scheduling http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8080/all en-US How often do you get your paycheck? http://www.wisebread.com/how-often-do-you-get-your-paycheck <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-often-do-you-get-your-paycheck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bumble-bee-on-thistle.jpg" alt="Bumble-bee on a thistle flower" title="Bumble-bee on Thistle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the BlogHer featured posts (Mrs. Micah&#39;s <a href="http://www.mrsmicah.com/2008/01/13/credit-cards-billing-cycles-and-bimonthly-paychecks/" title=" Billing Cycles and Bimonthly Paychecks">Credit Cards: Billing Cycles and Bimonthly Paychecks</a>) talked about a mis-match between pay dates and credit card due dates. It reminded me of just how much I used to agonize over this issue, back before I had my finances under control.</p> <p>Over the years, I&#39;ve been paid on just about every paycheck schedule: weekly, biweekly, half-monthly, and monthly. </p> <h2>The schedules</h2> <p><strong>Biweekly</strong> seems to be the most common, at least in the United States. I know a lot of people who figure that one check goes for the rent or mortgage and the other check goes for a car payment or some other major expense. The pay dates tend to shift around in the month, though. Someone who counts on, let&#39;s say, the second paycheck of the month to pay their next month&#39;s rent, can get burned if the check comes unusually early and the money gets spent before the rent check gets written. (It used to be that getting the check unusually late could also be a problem--a check that arrived the last day of the month might well not have cleared before rent was due on the first. Direct deposit and ACH has probably made that a non-issue for most people.)</p> <p><strong>Half-monthly</strong> is almost like biweekly--you still get a first and a second paycheck every month--except that you miss out on the best thing about biweekly paychecks: the two months a year when you get an &quot;extra&quot; paycheck, because a 52-week year means that there are 26 biweekly pay periods but only 24 half-monthly ones. If your finances are under control, there&#39;s really no difference between getting 1/24th of your annual salary twice a month or 1/26th of it every two weeks. But for a person who&#39;s living paycheck-to-paycheck, those three-paycheck months can cover all manner of careless spending.</p> <p><strong>Weekly</strong> sounds great to someone who&#39;s gotten a bit too used to saying, &quot;Wait until we get paid and <strong>then</strong> we can buy that.&quot; In practice, though, it&#39;s kind of scary, because there are ordinary monthly expenses that can&#39;t be covered by a single paycheck. Where one <em>biweekly</em> paycheck will commonly cover rent or the mortgage, one <em>weekly</em> paycheck probably won&#39;t (unless you&#39;re living in a very cheap apartment). All of a sudden, that simple budgeting scheme (first paycheck covers the car payment, second paycheck covers next month&#39;s rent) doesn&#39;t cut it any more. All of a sudden, you&#39;re having to save and budget just to get your bills paid.</p> <p><strong>Monthly</strong> has the advantage that it&#39;s the same frequency as most of your bills. Times when I&#39;ve been paid monthly, the payment typically comes a few days before the end of the month--early enough that the check had cleared in time to pay the rent on the first. In my experience, it was actually better than weekly. With monthly you have to budget, but at least you have the whole month&#39;s money in one big lump.</p> <h2>Personal history</h2> <p>I got paid biweekly at my first full-time job. Then, my second employer was an old-line industrial firm that ran a weekly payroll for all the factory workers, and found it easier to just include us software types in that payroll.</p> <p>With a biweekly paycheck, my bill paying was pretty simple. I&#39;d let bills pile up as they came in, and then I&#39;d pay them all when I got paid. It was pretty unusual for two weeks worth of bills to come to more than one paycheck. Once I moved to weekly paychecks, though, that changed. It was perfectly ordinary for one weeks worth of bills to be more than one paycheck--it happened at least twice a month.</p> <p>I think that experience was what first prompted me to get my finances under control. I cut back a bit on spending, got my credit cards paid off, let some money accumulate in my checking account. When my next job turned out to pay monthly, it was not only no big deal, it was actually kind of a relief--I didn&#39;t need to do nearly as much figuring and planning ahead. I got my money, and then I paid my bills over the course of the month. It was easy.</p> <h2>A matter of class</h2> <p>There&#39;s some degree of class distinction in pay frequencies. I don&#39;t know if it&#39;s still true, but as late as the mid-1980s, payrolls in England were strictly divided between the middle-class folks (who got paid monthly by direct deposit to their bank account) and the working-class folks (who got paid weekly by their boss handing them an envelope with actual cash money inside). Even in the US there&#39;s a general sense that the working-class folks need to get paid more often (because they can&#39;t be expected to budget wisely), with the implication that people who get paid less often must be of a higher class.</p> <h2>Under control</h2> <p>Of course, none of it matters, once your finances are under control. The money flows in whenever it flows in, it flows out when the bills are due--and the surplus goes into whatever savings or investment vehicles you&#39;ve selected. A large fraction of my income is now paid either annually (mutual funds that pay dividends just once a year) or semi-annual (interest payments on <a href="/treasury-bills-for-ordinary-folks">treasury securities</a>). It&#39;s all the same to me.</p> <p>I remember vividly the shifts from biweekly to weekly to monthly, because they made a huge difference in the way I managed my money. Since then, I&#39;ve had several different payroll schedules--biweekly, half-monthly, back to biweekly--but I scarcely remember, because it never really made a difference after that.