General Tips http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8131/all en-US The 10 Offensive Phrases No One Is Telling You About http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-offensive-phrases-no-one-is-telling-you-about <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-offensive-phrases-no-one-is-telling-you-about" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shocked-friends-464825053-small.jpg" alt="shocked friends" title="shocked friends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unless you have a particularly mean streak, or you're in the middle of a bid for vengeance, you never knowingly want to offend people. It's human nature to actually do the opposite, and tread carefully to avoid making someone feel bad. After all, the consequences of that can be broken friendships, lost jobs, fights, or much worse.</p> <p>But that doesn't mean we aren't all guilty of using the occasional phrase that, while seems harmless enough, is actually offensive to some people. Here are 10 phrases you should rethink.</p> <h2>You Have a Really Pretty Face</h2> <p>You can also say &quot;your face is nice&quot; if you're talking to a guy, but the outcomes is still the same. By specifically focusing on one part of the person's anatomy, namely their face, you appear to be steering clear of the rest of that person. So when you say, &quot;you have a really pretty face&quot; some people will finish the thought with &quot;shame about the rest of you.&quot; Just round out the thought to something like &quot;wow, you're really pretty.&quot; This is one of the few cases where specificity can hurt!</p> <h2>It's Fine (or It's Nice)</h2> <p>&quot;How did you like that birthday present?&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Oh, it's fine, thanks!&quot;</p> <p>Fine? That may mean something positive to you, but most people think of fine as &quot;well, it's not awful, but I can't think of anything really positive to say about it.&quot; Nice is another term that fits into that &quot;meh&quot; category. It's just such a bland, non-committal phrase that means you haven't given it any thought. Even if someone asks how you're doing, saying fine could be taken as quite the opposite. Someone once told me &quot;fine&quot; means Feelings Inside Not Expressed. Maybe they were right.</p> <h2>I'm Going to the Toilet</h2> <p>Say that in Europe, people won't bat an eyelid. But for some reason, people in many parts of North America find it rude and inappropriate. The word toilet is just too coarse, and is a direct nod to something you're about to do that no one likes to talk about in civilized society. That's why words like restroom, bathroom, and washroom have become the norm. Have you ever rested in a restroom? How many times have you taken a bath in a friend's bathroom? We all know what is really going on; it's just a polite way to cover it up.</p> <h2>Being Gypped</h2> <p>The other variation is &quot;don't let them gyp you,&quot; but it all boils down to the same thing. Being gypped means you're being ripped off or swindled. But the word gyp, or gypped, derives from &quot;gypsy.&quot; Simply by using this phrase, you are using a broad and unfair stereotype. It's much better to say ripped off, swindled, cheated, or conned.</p> <h2>Let's Have a Quick Pow-Wow</h2> <p>It's a term used a lot in the business world (I've heard it twice today already), and it's simply a phrase that talks about having a meeting or get together. Of course, the word derives from Native American culture, and therefore some people find it offensive to use. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pow_wow">Pow-wows</a> are not a thing of the past; Native American events often feature them, and they can take months of preparation and planning. Sometimes, over a year of planning. So, for that reason alone, using the term pow-wow to describe a few people chatting about a project over a donut and coffee can be seen as insulting.</p> <h2>That Works on You</h2> <p>Other forms of this include &quot;you can pull that off&quot; or &quot;I don't think anyone else could make that work.&quot; It's a backhanded compliment of someone's fashion choices, and basically means, &quot;yeah, I'd never wear that, and most people I know wouldn't either.&quot; It could also boil down to &quot;wow, that's ugly.&quot; You may be genuinely impressed with someone's choice of clothing, so avoid the slight, and say it outright; &quot;you look amazing,&quot; or words to that effect, will do the trick.</p> <h2>Whatever I'm Supposed to Have Done&hellip;</h2> <p>There are two words in that sentence that will add fuel to any fire. They are &quot;whatever&quot; and &quot;supposed,&quot; and they're an admission that you haven't really thought about your actions, or their consequences. I am guilty of this one, and I had no idea it was annoying until it was thrown back at me in an argument with someone. &quot;Whatever?! How could they blatantly disregard what they did, that's insane?!!&quot; <em>Supposed to</em> has the same problem. It implies you have no admission of any guilt or wrongdoing. You should be more straightforward, and reference the problem you both know you are talking about.</p> <h2>That's So Gay</h2> <p>Just stop.</p> <h2>Sold Down the River</h2> <p>If you say you've been &quot;sold down the river&quot; to someone, you are saying that you have been betrayed or stabbed in the back. You may rarely use it, but it's one you should dump from your lexicon. The phrase actually comes from early 19th century North America, and is a <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/01/27/265421504/what-does-sold-down-the-river-really-mean-the-answer-isnt-pretty">reference to the slave trade.</a> The river pertains to the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and they were used to transport slaves to Louisville to work in the cotton plantations. Literally being &quot;sold down the river.&quot; Now you know the true import of such a phrase, does it really apply to a business deal or car purchase going awry?</p> <h2>Hip, Hip, Hooray!</h2> <p>Really? What's so offensive about that? After all, you see it on birthday cards and at football games all the time. Well, get ready for a shock. The phrase has its origins in the middle ages, coming from Germanic tribes fighting the Jews who would scream &quot;<a href="http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/09/hip-hip-in-hip-hip-hooray-was-once-an-anti-semitic-phrase/">Hep Hep Huraj</a>;&quot; loosely translated, it means &quot;Jerusalem is fallen and we are on our way to paradise.&quot; Although now forgotten by most people, there may be some out there who know its true meaning. If they do, you could be in for quite a lecture.</p> <p><em>Know any other common phrases that can be insulting? Please share in comments so that we are less likely to say the wrong thing!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-offensive-phrases-no-one-is-telling-you-about" class="sharethis-link" title="The 10 Offensive Phrases No One Is Telling You About" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips etiquette insults slurs the wrong thing to say Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 1171612 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is Why You Always Think Things Will Cost Less Than They Do http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-always-think-things-will-cost-less-than-they-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-why-you-always-think-things-will-cost-less-than-they-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grocery-shopping-467057015-small.jpg" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For my husband's birthday this year, I dropped by our local artisan grocery store and picked up a couple of premium steaks to grill. We only eat red meat a couple of times a month, but I was still pretty sure I knew what to expect, cost-wise. I generally got the good supermarket steaks for about $6 per pound or less, so I figured the really good stuff would be about $9/pound.</p> <p>I spent nearly $12 per pound on our strip steaks.</p> <p>Admittedly, these were among the most delicious steaks I've ever eaten. However, the cost for my husband's birthday meal was quite a bit more expensive than I anticipated.</p> <p>We've all had this experience, and it is related to the planning fallacy that leads us to underestimate how long projects will take. In addition to underestimating time, our brains also have a tendency to underestimate <em>cost</em>, and we end up with sticker shock once it's time to break out our wallets.</p> <p>Here are some of the reasons why you always think things will cost less than they do &mdash; and what you can do to minimize the hit to your budget.</p> <h2>Exceptional Costs</h2> <p>If I were to ask you to estimate how much you spend on regular expenses like utilities and groceries, you would probably be able to give me a pretty accurate estimate.</p> <p>But if I were to ask you to tell me about how much you spend on unexpected expenses like wedding gifts, celebratory steak dinners, and replacing a computer that suddenly goes on the fritz, then it's likely that you will seriously underestimate the amount that you spend. A recent study suggests that you will <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2012/04/26/the-economics-of-celebratory-dinners/">underestimate those expenses by about 40%</a>.</p> <p>According to researchers Abigail Sussman and Adam Alter, what's going on here is the fact that we tend to view <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~atakos/mktgfaculty/aalter/exceptionalexpenses.pdf">&quot;exceptional&quot; costs</a> like these as existing somewhere outside of our budget. We think of the wedding gift purchase of gold-encrusted gravy boat as a one-time, one-of-a-kind thing. And it is a one-time big purchase if you're only looking at it as one particular wedding. But how many weddings do you attend each year?</p> <p>These exceptional costs fall into an &quot;it made sense at the time&quot; sort of thinking. Because you view your college roommate's wedding as a one-time event, you'll shell out for the really nice gift and the gorgeous new dress. Then the next week, you splurge on pricey tickets to see your favorite band live for the first time. Then the following week, your laptop dies and you go ahead and upgrade to a new one. Each of these purchases make sense at the time, but added together, they can really hurt your bottom line.</p> <h3>How to Correct Your Thinking</h3> <p>There are really two problems with exceptional expenses.</p> <h3>See Them as Regular Expenses</h3> <p>The first is that you view them as one-time events, rather than as part of a series. By viewing them this way, you will think every exceptional expense is worth splurging on. To turn that thinking off, simply keep a tally of your &quot;exceptional&quot; expenses. Every time you buy something out of the ordinary, write it down. Then make sure you look at your previous exceptional purchases before making any new ones. It will help you to see the regularity of your exceptional purchases and help you put the brakes on overspending.</p> <h3>Budget for It</h3> <p>The second problem with exceptional expenses is that you will often view a purchase as unexpected when you could easily see it coming. For instance, it may seem as though a broken computer is not something you can plan for. But even though you may never know the exact date that your laptop will decide to give up the ghost, you can be certain that a computer you bought back when Paris Hilton was still regularly in the news is not long for this world. So you can plan ahead for your computer's inevitable death by saving for a new one.</p> <p>Similarly, you can plan on the necessary costs for attending weddings or other infrequent life events by looking at how much you have spent in the past. People you know are going to continue to get married (or have babies, or graduate from college), and you can plan ahead with a special occasion budget to avoid busting your regular budget.</p> <h2>Mental Accounting Errors</h2> <p>I've written before about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mental-accounting-why-you-blow-your-tax-refund-but-not-your-raise">mental accounting</a> &mdash; how humans will value money in different ways depending on where it comes from. For instance, you're much more likely to blow your tax refund than you will a raise.</p> <p>This affects your mental calculations on the cost of things because you are mentally placing costs in separate categories.</p> <p>For instance, let's say you budget $2000 for a vacation. You and your family enjoy your time away, and make sure that you spend not a penny more than your budget on lodging, dining, activities, and souvenirs. Relaxed and happy, you come home&hellip;only to realize that there's not a scrap of food in the house and you owe your kennel $250 for taking care of Fido while you were away.</p> <p>Basically, you have forgotten to account for the add-on expenses because they do not fit into your mental vacation account. So your vacation budget is actually closer to $2,300 because you need to buy convenience foods and pay for Fido as soon as you get home.</p> <h3>How to Correct Your Thinking</h3> <p>This particular error is difficult to plan for, since it is so tough to even recognize when you are doing it until after you've made the mistake. That's why it's important to keep track of your expenses on a regular basis. If you are regularly tracking your expenditures, then you have the evidence of what things will really cost right in front of you each time you plan to make a purchase.</p> <p>Even if you are allergic to the idea of tracking your finances, you can still protect yourself from nasty surprises in the future. The blog See Debt Run suggests that you &quot;<a href="http://www.seedebtrun.com/underestimated-expenses/">write things down</a> the first time [you] fail to account for them, so that the next time, [you] remember to include those add-ons and contingencies in the budget.&quot;</p> <h2>The 19.99 Effect</h2> <p>Retailers are a canny bunch. They know that most of us rely on mental accounting and other shortcuts to determine costs. They also know that most of us stink at those kinds of abstract calculations.</p> <p>For instance, take <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/party-like-its-1999-the-psychology-of-pricing">psychological or &quot;charm&quot; pricing</a>. You have no doubt noticed that many stores will offer their goods for prices ending with $0.99 in the hopes of fooling customers into thinking things are cheaper than they are. You've probably also assumed that it's the retailers who are foolish for thinking they can trick anyone with those kinds of shenanigans.</p> <p>The thing is, they can.</p> <p>While the rational part of your brain is completely capable of recognizing that a price of $19.99 is really 20 bucks, it tends to be slower than the portion of your brain that is trying to make a decision about a price.</p> <p>According to 2005 study, &quot;humans tend to be bad at thinking in absolute terms like dollars, distance, or dimensions. Instead, we tend to think in terms of comparisons on an analog scale. Thus $2.00 is seen as less than $3.00 &mdash; naturally. [What happens is that] the fastest-moving part of our brain actually starts to encode the information before we actually finish the left-to-right process of reading a price. Thus <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mind-games/201306/the-left-digit-effect-why-game-prices-end-in-99">$59.99 is seen as meaningfully less than $60.00</a>.