Productivity http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8129/all en-US 10 Ways to Get More Out of Business Trips http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_business_trip_000015958604.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways to get more out of business trips" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whenever I travel for work, I find the time on planes to be relaxing, and I get lots of work done. For me, recreational Internet use is a major distraction, and with less distraction comes more productivity. This travel work ethic is something that isn't just me either. The Atlantic notes the same phenomenon that occurs at coffee shops, where <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/04/working-best-at-coffee-shops/237372/">most people are more effective</a> outside of their offices, even though it's noisy. But there also seems to be more personal responsibility. Because people can see your screen, you're <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5793436/why-some-of-us-get-more-done-at-coffee-shops">more likely to actually do work</a> and not just scroll through Facebook, as Life Hacker notes. These examples can be equated directly to travel.</p> <p>And while Bloomberg Business <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-03-21/eight-reasons-business-travelers-shouldnt-work-on-planes">doesn't recommend working on an airplane</a>, there is a way to take advantage of your time without causing a headache or stress. Here are 10 ways to maximize your travel time when you fly.</p> <h2>Before You Take Off</h2> <p>Here are little things you can do before you're in the air that'll make flying an enjoyable &mdash; and efficient &mdash; experience.</p> <h3>1. Buy Noise-Canceling Headphones</h3> <p>Planes can be loud. That's where headphones come in handy. I even use them when I forget my iPod (yes, I'm probably one of the few who still uses an iPod). It helps me rest and keeps the distractions out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-wireless-headphones?ref=seealso">Best Wireless Headphones</a>)</p> <h3>2. Download Podcasts</h3> <p>Don't forget to download any podcasts or songs ahead of time. Planes can be the perfect time to catch up on <em>This American Life</em>, a business podcast, or even a comedy podcast. My friend listens to a lot of inspirational podcasts that have been great for her as she has been trying to start a new business. Find something that works for you and make sure you have it on your phone or other electronic device.</p> <h3>3. Set Your Google Drive to Work Offline</h3> <p>If you do a lot of work in Google Drive, make sure to download your drive on your computer. It lets you make changes online and then loads them when you connect to the Internet again. It's great!</p> <h3>4. Get Your To-Do List Together</h3> <p>To maximize your time on the plane, make sure you have your to-do list together so you can be effective. I have a bad habit of writing down my list on every scrap of paper I can find. I now use Flow on my iPhone instead, which has been more effective lately since I can't remember when I've finished something, and deadlines help make me more productive. Unfortunately, they don't currently have an offline version, so you might have to print your list or save it elsewhere.</p> <h2>On the Plane</h2> <p>Once you're onboard, here's what you can do maximize time in your seat.</p> <h3>5. Meditate</h3> <p>Practicing mindfulness is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to relax and become centered. On a plane, it can be used to quell those moments of fearfulness, but it's also a great way to get your mind ready for the big trip. If you're <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness">new to mindfulness</a>, practice it a bit before leaving so you understand how to really take advantage of your time. Also download some soothing music to listen to.</p> <h3>6. Write</h3> <p>As a writer, I get some of my best work done while on a plane. Even if you don't enjoy writing, there are some great observations to be made while traveling. Carry around a little notebook and note every time the toddler behind you kicks your chair or demands crackers. It can actually help you put your mind at ease and make light of a stressful situation. If you love to write, plane trips can relieve writer's block.</p> <h3>7. Read</h3> <p>Because I never make time to just sit and read in my everyday routine, I rarely do it at all. However, reading is one of my favorite things to do. You don't have the pressure of the Internet calling your name or someone texting you while you're lost in the pages of a good book, so take advantage of being disconnected!</p> <h3>8. Brainstorm</h3> <p>Because I work at a nonprofit that provides affordable housing solutions, my mind is constantly buzzing with ideas for projects we can undertake. I also run a nonprofit that conducts classes, which means my brain never gets a break from ideas. I've spent a large amount of time on planes brainstorming and creating a vision for the coming months and I highly recommend it.</p> <h3>9. Budget</h3> <p>I recently had a hospital visit that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-hit-with-a-huge-medical-bill">proved to be very costly</a> and I've had to really sit down and budget how I'm going to spend my money. On a plane ride not long ago, I figured out how to take care of my medical bills, and I've been using the method ever since. While online tools like Mint are great, I prefer using Excel to track my expenses. It really depends on what your goals are and how you want to get there.</p> <h3>10. Sleep</h3> <p>If you're mentally exhausted, sleeping on the plane might be the best option. There are days when I get no alone time, and being an introvert, I really value that time. So sometimes I plan ahead to sleep on the plane. Just make sure you don't sleep during takeoff and landing.</p> <p><em>What do you do to be productive while traveling?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jennifer-holder">Jennifer Holder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-get-people-to-respond-to-your-email">15 Ways to Get People to Respond to Your Email</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-say-no-at-work-and-still-get-ahead">How to Say &quot;No&quot; at Work and Still Get Ahead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Productivity Travel business travel business trip efficiency productivity work trip Mon, 28 Dec 2015 10:00:03 +0000 Jennifer Holder 1625937 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Productivity Tips for IT Professionals http://www.wisebread.com/10-productivity-tips-for-it-professionals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-productivity-tips-for-it-professionals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000051456322.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This post is brought to you by <a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C726%7C2738&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fbusiness2.comcast.com%2Finternet%2Fbusiness-internet" rel="nofollow">Comcast Business</a>.  Follow us @<a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C726%7C2738&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fcomcastbusiness" rel="nofollow">comcastbusiness</a>.</em></p> <p>We all know that technology can be a distraction &ndash; about half of workers admit to <a href="https://harmon.ie/press-releases/collaboration-social-tools-drain-business-productivity-costing-millions-work">wasting at least an hour a day</a>, mostly on email, social networking and texting. But we can turn the tables and increase our productivity by using tech tools to keep track of time, collaborate, and stay on task.</p> <p>If anyone understands these tools and how to use them to improve productivity, it&rsquo;s an information technology professional. A typical IT pro may spend the average day juggling endless help requests from users, installing emergency software patches, researching new products, and replacing hardware -- with all tasks flagged as urgent. Many IT pros also travel from one worksite to another, keeping track of client needs and upgrade schedules on the go. It&rsquo;s only natural that IT pros use what they know best to be efficient. Here&rsquo;s what IT pros can teach us about getting more done with the help of tech.</p> <h2>1. Get a Second Monitor</h2> <p>&ldquo;When it comes to productivity, there's almost nothing that compares to having a second monitor,&rdquo; says Scott Kendall of <a href="http://www.outhouseit.com">Outhouse IT</a>, citing <a href="https://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/monitors/en/dual_monitors_boost_productivity_whitepaper.pdf">research showing</a> that using two monitors can help workers get so much more done it&rsquo;s like adding dozens of work days to the year. If you can&rsquo;t have two, upgrading to a larger monitor also increases productivity.</p> <h2>2. Use the Cloud to Store Files</h2> <p>Instead of saving files on your hard drive, or even a flash drive, use the cloud to store your files. Gregory Go, CTO of Killer Aces Media, advises that &ldquo;using the cloud for your files does three important things: you can access the files from anywhere, on any device, you can share and give permission to others to make edits and collaborate, and you don&rsquo;t have to remember to bring your files with you or even to save your changes because it does that automatically.&rdquo; You are also saved from the dreaded system failures that could result in lost files on your computer. Google Docs, Dropbox, and OneDrive provide simple, easy to use cloud services for your documents.</p> <h2>3. Find the Best To-Do App for You</h2> <p>According to app-ranking website <a href="http://thesweetsetup.com/">The Sweet Setup</a>, to-do lists &ldquo;should be beautiful to look at, easy to organize, and have an understandable hierarchy.&rdquo; There are plenty of good free task-manager apps for Android or iPhone. Some IT professionals like using <a href="https://appsto.re/us/3wopy.i">Wunderlist</a> ($4.99 per month for pro) to compile and share to-do lists, while others prefer <a href="https://appsto.re/us/xNOiI.i">Todoist</a> ($29 a year for pro) or <a href="https://appsto.re/us/ahkPD.i">Any.do</a> ($2.99 per month for pro). All of them store your tasks in the cloud, which eases collaboration (you can share and assign tasks to others) and allows you to access your lists from anywhere.</p> <h2>4. Stay on Top of Software Updates</h2> <p>You might not think of regular updates as a productivity hack, but you should, says John Barlow, an IT professional in insurance.</p> <p>&ldquo;Often new versions will incorporate new features that save time or money. Example: New versions of Windows can zip and unzip files, a function we used to have to download a separate program for.&rdquo;</p> <h2>5. Organize Your Contacts Effectively</h2> <p>Address books are fine, but if you don&rsquo;t remember the name of the person you need to e-mail, scrolling through an alphabetical list is a time waster. The free <a href="https://appsto.re/us/QGb61.i">Humin app</a> pulls contact information from your emails and social networks, and lets you search your contacts based on when you met them, where they work, or other factors, and shows you what connections you have in common. It&rsquo;s like a social networking system for your private contacts file -- perfect for IT pros who need to interface with a lot of people and don&rsquo;t have time to sort through business cards.</p> <h2>6. Keep Yourself on Task</h2> <p>Many technology professionals report using programs to help them avoid the distractions of the Internet, their phones, or even competing work tasks that can distract them from the job at hand.</p> <p>&quot;I use Strict Workflow as I have zero willpower on the Internets,&rdquo; says software design engineer Gareth Morgan, referring to the <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/strict-workflow/cgmnfnmlficgeijcalkgnnkigkefkbhd">Chrome extension</a> that sets a timer for 25-minute periods of focused work, punctuated by five-minute breaks.</p> <p>Aaron K., a software engineer in the advertising industry, uses segregated browsers to stay focused.</p> <p>&ldquo;I use two separate browsers at all times, one that is open while I'm working and has my work in it. The other is for personal stuff. I close it frequently and have it set to remember my tabs, so when I need a mental break I can open it up and pick up where I left off,&rdquo; he says.</p> <h2>7. Know Where Your Time Goes</h2> <p>Just like a financial budget is destined to fail if you don&rsquo;t know where your pennies and dollars go, you need to track your minutes and hours in order to make effective use of your time. Some IT consultants need to bill every minute of work to a specific client, making time trackers even more vital.</p> <p>Aaron K. uses the free desktop <a href="http://getklok.com/">Klok app</a> ($19.99 for pro) for time tracking. The app offers <a href="http://www.getklok.com/cloud/index.html">Klok Cloud Sync for Mobile</a>, so that you can store project lists online and time work in the field using a mobile device. Wisconsin IT guy Brad T., prefers the <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/task-timer/aomfjmibjhhfdenfkpaodhnlhkolngif?hl=en-">Google Chrome plugin Task Timer</a>. Build manager Erik Purins swears by team time tracker <a href="https://toggl.com/features">Toggl</a> (free or $5-$59 per month for pro) to help him build weekly reports of how he spent his work hours. Whether you&rsquo;re using it on a phone or desktop, Toggl syncs to the cloud in real time so that you know how much time you&rsquo;ve spent whether in the field or in the office.