Productivity http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8129/all en-US 6 Rules of Creating a Powerfully Productive Workspace http://www.wisebread.com/6-rules-of-creating-a-powerfully-productive-workspace <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-rules-of-creating-a-powerfully-productive-workspace" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business-470445829.jpg" alt="woman working" title="woman working" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After a particularly long morning at work, does it sometimes feel like you and your office chair have permanently merged (in the worst way possible)? That those ceiling-mounted fluorescent lights are energy-sapping torture devices? That you'd give just about anything to be able to burrow through to the parking garage and speed your way toward a permanent vacation? Your exhaustion and lack of motivation may be due, in part, to an office environment that just isn't working for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-improve-your-performance-at-work?ref=seealso">12 Ways to Improve Your Work Performance</a>)</p> <p>Thankfully, we can exercise some control over our workspaces and with a few small changes, significantly improve our productivity, energy-levels, and happiness. Here are six tips for creating a powerfully productive workspace.</p> <h2>1. Design for Use</h2> <p>If you're setting up a home office or have some control over the arrangement of your office at work, design for how you'll actually use the space.</p> <p>Before you arrange a single stick of furniture or wheel in that Aeron chair, consider your habits, preferences, and work style. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-reasons-to-get-out-of-your-office-chair?ref=seealso">Reasons to Get Out of Your Office Chair</a>)</p> <ul> <li> <p>Do you need a large desk or would you prefer room to move, organize multiple projects, or read comfortably?</p> </li> <li> <p>Is your office a hub for other workers, requiring more open space and a few extra seats?</p> </li> <li> <p>Do you travel extensively for work and need a place to stow luggage before and after flights?</p> </li> </ul> <p>Designing for real-world use instead of purely stylistic concerns will help you build a space that supports, rather than fights, your work.</p> <h2>2. Lighten to Brighten</h2> <p>Unfortunately for most workers, fluorescent lighting and office environments go hand-in-hand. But a growing body of research suggests that fluorescent's single spectrum of lighting may actually be doing us harm &mdash; contributing to inactivity, exhaustion, or anxiety. Studies show that <a href="http://voices.yahoo.com/effects-flourescent-lighting-school-children-8729489.html">fluorescent lighting in schools</a> may be contributing to children's hyperactivity and abbreviated attention spans.</p> <p>To improve your productivity, bring as much natural light as possible into your workspace. Gravitate toward lighter colors, reflective surfaces, sheer window coverings, and other design elements that maximize natural light and reduce the need for glaring artificial light.</p> <h2>3. Go Natural</h2> <p>It makes sense. We're natural creatures, and we respond well to the natural environment. While working indoors all day may be a necessary evil in our modern world, bringing a bit of nature in can help <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2002499/Stressed-work-Put-pot-plants-desk.html">reduce stress</a> and keep us engaged. Besides their aesthetic appeal, adding plant life to your workspace is an inexpensive way to improve air quality and interior humidity levels.</p> <p>If your office doesn't get much natural light, choose your greenery carefully. Bamboo, jade plants, peace lilies, and philodendrons are hardy choices that do well in artificial or low light conditions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-hardest-to-kill-houseplants?ref=seealso">Hard-to-Kill Houseplants</a>)</p> <h2>4. Enjoy the View</h2> <p>Of course, the ultimate way to let nature and natural light into your office is to take advantage of a wonderful view. Though we may be sequestered away in our offices, taking a moment to enjoy a view of nature or society can have a restorative effect. If you're stuck in a windowless or garden-level office, create a faux view by hanging photos of inspiring outdoor scenes.</p> <h2>5. Decorate</h2> <p>Those sleek and minimalist offices look great in glossy magazine spreads, but adding a few personal touches to your space can help boost productivity. It's all about comfort. Think about it: If you have to spend 8-10 hours in a space, then photos, artwork, plants, and other items can help you feel more relaxed and, in a tangible way, connect your work with other parts of your life.</p> <h2>6. Ignore the Messy Versus Neat Debate</h2> <p>A 2012 study conducted by the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota found that people who work in messy or cluttered environments tend to be more creative and innovative, while those in more <a href="http://pss.sagepub.com/content/24/9/1860">orderly spaces are prone to make healthier choices</a> and be more generous. The bottom line? Clutterbugs and strict minimalists each have their upside. Stop worrying about how you think your space should look and embrace the strengths in your personality that are reflected in it.</p> <p>So, the next time you're clicking away at your keyboard and notice your fingers beginning to feel like sticks of lead, consider how your office may be working against your personal productivity. Would a smarter layout, better lighting, or personal touches help? With a few tricks and tweaks, you can change your space and reinvigorate your workday. At the very least, ditch those industrial fluorescents and let a little sunshine in.</p> <p><em>How do you maximize productivity in your workspace? What single idea or strategy has helped the most?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-rules-of-creating-a-powerfully-productive-workspace" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Rules of Creating a Powerfully Productive Workspace" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity desk Office productivity workplace Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:00:19 +0000 Kentin Waits 1135258 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Perk Up Your Productivity http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-perk-up-your-productivity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-perk-up-your-productivity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business-success-5074874-small.jpg" alt="woman at desk" title="woman at desk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on ways to perk up your productivity, reasons why you can succeed when you fail, and signs you should quit your job.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://timemanagementninja.com/2014/04/21-ways-to-perk-up-your-productivity/">21 Ways to Perk Up Your Productivity</a> &mdash; Writing in your success journal and having a positive attitude can perk up your productivity. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/9-reasons-why-you-can-succeed-when-you-fail.html">9 Reasons Why You Can Succeed When You Fail</a> &mdash; Failing provides you with a lesson to learn from. [Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/When-Quit-Your-Job-34540764">Two Signs You Should Quit Your Job Immediately</a> &mdash; Quit your job immediately if you can't picture yourself at the company in a year. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2014/04/how-to-tell-financially-sexy/">How to Tell if You're Financially Sexy</a> &mdash; Having a credit score of 750 or higher and saving at least 15% of your income can make you &quot;financially sexy.&quot; [Budgets Are Sexy]</p> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/what-should-i-do-if-ive-been-passed-over-for-a-promoti-1558813533">What Should I Do If I've Been Passed Over For A Promotion?</a> &mdash; If you were passed over for a promotion, remember that not all promotions are a good thing. [Lifehacker]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2014/04/working-hard-results-5-simple-steps-re-motivate.html">Working Hard With No Results? 5 Simple Steps to Re-motivate Yourself</a> &mdash; To get yourself motivated, rest and have patience. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/04/06/9-things-to-stop-doing-during-hard-times/">9 Things to Stop Doing During Hard Times</a> &mdash; Stop acting like it's not OK to smile during hard times. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://ptmoney.com/time-management-part-time-entrepreneurs/">Time Management for Part-Time Entrepreneurs</a> &mdash; If you are a part-time entrepreneur, manage your time by starting your day with a plan. [PT Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/first-investment-tips/">50 Experts Share Their First Investments Ever</a> &mdash; From stocks and bonds to boxes of Airheads candy, check out how these personal finance experts got started investing! [Good Financial Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/go-blue-for-autism-awareness">Go Blue for Autism Awareness</a> &mdash; Did you know April is Autism Awareness Month? [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-perk-up-your-productivity" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Ways to Perk Up Your Productivity" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity best money tips productivity Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:00:33 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1134963 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Frugal Ways to Land a Client http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-ways-to-land-a-client <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-frugal-ways-to-land-a-client" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-client-605.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><i>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use&nbsp;</i><a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_11_frugal_ways_to_land_a_client"><i>Skype Credit</i></a><i>&nbsp;to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</i></p> <p>You&rsquo;re probably familiar with one of the oldest terms in business, or the ABCs of sales: &ldquo;Always Be Closing.&rdquo;&nbsp;This phrase would almost be cliché if it wasn&rsquo;t true; a thriving business needs to keep prospects throughout all phases of the sales cycle, with special emphasis on getting a signed contract.&nbsp;</p> <p>The glossy business mags say that the key to closing a sale depends on wining and dining, often at a cost that&rsquo;s greater than what you can afford.&nbsp;Today&rsquo;s savvy small business pro can do deals on the cheap, however, and we have almost a dozen budget-friendly strategies for getting the job done.</p> <h3>Share the celebrations<b> </b></h3> <p>When our 6<sup>th</sup> son was born, a local bank sent me a laminated cut-out of the baby&rsquo;s newspaper birth announcement, along with a card and a special offer to open a new account. It was one of the few cards we received, so it stuck out. You can do the same for your prospects by making notes of wedding news, promotion announcements, or awards, and sending them along with a personalized card of recognition and an invitation to do business.&nbsp;(<a href="http://www.linkedin.com">LinkedIn</a> can be a wealth of information for finding out about these milestones.)</p> <h3>Do Coffee</h3> <p>Pricey dinners may not be in the budget, but a cup of joe is.&nbsp;If the thought of meeting in a crowded Starbucks seems impersonal, set up a meeting at a gourmet cupcake shoppe or an outdoor bistro with beignets on the menu.</p> <h3>Offer an Actual Freebie</h3> <p>&ldquo;30 minute free consultations&rdquo; are popular for service providers, but they may not actually give value to a prospective client.&nbsp;Keep tabs on your precious time and wow potential clients by letting them ask a single question via email &ndash; no strings attached.&nbsp;If they like what you have to say, a contract is closer to reality.</p> <h3>Use the Power of Public Speaking</h3> <p>Most conferences require that their speakers use the presentation time to educate, not solicit; this doesn&rsquo;t mean that you can&rsquo;t sell from the stage, however.&nbsp;Amaze the crowd with your knowledge of the subject matter and personable delivery. Remember that a good presentation offers solutions to real problems, as well as reminds the audience that there will be other issues you are ready to help them solve.