&quot;</p> <p>Basically, the decision-making portion of our brain sees the left-most number in a price and stops there.</p> <p>In another study, participants were asked to estimate how many products they could purchase with $73. The participants thought they could buy significantly <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mar.20084/abstract;jsessionid=B83EE4D5D06E8EDFF47D161F85780370.f02t04?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&amp;userIsAuthenticated=false">more products when the prices ended with $0.99</a> than they did with comparable even dollar prices.</p> <h3>How to Correct Your Thinking</h3> <p>Always carry a calculator.</p> <p>You may believe that you are immune to the psychology of pricing, but as with any other cognitive bias, you are more likely to fall victim to the $0.99 effect if you are distracted or tired. You take that completely out of the equation if you use a calculator to determine the cost of your shopping trip as you go.</p> <p>In addition, we often tend to forget about the effect of sales tax and a calculator can help you figure out exactly how much you'll pay once you reach the register.</p> <h2>Scope Creep &mdash; or &quot;While We're At It&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>About two years ago, I decided to clean out the pantry in our dining room because it had become a catch-all mess. Once I had everything removed, my husband came along and suggested that &quot;<a href="http://forums.stretcher.com/blogs/live_like_a_mensch/archive/2012/09/11/the-four-words-that-strike-fear-into-the-heart-of-any-diyer.aspx">while we're at it</a>&quot; we should replace the particleboard shelves that were sagging, paint the interior, and replace the nasty flooring that had been bothering him since we had moved in.</p> <p>My totally free, three-hour clean, purge, and organize project had suddenly ballooned into a real DIY project that ultimately cost $160 (and took three weeks).</p> <p>This is what's known in project management as <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scope_creep">scope creep</a>: The phenomenon wherein you have trouble recognizing what the real end of your project is. (Home renovators are more likely to call it &quot;while we're at it.&quot;)</p> <p>The problem with scope creep is that it is next to impossible to plan ahead for its costs because you start your project unaware that the scope will continue to grow. Sometimes that's because you uncover a problem that you didn't know existed and must deal with it immediately. And sometimes scope creep occurs simply because you want to take care of several issues at once rather than waste time in the future.</p> <p>Scope creep can wreak havoc on a renovation budget, as any regular watcher of This Old House can recognize. But it can also ruin any number of other types of budgets. For instance, how many times have you gone to the market for a single item, then decided that you ought to stock up on other things &quot;while you're at it?&quot;</p> <h3>How to Correct Your Thinking</h3> <p>Decide on a hard line budget limit ahead of time.</p> <p>In terms of home renovation, going into such a project knowing the absolute limit you can spend does prompt some difficult questions. You will need to decide ahead of time what will happen if you encounter a budget-busting problem. Will you simply scrap the project altogether, live with an unfinished project until you can scrape together more money, or take money from elsewhere in your budget? Figuring out how you will handle these issues ahead of time will make the decision-making process much less difficult when you are in the midst of a stressful renovation hiccup.</p> <p>As for other &quot;while we're at it&quot; moments, it's a good idea to stop and think about whether you are truly saving time or money by allowing scope creep. Take a moment to jot down another possible time to take care of the additional purchases. It will help you stay on track when you really do only need a gallon of milk.</p> <h2>Don't Trust Your Brain to Estimate</h2> <p>Things always cost more than we think they will because we rely on mental estimates. But no matter how good you are at arithmetic, your brain will take shortcuts, forget to include add-ons, race to an answer, and otherwise lead you astray.</p> <p>A better bet is to do math the old-fashioned way: use a pencil and paper, show your work, and actually crunch the numbers.</p> <p>Your budget will thank you.</p> <p><em>Has your budget ever been hit by any of these quirks of cost estimation?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-always-think-things-will-cost-less-than-they-do" class="sharethis-link" title="This Is Why You Always Think Things Will Cost Less Than They Do" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance General Tips costs estimates expenses mental math Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1170317 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Stages of Procrastination (Read This Right Now!) http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-stages-of-procrastination-read-this-right-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-stages-of-procrastination-read-this-right-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl-procastinating-163388836-small.jpg" alt="procrastinating" title="procrastinating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?</p> <p>If this is your mantra, or if it's how you live even though it's <em>not</em> your mantra, then you, my friend, are a procrastinator.</p> <p>While stories of epic procrastination are badges of honor in a few circles, most of us feel a lot of negative emotions about putting things off. We may feel guilty, ashamed, depressed, hopeless, and more. And what's more, we tend to feel like the procrastination monster is unbeatable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-stop-procrastinating-now?ref=seealso">9 Ways to Stop Procrastination &mdash; Now!</a>)</p> <p>However, beating procrastination, while not simple, is a straightforward task that we can set our minds to. Once we know why we procrastinate and how procrastination works in our brains, we can come up with concrete steps to take that can help us overcome procrastination no matter how far along we are in the process when we realize what's going on.</p> <h2>1. Choose a Task</h2> <p>This is the first step towards getting anything done, and even the worst procrastinator usually knows what they are supposed to be doing. Sometimes our tasks are dictated by someone else (like a boss or a professor), and sometimes they are things that we choose. Either way, the very first step any procrastinator takes is to choose what they want to get done.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>Make sure that <a href="http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/11/how-to-beat-procrastination.html">the tasks you choose are manageable</a> and well-defined. It can be easy to say, &quot;I want to write a book this year,&quot; but that's a huge job. Breaking it down into steps like, &quot;I will write at least 500 words every day until the book is done&quot; and &quot;I will research how to form an effective plot,&quot; are more likely to get done because they are doable and it's easy to tell when you're finished.</p> <h2>2. See a Distraction</h2> <p>In our busy age, it's almost always possible to find something to distract us, no matter how hard we work to make sure that doesn't happen. Both procrastinators and non-procrastinators are bombarded by distractions, and it's nearly always easier to see all of the things that you could be doing right after you've chosen to focus on some task in particular.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>The computer and the online world are some of the biggest distractions out there. If you don't need them to complete your task, turn them off. All the way off. As in, hit the power switch and let the screen go dark. Same for your phone and your tablet and anything else that connects online. If you do need your computer, try installing an app like <a href="http://anti-social.cc/">Antisocial</a> that will help you use your computer more responsibly.</p> <h2>3. Choose Instant Gratification</h2> <p>This is where procrastinators and non-procrastinators part ways. While a non-procrastinator is often able to deftly avoid getting sucked in by distractions, procrastinators choose the instant gratification that comes from the distractions rather than prolonging gratification and getting on with the task at hand.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>Focus on thinking about the future. Consider how you will feel in an hour, a day, a week, or a month if you give in to your distraction, then think about how you will feel if you don't give in. The <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-avoid-the-temptations-of-immediate-gratification/">ability to delay gratification</a> is tied to the ability to imagine the future, so practicing this will give you skills that you need to choose to focus on the task at hand, rather than on whichever distraction is the most enticing at the moment.</p> <h2>4. Feel Terrible</h2> <p>Most people who procrastinate feel terrible about it, either at the time of procrastination or later, when they realize how much time they've wasted or when they feel the pressure of encroaching deadlines. Guilt is one of the most common of these emotions, though sometimes you may experience anxiety, shame, and depression, too.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>Let the <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5658620/the-now-habit-overcoming-procrastination-and-enjoying-guilt-free-play">guilt teach you</a>. Instead of wallowing in your feelings or letting them overrun you, use them to teach you how to procrastinate less. Use the feelings to remind you that you are in the process of learning skills focusing on self-regulation, which is what will help you overcome your procrastination. If anxiety is key to your procrastination problems, make sure that what you want to accomplish is actually feasible in the period of time you have.</p> <h2>5. Repeat</h2> <p>Procrastinators tend to repeat this cycle with increasingly negative emotions until their deadline looms over them. They begin to feel like there isn't any hope for establishing a new pattern, because they keep finding themselves going through the same patterns over and over and over again.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>When you're feeling like the procrastination cycle might continue forever, remind yourself of past successes. Remember times when you have accomplished a difficult task, or just finished the thing that is before you. Replay these in your mind, rather than replaying your failures.</p> <p>Most procrastinators continue these steps until&hellip;</p> <h2>6. Panic</h2> <p>When you procrastinate long enough, eventually a deadline will loom over you and will press in so close that you panic. There comes a time when you must get something done or the consequences will be dire. You might fail a class, lose a job, or worse. This is when a lot of procrastinators suddenly become highly motivated, because they don't want bad things to happen.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>While panic might make you act (it doesn't work for everyone), it probably won't help you produce your best work. Even if you have procrastinated for a long time, you will need to calm down before you can do the best that you can do in the time you have left. Give yourself a few minutes to breathe, and remember why you care about the project in the first place.</p> <h2>7. Complete the Task</h2> <p>For the most part, procrastinators respond to panic and begin to work in a flurry, eventually producing some sort of attempt at completing the task they originally chose. This may not be their best work, and they may see all of the things that they could have done if they hadn't procrastinated, but many times they will, eventually, finish.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>If time is pressing in and you know you aren't doing the project the way you want to do it, consider other options. These won't always work, but they may help you produce something closer to your ideal result. You can ask for an extension on the project, and then set up accountability to make sure you work in the time that you have. Or, you can change the scope of the project so that you can do a better job in the time that you have left.</p> <p><em>Do you procrastinate? What steps do you take to overcome it?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-stages-of-procrastination-read-this-right-now" class="sharethis-link" title="The 7 Stages of Procrastination (Read This Right Now!)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Productivity delay gratification guilt procrastination productivity shame Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1171184 at http://www.wisebread.com Successful Women Have These 7 Things in Their Bags — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/successful-women-have-these-7-things-in-their-bags-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/successful-women-have-these-7-things-in-their-bags-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/handbag-177715317-small.jpg" alt="woman handbag" title="woman handbag" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>First of all, it's a <em>bag</em> &mdash; not a <em>purse</em>. The successful woman can't possibly tote around all her must-haves in a dainty little purse.</p> <p>Perhaps U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said it best when she told the New York Times this: &quot;I think most of us, while we may look at the cute little purses, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/fashion/purse-politics-tote-and-vote.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/fashion/purse-politics-tote-and-vote.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">our lives don't fit a cute little purse</a>. Our lives fit something that is in between a purse and a briefcase, and that's what I carry.&quot;</p> <p>The kind of handbag you'll find on the arm of the successful woman is big, durable, and is itself reflective of her personality. What the heck &mdash; maybe it's a shade of bright pink.</p> <p>&quot;I do love a good handbag,&quot; Hillary Clinton told Harper's Bazaar in 2011. Her favorite bag at the time was indeed the color of a flamingo. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-chrome-messenger-bags-carry-everything-you-need-for-biking-and-beyond?ref=seealso">Stuff We Love: Chrome Messenger Bags</a>)</p> <p>&quot;This is like a deep psychological need,&quot; Clinton told the magazine. &quot;It's a desire to kind of organize and contain that which is important to you in your daily life. I have a philosophical view about this, and I have this Ferragamo hot-pink bag that I adore. My view was that I would carry it around only in spring, but it makes me so happy, I'm even now lugging it around in January. I mean, <a href="http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/hillary-clinton-interview-2">how can you be unhappy if you pick up a big pink bag?