</p> <h2>8. Streamline Repetitive Tasks</h2> <p>Help desk analyst Ryan S., finds himself copying and pasting the same information over and over in response to client requests. He says he couldn&rsquo;t live without the <a href="http://download.cnet.com/CLCL/3000-2384_4-10153066.html">free Windows clipboard utility CLCL</a>, &ldquo;a huge time saver.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;It allows me to pull up the last 30 items copied to the clipboard, as well as create templates for phrases and, in some cases, entire troubleshooting processes that I frequently use. Those templates can be assigned to hot keys and inserted with a keystroke,&rdquo; Ryan S. says.</p> <h2>9. Communicate Efficiently</h2> <p>No one hates a lengthy meeting more than a busy IT pro, and long email chains are almost as bad. That&rsquo;s why they turn to collaboration apps such as the free <a href="https://trello.com/">Trello</a> ($8.33/month for Business Class), which shares to-do lists and tracks tasks across teams, and <a href="https://slack.com/">Slack</a> (paid versions range from $6.67 to $12.50 per month), which allows teams to share messages and documents in a continual group conversation. Because both apps are cloud-based, you can access or search your communications from anywhere.</p> <h2>10. Take Notes Strategically</h2> <p>There are lots of note-taking apps out there, but many pros still prefer to simply email themselves reminders, to-do lists, and other information. The <a href="https://appsto.re/us/_M3gw.i">$1.99 app Captio</a> makes emailing yourself a one-click affair, ensuring that fewer thoughts fall out of your brain before you have time to record them.</p> <p>In the end, technology can be a help or hindrance when it comes to productivity. Those who take control of the tech in their lives by using the proper tools are more likely to avoid the distracting downside of our constantly wired environment and get more done.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/89732726/289_2738.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-productivity-tips-for-it-professionals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-skills-that-will-be-obsolete-soon">9 Skills That Will Be Obsolete Soon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own">Excel: The Most Underrated Software You Already Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-your-it-person-is-a-super-hero">9 Reasons Your IT Person Is a Super Hero</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-a-task-management-system">5 Benefits of a Task Management System</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-easily-use-an-ipad-as-a-laptop">How to Easily Use an iPad as a Laptop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity Technology Comcast Tue, 22 Dec 2015 17:38:42 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1625205 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Helpful Tools to Manage Your Small Business http://www.wisebread.com/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_business_owner_000075170859.jpg" alt="Woman using helpful tools to manage her small business" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It takes great discipline and organization to successfully manage a small business. But if you're able to do so, being your own boss is only one of the perks. A lot of things can get in your way, though: procrastination, learning how to cope with isolation (if you do most of your business alone), accumulating a steady workflow, and learning how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">manage finances</a>. And there's also the challenge of maximizing time and being your most productive self.</p> <p>You will burn yourself out trying to please clients and meet a bunch of deadlines without the proper tools in your arsenal. Try these tools and strategies in order to automate your workflow and increase productivity.</p> <h2>1. Find the Right CRM and Project Management Tools</h2> <p>You need customer relationship management (CRM) and project management software (PMS) systems to successfully manage your freelance jobs. Zoho, Trello, and Asana offer a free solution that comes with a suite of business apps to help you automate your workflow. The apps integrate directly into the product dashboards, making tracking projects and customer satisfaction even easier.</p> <h2>2. If You Sell Products, add an E-Commerce Solution</h2> <p>In today's business environment, doing business without an e-commerce solution is almost impossible, and downright bad for business. Always-connected consumers expect the convenience of being able to make online purchases and mobile payments. Make sure you get a responsive website that adapts across devices with an integrated e-commerce solution.</p> <p>If your sales volume is low or you don't want the hassle of complicated software, use a readymade solution for professional services and online storefronts, like 3dcart, Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Magento and sync it to your Stripe, Square, or PayPal payment gateway.</p> <h2>3. Offer Customer Support</h2> <p>According to Gartner, a marketing research firm, customers expect real-time 24/7 customer support. Of course it sounds ridiculous to provide around-the-clock customer support when you have a million other things on your plate each day, but unfortunately, that is not something clients should have to recognize if they are to do business with you. Your correspondence must be timely.</p> <p>Partner with a call center and/or web chat provider and add contact and support ticket forms to your website. ZenDesk is a full customer service solutions provider, including 24/7 customer support, email management, and support tickets. LivePerson offers affordable web chat solutions, as well.</p> <h2>4. Utilize Social Media and Email Marketing</h2> <p>Hootsuite and SproutSocial are two popular SMM systems for automating social media marketing campaigns. They each enable its users the ability to schedule posts and publish across multiple social media platforms. And now, a new feature; social customer service, deepens the automation rabbit hole even further by providing real-time customer support across social pages. The dashboard includes powerful analytics tools for measuring social reach and engagement. Get these same great automation features for your email marketing campaigns with well-known email marketing providers like: Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Campaign Monitor.</p> <h2>5. Take Advantage of Cloud Storage and File Sharing</h2> <p>Small businesses can use file sharing and storage solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive to secure e-signatures on contracts and agreements using the HelloSign (Google Drive) and RightSignature (Dropbox) add-ons. The many app integration options add lots of dynamic features. For instance, Merge by MailChimp is an app that lets you send Google docs as email campaigns and Pixsta by SweetLabs is a discoverable app that loads Instagram content directly onto your device.</p> <h2>6. Master Financial Management</h2> <p>One of the most important processes of running a business is managing finances. Cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping software solutions make it easy. Xero and QuickBooks Online help you streamline invoicing, reporting, and bank reconciliations. You can eliminate the grueling tasks of having to export and email spreadsheets to your accountant by inviting them to have limited access to your account.</p> <p>These tools should help you feel more confident about increasing your workflow by taking on more projects. The more discipline and control you have, the more successful you (and your company) will be.</p> <p><em>Are you a small business owner? What tools do you use? Share with us in the comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-get-people-to-respond-to-your-email">15 Ways to Get People to Respond to Your Email</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance">7 Things I Learned About Money After I Went Freelance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home">5 Ways to Stay Productive While Working From Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-say-no-at-work-and-still-get-ahead">How to Say &quot;No&quot; at Work and Still Get Ahead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/science-shows-you-need-to-work-less-heres-why">Science Shows You Need to Work Less — Here&#039;s Why</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Productivity business tools self employed side job small business Thu, 17 Dec 2015 18:00:08 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1622169 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Smart Ways to Stay on Schedule http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-smart-ways-to-stay-on-schedule <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-smart-ways-to-stay-on-schedule" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_work_schedule_000077383811.jpg" alt="Woman finding smart ways to stay on schedule" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></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 smart ways to stay on schedule, ways to stretch your employee benefits dollars, and surprising things you can do with tea bags.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://timemanagementninja.com/2015/10/5-smart-ways-to-stay-on-schedule">5 Smart Ways to Stay on Schedule</a> &mdash; Give each task your full attention during the period that you have scheduled for it. Staying on schedule is all about balance! [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/11/03/3-ways-to-stretch-your-employee-benefits-dollars/">3 Ways To Stretch Your Employee Benefits Dollars</a> &mdash; Make the time to attend any benefits educational programs that your employer offers. This is your chance to learn and ask questions about your benefits. [Forbes]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Ways-Use-Tea-Bags-37803585">11 Things You Didn't Know Tea Bags Could Be Used For</a> &mdash; The tannins in tea helps tenderize meat. Allow the meat to marinate in strong black tea for at least a few hours before it goes in the oven. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.productivity501.com/5-tips-for-a-productive-home-office/9200/">5 Tips for a Productive Home Office</a> &mdash; The type and amount of light in your office can affect your productivity. Try using daylight color-balanced high-powered CFL bulbs to keep you alert. [Productivity501]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/1101/These-are-all-the-stores-staying-closed-on-Thanksgiving-Day">These are all the stores staying closed on Thanksgiving Day</a> &mdash; Among the stores that will be closed on Turkey Day are Costco, Sam's Club, Home Depot, IKEA, and Nordstrom.</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2015/11/03/layoff-to-start-up-8-tips-from-a-successful-entrepreneur/">Layoff to start-up: 8 tips from a successful entrepreneur</a> &mdash; No matter what business you're in, remember that It's about the people. Do your best to resolve any issues with clients and employees. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="https://getoutofdebt.org/94163/4-things-to-know-about-making-money">4 Things To Know About Making Money</a> &mdash; Don't wait to ask for a raise if your performance shows that you deserve a rate bump now. (Just make sure that you can prove it.) [Get Out of Debt Guy]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mightybargainhunter.com/six-spending-habits-fiendishly-frugal/">Six spending habits of fiendishly frugal people</a> &mdash; It isn't always necessary to spend money out of fairness. [Mighty Bargain Hunter]</p> <p><a href="http://www.adaringadventure.com/guest-posts/8-ways-reduce-pain-cravings-and-anxiety-without-drugs/">Ways Reduce Pain, Cravings, and Anxiety without Drugs</a> &mdash; Yoga is a great tool to use against chronic stress. [A Daring Adventure]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-ways-for-working-parents-to-be-involved-with-their-childs-school">5 Ways for Working Parents to Be Involved With Their Child's School</a> &mdash; If you're unable to help out on the school site, see if there is any volunteer work that you can bring home. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-smart-ways-to-stay-on-schedule">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-exercise-in-under-5-minutes">15 Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-you-cant-focus-and-how-to-fix-it-now">12 Reasons You Can&#039;t Focus — And How to Fix It Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work">7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity best money tips schedules Wed, 04 Nov 2015 19:15:23 +0000 Amy Lu 1605658 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons Your Coworkers Think You're a Slacker http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-coworkers-think-youre-a-slacker <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-your-coworkers-think-youre-a-slacker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_work_paper_airplane_000022233591.jpg" alt="Man realizing why his co-workers think he&#039;s a slacker" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think you're pulling the wool over your coworkers' eyes when you're not pulling your weight around the workplace? Think again. Not only do your colleagues notice, but they're probably starting to resent you for having to pick up your slack. Nip your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-office-mistakes-everyone-makes-but-doesnt-talk-about">underperformance problem</a> in the bud with these six signs that you're the weakest link, and help bring balance back to an otherwise out-of-sync office.