&nbsp;By the end, potential clients will be coming up to YOU and wanting to know how you can work together.&nbsp;</p> <h3>Build Relationships With Skype Credit</h3> <p>Just meeting potential clients isn&rsquo;t enough if you don&rsquo;t call them to follow up. You should also schedule time to call current clients to see if they&rsquo;re happy with your service, as well as old clients to see if there&rsquo;s anything new you can do for them. As long as your calls are helpful and sincere, your clients will love the attention. You can use <a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_11_frugal_ways_to_land_a_client">Skype Credit</a> to call mobiles and landlines all over the world at extremely cost-effective rates.</p> <div style="text-align:center;" class="ggnoads" id="kamidarticle"> <div id="kamidarticle-middle-content"><center></p> <!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><div id="div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0" style="width:300px; height:250px;"> <script type='text/javascript'> googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0'); }); </script></div> <p></center></div> </div> <h3>Reinvent the &ldquo;Free Lunch&rdquo; Fishbowl</h3> <p>Offer a fresh take on this tired tactic by giving prospects a chance to win a prize when they sign up for your email list and ask one question related to how you can help them. You&rsquo;ll get their contact info AND insight into how to address their specific needs.&nbsp;(Prize winners often feel obligated to at least accept your cold calls.)</p> <h3>Attend Conferences No One Else (But Your Client) Does</h3> <p>If you are a roofer, attending a conference with a thousand other roofers likely won&rsquo;t get you new business.&nbsp;If you attend a conference with a thousand building managers, however, that is a different story.&nbsp;It takes research to find out where your best customers will gather, but it&rsquo;s worth it.&nbsp;Use sites like <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com">Eventbrite</a> to track industry events around the country and meet future clients where they gather!</p> <h3>Offer Referral Bonuses</h3> <p>This very traditional tactic still works! Let your existing clients know that any new business they send to you will be rewarded with a discount (usually 5-15%) and keep reminding them of this fact on every invoice you send. Offer bonuses for everyone &ndash; not just clients &ndash; by putting a referral &ldquo;code&rdquo; on business cards.</p> <h3>Speak in &ldquo;ROI&rdquo;</h3> <p>It can be difficult to assign a monetary value to using your products or services, but it can be done.&nbsp;Look at others in your industry to see what case studies they offer on past successes with clients.&nbsp;Can you do the same? If so, build a projection of the value you can offer to a potential client, and don&rsquo;t be afraid to throw it out as a possibility.&nbsp;Seeing the value is often all a prospect needs to move forward.</p> <h3>Ask</h3> <p>Sometimes, all a prospect needs to become a client is to be asked.&nbsp;The old &ldquo;what can I do to get a signed contract from you today?&rdquo; trick actually works.&nbsp;Maybe they simply need some reassuring, a small process change on your part, or a little more information.&nbsp;If you can deliver that final puzzle piece, business can happen!</p> <h3>Offer (almost) 24/7 availability</h3> <p>Do you know what really impresses a client? Being there. If you can&rsquo;t always be around, at least give the appearance of it by having a wide variety of ways for a potential client to reach you. Text, email, phone and social media are the bare minimum methods of seamless communication. (Can&rsquo;t be by your desk? Forwarding calls from your Skype account to your mobile or landline lets clients get to you anywhere, with just one number. There&rsquo;s no charge to the caller this feature.)</p> <p><i>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use&nbsp;</i><a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_11_frugal_ways_to_land_a_client"><i>Skype Credit</i></a><i>&nbsp;to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</i></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-ways-to-land-a-client" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Frugal Ways to Land a Client" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship Productivity Skype Credit Thu, 10 Apr 2014 04:06:25 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1134731 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Tools That Create Hours of Free Time a Week http://www.wisebread.com/9-tools-that-create-hours-of-free-time-a-week <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-tools-that-create-hours-of-free-time-a-week" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tools-that-save-you-time-60.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><i>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use&nbsp;</i><a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_9_tools_that_create_hours_of_free_time"><i>Skype Credit</i></a><i>&nbsp;to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</i></p> <p>Most of us are busy <i>&mdash;</i> and probably busier than we&rsquo;d like to be. Between work, family, friends, staying healthy, and having fun, there&rsquo;s just so much to do! Thankfully, technology offers several great ways to save you time. In fact, not only do the tools below save you time, but they save you time on some of the tasks you probably like the least. Read on to discover how you can be saving hours a week.</p> <h3>1. Shoeboxed</h3> <p>While I love the idea of making my office paperless, I just don&rsquo;t have the time to scan every single important piece of paper that comes my way. That&rsquo;s why <a href="https://www.shoeboxed.com/">Shoeboxed</a> is so great. You can send off your documents (in a prepaid envelope), and the nice people at Shoeboxed will scan, categorize, and organize all of your documents for you. You can also shoot them online receipts and confirmations via email or through their app. That way, everything is gathered and organized for you in one place when you need it. No more panic time during tax season. It&rsquo;s time to go paperless!</p> <h3>2. Boomerang</h3> <p>Devoting time to email every day is part of life &mdash; and sometimes, even just managing and organizing your email can take up a significant portion of your work day. But what if you could cut down that time with a simple, easy-to-use tool that makes it easier to manage those emails?</p> <p>That&rsquo;s where <a href="http://www.boomeranggmail.com/">Boomerang</a> comes in. Boomerang does a few things:</p> <ul> <li>If you need to send an email at a specific time, you can write an email now but schedule it to be sent later.</li> <li>If you&rsquo;re not ready to deal with an email right now, you can have Boomerang send it back to you when you need it.</li> <li>If you&rsquo;re waiting on a response, you can set Boomerang to remind you if no one responds, so you never forget to follow up.</li> <li>You can schedule Boomerang to send you a email reminder for anything &mdash; birthdays, anniversaries, or dreaded bill due dates.</li> </ul> <p>There&rsquo;s no need to clutter up your inbox with emails that you can&rsquo;t do anything with just yet. Schedule a message with Boomerang, and you&rsquo;ll be reminded only when it matters.</p> <h3>3. Unroll.me</h3> <p>Email subscriptions can be useful &mdash; they can help you learn new things, save money on things you would normally buy, and keep you up-to-date on the world. But if you feel like it takes too much time to read all of these individual emails, <a href="https://unroll.me/">Unroll.me</a> can help &mdash; the service gathers up all your subscription emails into one daily message. Your subscription emails will be filed away, too, so they don&rsquo;t clutter up your inbox, and you still get a chance to read them through the daily digest.</p> <p>See anything in there no longer care to read? Unroll.me makes it easy to unsubscribe too.</p> <div style="text-align:center;" class="ggnoads" id="kamidarticle"> <div id="kamidarticle-middle-content"><center></p> <!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><div id="div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0" style="width:300px; height:250px;"> <script type='text/javascript'> googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0'); }); </script></div> <p></center></div> </div> <h3>4. Glympse</h3> <p>Ever have a meeting with someone, they&rsquo;re running late, and you&rsquo;re wondering where they are? How about if you&rsquo;re going out with a group, and you&rsquo;re separating for a while and need to meet up again at a designated spot? <a href="https://www.glympse.com/">Glympse</a> takes all the &ldquo;Where are you?&rdquo; and &ldquo;Be there in x minutes&rdquo; texts and calls away.</p> <p>Instead, Glympse allows you to share your location with anyone for a specific period of time. The people you&rsquo;re meeting up with can check your location using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can turn off the location share at any time, or it will just expire after the designated time.</p> <p>This is especially great if you&rsquo;re waiting for someone. If you can see that they&rsquo;re still a half-hour away, you have time to run errands or do other things that you need to do, instead of just waiting around doing nothing.</p> <h3>5. Swiftkey</h3> <p>If you own an Android phone and have ever felt frustrated because it takes so long to tap out a message, get <a href="http://www.swiftkey.net/en/">Swiftkey</a>! Instead of typing out each letter, Swiftkey allows you to flow from one letter to the next, letting you write whole phrases without lifting a finger. Even if you are slightly inaccurate, the app will correct it to the right word. It can even predict what you are going to write before you finish (by learning how you write).</p> <h3>6. Sleep Trackers</h3> <p>Sleep tracker apps help you get in touch with your circadian rhythm and make sure you&rsquo;re going to bed and waking up at optimal times. More efficient sleep means you don&rsquo;t waste time tossing and turning or feel groggy because you wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle. Depending on which smartphone you have, you can find a good app that will track your movements and give you tips on when and how to sleep. Some of these apps also have added features of gentle alarms and sleep logs. Here&rsquo;s a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-better-sleep-with-these-5-great-sleep-tracking-apps">review we did on sleep tracker apps</a> earlier this year.</p> <h3>7. Evernote</h3> <p>Have you ever written down a great idea, then had to shuffle through piles of paper or flip all the way through an old notebook to find it again? It&rsquo;s a huge time waste.</p> <p>Now, imagine a notebook that contains all your notes for various projects, reminders, and ideas &mdash; even a journal. But the key to this notebook is that is searchable, and it&rsquo;s accessible from computer, tablet, or smartphone, and even shareable. That&rsquo;s <a href="https://evernote.com">Evernote</a>.</p> <p>You can put everything you need, from webpages to snapshots to text notes, all in one place. You can even record audio! You can place them in separate folders (or notebooks) &mdash; or not &mdash; it&rsquo;s all searchable anyway.</p> <h3>8. Skype</h3> <p>Skype is my favorite communication tool. I use it daily for work and at home. It&rsquo;s the simplest and cheapest way to stay in touch with friends and family, especially if they&rsquo;re out of the country. I love Skype&rsquo;s online status notifications, which tells you if the person you want to contact is available before you even call them.</p> <p>Skype video calls can save you a lot of time. Some things are just easier explained over a video call. You can use video calls to do anything from helping your husband pick out the best tie while on a business trip, to helping your hapless single friend decide if that three-day old meatloaf is still edible.</p> <p>Skype also offers <a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_9_tools_that_create_hours_of_free_time">Skype Credit</a>, which allows you to use Skype to call mobile and landlines worldwide at low rates. Skype Credit&rsquo;s best time-saving features include:</p> <ul> <li>The ability to send SMS messages directly from your computer. This is great for us non-teenagers who prefer to type on keyboards instead of struggling with smartphones.