</a>&quot;</p> <p>Yet the successful woman's love affair with the handbag is rooted not so much in the bag itself but in the items inside. Here's our list of the top seven things successful women carry in their almighty bags.</p> <h2>1. Mobile Gadgets &mdash; With a Portable Charger to Match</h2> <p>Time is money &mdash; and it saves time to stay connected. So a successful woman always has a smartphone or tablet at the ready, so she can field calls and fire off emails anytime, anywhere. But these gadgets won't do her any good without juice. And when she's hailing a cab or taking her children to the park, the chances of there being a wall outlet in reach is slim to none. That's why portable chargers are every successful woman's must-have device.</p> <p>We recommend <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A35KPQQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00A35KPQQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QC7YHFGMTCVIGB63">IOGEAR's GearPower portable battery line</a> (Pros: Allows for multi-device charging. Cons: Too big for your clutch) or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AANQLRI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AANQLRI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=64MBQTAPKNYR4WAS">Jackery Giant</a> (Pros: Cheaper than most competing brands. Cons: It's a bit heavy).</p> <p>But our favorite, albeit more expensive, pick for on-the-go juice is <a href="http://empoweredbag.com/">the emPOWERED bag</a>. These tech-forward leather purses come in all colors and sizes, each with a hidden charger sewn right inside the bag.</p> <h2>2. A Memorable Business Card</h2> <p>You never know who you'll meet as you go about your day. A future client, collaborator, or investor may very well be in line behind you as you await your double shot of espresso. And every successful woman knows that if your personalities are clicking as you chat her up, the go-to next step is a business card hand-off. That's because a well-designed business card is well-remembered. It's a snack-size representation of you and your brand. It should scream, &quot;You!&quot; from the style of the font to the coloring of the logo design. Trumping even the Twitter feed, the business card is the most influential marketing tool you have.</p> <h2>3. A Notebook</h2> <p>Nothing compares to the freedom and ease of being able to scribble down your spontaneous doodles, to-do's, and ideas. Not even the iPhone Notes app can compete with the good, old-fashioned pen and pad. That's because scholars have found that when we write down our ideas rather than type them we <a href="http://www.medicaldaily.com/why-using-pen-and-paper-not-laptops-boosts-memory-writing-notes-helps-recall-concepts-ability-268770">boost our ability to recall them</a> at a later date. Whether it's her grocery list or notes from the board meeting, a notebook is the best way for the successful woman to go about jotting down the information she wants to retain.</p> <h2>4. A Healthy Snack</h2> <p>The successful woman needs fuel to perform her best. And she knows it makes all the difference whether that fuel consists of processed sugars or healthful, natural ingredients like protein and vitamins.</p> <p>The natural fiber in apples and bananas will keep her full and focused between meals.</p> <p>Nuts like almonds and dried fruit like raisins are high in protein, which will prevent her energy level from dropping during that mid-morning slump.</p> <p>But perhaps the most important edible item in her bag is a bottle of water. Water is the ultimate hydrating beverage &mdash; a natural energy source that <a href="http://www.garycrusader.com/chicago/news-detail.aspx?cityID=1&amp;typeID=6&amp;newsid=6401">fends off fatigue</a> and helps regulate appetite. Experts say she should <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/09/13/the-truth-about-how-much-water-you-should-really-drink">drink half her weight</a> in ounces each day for optimal performance.</p> <h2>5. A Gym Membership Card</h2> <p>Exercise is a staple of the successful woman's regular routine. And not because she's trying to drop pounds or get chiseled abs. A <a href="http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/exercise/">good workout boosts energy</a>, relieves stress, and releases those feel-good endorphins that make her feel like she can most certainly conquer the world &mdash; and smile while doing it.</p> <h2>6. A Pair of Flats</h2> <p>The successful woman has no time for blisters. But she's not altogether willing to give up the high heels. The solution? She has a pair of flats at the ready to change into between meetings or when discomfort strikes. Studies show one in three <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2049056/1-3-women-carry-comfortable-shoes-handbag-high-heels-bite.html">women carry a comfortable pair of shoes</a> in their handbags. It's the only fool-proof way to wear heels with no regrets.</p> <h2>7. Lipstick</h2> <p>&quot;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/fashion/purse-politics-tote-and-vote.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">I have to have lipstick</a>,&quot; U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth of Illinois once told the New York Times.</p> <p>Duckworth is among the strong contingent of successful women who recognizes what a splash of color on the lips will do for her confidence. Just a quick swipe of blush and she's put-together in three seconds flat. And the benefits don't stop there. Studies show that <a href="http://www.marieclaire.com/hair-beauty/lipstick-benefits">women who regularly wear lipstick actually have better posture</a>. A lip color that compliments a woman's skin tone will also improve the appearance of her skin, making her <a href="http://www.janefardon.com/benefits-of-lipstick/">look healthy and well</a>.</p> <p><em>What's in your bag? Please spill it in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-women-have-these-7-things-in-their-bags-do-you" class="sharethis-link" title="Successful Women Have These 7 Things in Their Bags — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development gadgets handbags stuff to carry success Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1167984 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Little Ways to Become More Present (and Love Your Life More) http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-ways-to-become-more-present-and-love-your-life-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-little-ways-to-become-more-present-and-love-your-life-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/enjoying-nature-179061914-small.jpg" alt="enjoying nature" title="enjoying nature" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you ever pull into the driveway after a long day of work and wonder where the day went? Ever find yourself living for the weekend only to marvel on Sunday night how quickly it passed? Sometimes life demands not only that we multitask, but &quot;hypertask.&quot; And in the process we're skimming above the moments of our lives, exhausted. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/balancing-living-in-the-now-with-planning-for-the-future?ref=seealso">Balancing Living in the Now With Planning for the Future</a>)</p> <p>It's time to take a step back, be present, and be happier. Here are eight ways to get started:</p> <h2>1. Unplug</h2> <p>Did you know that according to a 2014 National Sleep Foundation poll, 72% of kids aged 6-17 <a href="http://sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-2014-sleep-america-poll-finds-children-sleep/page/0,1/">sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom</a>? That's some pretty effective training on how to blur the lines between wake and rest. Who hasn't fallen asleep in front of their smartphone or tablet lately? And even when we're not trying to sleep, electronics compete for our attention. At work, at play &mdash; even while we're driving &mdash; mobile technology beeps, buzzes, and flickers into our consciousness. Live in the moment by learning to go dark when the occasion calls for it. Unplug, unwind, and be present.</p> <h2>2. Sleep Deep</h2> <p>The CDC recently issued a report stating that <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep/">lack of sleep is nothing short of a public health epidemic</a>. Once you're thoroughly unplugged, get some shut-eye. Sleep helps us manage stress and avoid negative coping behaviors like overeating or over-medicating. Reserve seven to nine hours for quality sleep each night and <em>defend it vigorously</em>. You'll be more present during your waking hours and better able to bend to the demands of the day without breaking. If your schedule makes seven to nine hours of shut-eye impossible, learn how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-sleep-better-in-fewer-hours">sleep better in fewer hours</a>.</p> <h2>3. Tap Into All Five Senses</h2> <p>Be more present by experiencing the world using all five senses. Go for a walk and tune into the sights of nature, the sounds all around you, the way the air smells and tastes, and the way the earth feels under your feet. Make mundane moments more interesting by living them through as many senses as possible.</p> <h2>4. Revel in the Small Things</h2> <p>Nothing can get us out of our own heads quite as efficiently as tuning into nature. Take time to watch the clouds change shape, observe the activity of birds, or feel the wind on your cheek. These moments not only reconnect us to the wider world, they help to center us and put our troubles and worries in perspective.</p> <h2>5. Immerse Yourself in a Hobby</h2> <p>Don't let the <em>busy-ness</em> of life steal away your natural curiosity. Cultivate a hobby that you can immerse yourself in. Pursuing a relaxing passion is a form of meditation and restoration. Maybe you've felt it: You get absolutely lost in an activity you love and before you know it, hours have passed. A pleasant exhaustion lulls you into a satisfied sleep because you've been entirely present, focused, and happy. There are few better feelings; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-find-your-passion">find your passion</a> or reclaim a long lost passion today.</p> <h2>6. Move Toward Your Worries, Instead of Away From Them</h2> <p><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~gongsu/desiderata_textonly.html"><em>Desiderata</em></a> is one of my favorite poems. Composed by Max Ehrmann in 1927, it contains some profound yet simple truths about living in the moment. Here's one of the best: &quot;Do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.&quot; How true.</p> <p>Many of our worries amass such power simply because we turn away from them &mdash; or turn away from real solutions. Live in the moment by learning <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-worrying">how to stop worrying</a>, or at least stop worrying about what you can't control. Shine a light on all the other &quot;dark imaginings&quot; until you can see there's really little left to fear or until solutions become clear.</p> <h2>7. Find Power in Releasing Control</h2> <p>We live in a culture that idolizes control. We're encouraged to be tireless masters of all areas of our lives; to control our emotions, our career, our kids, and our eating. And while there's certainly nothing wrong with a healthy level of control, there are moments when we're simply not at the wheel. Usually the situations involve family, work, health, or even weather-related dynamics. Find power and peace in understanding what you can reasonably control and what you can't. It can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-stop-being-impatient-and-live-a-more-satisfied-life">stop feeling so impatient</a> and improve your quality of life.</p> <h2>8. Accept the Nature of Things</h2> <p>Much of our stress can be laid squarely at the feet of being unable to accept the true nature of things. We try to change the person we love, we constantly bump heads with &quot;challenging&quot; personalities at work, or we get caught up in family drama. But beyond a certain point, people are guided by their natures and any campaign to change that fact is a fruitless (and stressful!) pursuit. Accepting people as they are and moving on to those areas of our life where can exert real and constructive influence is liberating.</p> <p>Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all live authentically in the moment? If you know someone who achieves this each and every day, share my email address; I'd love to learn his or her secret. As for the rest of us, we can try to keep the competing expectancies at bay and begin to appreciate the quiet subtleties of our lives. So often that's where the beauty and joys are hidden. Unplug and give it a try &mdash; but first, get some good sleep.</p> <p><em>What helps you live in the moment? Was there ever a situation where not being present led to comical or frightening consequences? Please share in comments.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-ways-to-become-more-present-and-love-your-life-more" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Little Ways to Become More Present (and Love Your Life More)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips attention flow focus in the moment present Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Kentin Waits 1167641 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Life Skills You Can Learn in 30 Minutes or Less http://www.wisebread.com/15-life-skills-you-can-learn-in-30-minutes-or-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-life-skills-you-can-learn-in-30-minutes-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/playing-guitar-494938607-small.jpg" alt="playing guitar" title="playing guitar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have 30 minutes? Great &mdash; that's just enough time to master some savvy skills that will improve your life for the long haul. And, really, it's the little things that count the most &mdash; from starting a budding music hobby to folding that darned fitted sheet the correct way and beyond. These activities are mostly free &mdash; and some can even save you some money!</p> <h2>1. Perfect Hard Boiling Eggs</h2> <p>If you love hard boiled eggs as much as I do, it's worth getting the technique down to a science. So, place a dozen eggs in a pot of cold water, bring to a rolling boil, turn off and remove from heat, and cover for <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/354061/perfect-hard-boiled-eggs">12 minutes total</a>. That's the secret. Your yolks should be perfectly yellow and firm without being overcooked.</p> <h2>2. Learn How to Pack a Suitcase</h2> <p>Learning how to <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/travel/best-way-pack-suitcase-00000000010449/">pack your suitcase</a> more effectively is a great trick to have in your back pocket for the next time you travel. You start by bringing fewer items to begin with, choosing smart, wrinkle-free fabrics, and rolling garments versus folding them.