</p> <h2>1. Taking Credit For Something You Didn't Do</h2> <p>Everybody knows there's no 'I' in team, but your co-workers are starting to realize that there are a few 'I's in &quot;biggest jerk in the office&quot; if you're grandstanding about accomplishments that were a group effort &ndash; especially if it's to make up for your lack of contribution in the first place. Everyone on the team should share in group wins equally, but more importantly, each person should be giving their all to the effort, so that win can be attributed to everyone on the team. If you're prone to riding the coattails of others, it's time to break that habit and work harder for your money.</p> <h2>2. Arriving Late and Leaving Early</h2> <p>Showing up a few minutes late here and there isn't a huge problem, but if you're strolling into the office six minutes late everyday and leaving five minutes early &ndash; which probably seems innocuous, because it's a small amount of time in each instance &ndash; you're not being respectful of your position or all your colleagues who are there at the beginning and end of their shifts every day. And if you think about it, those 11 paid minutes a day that you're skipping out on really add up. If you operate on that hypothetical schedule for five days a week, you've wasted nearly an entire hour of your company's time &ndash; and that won't go over well for long.</p> <p>&quot;People who are chronically late either don't see it as a problem, or don't think the people around them care; neither are true,&quot; says Chad Reid, director of communications for an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.jotform.com">online form builder</a>. &quot;While habitually late people are typically late to things well beyond the office, it can be addressed.&quot;</p> <p>If this sounds like you, you're likely in need of a routine change that could include going to bed earlier, waking up earlier, preparing for the next day ahead of time, altering your route to work, or other time-saving measures that could save your job.</p> <h2>3. Spending Too Much Time on Social Media</h2> <p>Many of us have integrated social media into our jobs, and for some of us it's actually a requirement that we keep up our companies' presences online. Fair enough. But just because managing social media accounts is in your job description, that doesn't give you carte blanche to spend endless hours browsing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (unless that's what you were specifically hired to do), nor does it mean that you can access your personal accounts for prolonged periods of time while your tasks at hand are neglected. Your co-workers won't be happy if your project is late but your online statuses are always up to date, and your boss eventually will want to have a word with you if your social media usage starts to affect your performance.</p> <p>One of the biggest ways to reveal your lack of engagement is to be active on social media but not active in meetings, via email, and in general interactions with colleagues,&quot; says career coach Jane Scudder. &quot;The way to avoid this? Of course, number one is to be more engaged within your role. Another is to limit your social media presence during work hours.&quot;</p> <p>If you're a slave to social media at work, take measures to reduce how much time you spend on it by shutting off your phone or placing it in a place that's not readily accessible (like a drawer or cabinet), manually block the sites you know you're prone to visit, or schedule social media time to get your fix, but limit it to only a few minutes or just on your lunch break.</p> <h2>4. Enjoying Extended Lunch Breaks</h2> <p>Speaking of lunch breaks&hellip; if you're taking leisurely lunches &ndash; 35 or 40 minutes instead of the allotted half-hour or more than an hour if you have that luxury &ndash; it's time to reel it in. Just like arriving late and leaving early, self-extending your lunch break is not only unethical and rude, but it's also akin to stealing money from your employer because you're still stuffing your face with your sandwich instead of manning your position at your desk and fulfilling that day's duties for which you're being paid.</p> <p>While this habit is noticeable if you leave the office for lunch &ndash; because at least one of your coworkers is totally clocking you &ndash; it's much easier to take extra time for yourself if you prefer to eat at your desk. It's not always a problem, of course, but if your work pace is affected and your coworkers have noticed, it's time to assess the situation and reevaluate your lunch strategy.</p> <h2>5. Slowing Down Operations With Non-Workplace Issues</h2> <p>Office camaraderie is important to a productive and motivated workspace &ndash; you don't have to be friends with your co-workers, but you should get along &ndash; so engaging in non-work banter can be beneficial to day-to-day operations. If you're commandeering the conversation, however, and sucking up valuable work time with outside issues that hold everyone else up &ndash; like relationship drama, sappy kid stories, or questionable tales of your weekend activity &ndash; you're weaving a web of negativity that will affect everyone around you. To stay on everyone's good side, limit your banter and anecdotes of home life to times when everyone can kick back and relax for a few minutes, contribute, and enjoy the conversation.</p> <h2>6. Delegating the Lion's Share of Work to Subordinates</h2> <p>If you're in a position of authority, it's critical to toe the line carefully in order to excel at your job, gain and maintain the respect of your colleagues, and set yourself up for promotion. You'll need to delegate some of the work, of course (that's in your job description), but if you're delegating so much of the work that your minions are doing the lion's share of it while you sit back and watch, you run the risk of running yourself right out the door. Just because you're in a boss-type position doesn't mean you get to be bossy. Delegate responsibilities fairly, and avoid establishing a trap that befalls many professionals who dole out orders &ndash; becoming a tyrant who thinks they're above the grunt work. Unless you own the company, you're still on somebody's payroll, and you need to fulfill your duties at or (ideally) above expectations if you'd like to be seen as a good leader and, you know, remain employed.</p> <p><em>Are there other signs of underperformance that you'd like to add? Do you have a co-worker who's not pulling his or her weight? Let's talk about it in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-coworkers-think-youre-a-slacker">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-ahead-at-work-are-you-a-hammer-or-a-swiss-army-knife">Getting Ahead At Work: Are You A Hammer Or A Swiss Army Knife?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-stay-motivated-on-the-job">6 Ways to Stay Motivated on the Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wanna-put-away-some-cash-take-a-vacation">Wanna Put Away Some Cash? Take A Vacation!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-employee">12 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-in-the-gig-economy">Can You Really Make a Living in the Gig Economy?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Productivity coworkers job performance slacker work work performance Tue, 20 Oct 2015 09:15:27 +0000 Mikey Rox 1593787 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: The Right Way to Multitask http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-right-way-to-multitask <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-right-way-to-multitask" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_multitasking_000028341430.jpg" alt="Woman learning the right way to multitask" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></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 the right way to multitask, products you should definitely buy online, and the things extremely likeable people do.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/if-you-re-going-to-multitask-at-least-do-it-right-1734677693">If You&rsquo;re Going to Multitask, At Least Do It Right</a> &mdash; You'll spread yourself too thin if you try to do everything at the same time. Limit your multitasking to two big tasks at once, making sure that they're both rewarding tasks that you're motivated to do. [Lifehacker]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/1002/Five-things-you-should-definitely-buy-online">Five things you should definitely buy online</a> &mdash; When buying a car, you can start your negotiations online. This makes it easier to compare prices and inventory across dealers before you step onto the lot. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-Likeable-People-Do-35059138">16 Things Extremely Likeable People Do</a> &mdash; Likeable people accept that others will disagree with them and know that their way may not be the best way for other people. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T012-C011-S001-ways-to-make-an-extra-1-000-by-the-holidays.html">4 Ways to Make an Extra $1,000 by the Holidays</a> &mdash; Do you have old cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices lying around? Resale sites like uSell, Gazelle and NextWorth will buy your electronics &mdash; even damaged ones! [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.experian.com/blogs/news/about/financial-literacy-on-the-go/">Financial Literacy on the Go</a> &mdash; It used to be that you learn about finances from your parents or at school. These days, there are a variety of resources, and it's easy as pie to take them wherever you go. Stop by Experian's #CreditChat on Wednesday, October 5 at 3 p.m. ET for a discussion on the many ways to gain financial literacy. [Experian]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://canadianfinanceblog.com/how-to-develop-better-money-habits/">How to Develop Better Money Habits</a> &mdash; A dramatic overhaul of your finances can look impressive at first, but they're difficult to incorporate into your life. If you want your better money habits to stick, break down your goals and start with small changes. [Canadian Finance Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.themoneyprinciple.co.uk/3-ways-to-make-international-travel-a-lot-more-affordable/">3 Ways to Make International Travel a Lot More Affordable</a> &mdash; Make your money go as far as possible! Travel to places where your currency gets at least 30% more value than where you live. You'll probably go off the tourist track, but that's part of the adventure. [The Money Principle]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/10/04/12-tough-truths-about-great-relationships/">12 Tough Truths About Great Relationships</a> &mdash; It takes practice to develop conscious, mindful communication between partners. To have a great, lasting relationship, both parties need to hold back angry, unhelpful words. [Marc &amp; Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://timemanagementninja.com/2015/10/7-times-you-need-to-slow-down-to-reduce-stress/">7 Times You Need to Slow Down to Reduce Stress</a> &mdash; There are certain times during the day when you really need to take your time. You'll only get more stressed if you try to rush through planning your day or driving to work. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/10-ways-busy-moms-can-make-time-for-themselves">10 Ways Busy Moms Can Make Time For Themselves</a> &mdash; Sign up for a weekly class to spend some time with yourself and learn something new! [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-right-way-to-multitask">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking">The Fallacy of Multitasking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought">Multitasking Sucks Even More Than You Thought</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-productivity-hacks-from-a-work-at-home-mom">10 Productivity Hacks From a Work-at-Home Mom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-multitasking-can-work">When Multitasking Can Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity best money tips multitasking Tue, 06 Oct 2015 19:15:39 +0000 Amy Lu 1582222 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 School Lunches That Will Make Your Kid Smarter http://www.wisebread.com/5-school-lunches-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-school-lunches-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_eating_lunch_000036938010.jpg" alt="Kids eating school lunches that will make them smarter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Did you know that certain foods can actually make your kids smarter?</p> <p>They need to be alert throughout the school day and get the nutrition necessary to learn and grow during these pivotal years. Research has shown that what your child eats can have a direct effect on their grades, mood, and behavior. Eating well can enhance brain function, memory, and physical performance, so it may be more important than you realize.