</li> <li>Connect to Skype Wifi at over 2 million spots worldwide. You can conduct business while on the go without worrying about missing deadlines.</li> <li>Set up call forwarding to a mobile or landline of your choice, so you don&rsquo;t have to worry about missing any important calls from the office.</li> </ul> <h2>9. LastPass</h2> <p>How many times have you forgotten your password for a site you haven&rsquo;t visited in a while? This used to happen to me when I logged into my various financial accounts each month to pay my bills or access my statements. After trying several times, I&rsquo;d have to hit the &ldquo;reset password&rdquo; button, go into my email, click the link, and reset the password before I could get to what I needed to do. Even worse was when I maxed out the tries and had to make a phone call to unlock my account. Not only did it take time, but it totally derailed me from what I was doing. Now that I have <a href="https://lastpass.com/">LastPass</a>, however, that will never happen again.</p> <p>The best thing about LastPass is how easy it is. Just log in to an account, and LastPass will prompt you to save the password, which it keeps secure. You can also share passwords (without actually sharing the actual password) with someone else, if you need to give someone access to your accounts. Then delete them when you no longer want to share access.</p> <p>LastPass also has features that allow you to create secure notes and files, as well as create backups of your sensitive documents.</p> <p><i>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use&nbsp;</i><a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_9_tools_that_create_hours_of_free_time"><i>Skype Credit</i></a><i>&nbsp;to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</i></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-tools-that-create-hours-of-free-time-a-week" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Tools That Create Hours of Free Time a Week" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity Technology Skype Credit Mon, 07 Apr 2014 10:49:01 +0000 Lynn Truong 1134079 at http://www.wisebread.com The Time Management Problem Most of Us Have — and How to Fix It http://www.wisebread.com/the-time-management-problem-most-of-us-have-and-how-to-fix-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-time-management-problem-most-of-us-have-and-how-to-fix-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/relax-1165160-small.jpg" alt="relaxing" title="relaxing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p style="font-size: 13px;">You're up to your eyeballs. Everybody wants a piece of you. You don't have time to think, eat, or sleep properly. Everything is a rush. You probably don't even have time to read this article, but you're drawn to it, despite yourself. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress?ref=seealso">20 Free Ways to Relieve Stress</a>)</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;">&quot;Stop the bus! I wanna get off.&quot;</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Does this sound like you? If it does, you're probably among the masses who are over-committed and wondering how to dig yourself out. But before we start digging, let's take a look at the trap you've fallen into.</p> <h2>Pitfalls of Over-Committing</h2> <p style="font-size: 13px;">We live in a fast-paced world, one with more opportunities and obligations than time. In many cases, over-committing is borne of enthusiasm. But it ends up doing more damage than good.</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;">The pitfalls of over-committing are plentiful, affecting:</p> <ul style="font-size: 13px;"> <li>Concentration<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Diet (too much, not enough, or the wrong stuff)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Substance reliance (alcohol, drugs, even medication)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Sleep<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Mood<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Health</li> </ul> <p style="font-size: 13px;">These pitfalls of over-committing, in turn, create a vicious circle that worsens everything, creates more stress, and makes it harder to get out of the commitment hole you're in.</p> <h2>Getting Out of the Commitment Hole</h2> <p style="font-size: 13px;">&quot;Great,&quot; you say. &quot;I'm stuck in the swirling eddy of over-commitment. Now what?&quot;</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;">It's time to dig yourself out. Here's how to begin.</p> <h3>Accept Responsibility</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">This is a tough nut to swallow, since it may appear that we're simply reacting to the hand life has dealt us. But ultimately it boils down to you. Once you accept responsibility for getting yourself into this bind, you can also assume the power to get yourself out. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits?ref=seealso">How to Break Bad Habits</a>)</p> <h3>Let Go of Perfection</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Become a recovering perfectionist. Although it's commendable to give your all (and then some) to everything you commit to, rarely is it expected &mdash; or even appreciated. Sometimes, good enough is just that &mdash; good enough.</p> <h3>Breathe and Keep Perspective</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">It's simple, but effective. When overwhelmed by your workload, close your eyes and take three deep breaths, remembering that nothing lasts forever. You'll get through this busy time, and hopefully you'll use the techniques below to not let yourself get this mired in commitments again.</p> <h3>Prioritize</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Write down your commitments and prioritize them. Sometimes, in simply writing down your obligations, you'll gain perspective.</p> <h3>Make Lists</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Take pleasure in crossing things off your list. But be warned: Sometimes the top priorities on your list are also the most onerous, so instead you tackle the little things first. Although this gives you an initial sense of accomplishment, there will always be new little things added to your list; get those big things out of the way.</p> <h3>Ask for Help</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Delegate! You may be the best person for the job, but you're a recovering perfectionist now, so let it go. Somebody else can do it, and you're not weak by asking for help. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-delegate-at-work-and-at-home-in-4-easy-steps?ref=seealso">How to Delegate</a>)</p> <h3>Don't Worry</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">It's so much easier said than done. The more energy you expend worrying, the less you have to get through your commitments. Just breathe, and focus on the next item on your priority list.</p> <h3>Sleep</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">The more rested you are, the more perspective you'll have on your situation and your commitments.</p> <h2>How to Stop Over-Committing</h2> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Once you're out of the commitment hole, use these techniques to ensure you don't end up back in it.</p> <h3>Learn to Say No</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Remember that note above about accepting responsibility for over-committing? You're responsible for over-committing because you didn't say &quot;no&quot; to too many requests on your time and energy. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family?ref=seealso">How to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a>)</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;">I recently had an amazing job offer in Peru that would give me&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/travel-tips-resources/get-free-accommodation-around-world/">free accommodation</a>&nbsp;for a mere two days per week of work. But my freelance writing obligations are also a full-time job, which means I would have been working seven days a week, without time to actually experience Peru. This seemed like a crime to me, but learning to say no to this job was one of the most difficult &mdash; yet cathartic &mdash; things I've done. (Instead, I paid my way in Peru, in essence buying the free time I so badly needed and deserved.)</p> <h3>Evaluate Opportunities and Commitments</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Once you're comfortable with saying no, you can evaluate opportunities to choose what to accept (and decline). Ask yourself these questions:</p> <ul style="font-size: 13px;"> <li>How will I benefit from this opportunity?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What is the cost? (Will you pay a price in money, or time, or at the expense of family, exercise, work, or something else?)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How much time will it take? (Don't forget travel time and other related obligations.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If I will profit from this, what is the value of my time? (Work out how much money you would make per hour for this commitment.)</li> </ul> <h3>Face Your Fears</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Why have you over-committed in the past? Are you afraid of disappointing somebody? Losing your job? Not making enough money? Missing out on a good time? (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-techniques-that-can-help-you-conquer-any-fear?ref=seealso">9 Techniques to Conquer Any Fear</a>)</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Before I sold everything to travel full-time (in 2007), I was the poster-child for over-commitment. I had a busy financial planning practice; I was a Rotarian and a Toastmaster; I was acting in film and television, and performing in musical theater; and I was rock climbing, motorcycle racing, and more. I had over-committed myself to all these amazing opportunities because I was trying to quell my inner voice which said &quot;Nora, you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing. There's something else out there for you.&quot; Every time I heard it, I added something new to my repertoire hoping it would satisfy the inner voice.</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;">But along with that inner voice was a knowledge that the &quot;something else&quot; out there for me involved a lifestyle change &mdash; and I was afraid. I ultimately paid the price for over-committing and not facing my fears with my health &mdash; which became the tipping point to my making the lifestyle changes necessary to recapture my dreams.</p> <h3>Believe Less Is More</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">We live in a world of opportunity and abundance. Although the temptation of all the amazing things we can see/do/be is alluring, life balance and managing our expectations is much more rewarding. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance?ref=seealso">The Secret to Time Management and Work-Life Balance</a>.)</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;">It has been shown many times over that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156028/">meditation is good for us</a>&nbsp;&mdash; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Why then is it so hard to do? Because it looks unproductive! We're thinking about nothing, going nowhere, and accomplishing nothing. Or so it appears.</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Instead, meditation (this act of doing less) gives us more, by helping us stay healthy, and giving us perspective, patience, and the ability to evaluate and manage our daily commitments &mdash; hopefully without over-committing.</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Although you don't necessarily need to take up meditation, look at it as an example of how less is more, and how we can enjoy life so much more, by filling it with less.</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;"><em>Are you an over-committer? How do you plan to stop?