</p> <h2>3. Tie a Bow Tie</h2> <p>As if a regular tie wasn't enough, bow ties present their own unique challenges. Break the process down by splitting your accessory into part A and part B. There are only <a href="http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/04/16/how-to-tie-a-bow-tie-an-illustrated-guide/">three major folds</a> involved before you can stand back and adjust for tightness and straightness.</p> <h2>4. Play Basic Guitar</h2> <p>If you have a half hour, you can crank out some of your favorite songs on the guitar. Following a chord chart require a little patience at first, but start by stripping it down and learning the <a href="http://www.greenguitarguy.com/guitarchords/learning-guitar-chords">basic chords</a>: A, D, E, C, G. Then, try a song like Bob Dylan's <a href="http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/b/bob_dylan/blowing_in_the_wind_ver2_crd.htm">Blowing In the Wind</a>, which is surprisingly fast to pick up.</p> <h2>5. Make the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie</h2> <p>There's no right way to make chocolate chip cookies, as we all prefer different tastes and textures. Still, there are a <a href="http://www.handletheheat.com/2013/07/the-ultimate-guide-to-chocolate-chip-cookies.html">few methods</a> that can elevate this treat, including using more granulated versus brown sugar to achieve different flavor profiles, blending both baking powder and baking soda to get the most spread, and chilling the dough up to 48 hours before baking.</p> <h2>6. Dress to Flatter Your Figure</h2> <p>Dressing for success isn't as difficult as it seems. With a couple handy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-style-secrets-for-women-that-flatter-every-shape">tips and tricks</a>, you can showcase your best assets before heading to that next big event. A lot of it is confidence, which may take longer than 30 minutes to master, but is always worth cultivating for a better life.</p> <h2>7. Improve Your Posture</h2> <p>You don't need a half hour to stand up straighter, visually lose up to 10 pounds, and improve your overall spine health. All it takes is a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-and-keep-amazing-posture-by-doing-these-10-stretches-today">set of stretches</a> and commitment to doing them daily. No slouching on this one!</p> <h2>8. Fold a Fitted Sheet</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/YHTyH2nuFAw" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Do you crumple your fitted sheets into a ball versus folding them? Me too. Take some time to try the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHTyH2nuFAw">right method</a>, which involves pulling the stretchy corners together and pushing the fitted edges through until you have a flat rectangle to finish.</p> <h2>9. Streamline Your Grocery List</h2> <p>Simplify your shopping routine and save money by getting smarter about <a href="http://yogaeatrun.com/home/2011/12/30/grocery-shopping-101.html">your grocery list</a>. It takes only little time to reset your process, which involves taking better stock of your pantry before heading to the store, making a quick list of meals for the week, and keeping your produce visible so it doesn't go to waste to begin with. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list">25 Frugal Items for your Organic Vegan Grocery List</a>)</p> <h2>10. Make DIY Cleaning Products</h2> <p>Gain freedom from the store by blending together your own <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes">laundry detergent</a> and creating homemade <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-other-green-cleaners-already-in-your-house">all-purpose cleaners</a>. Most mix together quick and involve basics you already have on hand, like baking soda, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, castile soap, and drops of essential oils for natural fragrance.</p> <h2>11. Go Without Shampoo</h2> <p>Want shiny, manageable hair without all the chemicals? Try this <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2010/12/no-more-shampoo-really.html">no-shampoo solution</a>. All you need is baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and water. The whole process takes only minutes to learn, but the knowledge lasts a lifetime.</p> <h2>12. Plant Fresh Herbs</h2> <p>I plop some herbs in the ground each year, and by now my garden is exploding. It takes no time at all to <a href="http://www.bhg.com/gardening/vegetable/herbs/harvesting-herbs-from-your-garden/">harvest them</a> wisely. It's best to pick them early in the day while the plant is still full of moisture. From there, you can use immediately in cooking or dry out (upside down) for up to three weeks before storing in airtight containers. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better">How to Store Herbs to Make them Last Longer and Taste Better</a>)</p> <h2>13. Use Makeup Better</h2> <p>If a zit pops up or your dark circles make another appearance, it might finally be time to learn some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-beauty-tricks-to-hide-your-flaws-not-that-you-have-any">makeup magic</a> to cover them. Contouring has the ability to completely reshape the structure of your face with a few whips of the bronze-covered brush. You can do anything from plumping your lips to leveling out skin tone to drawing in too-thin eyebrows &mdash; and each <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-beauty-tricks-to-hide-your-flaws-not-that-you-have-any">takes only minutes</a> to learn.</p> <h2>14. Great Photo Hanging</h2> <p>We all have a stack of photos begging to be displayed on the wall. Getting them up there can seem intimidating. Break it down by creating a <a href="http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/04/its-done-and-we-heart-it/">paper template</a> of your frames and taping them to the wall before hammering in your supports. You can rearrange them easily this way before committing to anything, too.</p> <h2>15. Create Non-Toxic Sunblock and Bug Block</h2> <p>Improve your quality of life by making <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-sunblock-and-6-other-non-toxic-recipes-to-get-your-skin-sun-ready">your own sunscreens</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-all-natural-bug-and-mosquito-repellents">bug blocks</a>. Each requires only a few, natural ingredients and nothing more than simple whisking until incorporated. You'll cut your drug store bills and gain a sense of pride from your newfound cleverness.</p> <p><em>Got any other quick to learn, but essential skills? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-life-skills-you-can-learn-in-30-minutes-or-less" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Life Skills You Can Learn in 30 Minutes or Less" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips basic skills essential skills life skills life tips Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1166921 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways Staying on Budget Can Be Fun (Really!) http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-staying-on-budget-can-be-fun-really <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-staying-on-budget-can-be-fun-really" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother-daughter-budget-83590568-small.jpg" alt="mother daughter budget" title="mother daughter budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ok, sure, &quot;budget&quot; isn't always synonymous with &quot;rollicking good time.&quot; But there are ways to make the process more fun at every stage, from assessing your finances, to setting goals, to meeting those goals, to reaping the rewards. And the more fun you can make the process, the more likely you are to stick with your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/evolve-your-money-management-beyond-the-budget?ref=seealso">Evolve Your Money Management Beyond a Budget</a>)</p> <p>These ideas may help you to stay on course and have fun, while you are budgeting.</p> <h2>1. Try an App</h2> <p>Check out <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wally-smart-personal-finance/id610314677?mt=8">Wally,</a> <a href="http://www.moneybookapp.com/moneybook.html">Moneybook</a>, or <a href="https://www.ireconcile.com/iReconcile/Features/iPhoneOS/Budgets">iReconcle</a> (love their rollover feature). Besides smartphones being an enormous help (because they're always with us when we shop), just the act of being able to toy around with a new gadget can make budgeting that more fun. View your finances in cool new infographics and charts, build organized and professional-looking budgets, and just generally nerd out! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget?ref=seealso">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track spending and Keep a Budget</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get Help From a Celebrity Pro</h2> <p>Check out free forms from <a href="http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-forms/">Dave's Budgeting Forms</a> (Dave Ramsey) or <a href="http://www.suzeorman.com/suze-tools/">Suze Orman</a>. Read their blogs, or follow them on Twitter, and you'll get even more information &mdash; and find other people who share your questions and issues. Join in the conversations and see that you are far from being the only one who needs financial information. You're suddenly in a club!</p> <h2>3. Buddy Up!</h2> <p>Your partner, friend, family member, or co-worker may want to try budgeting and saving money along with you. Try approaching them with an idea about how fun it can be (like this <a href="http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/11/envelope-budgeting-a-simple-way-to-gain-control-of-your-money.html">envelope </a>idea). It's even more fun when you can compare notes, cheer each other on, or get a little competitive. If you feel the urge to spend, a buddy may be able to divert you to a different, free, activity. For instance, I might email my co-worker when I feel like dining out, instead of my brown bag, and she'll remind me about my goals and come eat brown-bag with me. Or, when I want to hit the mall, my girlfriend will say, &quot;Let's go thrift-shopping, instead!&quot; I like to be able to tweet or text my buddies when I am feeling sorely tempted &mdash; they keep me on track.</p> <h2>4. Think Tiny Rewards</h2> <p>If you have brown-bagged it all month instead of going out to lunch, a nice reward is to treat yourself to a moderately-priced restaurant. Some of my girlfriends used to love going out for manicures &mdash; until one of them figured out how to do her own. Hawaii not in the vacation cards this year? Consider a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-and-affordable-vacation-ideas">staycation</a>. Sometimes, just for making my own breakfast and brown-bag lunch, I'll treat myself to an hour at the library (cell phone off, of course!).</p> <p>The point is, you don't want to burn out on budgeting. If the fun factor goes down, you'll regress, and go looking for an expensive activity that will blow your hard work. Find your carrot. Movie night? Trip to the bookstore? What activity, or thing, will help you to feel less deprived?</p> <h2>5. Enjoy Anticipation</h2> <p>We're happier when we wait and <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/imperfect-spirituality/201403/are-your-beliefs-about-money-keeping-you-poor">anticipate</a> the purchase, believe it or not. Also, for me, on those really &quot;blah&quot; days at work, knowing I am working for something tangible helps to get me through. Children love marking days off of calendars (I still remember my Advent calendars before Christmas), illustrating how close they are getting to a special day or vacation.</p> <h2>6. Visualize It</h2> <p>Are you budgeting for a vacation? Saving for a new car? Put a picture of your dream location on your refrigerator, desk, or medicine cabinet. Seeing the goal will be a good reminder. Starting a <a href="http://jackcanfield.com/how-to-create-an-empowering-vision-book/">visualization board</a> is a fun thing to do. We have one in our hallway. You can also create a virtual one (or several, for different categories of your budget) on Pinterest.</p> <h2>7. Enlist Your Family</h2> <p>Rally your kids. They are great at collecting change and surprisingly good savers. Count it together each week, or find a Coinstar machine (our credit union offers free use of one). Let 'em go crazy with the couch cushions. Be sure to include the family in the &quot;tiny rewards&quot; to keep the fun going. (&quot;Okay, we saved $20 this week, so let's have ice cream tonight.&quot;)</p> <h2>8. Learn With a Group</h2> <p>Check your local community college, library, YWCA, or even churches to see if classes are offered in financial planning. I was surprised to find several in my area. All seminars were completely free! Many will first help you learn how to get rid of your debt.</p> <h2>9. Learn New Things</h2> <p>Spending a lot of money dining out? Try a cooking class. Maybe you can learn to change your own oil, or start a garden. You might learn a skill that will enable you to make a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">side income</a>. Several of our neighbors have yard-care businesses. Another does flower arrangements. Saving money may be the ultimate end, but there's no reason the means can't be an adventure in and of themselves!</p> <p><em>See? Budgeting really can be fun. How do you make it fun?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-staying-on-budget-can-be-fun-really" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Ways Staying on Budget Can Be Fun (Really!)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Budgeting General Tips budgeting debt management spending Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:00:06 +0000 Marla Walters 1166029 at http://www.wisebread.com The 10 Stupidest Things Smart People Do http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-stupidest-things-smart-people-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-stupidest-things-smart-people-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/defeated-coworker-464544573-small.jpg" alt="defeated coworker" title="defeated coworker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Intelligence manifests itself in many different ways: financial success, fancy degrees from Ivy League schools, and the ability to solve problems may all indicate &quot;smart.&quot;</p> <p>Perhaps most interestingly, though, intelligence can be indicated by doing some very dumb things. Specifically, the dumb things on this list. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/good-and-bad-habits-of-smart-people?ref=seealso">Good and Bad Habits of Smart People</a>)</p> <h2>1. They Confuse Education With Intelligence</h2> <p>A string of letters behind your name means you're very good at school, but says nothing about how good you are at life. Just because you're an MBA doesn't mean you're a good leader. Just like a PhD doesn't mean you can teach. Some lessons can only be learned outside the classroom. And some of the most <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-people-who-dropped-out-of-high-school-2013-5?op=1">successful people</a> in this world lack a formal education. But because so many intelligent people see their education through to a high level, they're more prone than anyone to forget this.