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/06/business/brain-food/">perfect meal for the brain</a> consists of three to four ounces of protein and two servings of vegetables. However, it can be difficult to get kids to accept this healthy lifestyle right away. Fortunately, you can still make fun, delicious school lunches that your child will love. Best of all, their school grades may even improve as the healthy food options start paying off with better attention spans. That's why we've rounded up some of the best school lunches to help make your child smarter and more alert. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-for-lunch-for-a-more-productive-afternoon?ref=seealso">What to Eat for Lunch for a More Productive Afternoon</a>)</p> <h2>1. Turkey Wrap and Fruit</h2> <p>Try a turkey wrap or pinwheels on a 100% whole wheat wrap. The great thing about sandwiches and wraps is that you can customize them to whatever your child likes, while still keeping them ultra-healthy. Make sure to also throw in some baby carrots or other veggies that will bulk up their lunch and leave them feeling great all afternoon.</p> <p>It's important to also add some fruit to every lunch. Blueberries and strawberries have some of the highest antioxidant payoffs and can even help <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22535616">delay brain aging</a>, cognitive decline, and mental fatigue. Apples contain catechins, which can protect your brain from damaging chemicals. Bananas are also a great contender for a fruit that you should be including in every lunch. You can add a smear of almond butter for the apple or banana to add even more healthy protein and energy to their lunch.</p> <h2>2. Upgraded PB&amp;J Sandwich</h2> <p>Kids love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and the nuts from the peanut butter (or almond butter) contain protein, fiber, and the healthy fats your child needs for an immediate energy boost that will sustain them throughout the day. Nuts also contain vitamin E, which aids in cognitive function. To mix things up, add bananas instead of jam for even more energy.</p> <p>Serve the sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread or a bagel, add a serving of fruit, some sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, or other small veggies they like, and you'll have a complete lunch. Whenever possible, add a side salad with two tablespoons low-fat dressing. For a sweet treat, consider natural fruit leather, which seems like a &quot;fruit snack,&quot; but is actually good for your kids.</p> <h2>3. Mac and Cheese With Veggies</h2> <p>Cooking <a href="https://www.healthiergeneration.org/live_healthier/eat_healthier/recipes/cheesy_mac_and_trees_recipe/">mac and cheese</a> with 100% whole wheat pasta and hidden fresh veggies (like broccoli, tomatoes, bell pepper, cauliflower, or carrots) will give kids a healthy boost during the day. Best of all, they will feel like they just ate mac and cheese, so it will be a midday treat they look forward to. To mix it up, you can instead serve a bowtie or tortellini pasta salad with peas and veggies in the pasta and extra veggies hidden in the sauce. Complete the lunch with a fruit cup in 100% juice or water (not syrup).</p> <h2>4. Cobb Salad</h2> <p>Eating (and enjoying) salads is a lifetime commitment, so what better time than now to get your kids in on that healthy track? There is nothing like a salad to get your energy flowing, provide your body with the nutrients it needs, and fill you up with healthy greens and protein. A <a href="https://www.healthiergeneration.org/live_healthier/eat_healthier/recipes/southwest_turkey_cobb_salad_recipe/">cobb salad</a> contains yummy toppings like turkey bacon, chicken or turkey, cheese, and dried fruits and nuts, which can make it much more kid-friendly. Bonus points for adding some spinach to the salad, which can help protect against declines in cognitive skills like verbal fluency. Topping the salad with sliced avocado will also add fiber, vitamin E, vitamin B, and folic acid.</p> <h2>5. Veggie Burger and Veggie Chips</h2> <p>A veggie or bean burger can give your child the sensation of eating a burger, without the high fat and calorie count. Instead, they will enjoy a flavor boost and added benefits from the spices found in the meatless patty. Many veggie patties contain brown rice and an assortment of veggies, which can give your child the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they need to finish the day strong. Veggie chips are salty, crispy, and satisfying like chips, but have hidden veggies that your kids will eat right up.</p> <h2>Make it Appealing to Picky Eaters</h2> <p>Many parents don't pack healthy school lunches because they are afraid that their child won't eat it. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to get your child to eat healthy foods:</p> <ul> <li>Cut fruits and veggies into small pieces, so they can enjoy them as finger foods.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Add a dip with the veggies. For instance, hummus is a healthy side that can encourage kids to eat their veggies and add some extra protein along the way.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Change things up frequently and look for new ideas so that your kids never get bored. You can find countless free recipes online, or you can challenge yourself to cook every recipe in one cookbook for fun ways to shake up the lunchtime routine.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Add low-fat yogurt for a sweet treat, instead of &quot;fruit snacks&quot; and other sugar traps. If your child likes Greek yogurt, this is an even better (and more beneficial) option. You can also sweeten up plain Greek yogurt with honey or jam to make it kid-friendly.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Water is always the best bet, but if they need another drink, consider low-fat milk.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cut shapes out of sandwiches (like a star or heart shape), turn ordinary wraps into pinwheels, or make faces or shapes out of veggies to encourage kids to eat healthier. If it's fun to eat, they are more likely to eat it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Have your children help in the lunch preparations. If they help make it, they will be more likely to eat and enjoy it.</li> </ul> <p><em>What are your favorite school lunches to prepare for your children? Do you find that what they eat makes a difference in their behavior? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-school-lunches-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-nuts-by-nutrition-and-price">The Best and Worst Nuts, by Nutrition and Price</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/end-potato-prejudice-10-reasons-why-you-should-eat-potatoes">End Potato Prejudice: 10 Reasons Why You Should Eat Potatoes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-scientifically-proven-to-increase-your-energy">10 Foods Scientifically Proven to Increase Your Energy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-get-calcium">Great Ways to Get Calcium</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-cut-waste-when-feeding-kids">10 Ways to Cut Waste When Feeding Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Food and Drink Productivity healthy kids nutrition packed lunch school lunches smarter kids Mon, 05 Oct 2015 17:00:35 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1570363 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_productive_workday_000052836384.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to make her sluggish workday go faster" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How many times have you looked longingly out the window beside your <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Best-Yoga-Poses-Office-Workers-24640282">office desk</a>, wishing you were outside enjoying the fresh air &mdash; or taking a nap at home? We <em>know</em> you're raising your hand right now, and we understand 100 percent! Sometimes, the day feels like it's crawling by slower than a snail, and by the end of it, you're completely exhausted. Here's how to beat that workday rut and ensure that it flies by so quick, you won't know it hit you.</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Best-Career-Advice-38400406">Real People Share the Greatest Career Advice They've Ever Received</a></p> <h2>1. Find a Job That You Love or a Project You Enjoy Within Your Current Job</h2> <p>Ideally, you want to seek a job that you'd look forward to every day &mdash; but all hope may not be lost for your current profession. &quot;If finding a job you're passionate about is tough, then find a task or project area to become an expert in,&quot; recommends <a href="http://www.jenndewallcoaching.com/" target="_blank">Jenn Dewall</a>, a career and life coach for female professionals. &quot;Find learning opportunities to enhance your understanding, set up touch-bases with people who know more, and practice it!&quot;</p> <h2>2. Set Up a Snack Drawer in Your Office</h2> <p>Nothin' like a good old chocolate chip <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/food/How-Make-Homemade-Clif-Bars-37977261">Clif Bar</a> to boost your mood. &quot;[Fill your drawer] with healthy snacks to keep your energy up and some of your favorite things you look forward to indulging in,&quot; suggests Hallie Crawford, career coach and founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.halliecrawford.com/" target="_blank">HallieCrawford.com</a>.</p> <h2>3. Have a Five-Minute Conversation With a Co-Worker</h2> <p>Constant corporate jargon gets old, fast &mdash; and drags the day on. &quot;We need to infuse fun into our workday, [because] it reduces stress and can increase team building,&quot; Dewall says. &quot;Ask a question that is unrelated to work and start a conversation. In similar fashion, you can also pick a pop culture topic and talk about it for five minutes.&quot;</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Career-Tips-Introverts-38279445">7 Totally Practical Career Tips For Office Introverts</a></p> <h2>4. Take Walks</h2> <p>Don't be a bump on a log all day; get up and move! &quot;Either walk during your lunch, or take short walks after accomplishing a bigger task,&quot; Dewall recommends. &quot;Walking will give you energy and can also break up stressful work projects.&quot; Want to take it up a notch? &quot;Schedule coffee walks with work colleagues so you can get some caffeine, fresh air, and positive conversation all at once,&quot; suggests <a href="http://www.dallekcoaching.com/" target="_blank">Rebecca Dallek</a>, a career and leadership coach for women.</p> <h2>5. Have a Look at Other Businesses</h2> <p>If you've got a little free time and you're feeling bored, &quot;Research the competition,&quot; says <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/jilljacinto" target="_blank">Jill Jacinto</a>, a millennial career expert for WORKS. It will give you a leg up on keeping your company sharp, and it may spark a few ideas. Plus, it's more interesting than <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-Waste-Your-Time-Work-38001474">repeatedly refreshing your email</a>!</p> <h2>6. Work With People You Like</h2> <p>&quot;This is critical to overall workplace enjoyment and to make each day fly by,&quot; Dallek says. Think about it. If you're sitting next to a co-worker who complains about everything from the temperature of his coffee to the new manager, your eyes are going to be glued to the clock.</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Motivational-Spotify-Playlist-Work-38401746">20 Songs to Get You Through the Workweek</a></p> <h2>7. Focus on Your Accomplishments, Not Your Never-Ending To-Do List</h2> <p>Don't allow your pending work tasks to submerge you in stress. &quot;The more you focus on what has happened successfully during the course of your day, the faster it will go by, because you're less overwhelmed by the next thing on the list and enjoying a sense of accomplishment instead,&quot; Crawford says.</p> <h2>8. Jam to an Inspiring Song in Between Each Task</h2> <p>Whip out those headphones, stat. &quot;Allow yourself to get lost in the music for a song, and once the song is completed, go back to work,&quot; Dewall recommends. &quot;This is another mental break where the intention is to focus on how the song is making you feel &mdash;&nbsp;it's not just music to drown out your co-workers.&quot; She suggests starting out with coffee house favorites and then amping up to lively, high-energy music (think <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Carly-Rae-Jepsen-Nine-Inch-Nails-Mashup-37226466">Carly Rae Jepsen</a>) as the day comes to a close.</p> <h2>9. Buy Fun Office Supplies and Add Items to Your Desk That Make You Smile</h2> <p>Crawford suggests thinking along the lines of pictures of friends and family, colored folders, and supercute pens. &quot;Keep things professional, of course, but if having fun stuff on your desk makes you smile, go for it,&quot; she says. &quot;You can hide things when a client comes in if you need to.&quot;</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Working-From-Home-Tips-37778375">11 of the Best Work-From-Home Hacks Ever</a></p> <h2>10. Attend a Presentation From Your Colleagues in a Different Department</h2> <p>Jacinto recommends this, because seeing other departments in action provides a unique angle on your company and will maintain your focus. Better focus means faster workday!