free time http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9273/all en-US 13 Hacks to Avoid Burnout at Work http://www.wisebread.com/13-hacks-to-avoid-burnout-at-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-hacks-to-avoid-burnout-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_work_stressed_000035696454.jpg" alt="Stressed employee trying to avoid burnout at work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While some people in some countries work to live, in America we live to work &mdash; and we spend 40+ years putting in 40+ hours a week on the job. You can imagine then, over the course of four grueling decades answering to the The Man, we're susceptible to experiencing symptoms of burnout. To avoid this exhausting byproduct of a seemingly never-ending grind, consider these stress-relieving (and sanity-saving) hacks.</p> <h2>1. Plan Your Week in Advance</h2> <p>I understand that not everyone is as organized as I am (it's been a point of contention among coworkers in the past), but I stand by my usual suggestion to plan your work week in advance so you know what to expect over the next five days. In doing so, you'll be able to handle surprises much more gracefully without feeling an onslaught of pressure. Personally, I plan an <em>entire month</em> of projects, which has worked very well for me since I started my own business more than six years ago. With this calendar in place, I can see the full scope of work, cross items off as I finish them, and move projects around to make space for additional items or allot time that I need to relax and recoup.</p> <h2>2. Edit Your To-Do List</h2> <p>To-do lists are helpful, but you can quickly overwhelm yourself if you pack too much in. If you start to get that sinking feeling, revisit the list and decide which items are musts and which can be put on the back burner. Ask yourself, does this need to be done right now or can it wait? Prioritizing your to-dos will help lessen the stress and declutter your mind so you can concentrate fully on the issue at hand.</p> <h2>3. Simplify Your Work Life</h2> <p>All day, everyday, we're inundated with all types of communication and media &mdash; news, ads, e-mails, texts, digital documents &mdash; that can wreak havoc on our ability to concentrate. Simplify your work life a little more by taking steps to streamline or eliminate distractions, like unsubscribing from nonessential e-mails, putting mobile and social media conversations on mute for a period of time, organizing your hard and digital files, and keeping the amount of time-sucking meetings to a minimum.</p> <h2>4. Know When to Say &quot;No&quot;</h2> <p>In an effort to impress the boss with our go-get-'em, team-player attitude, we often say yes to everything that comes our way. Big mistake. Being a &quot;Yes Man&quot; (or Woman) can result in dire consequences, like biting off more than you can chew, which in turn can affect your productivity negatively. In that case, you'll look like you can't handle the workload &mdash; and that won't bode well for advancement opportunities. Thus, learn how to say no. If you're already at capacity, let your superior know. Decent bosses will understand and help you find the balance.</p> <h2>5. Keep a Self-Care Marble Jar</h2> <p>Stay with me here; this is one of the more interesting ways to avoid burnout at work that I've heard. Dr. Emma Mansour is a licensed psychologist who has seen her fair share of clients experiencing symptoms of work burnout, and as such she's had to make self-care a fundamental part of her life. One of the resources in her arsenal is a self-care marble jar. Sounds kooky, but the concept make sense.</p> <p>&quot;I take a small glass jar &mdash; similar to the ones we use to can preserves &mdash; and place marbles in it. Each marble represents a moment or action that was taken to either restore the self/engage in self-care or contribute to the feeling of burnout or being overwhelmed,&quot; Dr. Mansour says. &quot;Some examples of self-care moments at work include eating lunch (a working lunch does not count!), sitting back in an office chair and closing one's eyes and other brief meditation techniques, prioritizing and writing to-do lists, getting up and walking around the block, delegating tasks, etc. Examples of times in which you would take a marble out of the jar are working through lunch, not taking a restroom break, continuing to look at the computer screen despite the fact that your eyes are burning, etc.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The idea is to keep as many marbles in the jar as possible,&quot; she continues. &quot;When one is taken out, it serves as a reminder that a self-care moment is overdue.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Keep Plants in the Office</h2> <p>Plants not only add a sense of life to an otherwise drab office environment, but studies have shown that the presence of plants help increase energy, happiness, and productivity. If your office is currently devoid of plants, talk to your coworkers about brightening the place up. Cite science to make your case if they tend to be sticks in the mud. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality?ref=seealso">The Best Cheap Plants for Improving Indoor Air Quality</a>)</p> <h2>7. Set a Time to Unplug Each Day</h2> <p>As creatures of habit who are more plugged in than ever (I'm waiting for the day they announce mobile implants for humans), it's hard to put down our devices and disconnect. But it's necessary &mdash; if you want to stay out of the looney bin, anyway.</p> <p>Jacel Egan, media relations coordinator for the blog TechnologyAdvice, suggests setting &quot;...a firm time to 'unplug' and unwind &mdash; whether that's 5 p.m., 6 p.m., or 8 p.m &mdash; and stick to it.&quot; By doing this, she says, &quot;you're making a commitment to yourself, your family, and your sanity to quiet the buzz in your head and recharge your batteries.