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-time-management-problem-most-of-us-have-and-how-to-fix-it" class="sharethis-link" title="The Time Management Problem Most of Us Have — and How to Fix It" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity over-committing productivity relaxing time management Thu, 03 Apr 2014 08:48:16 +0000 Nora Dunn 1133960 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprisingly-simple-ways-to-motivate-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-surprisingly-simple-ways-to-motivate-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laptop-1326804-small.jpg" alt="woman working" title="woman working" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Motivation is the better part of getting things done. You can be the most organized person in the world and keep all the lists that you want, but if you can't motivate yourself, you're not going to get anything done. The reverse is also true. Increase your ability to motivate yourself, and you're going to get a metric tonne of things done, from the small tasks that crop up every day to the big ones that make you a superstar on the job and around the house. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-move-from-being-busy-to-actually-getting-things-done?ref=seealso">Go From Busy to Getting Things Done</a>)</p> <p>So if all you need is some motivation, where do you find it?</p> <h2>1. Talk to Yourself in the Second Person</h2> <p>For anyone who wasn't that great at grammar, that means calling yourself &quot;you.&quot; Researchers at the University of Michigan found this to be a powerful means of motivation. Rather than telling yourself &quot;I need to&quot; do something, <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/106/2/304/">tell yourself &quot;You can do&quot; something</a>. This was true across groups, helping even people with a lot of stress and anxiety about their tasks to get things done.</p> <h2>2. Learn to Love the Unpleasant Parts</h2> <p>One thing that just about anyone who has ever done resistance training will tell you is that you need to learn to <em>love the burn</em> or you're going to give up. The pain of getting tasks complete is, in a certain sense, inevitable. What's not is the suffering. If you embrace feelings such as stress and pressure, you're going to be able to turn them into advantages. Start looking forward to them, the way that a bodybuilder looks forward to the ache that comes from a tough workout. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fitness-for-people-who-hate-exercise?ref=seealso">Fitness for People Who Hate Exercise</a>)</p> <h2>3. Reward Yourself</h2> <p>It doesn't have to be anything big. It might be a trip to the water cooler, a cup of coffee, or a couple minutes messing around on Facebook. Little bribes, however, can help you to close the gap between what you &quot;should get around to&quot; and what's actually done. Use these little rewards to help you get through the day, while using bigger rewards (treating yourself to a decadent dessert, for example) to get the more Herculean tasks done. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now?ref=seealso">21 Frugal Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>4. Break Down Bigger Tasks Into Smaller Tasks</h2> <p>Often, people with severe depression have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. So what do their therapists have them do? Try to imagine pulling off the covers. From there, put one foot on the ground. Then another. It's a truism that the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. So too do the hardest and most unpleasant tasks start with very simple steps. If you can't motivate yourself to clean out the garage and put everything on eBay, motivate yourself to walk down to the garage and take it from there.</p> <h2>5. Do Something Else</h2> <p>Maybe you can't even get down to the garage. OK. Instead of just sitting there watching TV avoiding what you know you should be doing, do something else. Clean the kitchen, pick up the dry cleaning, make yourself a pot of tea. When it comes to getting motivated, inertia is the enemy. Get moving, and you'll find it easier to transition from one task to another. Sit around and you're just going to continue to sit around. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits?ref=seealso">How to Break Bad Habits</a>)</p> <h2>6. Take a Break</h2> <p>Ever been sitting at your desk at work, in the middle of doing a particularly arduous task? You're getting little bits and pieces done, but for the most part, it's just not happening. You're spending more time trying to motivate yourself than actually getting stuff done. The solution? Walk away. Take five. Don't stare into space. Don't mess around on Facebook. Stand up, walk away, take a break. Come back to the problem with a fresh set of eyes.</p> <p>The <em>ur</em> trick? To make all of these as automatic as finding reasons to not get anything done. Make motivation automatic. You'll be glad you did when there's more stuff crossed out than not on your &quot;to-do&quot; list.</p> <p><em>How do you stay motivated in the face of unpleasant tasks? Motivate yourself to share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprisingly-simple-ways-to-motivate-yourself" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nicholas-pell">Nicholas Pell</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development Productivity motivation productivity Mon, 31 Mar 2014 10:24:35 +0000 Nicholas Pell 1133232 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways to Stop Procrastinating — NOW! http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-stop-procrastinating-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-stop-procrastinating-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/to-do-173298656.jpg" alt="to do list" title="to do list" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Postponing until tomorrow what you could do today might be your way of coping when you're overwhelmed or simply not interested in a particular task. However, the fact that you don't want to tackle an assignment doesn't change the fact that you have to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation?ref=seealso">Secrets to Self-Motivation</a>)</p> <p>We all deal with procrastination from time-to-time &mdash; it's a common action (or inaction). Even so, procrastination can gradually become a chronic problem, ultimately impacting your ability to reach goals and get things done.</p> <p>Fortunately, this behavior doesn't have to take over your life. Here are nine ways to stop procrastinating.</p> <h2>1. Break Down Projects</h2> <p>Some people procrastinate starting a project &mdash; any project, whether at work or around the house &mdash; because they don't know where to begin. However, it might help to break your assignments into smaller, manageable pieces.</p> <p>As a whole, a task or assignment might seem too big to handle, which can be overwhelming at best. But if you take a task and divide it into three of four smaller tasks, the assignment might not seem as scary. This can allay any fears and motivate you to get started.</p> <h2>2. Write a To-Do List</h2> <p>I know how hard it is to stay focused during the day. And for me, procrastination is more common on the days that I don't have a set schedule. Mentally I know what needs to get done. But if I don't assign each task to an hour block, I often start my day later than I should. However, planning each day in advance helps. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list?ref=seealso">How to Create a Reasonable To-Do List</a>)</p> <p>This advice is helpful whether you need to complete things around the house or at the office. Each night, list each task that has to be accomplished the next day. For example, your list might include items like laundry, cleaning out the refrigerator, paying bills, or running errands. Along with this written to-do list, decide when to complete each item. For example, you might pay bills at 10 a.m. and go to the post office at 11 a.m. Additionally, establish a time limit for completing each item, so you won't spend too much time on one task.</p> <h2>3. Prioritize</h2> <p>Personally, if I complete my most dreaded or difficult tasks first (such as cleaning the bathroom or going grocery shopping), I can get through the rest of the day with ease. However, the opposite might be true for you, and you may procrastinate with simpler tasks.</p> <p>Whatever your preference, it helps to prioritize items from urgent to least urgent, or vice versa. By moving tasks that you would normally put off to the top of your to-do list, you're able to tackle procrastination head-on.</p> <h2>4. Change Up Where You Work</h2> <p>This option might not be available to you. However, if you work from home and find that you're unable to stay on task, a change of scenery can make a world of difference.</p> <p>I complete the majority of my work in a home office, but some days my creative juices aren't flowing, and I spend more time putting off work or surfing the Internet. I'll procrastinate as long as I stay in the same place. Yet, if I change my location and work from the couch, the dining room table, or even away from the house, this is usually all it takes to find my focus and get back into the swing of things. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-focused-at-work?ref=seealso">How to Stay Focused at Work</a>)</p> <h2>5. Avoid Distractions</h2> <p>The more distractions you have, the easier it is to procrastinate. For example, it's harder to work during the day when you're constantly pulled into conversations via Facebook and other social media. Likewise, if you sit down to study or work on homework, you might get off track if you're unable to ignore text messages, game notification from friends, or breaking news stories that appear on your newsfeed.</p> <p>By keeping social media in its place and only checking in with friends after you've completed your tasks, you can limit distractions that trigger procrastination. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-break-your-social-media-habit?ref=seealso">Ways to Break Your Social Media Habit</a>)</p> <h2>6. Don't Accept Invitations</h2> <p>You might be determined to complete projects around the home or office within a given timeframe, but your inability to decline invitations might inadvertently encourage procrastination.</p> <p>For example, your daily plans may already include preparing your taxes or starting a home improvement project. It's tempting to cancel these plans if you receive a last-minute invitation from a friend. Understandably, going to lunch or the movies is more exciting than adding up tax receipts. It's OK to be flexible with your schedule, but if you constantly let others interfere with your plans, you won't get anything done. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family?ref=seealso">How to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a>)</p> <h2>7. Be Accountable</h2> <p>Dealing with procrastination might require support from a friend or relative. After you establish a to-do list and a schedule for the day, share your plans with someone.</p> <p>When it's all said and done, this person is there to offer encouragement. Schedule regular check-ins with your support person. It's easier to stay on target when you're held accountable for your actions.</p> <h2>8. Reward Yourself</h2> <p>For each task that you complete on your list, give yourself a small reward. This can be something as simple as spending five minutes playing a few rounds of your favorite online game, or maybe you can treat yourself to a cup of coffee or tea before moving to the next item on your list. A reward system is an excellent self-motivation tool since it gives you something to look forward to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now?ref=seealso">21 Frugal Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>9. Take a Break</h2> <p>Procrastination doesn't always suggest laziness. If you're overworked, overly busy, and overly tired, putting off things might be a way to maintain your sanity. Maybe you're not in the right frame of mind to deal with certain tasks now.</p> <p>It's OK to take breaks to rejuvenate your mental state. These don't have to be long breaks. If you can't take a day off, perhaps you can take 10- or 20-minute breaks throughout the day. Rest your eyes, call a friend, or go outside for some fresh air.</p> <p><em>Do you have other tricks to stop procrastinating? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-stop-procrastinating-now" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Ways to Stop Procrastinating — NOW!" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development Productivity procrastination productivity Fri, 28 Mar 2014 09:36:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1133372 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Tips to Increase Productivity http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-tips-to-increase-productivity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-tips-to-increase-productivity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laptop-5318385-small.jpg" alt="laptop" title="laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on increasing productivity when working from home, lessons learned from Depression-era parents, and what to do with a busted smartphone.