's how to do it for <a href="http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/add-a-bluetooth-enabled-device-to-your-computer">Windows</a>, <a href="https://support.apple.com/kb/PH13704?locale=en_US">Mac</a>, <a href="http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/smartphones/get-the-most-out-of-bluetooth-on-an-android-device/">Android</a>, and <a href="https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201205">iPhone</a>.</p> <h2>7. Edit a Smartphone Photo</h2> <p>Are you one of those people who uploads your photos sideways or too dark? There's no excuse! Most mobile phones allow for you to crop, rotate, adjust brightness or contrast, and more, all with a couple finger taps. Want to get creative? Try some cool photo editing apps.</p> <h2>8. Comparison Shop With Barcodes</h2> <p>Out shopping and want to check prices elsewhere? A great cheat is to use the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&amp;docId=1000645111">Amazon app</a>, which uses your phone's camera to scan barcodes. It will show you the same product and its Amazon price. <a href="http://www.google.com/shopping">Google Shopping</a> is also helpful when on a computer.</p> <h2>9. Crowdsource Information</h2> <p>Learn the art of the ask. Sometimes you don't have the time or enough prior knowledge of something to Google it, and that's when asking your friends comes in. Being able to ask your social network for their expertise is clutch in this modern age.</p> <h2>10. Invest Your Own Money</h2> <p>Why hire someone to take over your money management when you can day trade and manage your investments online? If you're putting off saving for retirement, it has never been easier to start. Learn more about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-easy-ways-to-invest-your-first-1000">how to start saving</a>.</p> <h2>11. Upgrade Your Email</h2> <p>Email is still a very important part of work and personal communication, but issues like cluttered inboxes, unsynced calendars, non-replies, and copious newsletters make email frustrating. There are plenty of extremely useful email plug-ins to increase your productivity!</p> <h2>12. Google Better</h2> <p>Everyone knows about using quotes and the plus and minus while searching, but did you know about the tip calculator? What about reverse image search? Polish your Google prowess with these <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Things-You-Can-Do-Google-35330843#photo-35330843">key search hacks</a> to get the results you're looking for.</p> <h2>13. Use Siri</h2> <p>&quot;Siri&quot; (or &quot;Cortana,&quot; or &quot;Google&quot;) as a tool can seem silly and time consuming, so many people don't use her. However, there are some instances in which she's indispensable, such as sending text messages and making calls in the car. There are tons of other <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/13-cool-things-siri-can-do-for-you-2014-8?op=1">cool things Siri can do</a>, too.</p> <h2>14. Use GPS Apps</h2> <p>If you're still printing out maps before you leave the house, it's time to stop. GPS has come a long way. (Remember those old Garmin GPS machines you had to buy back in the 00s that worked poorly?) <a href="https://maps.google.com/">Google Maps</a> is the best, but <a href="https://www.waze.com/">Waze</a> is excellent for those looking to snake their way out of traffic or avoid highways. You can save locations, pre-plan trips, and add new locations with voice-control while driving.</p> <h2>15. Troubleshoot Your Wi-Fi</h2> <p>You don't need an IT person to fix your Wi-Fi. Computers have made it extra easy to troubleshoot a connection. Check your laptop's network settings and <a href="http://www.computershopper.com/feature/ten-fast-fixes-for-wi-fi-problems">troubleshoot your Wi-Fi</a> on your own. When all else fails, you can always reset your router! Another hack: many smartphones can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Simply go to your phone's general settings, to networks, then tap &quot;use as hotspot&quot; and follow the password directions.</p> <p><em>What modern life skill do you think everyone should master?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master">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/9-skills-that-will-be-obsolete-soon">9 Skills That Will Be Obsolete Soon</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-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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-back-to-school-iphone-apps">10 Back-to-School iPhone Apps</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/these-5-apps-can-fix-your-finances">These 5 Apps Can Fix Your Finances</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/5-apps-for-business-owners-on-the-go">5 Apps for Business Owners on the Go</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity Technology apps email life skills online banking smartphones social networks Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:00:21 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1392289 at http://www.wisebread.com Fly With a Little Help From Your Friends: Social Travel Planning http://www.wisebread.com/fly-with-a-little-help-from-your-friends-social-travel-planning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fly-with-a-little-help-from-your-friends-social-travel-planning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_on_trip.jpg" alt="Couple on a trip together" title="Couple on a trip together" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few years ago, my wife and I went to San Francisco for a week for a conference. We didn't know much about the city, and neither one of us had much time to research the area before we went.