</p> <h2>2. They Do What's Expected of Them</h2> <p>Society just assumes smart kids will join Doctor-Lawyer-Wall Street crowd and many are happy to oblige. Ignoring your passion to follow the pack is a recipe for disaster, however. Those who do this often join the midlife crisis crowd further on down the line. &quot;Many <a href="http://www.quora.com/Human-Behavior/What-are-some-stupid-things-that-smart-people-do/answer/Lee-Semel-10289?srid=n2Fg&amp;share=1">smart people often seem to be followers</a>, probably because they grow up spending so much time pleasing others via academic and extracurricular achievement that they never figure out what they really like to work on or try anything unique,&quot; writes entrepreneur Lee Semel.</p> <h2>3. They Skirt the Rules</h2> <p>We often applaud smart people for thinking outside the box, but sometimes, they just toss the entire box out the window. CEOs have public affairs, celebrities drive drunk, and Martha Stewart dabbles in insider trading, and they all seem slightly surprised when consequences come calling. &quot;Most <a href="http://www.maxmckeown.com/post/7881516331/first-rule-of-innovation">innovation involves breaking or bending rules</a>. Not rule breaking that is unethical or dishonest rule breaking but rule breaking that is necessary to getting ideas designed, built, and out of the door,&quot; writes behavioral scientist and author Max Mckeown. The trouble occurs when smart people forget which is which.</p> <h2>4. They Hang Out With the Wrong People</h2> <p>It's often said that you become like the people with whom you spend the bulk of your time. Most of us choose friends because they're fun or interesting, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're a good influence. When you're especially smart, lots of people may want to hang out with you, but that doesn't mean they're true friends. Just like us, smart people can be attracted to rebels, users, and negative Nancys who sabotage success.</p> <h2>5. They Talk Without Listening</h2> <p>Smart people have a lot of ideas, and they want to share them. The problem is, sometimes they do so much sharing they forget to shut-up long enough to hear the response. Even worse are smart people who assume that because they're smart, their ideas are the only ones worth listening to.</p> <p>But &quot;employing silence is a way of <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3014970/leadership-now/want-to-get-ahead-stop-talking-and-listen">training ourselves to be <em>pro-social</em></a> (which is psychology-speak for a little less selfish and which gets you ahead in your working life),&quot; notes Drake Baer for Fast Company. Listening &mdash; really listening, not just waiting to talk &mdash; allows you to experience the world from another person's point of view, an ability that's a great asset in life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-people-with-good-communication-skills-never-do?ref=seealso">12 Things People With Good Communication Skills Never Do</a>)</p> <h2>6. They Neglect People</h2> <p>When smart people really geek out on a project or idea, they have a tendency to become hermits. In our start-up culture, we hold the &quot;all nighter&quot; up as a standard of dedication, when in fact, it indicates a lack of boundaries and control. They're so focused on the end goal, smart people often fail to stop and smell the roses.</p> <p>Although intentions may be good, they often neglect their friends, family, and even themselves. Truly smart people know there must be balance: &quot;There have been very few people in the world who have been successful without the support of a strong and close family. Having those strong relationships continue to <a href="http://balancedlifeskills.com/home/2010/12/23/do-not-neglect-your-family-in-the-name-of-success.html">remind you what is really important</a>,&quot; Joe Van Deuren writes for Balanced Life Skills.</p> <h2>7. They're Overconfident</h2> <p>A lifetime at the top of the class can make smart people feel like they can do no wrong. Confidence is good&hellip; until it becomes arrogance. Overconfidence can often cause smart people to rush into things before they're ready, and blind them to warning signs that trouble is ahead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-learning-how-to-admit-youre-wrong?ref=seealso">Change Your Life by Learning How to Admit You're Wrong</a>)</p> <h2>8. They're Not Confident Enough</h2> <p>It may surprise you, but smart people often suffer from something called <a href="https://counseling.caltech.edu/general/InfoandResources/Impostor">impostor syndrome</a>, &quot;a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true.&quot; Despite degrees, and good jobs, and successful companies, many smart people feel like it's all a fluke and they'll someday be exposed for the impostor that they are.</p> <h2>9. They Stop Learning</h2> <p>Knowing a lot isn't knowing everything. And even if you know everything about a particular topic, there are a million more you know nothing about. Becoming complacent is the stupidest thing any smart person can do. &quot;These smart people fail to further develop their natural talents and eventually fall behind others who, while less initially talented, weren't as invested in being smart and instead spent more time practicing,&quot; Semel says.</p> <h2>10. They Think Instead of Do</h2> <p>Thinking is good. Debating is good. Imagining and then dissecting all the impossible scenarios and meta scenarios of a topic is good. But <a href="http://www.succeedsocially.com/intellectual">intellectual people</a> can often get caught in this cycle of discussion about ideas, and fail to actually put the ideas into action. &quot;<a href="http://andrewhargadon.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/12/what-is-innovation.html">Few ideas are in themselves practical</a>.&quot; said John Arnold, a Stanford engineering professor. &quot;It is for want of imagination in applying them that they fail. The creative process does not end with an idea &mdash; it only starts with an idea.&quot;</p> <p><em>What other dumb things do smart people do? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-stupidest-things-smart-people-do" class="sharethis-link" title="The 10 Stupidest Things Smart People Do" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips dumb errors Mistakes smart people Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1163058 at http://www.wisebread.com Ambitious People Have These 10 Things in Their Homes — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/ambitious-people-have-these-10-things-in-their-homes-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ambitious-people-have-these-10-things-in-their-homes-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-kitchen-163249876-small_0.jpg" alt="couple kitchen" title="couple kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's the self-starters and go-getters among us who always seem to stay neck-and-neck with their dreams rather than chasing them from behind. What gives them a leg-up is their ambition. And while ambition can't be bought, there are material tools available to help us develop our initiative and drive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals?ref=seealso">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a>)</p> <p>Here's our list of 10 things ambitious people have at the ready to keep them on task and focused.</p> <h2>1. Motivational Literature</h2> <p>For instant motivation, get your hands on a reputable lifestyle design guide. There's wonderful literature out there dedicated to architecting the kind of life that will help you meet your goals, be they related to career, family, faith, fun, or personal finance. Check out <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307465357/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307465357&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FVAFKA5QJRNKVYC6">The 4-Hour Workweek</a> by Timothy Ferriss, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399536108/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0399536108&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=EXC7RR5CUA3HPIWL">The Art of Non-Conformity</a> by Chris Guillebeau or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0142000280/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0142000280&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RCZUSRP6YOVRAO5C">Getting Things Done</a> by David Allen.</p> <h2>2. A Goal List</h2> <p>Successful people know that dreams remain dreams until they set them as goals. One way to forge the transition is to <a href="http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm">create a big, bold, unfiltered list of your goals</a>. Once you've identified <em>all</em> the things you want to accomplish, you'll be better poised to script a roadmap that details what you need to do to get there. Then all you've got to do it stick with it.</p> <p>Reflect on your goal list often &mdash; and don't be afraid to give it a rewrite. Our goals are fluid, so don't waste time chasing yesterday's dream.</p> <h2>3. An Alarm Clock That Can Really Scream</h2> <p>To achieve your goals, you're going to have to hustle. That means maximizing the amount of time you have available to chip away at the roadblocks diverting you from your passions. <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-people-who-wake-up-really-early-2013-12?op=1">Early starts are key</a>. Do not succumb to the snooze button. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-benefits-of-being-a-morning-person?ref=seealso">9 Benefits of Being a Morning Person</a>)</p> <p>Square CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly rises each day at 5:30 a.m. for a six-mile jog before he dives into his work. Virgin America CEO David Cush starts the day at 4:15 a.m. with a round of email blasts and business calls. Apple CEO Tim Cook is up at 4:30 a.m. The takeaway is this: Rise before the sun and you'll be in good company.</p> <h2>4. Healthy Meal Options</h2> <p>You need fuel to perform your best. And it makes a big difference whether that fuel consists of soda and sugary cereals or fruit, greens, and lean meats. Vitamin B (found in soybeans and eggs), protein (found in nuts and dried fruit), and hydrating beverages (water is king) are all <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/10-energy-foods">great sources of natural energy</a>.</p> <p>And <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-healthy-easy-breakfasts-for-people-on-the-go">don't skimp on breakfast</a>. People who eat a balanced meal in the morning tend to be more energized than those who don't.</p> <h2>5. A Busy Social Calendar</h2> <p>Ambitious people structure their time so as to create opportunity for fortuitous encounters. Every meal, every happy hour, and every pick-up soccer game at the neighborhood park is an opportunity to network, thereby boosting your chances of meeting that perfect stranger who can help you secure seed money or introduce you to your next big client.</p> <p>You truly never know who might be able to help you on your mission to meet your goals. And you never know where you'll meet them. So maximize your chances. Reach out to people whose social media profiles interest you online and ask them to meet for a cup of coffee. Ask for introductions. Get yourself on the list for exclusive events. And always follow up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-31-hidden-networks-that-can-help-you-land-jobs?ref=seealso">Your 31 Hidden Networks</a>)</p> <h2>6. Mobile Devices</h2> <p>Email is one the biggest time sucks of our generation. And since time is money, it's important to be able to send and answer those emails on-the-go in real time. Successful, ambitious people keep a smartphone or tablet at the ready so they can send off emails while they're waiting in line for coffee at Starbucks.</p> <p>But there's an important caveat here: Silence and pocket your phone or tablet during important meetings and networking events. Studies show that <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/12/26/why-successful-people-never-bring-smartphones-into-meetings/">gadget use during business affairs causes others to believe you lack power</a>.</p> <h2>7. Newspapers, Magazines, Books, and Bookmarked Blogs</h2> <p>Reading, no matter the format or genre, stimulates the mind, reduces stress, enhances memory, strengthens vocabulary, and improves focus and concentration. So it should be no surprise that <a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-benefits-reading-why-you-should-read-everyday.html">high-achieving people make time to read</a> poetry or absorb the latest news about the ever-changing world around them &mdash; be it before bed, over lunch, or first thing in the morning.</p> <h2>8. A Notebook</h2> <p>Eminem, Peyton Manning, and Oprah all keep a journal. And if you want to join the ranks of these high achievers, so should you. When we pen our thoughts and feelings we <a href="http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2013/07/strokes-of-genius/">help the brain process and expunge negativity</a>, opening up more room for positivity and creative energy that helps us push through setbacks and upsets so we can conquer our goals.</p> <h2>9. A Budget</h2> <p>Every day we make small financial decisions that determine our current and future quality of life. Yet many of us make these judgement calls without much forward-thinking. But ambitious people are conscious that whether they buy or bring their lunch to work over the course of the next month influences things like how many years they'll be saddled with student debt. So they create a budget for their personal expenses &mdash; and they stick to it.</p> <p>Sites like <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint</a> and <a href="https://www.budgetsimple.com/#s=g&amp;m=o&amp;c=(qticpke)&amp;t=np&amp;o=-und&amp;i=1654488025.1404773908">Budget Simple</a> can help you craft a budget from scratch. Plus they're free and easy to use.</p> <h2>10. A Yoga Mat</h2> <p>When you've got a high-intensity daily schedule, the mind is going to need a break or you'll run the risk of burnout. One way of giving the mind a breather is to meditate. Rupert Murdoch, Arianna Huffington, and billionaire hedge fund owner Ray Dalio all practice daily meditation to relax, develop patience, restore focus, and improve work performance. If you're brand new to the ancient practice, try taking a yoga class to begin learning how to calm the mind.</p> <p><em>Are you missing any of these accoutrements of the ambitious? Any more we should add to this list? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ambitious-people-have-these-10-things-in-their-homes-do-you" class="sharethis-link" title="Ambitious People Have These 10 Things in Their Homes — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips ambition goals motivation stuff to have Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:36:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1160256 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Eat More Slowly — and Lose More Weight http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-eat-more-slowly-and-lose-more-weight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-eat-more-slowly-and-lose-more-weight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/eating-chopsticks-486860469-small.jpg" alt="eating chopsticks" title="eating chopsticks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Several years ago, my father's best friend started bringing his own silverware to dinner at our house and requesting salad plates to eat off of. Despite the ribbing he endured from my father and their other friends, Arnold remained steadfast in the importance of his new habits.