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Schedule After Work Activities</h2> <p>I'm not one to go straight home after work, get in my jammies, and plop in front of the TV. Never have been. Instead, I prefer to stay active until just before bed time, engaging in all manner of activities, from meeting friends to going to the gym to preparing for the next day. I especially like nighttime activities, like a kickball league or bar trivia. These activities help me unwind &mdash; especially necessary if I need to blow off steam or aggression after a particularly rough day &mdash; so I don't succumb to burnout.</p> <p>Egan offers a few tips on how to make the most of your down time, with added motivation. &quot;Incentive yourself by putting happy hour with a friend on the calendar, or plan a date with your significant other on a weeknight,&quot; she says. &quot;Having things to look forward to can increase your productivity &mdash; especially since you're expected to be there at a certain time.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Let Things Slide More Often</h2> <p>Admittedly I need to take my own advice on this one and learn how to let more things take their course without getting worked up. When problems arise, stop and think before you react. Is this something that really merits your attention at this moment, or is it something that will be less important if everyone involved steps back and evaluates the issue responsibly? Let cooler heads prevail, as they say. Or join Team Elsa and #LetItGo entirely. (You didn't stand a chance of getting out of this one without a <em>Frozen</em> reference.)</p> <h2>10. Delegate Responsibilities When You Can</h2> <p>Feeling overwhelmed? Is there too much on your plate? If you're behind, or if you feel like you're in danger of falling behind, delegate the work (if you have that luxury) before a small fire turns into a five-alarm blaze. There's nothing wrong with farming out work if you're in the position to do so, so long as everyone is contributing to the team equally.</p> <h2>11. Change Your Relationship With Time</h2> <p>Those of you who feel like there's never enough time in the day &mdash; don't worry, I'm with you &mdash; might identify with this fresh perspective from Melissa Heisler, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1940014417/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1940014417&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DSPAW7HJHRA6TNLO">From Type A to Type Me: How to Stop &quot;Doing&quot; Life and Start Living It</a>.</p> <p>&quot;When I was working my nine-to-five job, I would wake up in the morning and immediately go through my to-do list and what I had planned for the day. The result was feeling behind the 8-ball before I even left bed,&quot; she explains. &quot;One of the ways to release time's hold on you, before you get out of bed, say, 'I have more than enough time today to accomplish everything that I need to do.' Just making that statement changes your outlook on the day. This reframe empowers you to deal with the day differently and avoid burnout.&quot;</p> <h2>12. Use Your Well-Earned PTO or Vacation</h2> <p>I see this all too often from workaholics who complain about how stressed they are and how burnt out they are; they have plenty of accrued time off &mdash; but they rarely take it. It's hard to have sympathy for someone who has the opportunity to enjoy a break but doesn't seize it, and it's nobody's fault but your own in that case. If you have PTO or vacation time, then use it. When you start feeling burnt out, clear your schedule to rest, relax, and remember that the only way you're going to make it through the next two decades of work is to strike a decent work-life balance &mdash; starting today.</p> <h2>13. Talk to Your Employer</h2> <p>Here's someone who can help you avoid burnout: your boss. There's no shame in letting him or her know that you might need a bit of breathing room to stay productive.</p> <p>&quot;Most people are afraid to speak up for fear they will be immediately replaced by someone whose motivation isn't in doubt,&quot; says Harold Mann, owner of an IT consulting firm in San Francisco. &quot;Here's what I recommend: Talk early with your supervisor. Mention you're not burned out, but you're concerned about the risk. Ask for suggestions or guidelines, mention the warning signs or indicators. If you're a great employee, they should work as hard as possible to keep you happy.&quot;</p> <p>Or, if you want to look at it another way: &quot;It's less work than replacing you,&quot; Mann says.</p> <p><em>Do you have other hacks for avoiding burnout at work? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-hacks-to-avoid-burnout-at-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-stay-motivated-on-the-job">6 Ways to Stay Motivated on the Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-yourself-a-break-the-productivity-secret-thatll-change-the-way-you-work">Give Yourself a Break: The Productivity Secret That&#039;ll Change the Way You Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/day-job-or-freelance-which-is-right-for-you">Day Job or Freelance: Which Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-coworkers-think-youre-a-slacker">6 Reasons Your Coworkers Think You&#039;re a Slacker</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-job">3 Reasons You Are More Than Your Job</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Productivity burnout free time organization stress working Tue, 12 May 2015 09:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1415530 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Ask Your Boss for Better Work-Life Balance http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-ask-your-boss-for-better-work-life-balance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-ask-your-boss-for-better-work-life-balance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/boss-employee-meeting-140300670-small.jpg" alt="boss employee meeting" title="boss employee meeting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Work. Life. Balance. Three words that &mdash; in combination &mdash; have the power to transform your entire way of looking at the world. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-protect-your-personal-time-from-work-and-be-happier?ref=seealso">9 Ways to Protect Your Personal Time From Work</a>)</p> <p>But how exactly do you achieve this seemingly elusive goal? Well, I've been on a journey over the last decade to figure it out. Here are some tips that have helped me, and they have the power to transform your situation as well.</p> <h2>1. Step Back</h2> <p>It's incredibly easy to get tangled up in the day-to-day responsibilities and deadlines. Eventually, we lose sight of what our priorities are, whether at work or at home, and life becomes this exercise in keeping our heads above water. First, take a step back and think about what it is you want from your personal and professional sides. Be specific. Write it down. Revise. Rewrite the list again. Then make a game plan.</p> <h2>2. Check Yourself</h2> <p>Before you approach your boss with any ideas or make major changes yourself, look at your time management to see where it could be improved. Many of us let work creep into our personal time when it doesn't need to. Or we over-commit to things outside of work that chip away at whatever time we have left. To start, track your time for a few days (on an Excel spreadsheet, a <a href="https://www.toggl.com">time management app</a>, or just paper). Consider it an audit.</p> <p>Once you see where your energy is going, write out a list of all your day's activities. Give weight to musts (work, obviously &mdash; but also the things you need in your life to be happy and healthy). Eliminate the extraneous wherever possible. In the past, I even found it helpful to write down time-suckers that fell outside my job description to show my boss. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-time-management-problem-most-of-us-have-and-how-to-fix-it?ref=seealso">The Time Management Problem Most of Us Have</a>)</p> <h2>3. Request a Meeting</h2> <p>See if your boss will meet with you for even 15 minutes to discuss your work-life balance. I like sending an email request with a brief description so it's on the calendar. Now, I've had a variety of bosses in the past ranging from awesome to not-so approachable, so I understand it can feel intimidating. Just remember: This is your life we're talking about. Fortunately, your workplace has already invested a lot of time and money in you &mdash; so you need not fret that bringing up concerns will get you canned. Quite the opposite, actually. There are some tremendous advantages for keeping employees happy, including better retention rates and even <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghanbiro/2014/01/19/happy-employees-hefty-profits/">higher profits</a>.</p> <h2>4. Prepare Yourself</h2> <p>Be organized in your approach. Talk about what you see as perceived time-wasters in your position. Offer some opportunities you have mapped for change. Basically, don't show up at the meeting expecting your boss to wave a magic wand. You need to offer both practical and creative solutions to your problems. And the help you suggest can range from personal improvement (taking continuing ed classes) to manpower stuff to better software that might automate some of your work. Sure, these ideas may get shot down, but you'll get points for trying, especially if you do your research.</p> <p>For example, after a full-time receptionist had retired (and wasn't replaced due to a dismal budget) in the office where I served as an executive assistant, I used to get bogged down serving as a backup for phones. I had many other, more pressing tasks to complete for my boss. When he discovered how much time I spent on the lines, he moved a receptionist from another department to our office part-time to shift the workload at my suggestion. Lesson here: Your boss may not even realize what you do all day and may completely agree that your time is being spent on the wrong focus.</p> <h2>5. Flex It Up</h2> <p>Check in with your HR department to see what types of flexibility programs your employer offers. Sometimes you can move around your work hours to accommodate other parts of your day (coming in early or late, depending). Other times, you can work more hours some days and, therefore, fewer overall days of the week. A few of my friends have even organized a work-from-home schedule for certain days. Most offices offer some type of flex program, so it's just figuring out what might work for you and your boss. Obviously, all jobs have different responsibilities so not all flex arrangements work in all cases.</p> <h2>6. Take Your Time</h2> <p>I know this one can seem easier said than done, but when you get time off &mdash; take it! If you have holiday breaks, don't check email or even bring your laptop home. Make a habit of totally disconnecting on the weekends. If your job requires you to have a level of connectivity during time off, set a realistic window (and communicate your plan to your boss). Otherwise, set your automated out-of-office and rest and relax. I worked in an office once where everyone constantly checked their emails while on vacation. So, I simply asked my boss one day if that was required of me, and she said absolutely not and encouraged me to enjoy my time away. Problem solved. If your job routinely urges you to keep tabs on work on your personal dime, it might be time to polish your resume.</p> <p><em>How have you carved out better work-life balance? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-ask-your-boss-for-better-work-life-balance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-besides-salary-to-negotiate-at-work">10 Things Besides Salary to Negotiate at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance">The Secret to Time Management and Work-Life Balance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-hacks-to-avoid-burnout-at-work">13 Hacks to Avoid Burnout at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-should-quit-your-job">8 Signs You Should Quit Your Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-negotiate-higher-pay-at-your-next-new-job">How to Negotiate Higher Pay at Your Next New Job</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income flex time free time negotiation work-life balance Mon, 08 Dec 2014 10:00:08 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1264793 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Ways to Take Five Minutes for Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4560723165_9fb12caaa8_z.jpg" alt="blowing bubbles" title="blowing bubbles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Taking time for yourself may seem impossible if you're the type of person who packs your daily schedule, or if you tend to overcommit your time. Even taking a five-minute break seems unrealistic to parents and those of us with busy lifestyles. But there may be ways to take a time out for yourself that you haven't thought of, or it may just take a little more dedication to self-care to get those extra few moments to yourself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now">21 Frugal Ways to&nbsp;Reward Yourself Right Now</a>)</p> <p>Whether you're at the office or at home, making sure you get some alone time is an important part of emotional well-being and maintaining balance in your life. Here are some suggestions for ways to ensure that you get at least five minutes focusing on yourself. While some of these are purely for fun, others are more practical ways to snag some time to yourself <em>and</em> accomplish those little tasks you've been putting off.</p> <h3>1. Take Fresh-Air Breaks at Work</h3> <p>Take a five minute break from your computer and walk around the building, or just go outside to get some fresh air. If you work at a computer all day, it is important to take regular breaks from the screen. Screen breaks not only help save your eyesight and prevent headaches, but they can also promote productivity. For more reasons to take five and go for a walk, check out Paul's article on the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walk-walk-walk-walk-walk">benefits of walking. </a></p> <h3>2. Make Yourself a Cup of Tea</h3> <p>Whether you're an herbal tea drinker or a green tea fan, taking time to slow brew a cup of tea is a great way to get an extra five minutes of quiet solitude. Five minutes is a good average seeping time for most types of tea. In the winter, take the prevention route by brewing echinacea or ginger tea.</p> <h3>3. Five-Minute Meditation</h3> <p>Normally I'm one of those people who cannot clear my head when I meditate, but recently a friend and meditation guru introduced me to a method that really worked for me. Pick a phrase or mantra that is meaningful to you. Set a timer, close your eyes, and repeat the words silently in your head for five minutes. If you can't think of a phrase, try repeating something that you are thankful for.</p> <h3>4. Write a Thank You Note</h3> <p>Speaking of being thankful, writing a thank you note to someone is a great way to show your gratitude and sharpen your letter-writing skills at the same time, and it doesn't have to be something specific. It's a small gesture, but a simple thank you goes a long way.</p> <h3>5. Start Your Bucket List</h3> <p>Five minutes may not be enough time to write down all the things you'd like to do in your life, but you can at least get your bucket list started. Set a timer and just start writing. Don't worry about making your list extravagant. Taking five to dream about the places you'd like to travel or goals you want to set for yourself can also be a good way to look back on everything you've accomplished.</p> <h3>6. Make a Flower Arrangement</h3> <p>Even if you don't consider yourself a creative person, you'd be surprised at how relaxing it is to make a simple flower arrangement or centerpiece for your dining room or kitchen table. You don't even need flowers for a centerpiece. Pine cones, fruit, or any materials you find around the house or in your yard can also work.</p> <h3>7. Read a Short Article About Something You Are Interested In</h3> <p>Reading has lost much of its allure now that there's a wealth of television and film that can be watched instantly online. Taking five minutes to read an article or blog post about one of your interests is one way to sharpen reading skills and engage with the world around you while taking a few moments of solitude.</p> <h3>8. Five-Minute Stretches</h3> <p>There are plenty of stretches you can do to help maintain flexibility and prevent sore muscles, even if you only take five minutes to stand up and stretch at the office. Check out Meg's article, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-exercises-to-do-at-work-that-dont-make-you-look-silly">10 Exercises to Do at Work That Don't Make You Look Silly</a>, for more ideas on ways to get exercise during short breaks at work.</p> <h3>9. Call a Time Out for Yourself</h3> <p>This is a great one for parents. Instead of calling a time out for the kids, call an official time out for yourself. Take a few moments and let someone else watch the kids while you go to your room to meditate, stretch, or just sit in silence. No matter where you take your time out, try to find somewhere quiet.</p> <h3>10. Quick Foot Soak</h3> <p>Give your feet a rest with a five-minute foot soak in the tub or a water basin. Soaking in bath salts is an excellent way to take some time to yourself, relax, and ease tired feet. You don't need to buy expensive salts. A cup of Epsom salt will work fine, or for added relaxation and aromatherapy, you can sprinkle in dried herbs such as lavender or chamomile.