</p> <p>At the last minute, we remembered her cousin had lived in San Francisco for a few years, so we shot him an email asking for recommendations. Luckily, he responded with a list of about 20 must-do things while we were visiting the city, doing most of our planning for us. We went down the list and had an amazing time in San Francisco.</p> <p>Planning ahead for travel goes a long way towards making a vacation successful. It seems kind of strange that you have to work in order to have fun, but it definitely makes a difference. Planning ahead can:</p> <ul> <li>Save time &mdash; you don't end up waiting an hour or two for something</li> <li>Save money &mdash; you can buy ahead of time at a discount</li> <li>Grant access &mdash; planning can be the difference between whether you get tickets or not</li> </ul> <p>Not to mention that you've paid to travel there (airline tickets or gas) and taken time off work. So it makes sense to&nbsp;maximize your investment in your vacation by planning ahead. (See also: <a href="http://getcurrency.com/dining-travel/how-to-start-planning-for-holiday-travel">How to Start Planning for Holiday Travel</a>, via Currency)</p> <p>The trouble is, many of us don&rsquo;t make the time to hit the <a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/best-travel-websites/">travel sites</a> and plan out the trip, or we don&rsquo;t have access to good information about where we&rsquo;re going. But nowadays, you can rely on a virtual network to help give you travel advice and do your trip planning. Below are a few websites that make it easier for you to plan for vacation.</p> <h2>Gogobot</h2> <p><a href="http://www.Gogobot.com">Gogobot</a> is a social travel website that lets you ask questions about the best places to visit and stay during your trip. You can use Gogobot to pose a question to your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and Gogobot network. Then they can answer with recommendations on everything from hotels to restaurants to tourist attractions.</p> <p>For example, a recent question on the site was &ldquo;What&rsquo;s the best vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco?&rdquo; If you don&rsquo;t have any specific questions to ask, you can also visit the &ldquo;Things To Do&rdquo; section for a city and see pictures of places other people have visited and their reviews. If we were headed to San Francisco for the first time again, we wouldn&rsquo;t have to rely on friends or family in the city for advice; now we could just checkout the city page on Gogobot.</p> <h2>Gtrot</h2> <p><a href="http://www.gtrot.com/">Gtrot</a> is similar in some ways to Gogobot, but it is different enough that you should check it out as well. It also uses your social network to help you plan your trip. The website suggests the best things where you&rsquo;re going based on your likes, friends check-ins, and events happening during your trip.</p> <p>Something else that Gtrot will do is to discover any deals in the places you&rsquo;re going for the time you&rsquo;ll be there. For example, if there&rsquo;s a Groupon for a restaurant that your friends like, Gtrot will let you know it&rsquo;s available and that you might want to check it out.</p> <h2>MyTab</h2> <p>After planning your trip with Gogobot and Gtrot, you could use the site <a href="http://mytab.co/">MyTab</a> to raise money to pay for your vacation. If you have a trip planned but don&rsquo;t have the funds to cover it, MyTab lets you ask your social network for contributions to your travels.</p> <p>For example, if your birthday was coming up and you had a place you really wanted to visit, you could suggest that people give money to your travel fund as birthday gifts. Any friends or family who wanted to contribute would use PayPal through MyTab to send you some money you could use towards an airplane ticket or hotel room. MyTab isn&rsquo;t just limited to individual users; it has also become popular as a way for raising money for group trips.</p> <p><em>I&rsquo;m sure there are other sites that can help you tap into the experiences of others to plan your trip. Which ones did I miss?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ben-edwards">Ben Edwards</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fly-with-a-little-help-from-your-friends-social-travel-planning">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/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</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/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-10-minutes-a-week">5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week</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/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</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-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</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/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel social networks trip planning websites Tue, 04 Oct 2011 10:00:54 +0000 Ben Edwards 724416 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways to Use Your Social Networks Effectively http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/3-ways-to-use-your-social-networks-effectively <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/3-ways-to-use-your-social-networks-effectively" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/3-ways-to-use-your-social-networks-effectively</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/3-ways-to-use-your-social-networks-effectively" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000017180617Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="171" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Listen, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of William Dawes.</p> <p>Er, who?