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/tips-increase-productivity-avoid-distractions-working-home/">14 Tips to Increase Productivity and Avoid Distractions When Working at Home</a> &mdash; To stay productive when working at home, use a dedicated browser and create set hours. [Money Crashers]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Money-Habits-Learn-From-Great-Depression-Parents-34342309">49 Lessons Learned From Depression-Era Parents</a> &mdash; Turning off the TV and ditching your landline are just a couple lessons you can learn from people who lived in the Depression. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/busted-smart-phone.html">What can you do with a busted smartphone?</a> &mdash; If your smartphone is broken, consider using it as a white noise machine. [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://www.smartasset.com/blog/personal-finance/6-smart-ways-to-spend-your-tax-refund/">6 Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund</a> &mdash; Consider using your tax refund to refinance your mortgage. [SmartAsset Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2014/03/13/5-ways-to-keep-your-passport-safe/">5 Ways to Keep Your Passport Safe</a> &mdash; Keep your passport safe by not taking it with you unless you have to and keeping a photocopy of it. [Money Talks News]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.budgetinginthefunstuff.com/10-tips-to-starting-a-service-business-side-hustle/">10 Tips to Starting a Service Business Side Hustle</a> &mdash; If you want to start your own service business side hustle, advertise that you are available and under-promise while over-delivering. [Budgeting in the Fun Stuff]</p> <p><a href="http://kiplinger.com/article/spending/T059-C011-S001-5-spring-travel-destinations-on-sale.html">5 Spring Travel Destinations On Sale</a> &mdash; Chicago and New York are a couple spring travel destinations that are on sale now! [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.inkjetwilly.com/blog/st-patricks-day-printables/">Free St. Patrick's Day Printables</a> &mdash; Spoonful and ABC Teach have some great printables you can use for your St. Patrick's Day celebrations! [Inkjet Willy]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/spring-cleaning-your-finances/">Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Finances</a> &mdash; Spring clean your finances by going paperless and setting up automatic transfers. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/10-healthy-and-green-st-patricks-day-foods-that-are-fun-for-the-whole-family">10 Healthy (and Green) St. Patrick's Day Foods That Are Fun For the Whole Family</a> &mdash; Cucumber Tea sandwiches and spinach banana muffins are just a couple fun St. Patrick's Day foods to give your family today! [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-tips-to-increase-productivity" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Tips to Increase Productivity" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity best money tips productivity Mon, 17 Mar 2014 10:00:21 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1131035 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Quick Ways to Boost Energy Without Caffeine http://www.wisebread.com/8-quick-ways-to-boost-energy-without-caffeine <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-quick-ways-to-boost-energy-without-caffeine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/music-150059325.jpg" alt="music" title="music" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Winter can leave us feeling sluggish and unmotivated. It's cold outside, there's less sunlight, and we tend to eat heavier foods. While caffeine is one way to get a quick boost when we need it most, there are plenty of other low-cost options that we can turn to when we need a shot of energy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work?ref=seealso"> Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</a>)</p> <h2>1. Draw a Few Complete Breaths</h2> <p>With a lower activity level, we tend to reduce our breathing rate, and that lowers the amount of oxygen in our brains, which makes us feel sleepy. Stand up, reach your arms up and lean over to one side, and then up and over to the other side. Now place one hand on the heart and one on the belly. Fill both areas under your palms on the inhale and let them completely empty on the exhale. Do this for a minute or two to up your oxygen intake to energize both your body and mind.</p> <h2>2. Drop the Temperature</h2> <p>A warm room can lull us into a sleepy state. Throw open the windows or step outside to get some fresh, cool air. It will do wonders to clear the mind and wake up the body. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-reasons-why-you-should-take-a-walk?ref=seealso"> 25 Reasons to Take a Walk</a>)</p> <h2>3. Fire Up Your Core</h2> <p>I tend to get sleepy around 3:00 p.m. I've worked hard all day, and I've still got a bit more to do before I can pack it in for the evening. To get me through those last few hours of the day, I've been practicing 10-15 minutes of Pilates right near my desk with the book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1623360927/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1623360927&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20"> The Women's Health Big Book of Pilates</a>, and it's worked wonders. Why? First, it requires that I deepen my breath and that increases my oxygen intake. <a href="http://www.prevention.com/fitness/strength-training/power-your-body-and-energy-pilates"> Pilates also revs up the metabolism</a> and improves circulation, two processes that increase energy level.</p> <h2>4. Perfect the Art of the Power Nap</h2> <p>You may feel run down in the afternoon because of low quality sleep at night. If that's the case, try this dual-pronged approach: take steps to improve your nighttime sleep (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-better-sleep-with-these-5-great-sleep-tracking-apps">there are a number of new mobile apps to help with this task</a>) and, if possible, <a href="http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/the-secret-and-surprising-power-of-naps"> learn to power nap</a> in the mid-afternoon when you hit a low level of energy. Keep your power nap to less than 30 minutes, and you may find it increases your awareness level and ability to process new information. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-sleep-better-in-fewer-hours?ref=seealso"> Sleep Better in Fewer Hours</a>)</p> <h2>5. Eat Low-Fat and High-Protein Foods</h2> <p>Caffeine isn't the only edible way to boost energy. Foods that are low in sugar and high in protein and/or fiber will keep you humming right through the afternoon slump. Try a handful of mixed nuts, nonfat yogurt, or a fruit smoothie, or fruit with nut butter, like apples with peanut butter. Also, on't skip breakfast. Providing your body with fuel at the start of the day gives you a fighting chance to get through your day with minimal fatigue. No time for breakfast? Try these easy, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-healthy-easy-breakfasts-for-people-on-the-go"> healthy breakfast ideas for people on the go</a>.</p> <h2>6. Crank Up the Tunes</h2> <p>A boogie break might be all you need to get the blood pumping. Energetic music also has a neurological effect on our energy level. We are hardwired to respond to music according to Elena Mannes, author of &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0802778283/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0802778283&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">The Power of Music</a>.&quot; We take on the energy of the music we listen to, so if we want more energy, it's best to listen to upbeat music.</p> <h2>7. Laugh It Up</h2> <p>Laughter is the best medicine. It also gives us an <a href="http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm"> instant boost of energy</a> that lasts long after the laughter dies down because it releases endorphins, the same feel-good biochemical the body creates when we exercise. I find that the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/show/saturdaynightlive"> SNL YouTube channel</a> is a consistent source of sketches that make my stomach hurt and eyes water, in a good way.</p> <h2>8. Chat It Up</h2> <p>We are strongly affected by the mood and energy level of people around us. If you're feeling particularly low on inspiration and energy, a quick chat with someone who has a high energy level can help. If none of those people are available, there are plenty of ways to find inspirational and upbeat talks online. <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks"> TED</a> is one of my favorite websites. Whenever I feel less-than-energetic, a quick 15-minute TED talk is all I need to restore my motivation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-get-motivated-today?ref=seealso"> 25 Ways to Get Motivated</a>)</p> <p>The afternoon slump is a well-known phenomenon. We all have days and times of day when we feel less energetic than others. Luckily, we have plenty of ways to combat those lows and power through the day.</p> <p><em>What are you favorite ways to boost your energy level without caffeine?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-quick-ways-to-boost-energy-without-caffeine" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Quick Ways to Boost Energy Without Caffeine" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity caffeine decaf pickmeups energy boost natural energy Thu, 13 Mar 2014 10:48:15 +0000 Christa Avampato 1130235 at http://www.wisebread.com Change Your Life by Changing Your Bedtime Routine http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-changing-your-bedtime-routine <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/change-your-life-by-changing-your-bedtime-routine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/morning-86504292.jpg" alt="breakfast" title="breakfast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Going to bed is one of those things I tend to take for granted. After all, I've done it every, single night for over 35 years (well, except for a few in college!). At this point in life, I don't think much about it &mdash; I go through my sparse routine and then curl up under the blankets.</p> <p>However, it turns out that getting things done before bedtime &mdash; and in fact incorporating them into your nightly routine&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;can help you make major changes to your life. Think about it &mdash; if you complete tasks before bed, then you don't have to do them after you get up in the morning. (See also: </span><a style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-essential-life-hacks-that-will-save-you-time-in-the-morning?ref=seealso">Life Hacks That'll Save You Time in the Morning</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">)</span></p> <h2>1. Ask Your Questions</h2> <p>This comes straight from Benjamin Franklin himself. Choose a question or two that will help you <a href="http://parade.condenast.com/35748/parade/what-was-benjamin-franklins-daily-routine/">focus on your values or achieve your goals</a>, and contemplate it before you go to sleep. Franklin's question, for example, was &quot;What good have I done today?&quot; He valued contributing positively to the world, and answering this question helped him focus on that.</p> <p>It may help you to journal your answers. This can mean anything from simply jotting a few words in a notebook to writing several pages or paragraphs. You can also dictate your answers into a voice recorder, so that you can access them later.</p> <h2>2. Disengage</h2> <p>If you want to sleep well and wake refreshed for the day ahead, take some time to disengage from work, family, and life in general before you try to sleep. This doesn't just mean clearing your mind of the day, but gives you time to think through what happened, evaluate your day and/or yourself in it, and make some choices about how to proceed in the morning.