</p> <h3>11. Walk the Dog</h3> <p>Taking the dog for a quick walk by yourself is another way to get away from the family or coworkers for five minutes. If you work in a dog-friendly office, let your coworkers take turns with walking your dog; it's a great way to give your dog some extra exercise and promote a healthy work environment.</p> <h3>12. Breathing Exercises</h3> <p>Like stretching, doing a few simple breathing exercises or taking a few long, deep breaths can help ease tension and give you some down time. For more ideas, read Sasha's breathing tip in her article, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-solid-yoga-tricks-to-help-you-relax">Super Solid Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax</a>.</p> <h3>13. Start a Budget</h3> <p>While this may not be the most relaxing way to spend five minutes for yourself, it is a practical way to get some alone time and initiate a more financially responsible lifestyle. If you aren't sure how to get started, look at David's post, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-improving-or-starting-a-budget">8 Tips for Improving or Starting a Budget</a>.</p> <h3>14. Plan a Vacation or Weekend Getaway</h3> <p>You may not be able to plan all the details of your next vacation or weekend getaway in five minutes, but you can definitely get started. Like the bucket list, just start writing down your ideas.</p> <h3>15. Call an Old Friend</h3> <p>With social media and all the communication technology available today, some people rarely make a phone call to catch up with an old friend. Of course, it may turn into more than five minutes, but it's a way to connect with an old friend with more than just posting something on a Facebook wall.</p> <h3>16. Do Some Online Bargain Shopping</h3> <p>If you're a regular Wise Bread reader, you are probably a frugal shopper. Take five minutes to compare prices and find great deals on an item on your shopping list.</p> <h3>17. Start a Blog</h3> <p>Ever wanted to start a blog but didn't think you had the time?&nbsp;Now's your chance. It takes about five minutes to set up a basic account for a blog. I find that WordPress is one of the more user-friendly blog sites, and you can always go back and change your design or add photos and a bio. Why not get started now?</p> <h3>18. Take a Quick Bike Ride</h3> <p>Like walking, riding a bike is a great way to get exercise and time for yourself. Cycling is also ideal for people who have knee or lower back problems.</p> <h3>19. Build a Fire</h3> <p>This one may not be for everyone, but I love building fires whenever I visit friends who own a wood-burning stove or fireplace. Getting up early to start the first fire gives you some time to yourself before everyone else wakes up, and it's also practical. If you don't own a fireplace, you can always get up early to start that first pot of coffee.</p> <h3>20. Eat a Piece of Chocolate</h3> <p>This one is purely for indulgence. I don't know if all the claims about the benefits of dark chocolate are true, but antioxidants or not, I can't think of anyone who doesn't love sitting down and enjoying a piece of chocolate.</p> <h3>21. Drink a Glass of Water</h3> <p>Hydration is important whether you are at work, home, or school. Most people don't realize that they aren't drinking enough water. The standard goal is to aim for 64 ounces of water a day. Take five minutes to make sure you get in another eight ounces today.</p> <h3>22. Make Breakfast for Yourself</h3> <p>I'm a firm believer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Make something you've never tried before or that you normally wouldn't eat because you don't have time. You can make eggs and toast in about five minutes.</p> <h3>23. Blow Bubbles</h3> <p>On a recent vacation, I happened to notice a bubble machine in a second-story window of a busy square. Watching the bubbles float down to the ground was so peaceful that I decided to buy some the next time I see them at a store. Indulge the kid inside and get a bottle for yourself.</p> <h3>24. Paint Your Toenails</h3> <p>Normally, I don't take the time to paint my toenails, but I find that it can be as relaxing and meditative as painting a picture or room. It's also less time-consuming and a little cheaper. If you just aren't into that kind of thing, get a watercolor kit or stain a piece of furniture.</p> <h3>25. Take a Five-Minute Nap</h3> <p>There's a lot to be said for the power nap. I find that when I'm exhausted, even a five-minute nap can be refreshing and provide an excellent opportunity to get some alone time.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-clear-your-mind">8 Simple Ways to Clear Your Mind</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work">7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Productivity free time healthy quiet relaxation Thu, 25 Oct 2012 10:36:34 +0000 Ashley Watson 954957 at http://www.wisebread.com What Is Your Time Worth? http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-time-worth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-is-your-time-worth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6829338151_aa8dc19862_z_0.jpg" alt="woman and clocks" title="woman and clocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If a <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/46896629/Wall_Street_s_Highest_Paid_Hedge_Fund_Managers?slide=6">top hedge fund manager</a> takes out his own garbage, you could say that walk to the end of the driveway cost him more than $100,000. When you earn $3.9 <em>billion </em>in one year, your time comes to be worth a lot &mdash; even when you&rsquo;re not working. That&rsquo;s because time and money have a very tight relationship. If you earn a lot of money through a high-powered career like managing a hedge fund, you won&rsquo;t have much time for a personal life. And you certainly won&rsquo;t have to take out your own garbage. Having more personal time tends to mean having less money. That is, unless you earn so much that you can buy it. But while everyone likes to use the quip that &ldquo;time is money,&rdquo; especially when they&rsquo;re feeling impatient, this equation doesn&rsquo;t always add up in quite the way people think. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/that-age-old-conundrum-time-vs-money">That Age-Old Conundrum: Time vs. Money</a>)</p> <h3>What's &quot;Worth&quot; Your Time?</h3> <p>I think we can all agree that time has value. Like money, it&rsquo;s a finite resource (not to mention the fact that we&rsquo;re always searching around for more of it). Unfortunately, we often throw it away in the same careless way we might throw around our money, not realizing that they are the same thing.</p> <p>For example, a lot of people might say they don&rsquo;t have time to cook dinner, so they pay to have someone else cook it for them in a restaurant. Now, if you&rsquo;re Mr. Hedge Fund Manager, this is a trade with a lot of value. After all, for someone who makes about 44 million per hour &mdash; and that&rsquo;s assuming that he works 24 hours per day, 7 days per week &mdash; paying someone a few dollars an hour to cook for you is a great bargain. For someone who makes a lot less, though, this equation starts to look a little lopsided. The same goes for other things we often opt out of in the name of time, such cleaning the house or making minor repairs on the car. The problem is that if you break your time down in the same way as the hedge fund manager, your hour may not cover what you&rsquo;re paying the house cleaner or the mechanic. That doesn&rsquo;t mean paying them to do the work for you doesn&rsquo;t have value, but it does mean that it&rsquo;s an expensive transaction, and you have to be careful about how much time you buy this way.</p> <h3>The Cost of Opportunity</h3> <p>There&rsquo;s another aspect to the time/money equation, and that&rsquo;s opportunity cost. Opportunity cost refers to the financial impact that one choice you make has on another. So, if you decide to leave work early to come home and spend time with your family, that has an opportunity cost; you gave up the opportunity to earn your hourly rate for one additional hour in exchange for more time at home. You could also consider this in terms of going back to school to gain the skills to earn more money. If you&rsquo;ve thought about doing this, you probably realize that it&rsquo;ll cost you more than just tuition, but also the wages you could have been earning if you weren&rsquo;t in class. That&rsquo;s opportunity cost, and it also helps determine what our time is worth. So, when you're deciding whether to do some work around the house yourself or pay someone else to do it, opportunity cost can be a way to work out the value of doing your own labor.</p> <h3>Working Out the Value of Your Time</h3> <p>We know that a hedge fund manager's time is worth millions an hour, so be warned &mdash; for most everyday people, calculating the value of your time will be a sobering experiment. One way to do this is to look at how much money you made in the last year. Then, consider any expenses you incurred because of your job, such as childcare, transportation, clothing, etc. Subtract these expenses from your earnings.</p> <p>Now consider how many hours per day you spend to make this money. While you might only spend seven or eight hours per day at your post, you should also factor in commute time, business travel and dinners, and other time you have to spend because of your job. While you may not be paid during these hours, they aren't your time to use as you please, so you have to count them.</p> <p>Finally, take what you earned (minus expenses) and divide it by the number of hours you worked (plus additional time related to your job). This is how much your time is worth per hour, and chances are it's a whole lot less than you thought you were making. That's not a bad thing, but it does put the value of your time into perspective. After all, if you're really only making $9 per hour, the value of doing more things for yourself rather than hiring others becomes more clear. This is especially true if you don't have the kind of job where you could put in extra hours rather than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-improve-the-life-of-your-lawn-mower">mowing your lawn</a>.</p> <h3>The Real Value of Time</h3> <p>So does this mean you have to avoid restaurants, fix your own car, darn your own socks, and make your own clothes? Not necessarily. There are two reasons for this. The first is that in the U.S., many people make a lot more than they need to just get by. That means they can afford to buy some time as well. In the Great Depression, when a lot of people were stuck without work, they spent a whole lot of time working out ways to avoid having to buy anything much at all. That&rsquo;s because they had the time, but no money. Think about this when you decide what services to buy. Generally, the smartest move is to hold tight to what&rsquo;s most dear; if you have money, you can buy time, and if you have time, you can do more of your labor.</p> <p>The second reason why we buy time is that spare time has intangible value, while money has a diminishing utility. Once your needs are met and you've maybe paid for a few luxuries, spending extra time working fails to deliver a much more comfortable life. Leisure time, on the other hand, has its own special value. I think we all understand this implicitly when we&rsquo;re lolling on the couch on a lazy Sunday or spending a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-productive-things-to-do-on-a-rainy-day">rainy afternoon</a> in bed with a book.