</p> <p>Dawes spread the word that the British were coming that fateful night along with Paul Revere. Longfellow&rsquo;s famous poem would make you think it was a galloping call to action, but what they both really did was more like a Pony Express ride with stops at important militia officer&rsquo;s homes.</p> <p>So why is Revere revered and Dawes forgotten? According to Malcolm Gladwell in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Tipping-Point-Little-Things-Difference/dp/0316346624/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1315863163&amp;sr=8-1">The Tipping Point</a>, Paul Revere was able to rouse the militia because he knew the revolutionary leaders in each of the towns that he rode through. Revere &quot;wasn't just the man with the biggest Rolodex in colonial Boston,&quot; Gladwell writes. You&rsquo;ve heard of Paul Revere because he was also a &quot;Connector,&quot; one of the people who &quot;link us up with the world ... people with a special gift for bringing the world together.&quot;</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/improving-your-online-community-1">Networking is important</a> to all kinds of small businesses. Imagine you just started a niche business, Revolutionary Militia, Inc. If your network doesn't include information brokers, personal or paid, the news that &ldquo;the Red Coats are coming, the Red Coats are coming&rdquo; will never spread.</p> <p>Your network of friends and acquaintances is more than just a communication channel. It gives you access to information, skills, and power. To make the best use of your network, you should find the nodes you rely upon, strengthen existing relationships, and encourage others to share their expertise.</p> <p><strong>1. Find the Nodes</strong></p> <p>Look carefully at who you rely on, sources of business and social information, creative inspiration, specialized expertise, and so on. Consider the strength of your relationships, how often you exchange information, and what you offer in return.</p> <p>Now see if you can diagram your network; who&rsquo;s connected to whom, who introduced you to whom, who you introduced to others. It won&rsquo;t take long to find the nodes, the information brokers, the key contacts. Take special note of relationships you created. If there are a lot of them, if you&rsquo;ve mostly introduced people you like to other people you like, you&rsquo;ve built a network of people just like yourself. What you need is diversity.</p> <p>Sure, it&rsquo;s easier to trust someone who thinks like you, someone with shared experiences. They&rsquo;re easier to communicate with because they know what you&rsquo;re thinking and they&rsquo;re likely to agree with you, which makes you feel good.</p> <p>But that&rsquo;s not all good. You need exposure to different views to access creative and novel problem solving approaches. Conferences, for example, often turn out to be an industry talking to itself. It&rsquo;s rare at such meetings to hear a truly unique point of view. For example, if you design heavy earthmoving equipment? Try going to an entomology (bug) convention. Some bugs are extraordinarily good at moving dirt; you might discover some creative solutions.</p> <p><strong>2. Build Better Relationships</strong></p> <p>Strong relationships are not created through casual interactions. That&rsquo;s why team building exercises usually involve some activity that forces people out of their comfort zones. Paul Revere&rsquo;s militia was born from strongly held, shared values; and, to use a modern phrase, they had skin in the game.</p> <p>Sports, community service, volunteer associations, charitable foundations all offer the opportunity to develop relationships with people that can become nodes into other networks. Such relationships, based on extra-curricular activities, are likely to rest on spontaneous, unscripted, even unguarded interactions that are seem more genuine and thus stronger.</p> <p><strong>3. Develop Your Information Brokers</strong></p> <p>The strong brokers in your network are important to your success, especially the ones that aren&rsquo;t in positions of formal authority. Most will be flattered if you admit that you consider them crucial to what you do, and will offer to help even more if you show them you are genuinely grateful and sincere.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s no exaggeration to say that who you know is as important as what you know. With modern social networking applications you can create connections, but building a useful network takes more than that. You have to know the value of the networks you create, and you have to know how to build on them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/3-ways-to-use-your-social-networks-effectively">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/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</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-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</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/7-things-you-should-never-do-on-linkedin">7 Things You Should Never Do on LinkedIn</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-get-someone-to-accept-your-linkedin-invitation">How to Get Someone to Accept Your LinkedIn Invitation</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-social-blunders-to-stop-making-by-30">10 Social Blunders to Stop Making by 30</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center Facebook kiwanis LinkedIn networking small business social media social networks social service organizations Thu, 22 Sep 2011 21:14:13 +0000 Tom Harnish 705937 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/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/10-smart-things-to-do-during-your-commute-even-if-you-drive">10 Smart Things to Do During Your Commute (Even If You Drive!)</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