</p> <h2>11. Sit in Another Location</h2> <p>If you have a flexible workplace design, this one is cake. &quot;Sometimes a new location gives you a fresh perspective,&quot; Dallek says. And if your workspace isn't quite so accommodating or open? Simply transport your laptop to the kitchen for a half hour for a change of environment.</p> <h2>12. Set an End-of-the-Week Reward</h2> <p>You already know how important work objectives are. &quot;Each week, set up five <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Funny-Relationship-Goals-36598133">goals</a> that you want to accomplish and schedule time to work on them each day,&quot; Dewall suggests. &quot;If you accomplish the goals and fill your day with productivity, reward yourself! This can enhance your confidence and give you a sense of accomplishment when you walk out the door on Friday.&quot; Not to mention, as you center yourself and work toward those goals throughout the week, the days will zip by. And in the end, that's what we <em>all</em> want.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> When&#039;s it gonna be done o&#039;clock already? Make the long workday hours go a lot faster with some shortcuts, treats, and fun ways to be productive. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" style="height:95px; width:300px" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Best-Career-Advice-38400406">Real People Share the Greatest Career Advice They've Ever Received</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Career-Tips-Introverts-38279445">7 Totally Practical Career Tips For Office Introverts</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Motivational-Spotify-Playlist-Work-38401746">20 Songs to Get You Through the Workweek</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Working-From-Home-Tips-37778375">11 of the Best Work-From-Home Hacks Ever</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-times-youre-better-off-without-a-promotion">12 Times You&#039;re Better Off Without a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-cool-jobs-for-outdoorsy-types">11 Cool Jobs for Outdoorsy Types</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hey-boss-please-dont-bother-me-im-daydreaming">Hey Boss, Please Don’t Bother Me, I’m Daydreaming</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Organization Productivity careers desk job distractions jobs office job productivity workday Fri, 02 Oct 2015 09:00:34 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1571506 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_ideas_000040220958_0.jpg" alt="Girl with time-management skills winning at school" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want your kids to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-back-to-school-shopping-tips-for-the-busy-parent">succeed at school</a> without spending every waking hour with their noses buried in books? Teach them how to manage their time most efficiently with these 11 tips on perfecting that September-to-May juggling act.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Mind Map&quot; Before a Writing Project</h2> <p>You may not have heard of &quot;mind mapping,&quot; but the concept isn't new at all. It's really just a fancy 21st &nbsp;century name for brainstorming, which we were taught as kids. Before your kid embarks on a project &mdash; particularly a written assignment &mdash; have them brainstorm their ideas, outline the steps of the project, and start organizing their thoughts into full-fledged ideas. That way, when it's time to get to the nitty-gritty of it all, the process will flow more seamlessly since all the moving parts will be in place.</p> <p>&quot;The best time-saving tip we know of is when a child has to write something &mdash; a book report, research paper, speech/presentation &mdash; is to use mind mapping,&quot; says Bryan Mattimore, chief idea guy at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.growth-engine.com/">The Growth Engine Co.</a>, an innovation agency. &quot;We have kids (and corporate innovation teams) create a mind map of what they might want to write first. It makes it a great deal easier for young and old alike to first get everything out in the mind map, so that they can write an outline and then more effectively and quickly write the piece.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Use a Calendar</h2> <p>I've used a monthly calendar to roughly plan out 30 days of advance assignments since I started my own business six years ago. I'm able to see what I've completed and what's coming up at a glance, and I can easily make room for additional assignments by moving other items around if need be. I've found this method of organization extremely helpful not only in terms of productivity, but also psychologically as the completed projects I cross off help ward off feelings of anxiety that I'm falling behind.</p> <p>Author Patty Wood suggests taking a similar approach with your child.</p> <p>&quot;Post a big school calendar above the child's desk or workstation so they have a visual of time and their assignments,&quot; she says. &quot;Have them put color stickers for tests and assignments on the due dates. When they look at any assignment, they can figure out how much work and time it will take to prepare and go on the calendar and assign time on days leading up to it. For example, if they have a speech on September 26, they can put an hour on, say, five days in the two weeks prior to the speech to get ready for it.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Prepare for the Next Day (or Week) in Advance</h2> <p>In addition to my monthly calendar, I also plan ahead on a more immediate level, like preparing my weekly meals all on one Sunday afternoon, as well as choosing and ironing that week's outfits. With all of those tasks out of the way for the week, I'm able to sleep in a few more minutes in the mornings and start my days with much less stress.</p> <p>Let your kids choose the clothes they'd like to wear that week, and invite them into the kitchen to choose what snacks and drinks they'd like in their lunches. As they get older, if this has become routine over the years, they'll eventually do all of this on their own (hopefully), so you can rest assured that your young adult is well on his or her way to being A-okay in the real world.</p> <h2>4. Establish a Dedicated Homework Time and Location</h2> <p>You'll have an easier time getting your child to do homework if you establish a dedicated time and location to do it. Once the routine is solidly in place, it will become habitual with, ideally, no after-school fuss.</p> <h2>5. Create a Checklist</h2> <p>In addition to my monthly calendar of projects, I also keep a daily to-do list &mdash; which includes both personal and professional items &mdash; to help me stay on task throughout the day. I try to plan them out in terms of the time I think each activity will take, but that's not always reliable as sometimes things don't go according to plan. Your kids can benefit from this system &mdash; and so can you &mdash; by providing them an outline of what needs to be done for the day and by what deadline.</p> <h2>6. Avoid Over-Scheduling Extracurricular Activities</h2> <p>A lot of kids get sidetracked or fall behind because of over-scheduling, and if that's happening in your family, it's time to take a step back and examine your priorities. Extracurricular activities &mdash; like sports, music, art, and theater &mdash; are important to your children's physical, social, mental, and emotional development, but not at the cost of education and overall well being. If they're doing too much in a day, and their homework or other educational pursuits are suffering, something has to go.</p> <p>Also, as a parent, stay sensitive to your child's demeanor and personality. If they're stressed out, unhappy, or constantly on edge, perhaps it's because they feel over-worked and overscheduled. Check in from time to time to see how they're doing in that regard.</p> <h2>7. Limit Phone/Social Media/TV Time</h2> <p>If you're addicted to social media, the Internet, or your e-mail like I am, you know firsthand how much time is wasted while you're on the phone and computer instead of concentrating on your work. This goes double for your kids whose hormones are raging amid all the traditional school drama that happens from pre-teen age all the way to high school graduation. To ensure their media doesn't interfere with their after-school responsibilities, limit the time they can spend on it by perhaps confiscating the devices until all homework, chores, etc. are finished, or granting them a certain amount of time to be online/the phone each night.</p> <p>You probably won't win any Parent of the Year awards in their eyes, but you're doing the right thing &mdash; and they'll recognize that someday.</p> <h2>8. Set Artificial Deadlines for Assignments</h2> <p>If your child has trouble remembering assignments or just procrastinates (like every other teenager &mdash; and adult &mdash; in the world), another potential tactic to take is to set artificial deadlines for assignments. I sometimes do this for myself if I dread a certain assignment, and I also employ this tactic when scheduling activities with my always-late husband. By creating a &quot;window of lateness&quot; as I like to call it, you can almost be sure that everything (and everyone) will be on time, or at least on the actual, much-later deadline.</p> <h2>9. Prioritize Assignments in Order of Importance</h2> <p>Kids tend to gravitate toward the easiest work there is, but that's not always the best approach to their assignments given that not all assignments are created equal. Some count for much more of their final grade than others, which makes the highly weighted projects a priority over smaller, more easily accomplished assignments. Review your child's schedule with them to go over their projects in depth to understand what they entail, recognize how much work they will require, and create a plan to meet the deadlines.</p> <h2>10. Keep a Regimented Schedule at Home</h2> <p>An after-school free-for-all will lead to certain disaster for your children in terms of their educational priorities, which is why it's in your entire family's best interest to keep a regimented schedule at home.</p> <p>&quot;To best help children manage their time effectively while in school, help them to understand and practice time management outside of the school day; this will allow them to internalize this structure and use it elsewhere, especially at school,&quot; says Dr. Lindsay Popilskis, certified school psychologist. &quot;Agree upon start and end times for academic tasks &mdash; such as homework &mdash; and fun tasks, and stick to those times. You may even set a timer for activities so that children can independently see how much time has been spent and how much time is left for each activity. With all that being said, the most important time for routine is bedtime. Without a good night sleep, children have difficulties maintaining their focus, which will not capitalize on their time no matter how managed it is.&quot;</p> <p><em>Do you have other time-management tips to help kids win at school that you'd like to add? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-how-to-meet-a-deadline">Don&#039;t Panic! How to Meet a Deadline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-private-schools-worth-the-money-they-demand">Are Private Schools Worth the Money They Demand?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family">5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Family Productivity children good grades homework kids planning school time management Wed, 26 Aug 2015 17:00:29 +0000 Mikey Rox 1536917 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Outsourcing Chores Can Save You Time and Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-outsourcing-chores-can-save-you-time-and-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-outsourcing-chores-can-save-you-time-and-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_000022890952.jpg" alt="Woman outsourcing chores and saving time and money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're busy people, with lives filled by family, work, errands, chores, and tons of other tasks that pull us in a million directions. Add all of this on top of being a self-employed business owner, and there are times when I find myself sacrificing sleep, or skipping meals, as a way to get more things checked off my list.</p> <p>Two years ago I quit my day job to freelance full-time and have been in time-crunch mode ever since. As a way to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-yourself-a-break-the-productivity-secret-thatll-change-the-way-you-work">become more productive</a>, I've learned how to outsource work I don't have time for, or don't know how to do.</p> <p>What if you delegated household chores so you could regain control? Here's how to outsource your life so you have more time and money.</p> <h2>1. Avoid Grocery Shopping</h2> <p>Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite chores to do each week. Unless you're a personal chef (like my husband), you probably hate <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">going to the grocery store</a>, too. Instead of wasting your time on this chore, why not have your groceries delivered? If you live in a big city, check out services like <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10782119-1406910980000">Peapod</a> or <a href="https://fresh.amazon.com/">AmazonFresh's</a> food service.