</p> <h3>The Bottom Line on Time</h3> <p>The question of how much your time is worth is a personal one. Just like anything in personal finance, it involves striking a balance between what you want and what you can afford. Time and money are finite resources. So while we&rsquo;ll probably always be scrambling for more of both, how we eventually spend them should reflect what&rsquo;s important to us.</p> <p><em>How do you value your time, and how do you decide what to do yourself versus hiring others to do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-time-worth">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv">Massive List of Things to Do While Watching TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-moves-you-can-make-while-jogging">8 Personal Finance Moves You Can Make While Jogging</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself">25 Ways to Take Five Minutes for Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-hacks-to-avoid-burnout-at-work">13 Hacks to Avoid Burnout at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-finding-legitimate-work-at-home-opportunities">Tips for Finding Legitimate Work at Home Opportunities</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Productivity free time hourly rate time vs. money Fri, 06 Apr 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Tara Struyk 915081 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways to Earn Extra Cash When Money Is Tight http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/street_performer.jpg" alt="Street musician" title="Street musician" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even though I&rsquo;m self-employed full-time, I&rsquo;m always looking for new and exciting ways to make more money.</p> <p>Earlier this year, I wrote a Wise Bread post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extra-income-online-5-websites-that-can-seriously-pad-your-pockets ">websites that can help you earn extra cash</a>. I thought it was time to revisit the topic and let you in on a few more ways to get paid.&nbsp;(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-everyone-needs-side-income">4 Reasons Why Everyone Needs Side Income</a>)</p> <h3>1. Offer Experiences to Strangers</h3> <p>I recently learned about a new site called <a href="http://www.vayable.com">Vayable</a>, which allows people with specialized knowledge and talents, local info, and time on their hands to create experiences that others can purchase. It&rsquo;s basically a touring and activity company without the company. Anyone can join the site and set up an experience. For instance, the Kan Brothers offer <a href="http://www.vayable.com/experiences/355-tour-sf-by-motorcycle">motorcycle tours of San Francisco</a> &mdash; which include helmet rental, a drink at a local hotspot, and a city map &mdash; for two to four people at $75 per person. In New York City, Kim G. is offering a <a href="http://www.vayable.com/experiences/427-paint-a-date-friend-or-mate">personalized painting lesson</a> for groups of two to six for a flat rate of $300; the experience includes acrylic paints; canvas board and supplies; studio space; wine, cheese, and crackers; and Kim&rsquo;s undivided attention. Consider this tip if you&rsquo;re interested in joining Vayable &mdash; browse the site to see what other people in your area are offering. By creating a unique experience that no one else has established, you have a better chance of getting booked.</p> <h3>2. Become a Mystery Shopper</h3> <p>Mystery shopping gigs have always been elusive &mdash; until now. I had to pass a written interview to be accepted by Goodwin &amp; Associates Hospitality Services (<a href="http://www.mysteryshopperprogram.com/new-mystery-shoppers.html">and you will, too</a>), but I&rsquo;m enjoying the experience so far. The company maintains a database of available shops from which to choose and allots a dollar amount for each shop. Last week, I accepted an evening shop at Heartland Brewery for the amount of $60. Between my guest and me, we had to purchase one beer and one other drink, an appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert. The $60 fee may not seem like much &mdash; and it isn&rsquo;t (you&rsquo;re not going to walk away with much cash) &mdash; but if you purchase the cheaper menu items and your bill (plus tip) comes in under the allotted fee, you pocket whatever&rsquo;s left over when the company pays you. After dining, however, shoppers are required to detail the experience on a questionnaire and provide a receipt in order to receive the fee. As I mentioned, you won&rsquo;t make much money unless you&rsquo;re thrifty, but at least you&rsquo;ll receive a free meal.</p> <h3>3. Seek Out Odd Jobs on the Internet</h3> <p>So long as Craigslist is around, so too will there be part-time gigs like walking dogs, house cleaning, babysitting, yard work, and more. If you have the skills to accomplish these tasks, by all means get in touch with the poster. Depending on the nature of the job, you can make anywhere from $8 to $60 an hour, usually all cash and under the table. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-lawn-mowers">The 6 Best Lawn Mowers</a>)</p> <h3>4. Have a Garage or Yard Sale</h3> <p>Every one of us has a storage unit, attic, basement, or garage piled high with things that we no longer want or need. So why are they sitting around collecting dust or rotting away? Take a day to clean out the clutter and put them up for sale, whether it&rsquo;s on your front yard or on the Internet. If you have items that you think are more valuable than what you&rsquo;ll get for them at a yard sale, take them to a pawnshop. Pawnshops are great for electronics, musical instruments, jewelry, and tools.