</p> <p>Disengaging can take many forms. Some people take a short walk. Others read a book. Still others spend some time talking to a trusted friend or family member. You may want to try several options before you choose what seems to work best. And remember: once you have disengaged, go to bed. Don't give yourself a chance to re-engage before you try to sleep.</p> <h2>3. Prioritize Tomorrow</h2> <p>Many people find that they think best at night. Even if this isn't you, though, nighttime is when you have the entire past day still fresh in your head. Use this to your advantage by jotting down three things that absolutely have to get done the next day or that need your focus before anything else. This will help you in the morning, and you won't have to perform higher-level thought processes when you might be sleepy or disoriented.</p> <p>Writing these things down also gets them out of your head. Once they're out, you won't have to try to remember them, so they won't distract you as you are trying to sleep. And you will know when you wake that you have a plan of attack all ready to go. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wake-up-fast-and-attack-the-day?ref=seealso">Wake Up Fast and Attack the Day</a>)</p> <h2>4. Wash Your Dishes</h2> <p>Cleaning your dishes, or loading them into your dishwasher if you're lucky enough to have one, doesn't take too long. However, waking up to <a href="http://frugalbits.com/fitness-health/how-housework-can-make-you-happy/">a clean house will make you feel happier</a> and, therefore, more ready to take on your day. It even makes getting breakfast easier, because you don't have to dig through the dirty dishes or even wash anything before you do it.</p> <p>Many people find that putting their homes in order also seems to put their minds in order. If this is you, then doing the dishes before you go to sleep can help you relax. If nothing else, getting the plates clean before the food has a chance to crust onto them makes getting them clean a whole lot easier! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-keeping-your-kitchen-clean-while-you-cook?ref=seealso">How to Keep Your Kitchen Clean While You Cook</a>)</p> <h2>5. Prepare Your Clothes</h2> <p>Even if you're not doing anything huge in the morning, getting the next day's clothing ready can help you make sure that you have everything you need, including accessories, belts, shoes, socks, jewelry, and everything else. And, if you somehow end up running late in the morning, you won't have to worry about choosing an outfit or making sure you've pulled it all together because you took care of that the night before.</p> <p>If you go to the gym or do any other activity that requires a special wardrobe, you can also get that ready before you go to bed. If you don't have to pack a bag or make sure you have everything you need to shower at the gym, you will be able to sleep longer in the morning.</p> <h2>6. Set a Timer</h2> <p>This is especially useful for people who struggle to get to bed on time, but it can help anyone focus their bedtime routine so that they get done what needs to be done before they sleep. Set a timer for 30 minutes, and put your entire bedtime routine into that time. This gives you plenty of time to do everything on this list, and makes sure that it doesn't eat up your whole evening and that you will be able to sleep when you want to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-sleep-better-in-fewer-hours?ref=seealso">Ways to Sleep Better in Fewer Hours</a>)</p> <p>If 30 minutes doesn't work for you, tweak the time frame. Maybe you only need 20 minutes, or maybe it takes you 45 to get everything done. The important thing is that you have a set time in which to get to bed, and you stick with it. This also helps you get the sleep that you need to be successful the next day.</p> <p><em>What is your bedtime routine? Do you do anything before bed that improves the overall quality of your life?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-changing-your-bedtime-routine" class="sharethis-link" title="Change Your Life by Changing Your Bedtime Routine" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Productivity bedtime nighttime outine productivity sleep Wed, 12 Mar 2014 11:24:26 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1129621 at http://www.wisebread.com The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/busy-5318624-small_0.jpg" alt="multitasking" title="multitasking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At the moment, as I am working on this article, I am also watching television, checking Twitter and Facebook, texting with my daughter, checking on dinner, and chatting with a colleague on G+ chat. I am attempting to multitask, but judging by how long it has taken me to write these first few lines of text, I don't think I'm all that successful at it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-hacks-you-shouldnt-bother-with?ref=seealso">&quot;Life Hacks&quot; You Shouldn't Bother With</a>)</p> <p>Multitasking is a part of our lives. We are busier than ever before. Whether it is juggling kids' schedules while speaking with clients on the phone and writing notes down for the grocery list, we are all trying to cram more into our lives. The question is, however, is it effective? When does multitasking work and when doesn't it?</p> <h2>When Multitasking Gets in the Way</h2> <p>If you routinely find yourself attempting to multitask, you may be doing more harm for your productivity than good. Some research has shown that multitasking actually increases the time it takes to complete tasks and decreases productivity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-thing-you-use-every-day-is-ruining-your-productivity-and-its-not-facebook?ref=seealso">This Daily Activity Is Ruining Your Productivity</a>)</p> <p>Multitasking does not work when you are trying to do two or more tasks that require conscious effort. Take, for example, the two tasks of texting while driving. Many people will tell you they are great at multitasking, but are they really? You aren't able to focus on the road when you are looking down at your phone to find a number, open an app, or type out a message. At the very minimum, you'll make mistakes typing with one hand. The New York Times points to research that shows <a href="http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/texting-is-more-dangerous-than-driving-drunk/">texting while driving is akin to drunk driving</a>. Your ability to focus on what lane you are in, your speed, and the distance you are from other cars greatly decreases when you are also focused on the phone.</p> <p>This phenomenon is no different when you are trying to multitask at home or work. Have you ever tried to have a phone conversation with someone who is typing on their computer, dealing with their children, or ordering a coffee at Starbucks? The phone conversation fails to progress because the person on the other line is unable to process two thoughts at the same time.</p> <h2>Use Layers to Make Multitasking Work &mdash; Sometimes</h2> <p>Multitasking works when the tasks you are attempting to complete require different levels of thought and only one requires you to really focus your thought processes. For example, folding laundry while you are having a phone conversation (with the phone on speaker) or typing a letter while dinner simmers on the stove.</p> <p>Multiple tasks can be completed when they are layered by their level of attention needed. If you only need minimal attention on one task, for example, doing the laundry while another task is in process (such as getting dinner started), then you can layer in a more complex task, like answering a few emails. This layering of different types of tasks is still multitasking, and it can be done successfully. However, once you add in another task that requires more thought processes (taking a phone call from your boss, for example) one of the tasks must stop. In this example, answering the emails should be halted.</p> <h2>Setting Up Your Layers</h2> <p>Once you understand that you actually can multitask with a layered system, go ahead and set one up.</p> <h3>1. Make a List</h3> <p>Prioritize the most important tasks on your list that need to be accomplished. Refer back to that list as you complete activities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-steps-to-achieving-all-your-goals?ref=seealso">How to Achieve All Your Goals</a>)</p> <h3>2. Look for Layered Tasks to Pair</h3> <p>Find an activity that can be paired with a higher level item on your list. For example, if you need to contact a business, and you know you'll be on hold for 20 minutes, use that hold time to address a few emails. Or if you need to do laundry, cook dinner, and call your mom, then start the wash, get dinner to the point where it is simmering, and then make the phone call (see #4).</p> <h3>3. Turn Off Other Distractions</h3> <p>That means you need to put your phone on silent. Exit out of Twitter, Facebook, and email. Reduce the noise level in the room, and tackle the most pressing item on your list first.</p> <h3>4. Set a Timer</h3> <p>When you are working on tasks, set a timer to check your progress. If you anticipate that a task should take no longer than one hour, set a timer for sixty minutes. Check where you are when it goes off. Are you distracted? Did something pop up that you felt needed addressed immediately? Are you on the phone with mom for too long and dinner is about to burn? Using a timer will keep you focused on your tasks and keep your productivity level high. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-focused-at-work?ref=seealso">How to Stay Focused at Work</a>)</p> <h2>But Is Layering Enough?</h2> <p>When I began this article last night, I was attempting to multitask. It took me well over an hour to write the first three paragraphs. I decided to do my own unscientific study to see how well I was doing. I turned off everything.</p> <p>No email. No Twitter. No Facebook. No G+ chat. No cell phone. No television.</p> <p>When everything was off and my attention was solely focused on writing, I was able to finish the rest of this article relatively quickly. Lesson learned on my end. I will continue to minimize those activities that I once deemed multitasking when I really want to be productive.</p> <p><em>Are you able to multitask? What works for you? Please share in comments while you wait for the tea kettle to whistle!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work" class="sharethis-link" title="The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Organization Productivity focus multitasking productivity Thu, 06 Mar 2014 10:48:24 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1129402 at http://www.wisebread.com This Thing You Use Every Day Is Ruining Your Productivity — and It's Not Facebook http://www.wisebread.com/this-thing-you-use-every-day-is-ruining-your-productivity-and-its-not-facebook <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-thing-you-use-every-day-is-ruining-your-productivity-and-its-not-facebook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/desk-178706116.jpg" alt="woman at desk" title="woman at desk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a lot of talk these days about the impact social media is having on our productivity in the workplace. If you work with a computer on a daily basis, as many of us do, you have the ability to check your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-break-your-social-media-habit?ref=seealso">How to Break Your Social Media Habit</a>)</p> <p>Although this is technically stealing time from your employer (unless you do it on your lunch break), most will look the other way if it's only for a few minutes out of the day. And those accounts don't eat up a lot of time. <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/">Facebook users spend about 30 minutes per day on the site</a>, on average, and most of that is done outside of the work environment.</p> <p>However, email is something many of us actively use at work. It's part of the job, and it's the main way to communicate these days.</p> <p>But, there's a problem with email. It's more time consuming than a Facebook status update or a Tweet. It's also not as fun. Almost every email you receive at work will be about a project you're working on or will soon be working on. Emails take time to respond to, usually because they contain a request from someone else. And if that isn't enough, they're a drain on your energy and your morale. Answering email after email, hour after hour, can suck the life out of an employee who started the day quite upbeat. It can be relentless, and even disheartening. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-maintain-motivation-when-the-going-gets-tough?ref=seealso">How to Maintain Motivation When the Going Gets Tough</a>)</p> <p>One of the most obvious ways to combat this is simple, but improbable in this day and age: Shut the email off, at least for a few days.</p> <p>Of course, that will end in disaster for many. &quot;Where's my report? Why hasn't the shipping problem been dealt with? We're losing an account, why isn't someone talking to our client?!&quot;</p> <p>So, knowing that we can't turn email off, what can we all do to stop email draining the life out of the office? Here are some handy tips to stop email from killing your productivity.</p> <h2>1. Don't Use Email as an Instant Messenger</h2> <p>I see a lot of emails that could easily be done as conversations in a meeting room, office, or a telephone call. In this day and age, it's very easy to just open up your email to shoot an idea off to somebody, but it's time consuming and keeps you in your email account. Once you're in there, it can be distracting. By all means use email to send important documents or instructions, but if it's simply &quot;Hey, I was thinking of red for the front cover, how about you?&quot; then you're wasting your time &mdash; and everybody else's.</p> <h2>2. Don't Send Ambiguous Emails</h2> <p>It's easy enough to shoot an email off with a half-hearted call to action. Or, none at all. But it you really want someone to react, and respond, to your email, use techniques that direct marketers use. Give people clear instructions. For example:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Please give your answer by 4 p.m. today.</p> </li> <li> <p>Call me as soon as you have an answer.</p> </li> <li> <p>Add your comments to this document and forward it by 11 a.m.</p> </li> <li> <p>Read this email and reply within the hour.</p> </li> </ul> <p>If you cut the ambiguity, you won't be stuck checking your email every 10 minutes hoping you have the reply you so desperately need. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email?ref=seealso">Get the Response You Want With a Friendly Email</a>)</p> <h2>3. Use the Notifications and Alerts Features</h2> <p>Constant email checking to see if someone has read and replied to your correspondence is a big motivation killer. But it doesn't have to be. Almost every email client gives you options to prioritize emails and to receive notification when the email has been read.</p> <p>If you want the recipient to read the email immediately, tag it as high priority. If you want to make sure they've read it, turn on a feature called &quot;receipts.&quot; There are two options: One lets you know the email has been received by the other party, and the other lets you know they have opened it. Using these features also alerts the addressee that you know they've received and read the email. Now they are prompted to act. And that saves you time and worry. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you/ref=seealso">Productivity Apps for Busy People</a>)</p> <h2>4. Aim for Zero in Your Inbox at the End of Each Day</h2> <p>Someone stopped by my desk recently and asked what was wrong with my email. Nothing, I said. &quot;Well, why aren't there any emails?&quot; The answer is simple. I deal with emails in a way that many top managers do, and it's a time saver. I call it DARES, and it goes like this:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>D</strong>elay: If you can't work on it now, put it in a &quot;to do&quot; file.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>A</strong>ct: If you can solve it immediately, do so.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>R</strong>e-assign: If you can't work on it, forward it to someone who can.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>E</strong>rase: If it's been dealt with, or you don't need it, delete it.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>S</strong>tore: Archive it into the correct folder, and move on.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Quit Email for a Few Hours a Day</h2> <p>The big problem with email is that it's always there. And it's always notifying you of new mail. It can be difficult to ignore, and that leads to a lack of thinking, and dedication, on projects that deserve your complete attention. So, for a couple of hours in the morning and afternoon, turn off your email. Give yourself time to really concentrate. The chances are, nothing is going to be so urgent it can't wait for two hours. But the benefits to you, and your job, could be invaluable.</p> <p><em>Do you have any other advice on using email at work? Let us know.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-thing-you-use-every-day-is-ruining-your-productivity-and-its-not-facebook" class="sharethis-link" title="This Thing You Use Every Day Is Ruining Your Productivity — and It&#039;s Not Facebook" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity email productivity social media Mon, 24 Feb 2014 11:24:29 +0000 Paul Michael 1126820 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/office-3726435-small.jpg" alt="office" title="office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Work smarter, not harder.&quot;</p> <p>It's a cliche, but one that most smart people aspire to. Reason being, working harder is&hellip; well, harder. Working smarter requires a lot less effort, while also making you a shining diamond in the eyes of supervisor and colleague alike. Read on for a quick guide on how you can make this old workplace cliche a way of life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-move-from-being-busy-to-actually-getting-things-done?ref=seealso">Go From Busy to Getting Things Done</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get in Sync With Yourself</h2> <p>There's one thing that you <em>can't</em> schedule in life: Your body. It does what it wants, whether it's getting tired or wanting food. But what if you could hack the natural rhythms of the body to work smarter, not harder? There are a few ways to do this:</p> <ul> <li>Eat the lion's share of your food during the eight hours of the day <a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10000872396390444180004578018294057070544">when you're most productive</a>. A recent study found mice that did this were significantly leaner, with lower cholesterol. Make your dinner a light meal earlier in the evening.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On the subject of food, breakfast is the best time to take your vitamins for maximum effect.</li> <li>For those who nod off in the afternoon, take a quick, 20-minute nap between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. This will help to restore your energy and avoid drifting off. It's also more in line with <a href="http://blog.bufferapp.com/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need-to-work-productively">natural, pre-industrial body rhythms</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>For readers, 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. are the best times to read something and retain it over time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Work out between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. During these hours, your body strength is 6% higher than at its lowest point. Doing cardio? Shoot for between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.</li> </ul> <p>Your body's natural rhythms can be a powerful ally in the battle to work smarter, not harder. Leverage them to maximum effect. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-working-out-makes-you-smarter-too?ref=seealso">6 Ways Working out Makes You Smarter</a>)</p> <h2>2. Prioritize Your Goals</h2> <p>Setting goals and making an effort to reach them is wonderful. But what happens when you have too many goals? You can't focus on reaching any of them. You have to prioritize.</p> <p>Elizabeth Lang recently shared with Wise Bread a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-steps-to-prioritizing-and-reaching-all-your-goals?ref=seealso">six step plan for prioritizing your goal list</a>. Here's the short version, but be sure to read her post for all the details.</p> <ol> <li>Decide if accomplishing one goal will help you reach another. If so, bump it up the list.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Is the goal health-related? Bump it up because a healthier you is a happier, more efficient you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Will you miss an opportunity if you wait? If not, wait. Otherwise, move it up.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How will the goal affect your happiness? There is not an easy up or down answer to this one, but keep in mind that anticipation is a kind of happiness, and many small jolts of happiness can add up to one big one.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How long will it take to reach the goal? Try to mix up your long term and short term goals. That way you get some easy victories to tide you over while the long term projects are ongoing.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How much will it cost? If you can't afford it, put it on the back burner. And if one of your goals is making more money &mdash; move that one up, and you'll be able to afford this one that much sooner.</li> </ol> <h2>3. Plan Distractions</h2> <p>It's easier than ever to get distracted from your work. Even if your company blocks social media, you might get sucked down a Wikipedia wormhole or even just get engrossed in a long-form article on <em>The Atlantic's</em> website that's totally related to your job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task?ref=seealso">6 Stops That Stop Computer Distractions</a>)</p> <p>Yeah, right.</p> <p>However, if you <em>plan</em> for distractions, you minimize their impact. What percentage of your time are you willing to waste away due to distractions? Figure it out and set a mental timer for a window. Say that it's 10 minutes every hour. Let yourself get as distracted as you like from :50 until the top of the hour. Then get back at it.</p> <p>Miss the window? Sorry, no makeups. You need to wait a whole other hour to waste time.</p> <h2>4 . Keep a &quot;Nothing to Do&quot; List</h2> <p>We've all had times at work when there's &quot;nothing to do.&quot; Rather than letting this down time be an unproductive dead zone, make a list of things that you can do when there's &quot;nothing to do.&quot; Avoid the temptation to make this busy work. Instead, list the things that are tasks you need to get done but &quot;never have time for.&quot; This way you kill two birds with one stone: productivity during down times and more completed tasks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks?ref=seealso">5 Hacks to Make Your To-Do List More Effective</a>)</p> <h2>5. Delegate or Cut Down</h2> <p>If you have people reporting to you, use that resource. Remember that being swamped with work isn't a badge of honor. In fact, it can be a sign that you're taking on too much. Delegate tasks that other people can handle down the chain of command. If something falls in your lap that isn't entirely in your department, share the task with the person whose job is more aligned. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-delegate-at-work-and-at-home-in-4-easy-steps?ref=seealso">How to Delegate in 4 Steps</a>)</p> <p>If you're working for yourself, you might not have the luxury to delegate. However, you do have the option to cut down on work by looking critically at tasks that take up a lot of your time for little benefit.</p> <p><em>How are you working smarter? Spend your distraction time sharing your secrets in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nicholas-pell">Nicholas Pell</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity getting things done productivity working smarter Fri, 14 Feb 2014 11:36:15 +0000 Nicholas Pell 1125262 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Steps to Achieving All Your Goals http://www.wisebread.com/6-steps-to-achieving-all-your-goals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-steps-to-achieving-all-your-goals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/work-4901368-small.jpg" alt="woman working" title="woman working" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;It may be that those who do most, dream most.&quot; &mdash; Stephen Butler Leacock</p> <p>&quot;Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.&quot; &mdash; Les Brown</p> <p>&quot;Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.