</p> <p>Just order your regular grocery items that you purchase every week, such as milk, bread, toilet paper, and other consumables, and get them delivered right to your door. No driving through traffic, or weaving in-and-out of the busy produce section.</p> <p>The great thing about these services is that you can find the best prices, use coupons, and take advantage of weekly discounts, just as you would if you were going the traditional grocery shopping route.</p> <p><strong>Time saved per week</strong>: One hour or more (depending on how long you usually take to meal plan and drive to your local store).</p> <p><strong>Average monthly cost</strong>: Cost of groceries plus delivery and tip (plus $99 a year for Amazon Prime).</p> <h2>2. Look Stylish on a Budget</h2> <p>Retail therapy is a great way to unwind, score some fashionable finds, and hang out with friends, but it's not always great for your budget. Limit your regular shopping trips by outsourcing your clothing needs using services like <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-11713107-1413249375000">Stitch Fix</a> or <a href="http://www.shoedazzle.com/">ShoeDazzle</a>.</p> <p>A box is delivered straight to your front door that includes styles based on your personal taste. You only pay for the items you like and want to keep, otherwise you simply return any unworn clothing or shoes.</p> <p>The upside is you get customized picks, from designers and professional stylists, without ever leaving the house. You'll also be able to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-stores-trick-us-into-impulse-buys-and-how-to-resist">avoid any impulse buys</a> or unwanted purchases simply by choosing the bare essentials.</p> <p><strong>Time saved per week</strong>: One hour or more (depending on how long you usually shop).</p> <p><strong>Average monthly cost</strong>: $55 for clothing and shoes (plus $20 processing fee applied to purchase).</p> <h2>3. Get Help With Daily Errands</h2> <p>Odd jobs around the house constantly seem to stack up. From cleaning the car, to mowing the yard, to cleaning out the gutters, a resource like <a href="https://www.taskrabbit.com/">Task Rabbit</a> can help. No task is too big or too small.</p> <p>If you need a ride to the airport, furniture delivered on a certain day, help walking the dog, or deep housecleaning, you can use this service to find the right person. You can even pay someone to stand in line for you at the DMV! This service is currently available in 19 cities and counting, so save yourself time by outsourcing your daily errands.</p> <p><strong>Time saved per week</strong>: Two hours or more (depending on chore).</p> <p><strong>Average monthly cost</strong>: Cost of errand billed hourly.</p> <h2>4. Hire a Bookkeeper or Household Manager</h2> <p>As the breadwinner for my small family, I don't always have time to prepare reports, pay taxes, and manage the affairs of our household. If you're in the same position, you know the importance of these tasks, and how vital it is that the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts">bills are paid on time</a>, but you also want to spend your time with your family and friends.</p> <p>One way to solve this is to hire a part-time bookkeeper or household manager. For $125 a month I work with a virtual bookkeeper who helps manage my bills, bank accounts, schedules appointments, and deals with other household projects. This allows me to spend my time at a yoga class, or going on a date with my husband.</p> <p><strong>Time saved per week</strong>: Two hours or more (depending on chore).</p> <p><strong>Average monthly cost</strong>: $100 or more depending on tasks.</p> <h2>You Really Can Save Time and Money With Outsourcing</h2> <p>Life's too short to spend a lot of time on doing household chores or trying to DIY tasks that are too complicated. Thanks to a rise in outsourcing services, you can delegate any kind of chore you don't have time to do. This will allow you time to do more important things, like spending quality time with your kids, or enjoying a weekend with friends.</p> <p><em>Have you tried outsourcing chores? What's another way to save time and money each week?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-outsourcing-chores-can-save-you-time-and-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity Shopping chores errands groceries Help outsourcing Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:00:20 +0000 Carrie Smith 1533307 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Apps Every Dad Needs http://www.wisebread.com/6-apps-every-dad-needs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-apps-every-dad-needs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father_and_son_online_000019788770.jpg" alt="Father finding apps that dad needs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're a new dad or a seasoned pro, life certainly gets hectic with work and family in the mix. Here are some useful tools that will help you feel better organized, as well as healthier and more confident. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-worst-mistakes-good-parents-make?ref=seealso">The 4 Worst Mistakes Good Parents Make</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cozi</h2> <p>Chances are, with lots of people living under one roof, life can get crazy. The worst part? You all have different schedules. Take charge with <a href="http://www.cozi.com">Cozi</a>, a social organizer for busy families. You can color code each family member's work, school, and personal schedules on one shared calendar. Write up grocery, chore, and other to-do lists to distribute with ease. You can even share photos and other information with your extended family.</p> <h2>2. Quick Tips for New Dads</h2> <p>Didn't have time to read all those parenting books before your kid was born? No worries. With <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/quick-%C2%AD%E2%80%90tips-%C2%AD%E2%80%90for-%C2%AD%E2%80%90new-%C2%AD%E2%80%90dads/id843364411">Quick Tips for New Dads</a>, you'll get everything you need to know in your phone. Check out quick snippets of useful information on everything from bottle feeding to naptime routines to looking after mom. With over 250 added stress-busting tips, this app is your holy grail for surviving that first year.</p> <h2>3. Mint Bills</h2> <p>You have enough things to worry about besides when your utilities or cable bills are due. And don't mention those dreaded late fees! Some banks have awesome apps you can use to manage your money. If yours isn't one of them, wrangle your due dates and payments with <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mint-bills-money/id285056092?mt=8">Mint Bills</a>. Set up all your bank account, credit card, and bills information once, and the app does the rest of the work.</p> <h2>4. 7-Minute Workout</h2> <p>Being a dad sometimes means skipping workouts to make way for other obligations. Put the power in your back pocket with the <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/7-minute-workout/id650762525?mt=8">7-Minute Workout</a> app by Wahoo Fitness. You can sneak in a sweat session whenever you find spare time or even combine a few for a longer routine. Each session groups 12 high-intensity bodyweight exercises (no equipment or gym required) at 30 seconds each with 10 seconds of rest between moves. A healthy dad is a happy dad, so take care of yourself.</p> <h2>5. College Saving Wiz</h2> <p>It's never too early (or late) to start saving for your child's education. Download <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/college-saving-wiz/id674276203?mt=8">College Saving Wiz</a> for handy cost-estimating calculators, savings goals, and even tips for how to stash away extra cash. This app was designed by emeritus professor of finance Lawrence J. Gitman at San Diego State University. And if you'd like to help your kids develop good money habits, also check out <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saving-wiz-jr./id674198368?mt=8">Saving Wiz Jr</a>.</p> <h2>6. Evernote</h2> <p>While you're out and about at dance lessons or soccer games, you just might need to do some last-minute research for tomorrow's big meeting. That's where <a href="https://evernote.com">Evernote</a> comes in. You can gather information from anywhere and record your thoughts on essentially anything &mdash; work projects, shopping lists, home improvement projects &mdash; it's up to you. This app syncs across your different devices and lets you put everything into streamlined notebooks with tags and note links for added organization.</p> <p><em>What apps and tools do you use to be a better dad?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-apps-every-dad-needs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-lessons-i-learned-from-dad">10 Money Lessons I Learned From Dad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-living-truths-every-stay-at-home-parent-should-know">5 Frugal Living Truths Every Stay-at-Home-Parent Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Productivity apps fathers organization parents working dads Tue, 25 Aug 2015 09:00:59 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1530568 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Habits of Highly Successful People http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-habits-of-highly-successful-people <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-habits-of-highly-successful-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/successful_woman_000051439304.jpg" alt="Woman using habits of highly successful people" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></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 the habits of highly successful people, what you must to do retire early, and ways to save yourself from a fake sale.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Habits-Successful-People-36802069">15 Habits of Highly Successful People</a> &mdash; Successful people are open to feedback and constructive criticism. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.retiredby40blog.com/2015/08/06/9-things-you-must-do-to-retire-early/">9 Things You Must Do To Retire Early</a> &mdash; Set up a stream or two of passive income. The longer it's in place, the more you can set aside for your retirement. [Retired By 40]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/0818/Four-ways-to-save-yourself-from-a-fake-sale">Four ways to save yourself from a fake sale</a> &mdash; If you want to buy something that's always in stock, check the price a few different times to know when it's a good deal. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/6-ways-your-bank-is-ripping-you-off/">6 Ways Your Bank is Ripping You Off</a> &mdash; Don't sign up for overdraft protection. It's less damaging to have a transaction denied than to rack up several $30 overdraft fees. [Consumerism Commentary]</p> <p><a href="http://www.aspiringmillionaire.com/2015/08/the-5-secrets-of-successful-first-time.html">The 5 Secrets of Successful First-time Home Buyers</a> &mdash; Don't obsessively try to time the market. The best time to buy is when you find the perfect, affordable house. [Aspiring Millionaire]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.themoneyprinciple.co.uk/how-to-tackle-debt-when-youre-in-a-relationship/">How to Tackle Debt When You&rsquo;re in a Relationship</a> &mdash; If you and/or your partner has debt, it might make sense to tackle all debts together instead of each person handling their own debt. [The Money Principle]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T063-C000-S001-save-money-without-looking-like-a-cheapskate.html">Save Money Without Looking Like a Cheapskate</a> &mdash; These days, it's easier than ever to compare prices and find deals when you shop online. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/use-online-press-find-clients/">Get Mentioned in the Media: How to Use Online Press to Find Freelance Clients</a> &ndash; You don&rsquo;t need to pay a PR agent to get your name out there. Use Help A Reporter Out to connect with journalists and writers who may want to feature you in a story. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/how-to-pay-for-graduate-school">Graduate (Less) Broke: Tips To Pay For Grad School Wisely</a> &mdash; Federal loans for grad school tend to give you more flexibility, but it's worth it to check if you can get better rates from private lenders. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/what-to-ask-and-tell-your-childs-new-teacher">What to Ask and Tell Your Child's New Teacher</a> &mdash; Get to know the educator's teaching style and help her get to know your child! [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-habits-of-highly-successful-people">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning">13 Things Successful People Do Every Morning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-productivity-tips-from-visionaries">10 Productivity Tips From Visionaries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-exercise-in-under-5-minutes">15 Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity best money tips success Wed, 19 Aug 2015 19:00:25 +0000 Amy Lu 1530072 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Reasons You Can't Focus — And How to Fix It Now http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-you-cant-focus-and-how-to-fix-it-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-reasons-you-cant-focus-and-how-to-fix-it-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000023132071_1.jpg" alt="Woman learning she can&#039;t focus, and how to fix it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Focus. It's a word often yelled at children from frustrated teachers, and at ourselves when we have trouble getting to the bottom of something. &quot;Come on, focus, you can do this.