</p> <p>That's because he had discovered an important secret in being a healthy eater: small utensils. Several studies have shown that our <a href="http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/outreach/large-plates.html">minds tend to misjudge the quantity of food</a> set in front of us based upon the size of the plate we're using. The same amount of food looks scanty on a large plate and overly generous on a small one.</p> <p>Arnold took this idea one further by also using tiny forks and spoons to eat with. Not only do his portions look bigger when eating them off of wee plates with itty-bitty silverware, but the smaller utensils also force him to slow down while he eats.</p> <p>Although it's unlikely we'll stop teasing Arnold about his tiny forks and plates, he has been vindicated by science. This habit has made him a more mindful and slower eater, which, as it turns out, is the cornerstone of better digestive health and a healthier weight.</p> <p>Here's what you need to know about being a slow eater, and how to implement techniques to slow yourself down when it tastes so good.</p> <h2>Why Eat Slow</h2> <p>One of the things I really appreciated about spending time in Europe was adapting to the European view of meals. As Americans, we tend to motor our way through our food, as if dining is an inconvenience that we just have to get through. In the old world, however, meals are an event and a pleasure, and it's considered both bad manners and foolish to try to rush through them.</p> <p>As it turns out, slow meals are one big reason why Europeans tend to be so much slimmer and healthier than we are.</p> <p>First, researchers have determined that it takes the brain 20 minutes to register that you feel full. That's the amount of time it takes for stretch receptors in your stomach to indicate they have expanded to capacity, as well as the amount of time the <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17212793">hormone leptin takes to signal satiety</a>. If you have ever scarfed down five slices of pizza, only to feel ill 20 minutes later, then you know that eating quickly can overburden your stomach.</p> <p>Eating slowly means that you will feel full with less food. Based on this, slow eating has been touted as an aid to weight loss. In fact, researchers have found that diners consume as much as <a href="http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/03/14/chewing-food.aspx">88 fewer calories per meal</a> by eating slowly.</p> <p>In addition, eating slowly helps your digestion. As you probably remember from your fifth grade science class (or <a href="http://youtu.be/lvP1E2WJ48o">Slim Goodbody</a> if you're a fellow child of the 80s, like me), digestion begins in your mouth. If you eat quickly, you are likely not chewing your food as thoroughly, giving your stomach a more difficult job, which can lead to indigestion and other issues.</p> <p>Finally, slow eating means that you really get a chance to savor your food. Instead of hurrying through the buttery and chocolatey delicacy of your Mom's famous cookies, eating slowly allows you to truly taste, smell, and feel each bite, making the experience ultimately more satisfying.</p> <h2>How to Slow Down While Eating</h2> <p>Okay, so eating slower will help you better enjoy and digest your food, and may decrease your waistline to boot. The only question is, how do you go about eating more slowly? Here are seven tactics that will help.</p> <h3>Use Smaller Silverware</h3> <p>Arnold's strategy is an excellent way to force yourself to slow down without thinking too hard about it. If each bite you take is smaller than usual, but you take the usual amount of time to chew and swallow, then you will necessarily slow down the pace of your eating.</p> <p>It is important to note, however, that researchers have found that diners who are (unwittingly) given larger forks eat less than those using smaller forks. However, the study only found this to be true when <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2011/07/15/using-a-big-fork-may-help-you-eat-less/">diners were sitting down to a meal</a>. Those who are snacking with small forks eat less than those who are snacking with large forks. The thinking is that diners sitting down to a meal have a goal &mdash; satiety &mdash; and the large fork (and corresponding large bite) makes them feel as if they are making progress on that goal.</p> <p>However, since you are intentionally switching out your normal fork for a tiny one, you are more likely to allow yourself to anchor on the fork size as the appropriate bite size, while also eating more mindfully.</p> <h3>Time Your Meals</h3> <p>The next time you sit down to eat, start a stopwatch as you take your first bite. Chances are that you'll find you've eaten your final bite within five to seven minutes. That's far too fast, particularly if you're very hungry, since the fifteen-minute wait between the final bite and the signal that you're full will be interminable. (Which is why you'll go for seconds and then feel ill later.)</p> <p>Once you know how long you usually take to eat, plan on stretching out your meals with the help of a timer. Set it for 20 minutes and try to &quot;beat&quot; the clock by still having a little food on your plate by the time it goes off. If you know you're trying to be slower than your timer, you're more likely to pause between bites and take your time to enjoy the flavor of your food. This strategy has an added benefit if you are trying to encourage your entire family to eat more slowly &mdash; it can be a fun game to see who can eat the slowest.</p> <h3>Lower the Lights and Play Soft Music</h3> <p>If you've ever wondered why the atmosphere in chain restaurants is so different from that of fine-dining establishments, it comes down to speed. Applebee's and Ruby Tuesday are in the business of getting you fed and out the door quickly, while your favorite French restaurant intends for your meal to take some time.</p> <p>Because of this, the chains play loud, fast-paced tunes and turn up the lights, while <em>Chez Pain Sage</em> gives you candlelight and soothing classical music. As it turns out, in addition turning tables over more quickly, the bright-and-loud atmosphere also <a href="http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/outreach/fastfood.html">causes diners to eat more quickly</a> and consume more calories.</p> <p>That means you can help slow down your own consumption at home by breaking out the candles and queuing up the Miles Davis. (Or the Barry White, depending on who you're eating with.)</p> <h3>Take a Sip of Water Between Each Bite</h3> <p>&quot;Washing down&quot; every bite you eat is a good way to make sure that you slow down, but it also helps you to feel fuller sooner and aids in digestion &mdash; you need as much as <a href="http://www.alive.com/articles/view/20987/hydration_for_digestion">12 cups of water to properly digest your food</a> and absorb its nutrients. It is also a trick that you can use anywhere &mdash; from restaurants to parties to snacking on the couch &mdash; which makes it an excellent habit to get into.</p> <h3>Count Your Chews</h3> <p>Your mother may have told you to chew your food at least 20 times before swallowing, but there is surprisingly little consensus on exactly how many chews is ideal. However, a recent study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants <a href="http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/3/794.full">who chewed almonds at least 25 times</a> absorbed more unsaturated fat (that's the good kind) than those who only gave the food ten good chews.</p> <p>Journalist A.J. Jacobs (who attempted to chew every bite 50 times for a week) found <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/an-overachieving-underchewer" style="text-decoration:none;">many benefits to counting his chews</a>, in addition to eating more slowly. He appreciated the subtle tastes of his food much more; he avoided bloat after a Thanksgiving meal; and he found he was a better listener at the dinner table.</p> <h3>Use Chopsticks for Everything</h3> <p>Even if you are a champion chopstick-user, it's likely that you will eat more slowly with these utensils than with a fork or spoon. You can also try eating with chopsticks with your non-dominant hand to slow yourself down even more. An added benefit of using chopsticks is that they don't scoop up calorie-dense sauces as easily as forks and spoons do.</p> <h3>Snack on Food That Needs to Be Peeled</h3> <p>Snack time is an easy time to go overboard. Since we generally don't eat snacks at a table, we're more likely to mindlessly munch our way through a bag of chips or handful of cookies without even noticing what we've eaten.</p> <p>An excellent way to combat this trend is to only snack on foods that require some work on your part to eat them: oranges, bananas, pistachios, and edamame are all delicious snacks that will force you to eat slowly and mindfully.</p> <h2>Leaner Waist and Better Taste</h2> <p>Not only can eating slowly help you achieve your weight loss goals, but you'll also enjoy your food more by taking the time to savor it. That's a win-win.</p> <p>You may have to put up with some teasing, however, if you start bringing your own tiny fork to dinner parties.</p> <p><em>Are you a slow eater? How do you slow down at the table? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-eat-more-slowly-and-lose-more-weight" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways to Eat More Slowly — and Lose More Weight" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Health and Beauty Lifestyle diet metabolism slow eating slow food weight loss Fri, 11 Jul 2014 17:00:03 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1156617 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Things People With Good Communication Skills Never Do http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-people-with-good-communication-skills-never-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-things-people-with-good-communication-skills-never-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessmen-talking-488118421-small.jpg" alt="businessmen talking" title="businessmen talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="153" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What you say is important, but so is how you say it.</p> <p>Whether you're a waiter or a CEO, an introvert or the life of the party, everyone can benefit from communicating more clearly and confidently. In fact, of all the life skills you can hone, few are more helpful and more universally applicable than good communication skills.</p> <p>And while great communication skills will often be noticed and appreciated, bad communication skills <em>always</em> will. Much of good communication, thus, is knowing what <em>not</em> to do.</p> <p>So take a look at this list of things people with good communication skills never do.</p> <h2>1. Never Look Down While Speaking</h2> <p>While the debate about whether <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolkinseygoman/2012/07/24/busting-5-body-language-myths/">looking down indicates lying</a> rages on, the action clearly doesn't convey anything positive &mdash; insecurity at best. Make a conscious effort to keep your eyes up during conversation, even if you find yourself lost in thought (actually, <em>especially</em> if you find yourself lost in thought).</p> <h2>2. Never Think of Your Response While &quot;Listening&quot; to Someone Else</h2> <p>Forming your response while someone else is still speaking has one obvious inherent flaw: The other person is still speaking! That means <em>their</em> point is still evolving, which may (really, should) affect your response. So whatever it is that something they said triggered, make a note of it quickly, and then turn your attention back to the person speaking.</p> <h2>3. Never Run Out of Things to Say</h2> <p>The best way to do this doesn't involve a shortcut&hellip; It involves living an interesting life. Traveling, reading, learning about other cultures and viewpoints&hellip; All these things have the side benefit of supplying endless conversation fodder. And if all else fails and you can't think of anything to share, always be ready with a follow up question about what the <em>other</em> person is sharing.</p> <h2>4. Never Interrogate</h2> <p>If you notice that your conversation is starting to take on a certain detective/suspect dynamic, you may be asking the wrong questions. Remember to ask questions that are open ended (as opposed to yes/no), and get at &quot;why&quot; rather than &quot;what.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Never Over-Nod</h2> <p>Are you one of those people who nods after every clause the other person says? Are you doing it right now? Did you know Santa Claus was a Martian? Gotcha! The over-nodder is making an attempt to show that he's listening, but may in fact be implicitly agreeing with things he shouldn't be.</p> <h2>6. Never Lose Their Place Mid-Story</h2> <p>&quot;Wait &mdash; where was I?&quot; You were losing the respect of the person listening to your story, that's where! Don't start a story or point if</p> <ol> <li>You don't recall the ending, and/or<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It's not interesting enough to at least keep yourself from getting side-tracked while telling it.</li> </ol> <h2>7. Never Tell a Story When a Visual Aid Could Tell It Better</h2> <p>However pleasant a good communicator may be to listen to, she should never to fall in love with the sound of her own voice. This is especially true when presenting a business pitch or discussing a work of art: show, don't tell.</p> <h2>8. Never Sacrifice a Specific Word for a More General One</h2> <p>Good communication is about clarity, and word choice is a big part of that. Be precise with your language.</p> <h2>9. Never Exclude Someone Already in the Conversation</h2> <p>A good communicator is a juggler, able to simultaneously keep several conversational partners engaged, never forgetting to share around the eye contact, never getting so fixated on one person as to forget about the others.</p> <h2>10. Never Ignore Non-Verbal Signals</h2> <p>Just as you need to be mindful of your own body language, ignore others' at your peril. An understanding of your own non-verbal cues can also inform how you perceptive you are of others. Is the person you're speaking with looking down or away? Perhaps you ignored one of the above tips to the point of boredom&hellip;</p> <h2>11. Never Let Their Conversation Partner Flounder</h2> <p>The most expert of communicators not only master the skills that apply to their own speech, but they're skilled enough to bail out someone who hasn't.</p> <h2>12. Never Ignore Context</h2> <p>During a negotiation, it may make complete sense to let your opponent see you looking away, disinterested (even if it's only feigned). Or perhaps you're attempting to avoid discussing a touchy subject with a friend, in which case substituting a more general word for a specific one may save everyone embarrassment and discomfort.