&quot; &mdash; T.S. Eliot</p> <p>Surrounded with quotes and sayings like these that encourage us to dream big, it's no surprise that we end up with huge lists of giant goals. Rarely does anyone recommend setting just one goal at a time before moving on to the next; instead, we are encouraged to set a lot of large goals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-move-from-being-busy-to-actually-getting-things-done?ref=seealso">Move From Being Busy to Getting Things Done</a>)</p> <p>Do your goals for this year look something like this:</p> <ul> <li>Lose 20 pounds.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start a business or get a promotion.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Exercise for an hour every day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Save for a six month emergency fund.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Spend more time with family.</li> </ul> <p>If so, then you need to prioritize. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. Determine If Accomplishing One Will Affect Accomplishing Another</h2> <p>If you have several big goals, think about how accomplishing one goal will affect another. Will it help or hurt you to reach your other goals?</p> <p>For example, if one of your big goals is to lose weight and another is to bring your lunch to work every day, accomplishing the second goal will likely help you reach the first goal. So, you should prioritize the goal that will help you achieve a second goal.</p> <p>But take another example &mdash; if one goal is to lose weight and another goal is to control your temper, trying to accomplish one goal will likely have a negative effect on the other. Why? The amount of self control we have is limited. So, if you are using your self control to try to eat less, you will have less self control left with which to control your temper. In this case, put one of the goals high on your priority list and drop the other to the bottom since you won't likely be able to accomplish both at the same time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-willpower-and-be-more-successful?ref=seealso">10 Ways to Increase Your Willpower</a>)</p> <h2>2. Determine the Importance of the Goal to Your Health</h2> <p>As you probably remember from the last time you were in bed with the flu for a week, you know that if you don't have your health, you don't have anything. So, a good way to prioritize is to prioritize the goals that will keep you healthy &mdash; eating well, exercising, sleeping more, taking time to relax, and giving up your vices. This will ensure that you have the energy to accomplish your other goals.</p> <h2>3. Ask Yourself: Will an Opportunity Pass If You Wait?</h2> <p>Some goals also relate to opportunities we have in front of us right now. Perhaps your goal is to buy a house and the housing market in your area is particularly buyer friendly. Or you want to launch a business, but you're four months pregnant and know that you'll have little time after baby is born. Or imagine someone offers you discounted guitar lessons, and your goal is to learn the guitar this year. Move goals that have a limited timeframe available to the top of your priority list.</p> <h2>4. Ask Yourself: How Will This Affect My Happiness?</h2> <p>Hopefully the majority of the goals on your list will make you happier, but rank each of your goals with a realistic expectation of how happy accomplishing that goal (and the path to accomplishing it) will make you. Remember that anything that brings you a little happiness each day will likely make you happier overall than something that brings you a lot of happiness at once. For example, studies have found that the anticipation and planning leading up to a vacation brings more happiness than the vacation itself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/29-scientifically-proven-ways-to-be-happier-this-year?ref=seealso">Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier</a>)</p> <h2>5. Determine How Much Time Will It Take You to Accomplish the Goal</h2> <p>For each of your goals, write down a realistic timeframe of how long you think it will take you to accomplish the goal. Then, make sure that you stagger your list so that all of the long-term goals aren't at the top, as this will likely lead to reaching fewer of the goals. Instead, if you have more goals that are easier to accomplish in a shorter timeframe, you will likely get on a roll. Psychologically this will work like the debt <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you">snowball method</a>, and you'll accomplish more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/achieve-more-with-goal-sequencing?ref=seealso">Get More Done With Goal Sequencing</a>)</p> <h2>6. Ask Yourself: How Much Money Will It Cost?</h2> <p>If you don't have the finances to afford a goal right now, it should clearly not be prioritized. But, if accomplishing a goal will lead to increased wealth, then make it a priority over those goals left on your list that won't lead to increased wealth.</p> <p>When you go through your list of goals and make the six determinations above, you'll be able to prioritize in a way that makes you best able to accomplish your goals in a way that leads to increased health, happiness, and wealth.</p> <p><em>How do you prioritize when you have several big goals?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-steps-to-achieving-all-your-goals" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Steps to Achieving All Your Goals" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity achieving goals goal priority goals Wed, 12 Feb 2014 10:48:25 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1124457 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Things Successful People Do Every Morning http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/morning-1180435-small.jpg" alt="morning" title="morning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While there are many factors that influence a person&#39;s success, those who have discussed their preferred habits or have documented their own tricks of the trade seem to have several common denominators when it comes to reaching their goals. Many of these commonalities involve the morning routine. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-of-the-financially-successful?ref=seealso">Habits of the Financially Successful</a>)</p> <p>Here are 13 things that successful people do every morning.</p> <h2>1. Do Prep Work at Night</h2> <p>To create a peaceful morning routine, start preparing for the next day the night before. Select your outfit, pack your lunch, and arrange everything that needs to go with you in the morning near the door. This gives you time to incorporate more productive elements into your morning rather a chaotic morning day after day. Every night, make a to-do list for the next day so you can focus only on what matters.</p> <h2>2. Rise and Shine Earlier</h2> <p>By resetting your internal alarm clock to awaken earlier than your usual time, you can accomplish many things on your to-do list even before you head to work. This allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment early on, and there can be less stress when facing the rest of the day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-a-great-day-every-day-5-things-to-do-in-the-morning?ref=seealso">5 Things to Start the Day Off Right</a>)</p> <h2>3. Make Me Time</h2> <p>By rising earlier, you can give yourself some needed &quot;me time&quot; before the rest of the family wakes up. This time of quiet allows you to focus on what needs to be done to achieve your daily goals. It also allows you an opportunity to get in touch with your inner self, so you&#39;ll know what you want in life. If mornings are not conducive to quiet time, allot at least 30 minutes in the day for uninterrupted quiet time.</p> <h2>4. Get Into a Positive Mindset</h2> <p>The old adage &quot;mind over matter&quot; is true. If you start each morning by thinking positive thoughts and visualizing your successes for the day, you&#39;ll be more likely to bring those things to fruition. Wake up thinking about a new day and not lamenting yesterday&#39;s mistakes.</p> <h2>5. Get Your Blood Pumping</h2> <p>Exercise is a vital part of overall good health and mental well-being. By rising early and fitting in 20-30 minutes of exercise before starting your day, you can get your blood pumping, your brain functioning, and your focus refined for the day&#39;s activities.</p> <h2>6. Eat Breakfast</h2> <p>A healthy breakfast provides the body with the nutrients and energy necessary to stay alert and on top of your game throughout the day. Not eating a good breakfast can cause you to experience a draggy feeling that leaves you feeling drained and too tired to actually get things done. Plan an overall healthy menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to help sustain your concentration and energy throughout the day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-healthy-easy-breakfasts-for-people-on-the-go?ref=seealso">10 Healthy Breakfasts for People on the Go</a>)</p> <h2>7. Tidy Up Your Space</h2> <p>Before you leave your house each morning, make your bed, put dirty laundry where it belongs, and load the dishwasher. When you come home to a more organized living space, it will give you more time to focus on things that matter to your personal success than stressing over all the little things that needs to be done.</p> <h2>8. Make Time Your New BFF</h2> <p>Forget hoping for more hours in the day. Instead, calculate how you spend your time using your to-do list as a tracking tool. This will help you gauge what can be accomplished during your hours awake and help you prioritize what needs to be done within your day. It can also help to set a specific period of time to get tasks done to keep yourself from wasting time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks?ref=seealso">Simple Hacks to Make Your To-Do List More Effective</a>)</p> <h2>9. Get Some Sunshine</h2> <p>If the majority of the tasks you accomplish are inside your office or your home, make a point of taking some time to go outside into the fresh air and sun. Sunshine has health benefits so find ways to get out and enjoy it during your daily exercise routine or your introspective &quot;me&quot; time.</p> <h2>10. Forget How to Procrastinate</h2> <p>The tendency to procrastinate is pretty common, but you can overcome it and be more efficient every day. When you are utilizing a to-do list, you may be less likely to put certain tasks off. Become proactive about taking care of business when it comes up no matter how unmotivated you feel. By tackling the things you don&#39;t really feel like doing, you&#39;ll have a much bigger sense of accomplishment and confidence before you even leave for the office.</p> <h2>11. Take a Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone</h2> <p>Many of the most successful people have risen to the top because they took risks. Make a commitment to doing at least one thing outside of your comfort zone every day &mdash; no matter how big or small the step is. You&#39;ll build your confidence and likely discover more opportunities than you may have otherwise. Think about what steps you&#39;d like to take during your commute to work. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-habits-you-must-break-to-become-more-self-confident?ref=seealso">Break These Habits to Be More Confident</a>)</p> <h2>12. Read More</h2> <p>Successful people stay on top of things. Read the newspaper, read magazines, read autobiographies, or read fiction &mdash; whatever you can use to keep growing your mind and your perspective. Read for at least 30 minutes a day. Get a jump start by reading the paper while walking on the treadmill or while eating breakfast.</p> <h2>13. Be Grateful</h2> <p>As you have smoothed out your morning routine, you have more time to think about what you are grateful to already have in your life. This goes along with adopting a more positive mindset first thing in the morning. Strengthen your gratitude by writing down on thing you are grateful for each morning when you wake up. Use this list as a reference when you are feeling burnt out, frustrated, or ready to give up.</p> <p><em>What does your morning routine look like? Is it helping or is it holding you back?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning" class="sharethis-link" title="13 Things Successful People Do Every Morning" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity daily routine morning productivity success Fri, 07 Feb 2014 11:24:12 +0000 Tisha Tolar 1123798 at http://www.wisebread.com