&quot;</p> <p>Why is it easy for some people to hone in on a problem and give it laser-guided focus, while other people cannot go two minutes without staring out of the window or thinking about sitting on a beach? Well, there are many reasons beyond personality types. Here are 12 of the biggest reasons you may be having trouble concentrating.</p> <h2>1. You're Not Getting Enough Sleep</h2> <p>There's a reason we spend at least 25% of our lives in bed. Sleep is very important. It helps us recharge, gives the brain a chance to exercise neuronal connections, and gives our bodies time to repair muscles and replace chemicals. So, when we're not getting the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-scientifically-proven-to-help-you-sleep">right amount of sleep</a> (and it varies from person to person, but around six to eight hours is average), everything suffers &mdash; in particular, the mind takes the brunt of it. You will find it very difficult to stay focused on anything because your brain is not only tired, it's confused. It hasn't had the necessary time it needs to prepare for another full day of activity, and as such it is torn between the task at hand, and wanting to shut down.</p> <p>Now, you may think you're getting your six to eight hours every night, but still have trouble focusing. Check to see if you have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. Even though you go to bed at 11 p.m. and wake up at seven, you may have had a night of restless, constantly-interrupted sleep. If you haven't had a good amount of deep, restful REM sleep, you will suffer the consequences. Lack of sleep can also lead to depression, and anyone who has ever been depressed knows all too well how the mind wanders.</p> <h2>2. You Surround Yourself With Distractions</h2> <p>It's said that today's teenagers will interact with three different technologies at the same time (a phone, TV, and computer) without any kind of problem. It's just a way of life. But it's not a way to focus.</p> <p>This plays into conversations, or interactions with people either in person, online, or on the phone. We think we're giving that person enough attention, but we're not. We hear the phone beep, and have to check it. We see something come on the TV in the background, and our attention wanes. We all need to take a long, hard look at how the devices we own and use hinder our focus. We should get into the habit of turning off everything we don't absolutely need when a job needs to get done. Does the TV need to be on in the background? Do we need to have music playing? Can the phone be put in a drawer on vibrate, ready only for important calls? If we remove all of these distractions, we could all vastly improve our focus.</p> <h2>3. You're Not Dealing With Problems</h2> <p>Remember that old saying, &quot;the squeaky wheel gets the grease?&quot; It applies to a lot of aspects of our life, in particular to people who are always complaining and get most of the attention. But when it comes to focus, that squeaking wheel is a problem (or problems) that have not been dealt with. If it is a problem that has gone completely unchecked, we find ourselves thinking &quot;I really need to deal with that dripping faucet&quot; or &quot;I need to talk to my mortgage broker.&quot; These problems will stop nagging us if they're on a list of things to deal with, or we make steps to get them done. So make an appointment with the broker. Watch a video on replacing a washer. Even though the actual problem is not solved, by simply starting to work on it, it stops &quot;squeaking.&quot;</p> <h2>4. You Haven't Made a Good Plan</h2> <p>This definitely goes hand-in-hand with the point above. A plan is essential if you want to focus. When a mechanic looks under the hood of a car to see why it's not running correctly, he or she is not just vacantly looking around hoping to see an issue. There is always a plan about what to check, when to check it, and always in a specific order. A doctor has a plan when he or she checks you for a medical complaint. And so, when you are dealing with something, have a plan. Whether it's as simple as making a list before you go to the grocery store, or it's building an entire set of schematics and directions for a home improvement project, make sure you have a plan. That way, you can focus on each step, and not on the whole project, which can become overwhelming.</p> <h2>5. You're Not Getting Enough Exercise</h2> <p>On the flip side of the sleep coin is exercise. Most of us are just not getting enough good exercise, and it's showing by the rising obesity rates in the U.S., and the world. It's easy to brush off exercise due to the amount of hours we all work, and the supposed lack of free time we all have. BUT, a lack of exercise will take its toll on the mind as well as the body. Exercise spurs brain growth, boosts hormones, fights anxiety and depression, reduces stress, and even increases sensitivity to insulin. All of these are factors that can affect our focus and concentration. So, get some exercise. Even if you start slow, by taking the stairs every day instead of the elevator, you are doing your brain the world of good.</p> <h2>6. You Are Working in a Messy Environment</h2> <p>You may be one of those people who can achieve a lot when surrounded by mess and clutter; you are definitely in the minority. Unless you're an artist who thrives on chaos, you really need some order in your chosen workspace. Clutter and mess may not bother you, but they can still be a distraction for your mind. And whether your desk is filled with toys and games or old take-out wrappers and soda bottles, the end result is the same: you have something else to focus on other than the task at hand. So, clean it up. It doesn't have to be pristine, and it doesn't have to be a completely blank space. Just give yourself, and your brain, the ability to easily focus on just one thing.</p> <h2>7. You May Have ADHD</h2> <p>Do you have trouble listening to people, and following instructions? Are you often irritable? Do you have a lot of trouble relaxing? Are you restless, constantly moving around, and jiggling your legs? Are you late more often than you are on time? Do you have trouble prioritizing tasks? These are all possible <a href="http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/10-symptoms-adult-adhd">symptoms of adult ADHD</a>, and if you have it, you are going to have major problems focusing on the task at hand. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be suffering from adult ADHD, and he or she may be able to prescribe something to help, be it medication, meditation techniques, or other possible ways to alleviate the symptoms.</p> <h2>8. You're Working Too Hard</h2> <p>The U.S. is now <a href="http://20somethingfinance.com/american-hours-worked-productivity-vacation/">leading the world</a> when it comes to the number of hours worked every year by the average citizen. And, the U.S. is also one of the only countries in the world that doesn't have national paid parental leave, mandated paid sick time, or mandated annual leave. The bottom line&hellip;we're all working too much, and our ability to focus is suffering. It's very beneficial to step away from the office, wherever that may be, and think about something else.</p> <p>In creative professions in particular, the easiest way to solve a problem is to stop thinking about it for a while and let the subconscious go to work. But, by working every hour that you are able, you are going to lose focus, and be less efficient at your job, or whatever else you want to focus on. Step away, take a break, take a vacation, and give yourself, and your brain, a much-needed rest.</p> <h2>9. You Aren't Eating or Drinking Correctly</h2> <p>Along with sleep and exercise, the body needs fuel. And just like any machine, your body will have issues if it is not given the correct fuel. A cheeseburger with fries and a Coke is a tasty treat now and again, but it's not going to do much for your brain. And if you are dehydrated, your mind will wander and your body will weaken. You need to feed your body, and brain, the nutrients they need to function at their best.</p> <p>Get in the habit of drinking water at your desk at work. Add fish oils and vitamins to your breakfast routine. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. No one is asking you to become a magnificent healthy eater overnight, but by making a few important changes to your diet, you will quickly notice the results in your ability to focus, and get things done.</p> <h2>10. You Need More Sex</h2> <p>Well, there it is. The &quot;S&quot; word. This one is self-explanatory, but in layman's terms, if you're not getting what you need in the bedroom, your mind will really start to wander. Just as hunger can make your start to think constantly about food, the same can be said for a lack of sexual satisfaction. If you have a partner, this should be something that's simple enough to solve. Of course, that's easier said than done, so it may be something that requires couples therapy.</p> <p>However, if you're single, it's a different story. There are ways to release the pressure on your own, but you should think about joining a few dating sites, or app, and getting out more to social events. Humans need that intimate connection, and without it our focus can definitely suffer.</p> <h2>11. You Haven't Identified the Specific Problem</h2> <p>It's hard to focus on a problem if you have no idea where to look. And yet, it happens in the workplace, and at home, every single day. It's amazing how many times a meeting can be completely brought to a halt by the phrase &quot;What exactly is the problem we're trying to solve here anyway?&quot;</p> <p>So, before you focus on the task at hand, nail down the specific problem you're trying to address. Don't go into any task looking at generalities and vague issues. If the problem is &quot;The utility bills are too high,&quot; ask why. Is it because the A/C is on too long during the day? Then, figure out how you can reduce the temperature in the house without running the A/C. That's a problem to focus on.</p> <h2>12. You Are Way Too Stressed</h2> <p>We all are. It just feels like this is what life is these days; stress, followed by a side order of anxiety and a second helping of angst and worry. Stress is not good for your body, or your mind. You may not be able to eliminate the cause of stress, but we can all find ways to lower the stress they cause. Yoga, meditation, more sleep, better food, and more time off, are all ways to help reduce the stresses in our lives. With less stress, and less anxiety, we are able to breathe a little easier and focus on the tasks that lie ahead of us. And if we can focus more, we get more accomplished. This is turn helps us reduce stress even further. It's a healthy cycle.</p> <p><em>What prevents you from concentrating? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-you-cant-focus-and-how-to-fix-it-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-exercise-in-under-5-minutes">15 Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-effective-sleep-tips-you-havent-tried-yet">5 Effective Sleep Tips You Haven&#039;t Tried Yet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-benefits-of-being-a-morning-person">9 Benefits of Being a Morning Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-youre-not-as-happy-as-youd-like-to-be">6 Reasons You&#039;re Not as Happy as You&#039;d Like to Be</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Productivity concentration depression distracted focusing frustration restlessness Fri, 14 Aug 2015 09:00:14 +0000 Paul Michael 1523167 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Skills That Will Be Obsolete Soon http://www.wisebread.com/9-skills-that-will-be-obsolete-soon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-skills-that-will-be-obsolete-soon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_reading_map_000020985087.jpg" alt="Women using skill that will soon become obsolete" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As technology evolves, certain careers are replaced with new ones. For instance, children used to be employed as pinsetters in bowling alleys; the automated pin-setting machine made that job vanish pretty quickly. Before alarm clocks, &quot;knocker uppers&quot; would walk the streets tapping on windows to get people out of bed. And at night, lamplighters would walk around igniting gas-fueled street lamps.</p> <p>But beyond jobs, certain <em>skills</em> also get replaced as technology moves ever forward. So what are some modern skills that will <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-life-skills-that-are-now-completely-obsolete">soon be rendered obsolete</a>? Here are nine that are quickly becoming extinct.</p> <h2>1. A Sense of Direction</h2> <p>Two words &mdash; Google Maps. You may be able to navigate around your city like a cab driver around the streets of London, but who cares? With the maps app on your phone, you can get to anywhere you want. There are no wrong turns, no dead ends, and no traffic delays. Everything is synced up to GPS, and you can be a complete newbie to the town or city you're in, and still get where you're going like you've lived there for 50 years. This is great news for people like me, who continue to get lost on the way to work.