</p> <p>Of course, while you&#39;re <em>in the process</em> of getting your finances under control, you&#39;re likely to be especially aware of these matters. It&#39;s necessary to pay close attention to the flow of money into and out of your life, in order to get a handle on your finances. It may be of some comfort to know that, once you do, it turns out not to matter so much any more.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-often-do-you-get-your-paycheck">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/9-ways-staying-on-budget-can-be-fun-really">9 Ways Staying on Budget Can Be Fun (Really!)</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</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/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</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-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone">10 Money Moments That Are Awkward for Everyone</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/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting General Tips ach biweekly budgeting half-monthly monthly monthly expenses paychecks scheduling weekly Tue, 15 Jan 2008 17:37:23 +0000 Philip Brewer 1634 at http://www.wisebread.com Scheduling Time Versus Scheduling Tasks http://www.wisebread.com/scheduling-time-versus-scheduling-tasks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/scheduling-time-versus-scheduling-tasks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/schedule.png" alt="Today&#039;s schedule" title="Today&#039;s schedule" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="159" height="400" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I never feel like I'm being as productive as I'd like. Every few years I try to do something about it, usually starting with reading a book or two on time management. Of late <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0142000280?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0142000280"><cite>Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity</cite></a> by David Allen has seemed like the book to read. I read it a year or two ago, and internalized a lot of its methodology. One thing about it, though, has never quite worked for me: I like to schedule blocks of time for certain kinds of activities.</p> <p>In <a href="http://www.davidco.com/what_is_gtd.php">GTD</a> one doesn't schedule a block of time, except for things that are actually scheduled. That is, you might schedule watching &quot;Heros&quot; at 8:00 CDT on Monday, because that's when it's on. Instead of scheduling a block of time to work on some project, though, you maintain a list of &quot;next actions&quot; for all the things you need to get done. When you're at a point where you could do something, you look on the list, select the next thing to work on, and then do that.</p> <p>Now, this makes sense at many levels:</p> <ul> <li>It minimizes context switches--you just work to completion in each &quot;next action.&quot; (Of course, this depends on your &quot;next action&quot; being appropriately sized, but at least you're not switching to something else just because your scheduled block of time has expired.)</li> <li>You're selecting the next &quot;next action&quot; to do, at the point when you have the maximum amount of information to use in selecting the item--how much time you have, how tired you are, what you feel like doing, whether some piece of equipment is available, etc. (Much of that information is not available hours or days earlier when you might be blocking out time on your schedule.)</li> <li>If you've already decided on what the &quot;next action&quot; is, you're less likely to be paralyzed by having a whole project's worth of work to do and no idea where to start. (Of course you do still have to decide what the next action is, but separating the deciding from the doing seems to help some.)</li> </ul> <p>Despite all that, I find there are certain kinds of activities where I'm happier blocking out chunks of time to just &quot;work on&quot; some project. In particular, I feel this way about working on my novel. Maybe it would be better to figure out what the &quot;next action&quot; should be, but I just find the whole writing process a bit too organic for me to easily plan next actions until I'm in the midst of them.</p> <p>Of course, it's possible to do both. There's no reason I can't schedule a 3-hour block of time each morning to work on my novel while managing my other tasks on the basis of &quot;next actions&quot; (which is what I'm doing now), but I feel like I might be missing out on some productivity enhancement.</p> <p>(I should mention that there's a lot more to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0142000280?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0142000280"><cite>Getting Things Done</cite></a> than just &quot;next actions,&quot; and most of the rest of it works for me like a charm. If you wish you could be more productive, and aren't already familiar with <a href="http://www.davidco.com/what_is_gtd.php">GTD</a>, check out David Allen's site and consider getting the book.)</p> <p>Any Wise Bread readers out there doing the GTD thing? Any of you who also schedule blocks of time to &quot;work on&quot; stuff, despite the advice in GTD? Most particularly, any of you who <em>feel the same draw to do so that I do</em>, but have figured out some effective way to channel that inclination into &quot;next actions&quot; and think you're the better for it? If you've got any thoughts on the matter, I'd be pleased to read about it in the comments below.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/scheduling-time-versus-scheduling-tasks">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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-by-spending-it">10 Ways to Save Time by Spending Time</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-always-be-on-time">How to Always Be on 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/finding-your-best-work-hours">Finding Your Best Work Hours</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-time-management-problem-most-of-us-have-and-how-to-fix-it">The Time Management Problem Most of Us Have — and How to Fix It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity scheduling time management Tue, 30 Oct 2007 12:26:42 +0000 Philip Brewer 1336 at http://www.wisebread.com