</p> <p>Above all else, a good communicator knows that his message and delivery aren't judged on some arbitrary scale (like, &quot;Did they avoid everything on this list?&quot;), but rather by the information and impression they convey to whoever it is they're speaking with. To that end... know when to break the rules!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-people-with-good-communication-skills-never-do" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Things People With Good Communication Skills Never Do" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joe-epstein">Joe Epstein</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development communication skills etiquette Wed, 02 Jul 2014 21:00:03 +0000 Joe Epstein 1145790 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Simple All Natural Bug and Mosquito Repellents http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-all-natural-bug-and-mosquito-repellents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-simple-all-natural-bug-and-mosquito-repellents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5021856163_7a41be8e3e_z.jpg" alt="Citronella Candles" title="Citronella Candles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Bugs. Can't live with them, but can't live without them. Despite all the good flies, mosquitoes, bees, and other insects do for our ecosystem, they can sure seem like pests during that backyard BBQ or annual camping extravaganza. With a little foresight, common sense, and maybe a few essential oils, however, you can battle with these creatures and win. Better yet? You can do it all without using harsh chemicals or other ingredients that are hazardous to your health. Here are 10 ways to keep the bugs away. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-sunblock-and-6-other-non-toxic-recipes-to-get-your-skin-sun-ready?ref=seealso">Homemade Sunblock and 6 Other Recipes to Get Your Skin Ready for Summer</a>)</p> <h2>1. Loose Cover</h2> <p>When I hang outdoors for long periods of time or go camping, I try to wear a lightweight layer, usually loose cotton or linen, that covers my extremities as much as possible. It's not a perfect method because bugs can squirm their way in wherever there's an opening, but it can dramatically reduce the number of bites and stings I experience. Tucking in shirts and wearing shoes instead of sandals is the next stage of defense.</p> <h2>2. DIY Bug Repellent</h2> <p>With a base of purified water or witch hazel, this <a href="http://www.discountqueens.com/diy-bug-repellent/">DIY bug repellent</a> comes together quickly and easily. You can use any combination of essential oils that appeal to your senses (or that you happen to have around the house), but the most effective and long-lasting combo is lemon and eucalyptus. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel?ref=seealso"> 15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a>)</p> <h2>3. Natural Wasp and Bee Repellent</h2> <p>My friends and family know I am terrified of anything that stings. So, when I hear a buzz, I go running. I'd love to make some of this<a href="http://www.stepintomygreenworld.com/healthyliving/around-the-home/bee-repellent/">natural repellent</a> &mdash; just equal parts peppermint essential oil and water. Peppermint is one of my favorite scents and is also cooling, which is an added benefit for the steamy summer weather.</p> <h2>4. Bug-Off Bars</h2> <p>For more portable bug protection, try these <a href="http://www.homemademommy.net/2013/05/bug-repellent-lotion-bars.html">moisturizing lotion bars</a> made with Purification and Thieves oil blends whipped into a coconut oil, beeswax, and cocoa butter mixture. Also? They make great gifts &mdash; you can pour them into fun molds for extra flair.</p> <h2>5. Citronella Candles</h2> <p>If you're having company over, why not protect them all with these beautiful <a href="http://www.nestofposies-blog.com/2013/04/summertime-floating-candles-in-a-jar/">floating candles</a>? They contain citronella oil, sliced citrus fruits, and sprigs of mint and evergreen. Yet another genius use of the ubiquitous Ball jar.</p> <h2>6. Mosquito Plants</h2> <p>I'd never heard of <a href="http://bonnieplants.com/growing/growing-mosquito-plants/">Mosquito Plants</a> until I saw them pop up at our local garden center. The concept makes total sense to me, though. Though the plant itself doesn't repel insects &mdash; the citronella fragrance in the leaves works when crushed and rubbed on the skin. If you plant one of these, it's always in your garden and ready to use.</p> <h2>7. Fan Away</h2> <p>A trick my family has used for years involves nothing more than a standard <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002ND67/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002ND67&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DBOKCMLWSSUYAXA4">box fan</a>. Simply plug one in by your party (use an outdoor extension cord if you must) and make sure to weigh down any light objects that might otherwise fly away.</p> <h2>8. Netting</h2> <p>One of the surest ways to keep insects of all sorts away is by physically screening them out. If you don't have the space or funds to enclose a patio or porch, consider purchasing an inexpensive <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AE8CHS6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AE8CHS6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=UUQWQDVOQRAOHK4N">screened gazebo</a> or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0035LZSIK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0035LZSIK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CXC6AL7C6Q5EJKNP">umbrella net</a>.</p> <h2>9. Color Game</h2> <p>Wasps and bees are attracted to the colors <a href="http://www.peta.org/issues/wildlife/dealing-household-guests/wasps-bees/">yellow and white</a>. Conversely, they cannot see the color red. So, a great way to stay relatively invisible when you're working or playing outdoors is to choose your wardrobe wisely. And the same goes with any overly smelly perfume &mdash; they'll be attracted to it.</p> <h2>10. Avoid a Squashing Spree</h2> <p>It can surely be tempting to swat or squash a pest &mdash; especially bees, wasps, etc. &mdash; but doing so can cause more harm to you than good. Crushed bees emit a pheromone that <a href="http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=11067&amp;page=2">attracts more of their buddies</a> to come running toward the scene. Swatting makes the situation worse. If you find yourself in a swarm, run for the nearest indoor area and try to cover your head and face with a shirt for protection from stings.</p> <p><em>How do you keep bugs at bay &mdash; naturally? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-all-natural-bug-and-mosquito-repellents" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Simple All Natural Bug and Mosquito Repellents" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Health and Beauty bug repellent bug spray bugs natural bug spray Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1150190 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Take a Break at Work (and Still Look Busy) http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-take-a-break-at-work-and-still-look-busy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-take-a-break-at-work-and-still-look-busy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/office-copier-100831546-small.jpg" alt="office copier" title="office copier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you spend your day in an office, a cubicle, a dark room, or behind a desk, chances are good that &mdash; at some point &mdash; you are going to lose focus, your productivity is going to decrease, and your energy level will plummet. Combating those problems can mean the difference between staying ahead of your work or getting behind, getting out of the office on time or staying late, or even impressing your boss or getting on her bad side. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/science-shows-you-need-to-work-less-heres-why?ref=seealso">Science Shows You Need to Work Less</a>)</p> <p>If you can work in breaks, whether they are small ones or a full hour, it is possible to keep your level of productivity and attention to detail at its peak. Here are eight ways you can do just that.</p> <h2>1. Deliver Messages Rather Than Emailing</h2> <p>Instead of sending a short email from your desk, take a walk and deliver the information in person. This little break will get the blood flowing, give you a couple of minutes to think, and allow you to return to work refreshed for a bit longer. Plus, a little face-to-face interaction with your co-workers is great for networking and relationship building.</p> <h2>2. Make Multiple Trips to the Copier</h2> <p>It might be more efficient to save up everything that needs to be copied and do it all at once, but if you find that you are losing focus throughout the day, make two or three trips to the copier to give yourself a break.</p> <h2>3. Split Your Lunch Into Smaller Breaks</h2> <p>If you get an hour for lunch, speak with your boss about breaking that up into three smaller breaks &mdash; 30 minutes for lunch and two smaller 15 minute breaks at other times later or earlier in the day. During these times, head outside to get some sunshine and fresh air. Walk around the block or even the parking lot.</p> <h2>4. Utilize the Speaker and Mute Functions on Your Phone</h2> <p>If you are going to be on a long conference call, familiarize yourself with how the speaker and mute buttons work. Use the two of them at the same time while you walk around your office space and listen to the call. The movement will do your body good.</p> <h2>5. Do Simple Exercises at Your Desk</h2> <p>When walking around is not an option, but your body needs a break, try to do some simple stretches or exercises from your desk. There are many videos that show <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/office-stretches/art-20046041?pg=2">examples of these easy-to-do exercises</a>. These will help release tension from your body and get the blood flowing back to your brain. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-no-sweat-workouts-perfect-for-the-workplace?ref=seealso">10 No-Sweat Workouts Perfect for the Workplace</a>)</p> <h2>6. Volunteer to Go on an Errand</h2> <p>It could be an errand for your boss, a quick trip to the supply closet, or an afternoon pick-me-up at Starbucks. Whatever it may be, look for opportunities to get out of your space and move around. As an added bonus, those times you offer to run errands makes you look like a team player in the boss's eye.</p> <h2>7. Get a Longer Phone Cord</h2> <p>I once worked at a call center where I was attached to a phone for eight hours a day. Thankfully the phones had longer-than-usual cords, which gave us the opportunity to stand up and pace a short distance during calls, while on hold, or between speaking to customers. These weren't full-fledged breaks, but they did help.</p> <h2>8. Set a Timer to Take a Breath</h2> <p>If walking away from your desk isn't always an option, set a timer to go off every 30 to 45 minutes and then reset it for three or four minutes. (If you are using <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/timer/edebbhkhcaafmolanelponjjanocpacd?hl=en">Google Chrome</a>, there's even an extension for that.) During the reset, close your eyes and take deep, cleansing breaths. Try to relax and shut out any worries you have about work and the stress you are feeling.</p> <p>If you are finding that your attention wanes at certain times of the day, such as 10 a.m. and then again at 3 p.m., ask your boss for planned breaks during those times. Often, employers will agree to schedule in these breaks because it means more productivity from the employees who slip around the same time every day. You could justify these breaks with your boss by offering to come in 15 minutes earlier or stay a half hour longer. It never hurts to ask for what you need to be a happy employee.</p> <p><em>How do you work in an extra break (or two) at work? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-take-a-break-at-work-and-still-look-busy" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Ways to Take a Break at Work (and Still Look Busy)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building General Tips breaks lunch productivity work breaks Fri, 27 Jun 2014 15:00:07 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1149978 at http://www.wisebread.com The WORST Time of Day to Do Everything http://www.wisebread.com/the-worst-time-of-day-to-do-everything <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-worst-time-of-day-to-do-everything" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-yelling-465641459-small.jpg" alt="man yelling" title="man yelling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that there tend to be optimal times during the day for everything from scheduling a doctor's appointment to taking a nap to making the most of a workout to having a productive meeting at work. There are plenty of guides out there telling you when you should do these things to get the ideal result. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-time-of-the-day-to-do-everything?ref=seealso">The Best Time of Day to Do Everything</a>)</p> <p>However, these guides ignore the other side of the time puzzle: when is the <em>worst</em> time of day to do various activities? Because missing out on an optimal time for an activity is certainly less than ideal, but actually choosing the worst possible time could be frustrating, inefficient, and counterproductive.</p> <p>So here is a primer on how <em>not</em> to schedule your day if you want to avoid aggravation, wasted time, and even death:</p> <h2>7:00 a.m. &mdash; Don't Have an Argument</h2> <p>Early in the morning is a time of hope and promise for a great new day. It might seem like a good time to bring up your engagement to Spike to your disapproving dad.</p> <p>Unfortunately, early morning is the worst time of day to have a stressful conversation or argument. That's because a <a href="http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/98/1/31.full">cardiac arrest is more likely to occur early in the day</a> (between 6 a.m. and noon) according to researchers. So if you have some shocking news to share with an elderly relative, wait until the afternoon to reveal it. Grandpa will thank you.</p> <h2>9:00 a.m. &mdash; Don't Schedule a Meeting</h2> <p>You might think first thing in the morning is the best time to get all of your co-workers together to go over your TPS reports. But as it turns out, 9:00 a.m. is just about the worst time of day to schedule a meeting &mdash; despite often being touted as the best block of time for <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/time-management/best-time-day-just-about-anything-10000001053802/page2.html">memory retention</a> and <a href="http://lifehacker.com/the-best-time-of-day-to-get-ideas-according-to-science-1541494290">creative thinking</a>. Keith Harris, chief technology officer of the scheduling app <a href="http://whenisgood.net/">WhenIsGood.net</a>, examined 2 million responses to 530,000 scheduled events and found that the first part of the workday is <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-leadership/wp/2014/02/19/the-best-and-worst-times-to-do-things-at-work/">when you'll have the most no-shows at your meeting</a>.