</p> <h2>2. Parallel Parking</h2> <p>Some people are really good at it. Most of us are okay. Some are terrible. You may be one of those people that brags about your parallel parking skills, but soon you'll be impressing no one. Many higher-end vehicles already come with park assist, but as technology gets less expensive, it migrates to other cars, and is currently available as an option on the Toyota Prius and the Ford Focus. Yes&hellip; the Ford Focus. Give it a few years, and every car will be a perfect parallel parker. And driving itself, when that gets replaced by driverless cars, could also become a skill of the past.</p> <h2>3. Flirting</h2> <p>Really!? Well, perhaps not entirely. There will always be the need to do the dance, using body language, eye contact, all of that. But these days, online dating apps like Tinder, OK Cupid, Plenty Of Fish, and many more, are taking a lot of the hard work out of meeting people in bars and clubs. After all, why risk the rejection when you have a guaranteed date waiting? And not only that, but a date you know a whole lot about, including likes, dislikes, pets, and anything else you want to look up. There are guidebooks out there telling guys how to pick up women, and they are starting to lose their appeal. Quickly.</p> <h2>4. Cursive Writing</h2> <p>Although it is still being taught in schools, cursive writing is rarely used outside of the classroom. Think about it&hellip; when was the last time you wrote anything in cursive? In fact, when was the last time you wrote anything by hand, other than a quick shopping list or note letting someone know you'd be back in 10 minutes? Technology has eliminated the need for cursive writing; we use a keyboard for almost everything, and not just reports, emails, and other documents. From online diaries and blogs, to notepads on smartphones and tablets, keyboards are making cursive go the way of the dodo.</p> <h2>5. Mental Arithmetic</h2> <p>So, this is not discounting the work of mathematicians and scientists; those skills will always be needed by society. However, for most of us, the ability to do calculations in our heads is quickly becoming a task we'd much rather do on our phones. We have this computer on us almost everywhere we go, so why bother crunching the numbers ourselves when a calculator app can do it in half the time, and with certainty? Lazy it may be, but we always take the path of least resistance.</p> <h2>6. Memorization</h2> <p>As with mental arithmetic, having a great memory (which is a learnable skill, by the way) is also becoming obsolete thanks to smartphones. It is very rare to be with a bunch of friends and have that &quot;Oh&hellip; what was the name of that actor who was in that movie?&quot; kinda question get answered with a chorus of &quot;Hang on, I know this one.&quot; Instead, we pull it up on IMDB. The same goes for anything that requires looking into the archives of our minds, from phone numbers and addresses, to recipes and birthdays. It's all available to us at the touch of a button.</p> <h2>7. Spelling</h2> <p>Pretty soon, the only use for being an excellent speller will be to win a spelling bee. It doesn't matter if you cannot spell even the simplest words, your phones and computers have spell checking built into almost everything you use. It's not just in Microsoft Word, but emails, messaging apps, and even design programs. Just look for the little red wavy line, and voila, click to correct. You may be able to spell floccinaucinihilipilification after seven pints of foaming ale, but it's not going to be a skill you need in everyday life.</p> <h2>8. Physical Networking</h2> <p>Remember the days when you had to attend functions, meeting people in your field in order to increase your circle of business colleagues? Well, these days you can do it all over the Internet. Sites like LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed and many others are making it very easy to reach out and find new jobs, or careers. And if you need to hire a professional, you've got millions of people just a click away. There will always be company functions, but that handshake, smile, and charm won't be needed anymore. You can do it all while you're sitting at your desk, or at home while you're watching the game.</p> <h2>9. Filing Hard Copies</h2> <p>There was a real art to filing information, and if you were good at it, you made your own life (and that of your employer) much easier. These days, it can almost all be done on a computer, using filing software that does all the hard work for you. Yes, you may be required to keep hard files on occasion, but even that is being replaced by digital copies. Pretty soon, filing cabinets will be in a museum right next to buggy whips and PDAs.</p> <p><em>What common skills do you see becoming obsolete soon?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-skills-that-will-be-obsolete-soon">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master">15 Modern Life Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-can-fix-your-finances">These 5 Apps Can Fix Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-back-to-school-iphone-apps">10 Back-to-School iPhone Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fitness-gadgets-actually-worth-the-money">5 Fitness Gadgets Actually Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Productivity Technology apps Dating maps math networking obsolete skills parallel parking Wed, 12 Aug 2015 11:00:18 +0000 Paul Michael 1515687 at http://www.wisebread.com Give Yourself a Break: The Productivity Secret That'll Change the Way You Work http://www.wisebread.com/give-yourself-a-break-the-productivity-secret-thatll-change-the-way-you-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/give-yourself-a-break-the-productivity-secret-thatll-change-the-way-you-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coffee_break_sign_000068533353.jpg" alt="The productivity secret that will change the way you work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a person who makes a living doing freelance and contract work from home, there are two questions I tend to get about my job. The first is whether I work in pajamas. (The answer is no.) The second is how I manage to get any work done at all.</p> <p>&quot;If I worked at home, I don't think I'd get <em>any </em>work done,&quot; people often tell me. &quot;How do you manage to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home">stay productive</a> for eight hours a day on your own?&quot;</p> <p>The simple answer? I don't.</p> <p>And, according to research about productivity in the workplace, you probably aren't productive for eight straight hours either, whether you're working at a laptop at your kitchen table or sitting in an office or cubicle. In fact, some research suggests that many office workers are productive for <a href="http://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/news/only-three-hours-of-productivity-a-day/103618.article">as little as three hours</a> per eight-hour work day.</p> <p>Here are five tips on how to get the most work done in the least amount of time so that you can head home early &mdash; or at least right on time.</p> <h2>1. Recognize Your Window of Productivity</h2> <p>When I sit down at my desk, I typically jump right into working. Then, after a while, my mind starts to wander. In the past, this really frustrated me. I need to be working! In fact, periods of inattention are pretty normal &mdash; necessary, even.</p> <p>Research by Draugiem Group, a social networking company, suggests that the average person can only maintain concentration and productivity for about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3035605/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/the-exact-amount-of-time-you-should-work-every-day">52 minutes at a time</a>. However, while many people try to push through this window, the most productive workers actually do something quite different: They take a 17-minute break during which they do something completely unrelated to work. They leave their desks. They take a walk. They chat with co-workers. They read a book. They take a nap.</p> <p>That might sound lazy, but research suggests that our brains &mdash; much like our bodies &mdash; need to rest following hard work. And, just like doing too much exercise without rest will eventually cause the body to break down, running your brain at full speed tends to lead to burnout. That's because our brains are designed to cycle between two types of activity: <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/opinion/sunday/hit-the-reset-button-in-your-brain.html?_r=0">focused attention, and wandering or daydreaming</a>. And, it is in this latter phase of attention that our brains not only rest, but collate and process the things we've just been working on. It's why inspiration tends to strike when we're doing the most mundane things. It's while at rest that our brains have a chance to make new connections.</p> <p>So, the first step to becoming more productive is to get a sense of how long you can work before your mind starts to wander. Is it 30 minutes? 50 minutes? An hour? Once you figure that out, you can start breaking your work day into blocks of about that size, followed by short, restful breaks.</p> <h2>2. Be Realistic About Your Goals</h2> <p>No one's going to pat you on the back or give you a promotion for writing a single page of a huge report. Nevertheless, this is exactly the kind of goal that'll help you finish a project in the most efficient, effective way possible. Why? Because it's simple, it's achievable, and it's motivating.</p> <p>In fact, according to Harvard researcher Teresa Amabile, small, daily progress is the <a href="http://progressprinciple.com/books/single/the_progress_principle">most powerful workplace motivator</a> there is. So, rather than setting goals that are days or weeks in the making, set smaller goals that you can achieve each day. By completing a small, tangible goal each day, you will build momentum that'll help keep you on track. Plus, you'll be chipping away at bigger objectives in the most productive way possible.</p> <h2>3. Break Work Into Blocks</h2> <p>Now that you have some key goals, break your work into tasks that'll fit into 52-minute (or thereabouts) blocks. Start each work day by thinking about what you can complete within your productive window(s). Can you empty your email inbox? Finish a section of that spreadsheet? Write a specific portion of that big report? Whatever it is, prioritize your tasks and designate a block of your day for each thing you want to work on. Even with frequent breaks, your brain's mental capacity will wane as the day goes on, so you may also want schedule the most difficult tasks first thing in the morning</p> <h2>4. Spend Less Time on the Job</h2> <p>Depending on where you work, working less may not possible, but research suggests that it's ideal. Workaholics might <em>think</em> they're accomplishing more, but the research doesn't bear that out. In fact, it suggests we should all go home at 5:00 pm and get a life.</p> <p>We've known since way back that super-long work weeks deliver diminishing &mdash; and even negative &mdash; returns. In the early 1900s, Ford Motor Company determined that the optimum work hours for worker productivity amounted to no more than 40 hours per week. They even found that while adding an additional 20 hours per week boosted productivity initially, that increase only lasted for about a month, at which point the increase turned negative. More recent studies have found that the sweet spot for employment productivity is <a href="http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/sites/default/files/ef_files/pubdocs/2002/07/en/1/ef0207en.pdf">30 hours per week</a>. Other studies have found that after 50 hours, <a href="http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/12/working-hours">output remained the same</a>. In other words, people tend to get the same amount of work done, whether they spend 50 hours or 70 hours on the job each week.</p> <p>Depending on where you work, you may not be able to cut your work days short, but you may be able to avoid being sucked into a culture that promotes staying at the office well into the night. Going home on time isn't a sign of laziness. It's smart idea, and one that'll help you deliver more and better work when you are on the clock.</p> <h2>5. Work Hard, Play Hard</h2> <p>Being more productive isn't about working longer or even harder. In fact, it's all about giving yourself a break. So if you find yourself unable to resist a few cat videos during the day, or you spend a little too long chatting with a coworker at lunch, it doesn't mean you're wasting time. As it turns out, that space between periods of work is where the real productivity happens.</p> <p><em>What techniques do you use to increase your productivity?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-yourself-a-break-the-productivity-secret-thatll-change-the-way-you-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-alternatives-to-nagging">15 Alternatives to Nagging</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-stay-motivated-on-the-job">6 Ways to Stay Motivated on the Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-hacks-to-avoid-burnout-at-work">13 Hacks to Avoid Burnout at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-selling-office-supplies">8 Money Lessons I Learned Selling Office Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Productivity attention span motivation taking breaks working Tue, 21 Jul 2015 17:00:13 +0000 Tara Struyk 1493871 at http://www.wisebread.com