</p> <p>Instead, if you need all hands on deck for your meeting, plan it for around 2:30 p.m. or 3:00 p.m., when your workforce is most flexible.</p> <h2>11:00 a.m. &mdash; Don't Go to the Doctor</h2> <p>You schedule your appointment at 11:00 a.m., thinking that you'll be able to see your doc and maybe have a little time left over for lunch before you have to get back to the office. Instead, you cool your heels in reception for 40 minutes just waiting to be taken back to the exam room &mdash; where you wait another 10 minutes for your doctor to see you.</p> <p>Just like the rest of us, doctors tend to get behind in their work, and the <a href="http://seattletimes.com/html/health/2002687669_healthdoctorvisit18.html">appointments just before their lunch</a> (and before the end of the work day) are going to be when they are the most behind. Doctors often get caught up over the lunch hour (no new patients to see during that time), but those poor individuals watching their 11:00 a.m. appointment time come and go are going to be the ones bearing the brunt of the doctor's lateness.</p> <p>Instead, either take the earliest appointment in the day, or the first appointment after the lunch hour.</p> <h2>12:00 p.m. &mdash; Don't Work Out During Your Lunch Hour</h2> <p>Trying to find the time to fit exercise into your life can be difficult. You might be tempted to skip your lunch and go for a short but intense workout in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, you won't necessarily be doing yourself any big favors by working out then.</p> <p>According to researchers at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York, our <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041027143621.htm">lungs lose power in the middle of the day</a>. Just like the rest of our bodies, our lungs follow a circadian rhythm. Lung performance is at its lowest early in the morning and in the middle of the day. It's at its highest between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. And noon exercisers experience as much as 15% to 20% of performance lost &mdash; although anyone with healthy, strong lungs will not necessarily find such a difference noticeable.</p> <p>If the only way you can fit exercise in your life is to work out during your lunch hour, then you're definitely better off for it. However, if you are working toward a race or otherwise attempting to improve your performance, wait to work out until late afternoon, when your lung function will work for you instead of against you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-exercises-to-do-at-work-that-dont-make-you-look-silly?ref=seealso">10 Exercises to Do at Work That Don't Make You Look Silly</a>)</p> <h2>1:00 p.m. &mdash; Don't Try to Learn Something New</h2> <p>You probably remember the difficulty you had staying awake in Mr. Medvetz's 1:00 Trigonometry class in high school? How about finding him as interesting as Ben Stein (&quot;Anyone? Anyone?&quot;) in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BNX4MC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000BNX4MC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6KVJLPZQI7CN7NTP">Ferris Bueller's Day Off</a>.</p> <p>As it turns out, you may have misjudged your old teacher, since taking that class after lunch meant you were fighting your body's natural circadian rhythm.</p> <p>In the early afternoon, our bodies experience a dip in body temperature, similar to the temperature decrease we feel just before going to bed at night. That lowered temperature in the early afternoon can make you want to pull a George Costanza and take a nap under your desk.</p> <p>But even if you fight through the sleepiness, you will find that trying to learn something new while you are drowsy will <a href="http://educationnext.org/do-schools-begin-too-early/">impair your ability to recall the information</a> that you learn. Rather than force yourself to take in new information while fighting your urge for a siesta, go ahead and close your eyes for about 15 to 20 minutes &mdash; and no more than 30 total, or you'll feel groggier than you did when you started. The quick nap can help improve your cognitive performance.</p> <h2>4:00 p.m. &mdash; Don't Hit Your Local Starbucks</h2> <p>By 4:00 in the afternoon, your morning coffee and lunchtime Diet Coke have both worn off, and you might feel the need to run to your favorite coffee shop for some hot, sweet caffeine. While you'd never drink coffee with dinner &mdash; or even after 5:00 &mdash; you know that you've got more than enough time before bed to let this late afternoon pick-me-up get out of your system.</p> <p>As a matter of fact, you don't. According to new research, caffeine taken as many six hours before bed can not only make it difficult for you to fall asleep at bedtime, but it can also <a href="http://www.aasmnet.org/jcsm/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=29198">reduce the duration of your night's sleep</a> by more than one hour.</p> <p>If you must re-caffeinate in the afternoon, try to cut yourself off from the coffee by 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. at the latest. Alternatively, taking a brisk walk outside for about 10 minutes can give a more natural jolt of energy (and endorphins) that will help you focus for the end of your workday.</p> <h2>Don't Fight Nature</h2> <p>Circadian rhythms and the human tendency to misuse time are both things that you can plan around to avoid wasting time each day. As you get the most out of each conversation, meeting, appointment, workout, and cup of coffee, you'll be glad you paid attention to human nature.</p> <p><em>When is the worst time for you to do&hellip; anything? Now's a good time to share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worst-time-of-day-to-do-everything" class="sharethis-link" title="The WORST Time of Day to Do Everything" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development circadian rhythm productivity sleep time Fri, 27 Jun 2014 09:00:03 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1149833 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Life Hacks for College Students (or Anyone Else Trying to Save Money) http://www.wisebread.com/15-life-hacks-for-college-students-or-anyone-else-trying-to-save-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-life-hacks-for-college-students-or-anyone-else-trying-to-save-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chemistry-student-83402553-small.jpg" alt="chemistry student" title="chemistry student" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many, college is the first time living away from home &mdash; and often living without a lot of money.</p> <p>Necessity is the mother of invention, though, this is why students discover and develop hacks to save money. Beyond the Ramen meal cliche, college students are true DIY masters that know how to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Here are 15 useful college student hacks that can help anybody save money around the house. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-freebies-for-college-students?ref=seealso">20+ Freebies for College Students</a>)</p> <h2>1. Double Your Storage Space</h2> <p>By folding your T-shirts <a href="http://lifehackprofessional.tumblr.com/post/57638036704/so-this-came-up-in-a-different-moment-but-i">the right way</a> and re-using soda can rings to stack <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=YDOxYV0JIMs">hangers on hangers</a>, you can increase your room for storage. Another closet organizing trick is to use an empty wine box to keep shoes neat and organized under your bed, and avoiding the where-is-that-darn-shoe game before rushing to your morning class.</p> <h2>2. Find Free Air Freshener</h2> <p>If you cannot afford a can of Febreze or scented candle, here is a nifty trick. Since you must wash your clothes, you might have some dryer sheets. Once your room starts getting smelly, tape the dryer sheet to your AC and crank it up. This trick also works with regular fans. Leave your AC unit or fan running for a couple of minutes and &mdash; voila! &mdash; fresher room.</p> <h2>3. DIY Speakers</h2> <p>Fit your smartphone into an empty plastic bottle, and you will amplify the sound of your device. Another trick to make your phone's alarm clock sound extra loud is to drop into a glass vase. Not only will you have a harder time pressing the snooze button, but the sound will be much louder.</p> <h2>4. Make Vintage Soft T-shirts</h2> <p>Skip the $30 dent on your wallet and give any T-shirt that smooth feeling with this trick. Mix one quart of water and half a cup of salt. Brine your T-shirt in the salt water mix for about three days. Then machine wash with a dash of detergent. Tumble dry, and enjoy.</p> <h2>5. Unclog Any Drain</h2> <p>To save money, students often get roommates, and having several people sharing the same bathroom puts a lot of pressure on plumbing. <a href="http://www.crunchybetty.com/clean-your-drains-with-baking-soda-and-vinegar-surprise">Baking soda, vinegar, and hot water</a> get the job done as well as expensive chemical products and are much friendlier to the environment. First, pour some piping hot water down your drain. Then, pour half a cup of baking soda and wait about 5 minutes. Then add a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup hot water. Wait 10 minutes, and then wash down the mix with piping hot water again. Open (drain) sesame!</p> <h2>6. Clean a Cast Iron Skillet</h2> <p>Cast iron skillets are awesome for crafting some amazing breakfasts. However, they can be really hard to clean, and too many people end up throwing away these expensive kitchen tools because they cannot remove stuck-on food or use steel wool scrubbers. If you scrub too hard or use chemicals, the skillet is ruined. Instead, scrub the pan with a paste of coarse kosher salt and hot water. If you are trying to remove rust, rub the skillet with half a raw potato and a sprinkle of baking soda. After using either method, you often need to re-season the skillet.</p> <h2>7. Take Care of Stripped Screws</h2> <p>Too many pieces of flat pack (or Ikea) furniture cannot be fixed because people strip those screws. During my college days, a friend of mine would give &quot;ruined&quot; chairs, book shelves, and night stands a second life with this trick: Place a rubber band on top of the stripped screw, and then put the screwdriver on top of that. The rubber band helps the screwdriver grab the stripped screw.</p> <h2>8. Cover Up Scratched Wood</h2> <p>Speaking of furniture, wood pieces in college dorms and apartments usually take a beating, but scratches on wood are no match for walnuts. Take care of those bumps and scrapes by rubbing a walnut on the damaged area. The areas will darken as you rub. My college fraternity always had a stash of walnuts in our dining room.</p> <h2>9. Polish Scuffed Linoleum</h2> <p>Many college students can only afford on old houses and apartments, which often come with scuffed linoleum floors. Using white toothpaste, rub the spot with a dry cloth.</p> <h2>10. Leverage the Power of WD-40</h2> <p>This a must-have a tool for any college student. WD-40 can:</p> <ul> <li>Take care of hard-to-open sliding windows.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Remove decals by spraying surrounding areas and lifting edges with a credit card or spatula.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Clean up walls with crayon markings.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Polish scuffed linoleum (make sure to wash area clean afterward!).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>And of course, lubricate squeaky door hinges.</li> </ul> <h2>11. Restore Sagging Caning</h2> <p>You don't have to wait until your chair's canning completely gives. Take action by rubbing the bottom of the sagging caning with a wet sponge that has been submerged in warm water. Let the canning dry overnight. Repeat as necessary to tighten up that canning.</p> <h2>12. Open Beer and Soda Bottles</h2> <p>People, particularly college students, are obsessed with figuring out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unusual-ways-to-open-a-bottle-of-beer-without-a-bottle-opener">how to open beer and soda bottles without a bottle opener</a>. If you can't find an opener, here's one thing you almost always can find &mdash; a Macbook charger. If it is one of those that has the metal part, you can use it to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUGlOUJXjoM">open a beer bottle</a>. Make sure that the charger is unplugged from the outlet! If you're too afraid to use a Macbook charger, then learn <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Open-a-Beer-Bottle-with-a-Lighter">how to open a bottle with a lighter</a>.</p> <h2>13. Cook With a Coffee Cup</h2> <p>Coffee is a college student's best friend &mdash; and now, the cups can be too.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/13-easy-mug-cakes-that-are-all-grown-up-195159">Coffee cup cakes</a> that actually taste good</li> <li><a href="http://heartsandlaserbeams.com/2013/04/05/microwave-coffee-mug-recipes-scrambled-eggs/">Scrambled eggs in under 2 minutes</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/food-and-cooking/recipes/coffee-cup-quiche/article_2d121f31-d6b0-564c-bbac-6fca97a08276.html">Fancy quiches</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/instant-mug-o-mac-cheese-in-the-microwave/">Mac &amp; Cheese without a pot</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/food-and-cooking/recipes/coffee-cup-chilaquiles/article_d5d6a5c0-5fb6-588f-b929-5438eff3a1f0.html">Chilaquiles</a>, a Mexican breakfast staple, in a cup</li> </ul> <h2>14. Power Up Your Wi-Fi Router</h2> <p>College students are the masters of finding free Wi-Fi. So when they pay for it, they want to make sure that they can use it as much as possible, no matter where in the house they are. Instead of buying a Wi-Fi extender (starting at $30), you can increase <a href="http://www.labnol.org/software/increase-wifi-signal-strength-with-aluminum/8064/">Wi-Fi strength with aluminum foil</a>. You can also use a soda or <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tonZeKP-Mi4">beer can to boost your router</a>.</p> <h2>15. Transform Your Hoodie</h2> <p>Another must-have item for college students are hoodies. They protect them from a cold morning or a bad hair day&hellip; or they can be turned into a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNiP953SCOg">laptop bag</a>. Or a <a href="http://www.conceptualdevices.com/2010/03/just-undo-it/">pillow, strap bag, backpack, or baby carrier</a>. No wonder Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg never left the house without one!</p> <p><em>What are other college students hacks that we could add to this list? Let us know in the comments.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-life-hacks-for-college-students-or-anyone-else-trying-to-save-money" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Life Hacks for College Students (or Anyone Else Trying to Save Money)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living General Tips budget living cheap entertainment Cheap Food frugal hacks Tue, 24 Jun 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Damian Davila 1148438 at http://www.wisebread.com