</p> <h3>5. Turn Your Space into a Microsublet</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m always singing the praises of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-to-market-your-extra-space-as-a-vacation-rental">microsubletting</a> &mdash; that is, renting out your spare space to travelers &mdash; because, in my opinion, it&rsquo;s the number one way to make a lot of cash with relatively minimal effort. We list our guest bedroom on <a href="http://airbnb.com">Airbnb</a> and <a href="http://roomorama.com">Roomorama</a>, and we&rsquo;re consistently booked. In fact, we&rsquo;re booked up every day until early January 2012. What that means is that travelers are paying us a nightly fee (ours averages $88 per night, but you can set your own) to stay in our home instead of in a pricey hotel. These cost-conscious travelers want a local experience for an affordable fee, and that&rsquo;s what we give them. We also provide an immaculately clean home, free Wi-Fi, HD cable TV, a mini fridge, linens, coffee service, and more.</p> <p>Now you&rsquo;re probably wondering &mdash; doesn&rsquo;t having guests in your home all the time bother you? No (though it does take a certain kind of person to do this), because the guests didn&rsquo;t come to see me. They&rsquo;re here to explore the city. They leave early in the morning and come home after dark. All I do is make sure the house is clean, provide them with welcoming hospitality, and watch my bank account grow.</p> <h3>6. Register for Focus Groups</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve participated in a few focus groups over the years, and it&rsquo;s an extremely easy way to make money fast. Most groups will require you to fit a certain criteria, depending on the focus, but if you fit the bill, they&rsquo;ll hand you some crisp ones in return. I&rsquo;ve made anywhere from $50 to $125 per session, which usually last from one to two hours. That&rsquo;s a pretty good payday just for offering my opinion. To search for focus groups for which you may qualify, check out the aptly named <a href="http://findfocusgroups.com/">Find Focus Groups</a> website.</p> <h3>7. Perform on the Streets</h3> <p>In New York City, there&rsquo;s no shortage of street performers. Even the mother of Academy Award-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe sets up shop in the subway, singing for cash. While you may not make enough money to pay the rent, someone is always willing to drop change in that hat. Besides, if you don&rsquo;t have anything else to do, you might as well entertain pedestrians.</p> <h3>8. Collect Recyclables for Cash</h3> <p>Every Sunday evening, there&rsquo;s some person or another rummaging through the recyclables outside my building. They&rsquo;re there to claim cans, bottles, and scrap metals before the city can whisk them away. And why not? Depending on where you live, you can earn up to 10 cents per item for turning in recyclable materials. This means of making money has become so popular in NYC that there&rsquo;s a self-service recycling station at the end of my block. Collecting cans isn&rsquo;t going to make you rich, but it will certainly help buy groceries.</p> <h3>9. Sell Your Body to Science</h3> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to sell the whole thing, but certain parts of you are quite <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-money-from-clinical-trials-worth-the-risk">valuable to the medical community</a>. Sought-after specimens include plasma, hair, eggs, and sperm. But before giving your goods away for a profit, you should consider the moral and ethical ramifications of such a decision. Donated sperm is sometimes used to fertilize donated eggs. If the prospect of having a biological child in the world that you don&rsquo;t know about is too much of a burden to bear, don&rsquo;t do it. A lifetime of wondering is not worth the quick cash you&rsquo;ll receive.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-wake-up-richer-tomorrow-than-you-are-today">12 Easy Ways to Wake Up Richer Tomorrow Than You Are Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-turn-your-stress-into-money">8 Ways to Turn Your Stress Into Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-side-jobs-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads">12 Side Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-a-side-gig-at-these-4-best-micro-jobs-sites">Find a Side Gig at These 4 Best Micro-Jobs Sites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-make-an-extra-1000-this-summer">9 Ways to Make an Extra $1,000 This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income free time side jobs yard sale Mon, 26 Sep 2011 10:36:54 +0000 Mikey Rox 713547 at http://www.wisebread.com Massive List of Things to Do While Watching TV http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/watching_TV_0.jpg" alt="Kids watching TV" title="Kids watching TV" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even the most riveting TV shows plague you with time-sucking commercials every few minutes, and very rarely does any TV-watching session require all your brain power or leave you feeling truly satisfied or productive. Here&rsquo;s a massive list of things you can do while watching TV (and some more concentrated activities that you can fit in during the commercials) that will keep you productive, fit, balanced, and moving forward in your life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a>)</p> <ol> <li>Snuggle.</li> <li>Organize and log your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/dealing-with-tax-deductible-receipts-quickly-and-easily">tax-deductible receipts</a>.</li> <li>Open your mail.</li> <li>Organize dresser and kitchen drawers &mdash; one at a time.</li> <li>Pay bills.</li> <li>Water the plants.</li> <li>Play with pets.</li> <li>Write a letter to somebody you haven&rsquo;t been in touch with for way too long.</li> <li>Arrange flowers.</li> <li>Mend holes in your clothing.</li> <li>Make use of your <a href="http://community.careonecredit.com/b/life_balance/archive/2011/04/14/8-things-to-do-with-mismatched-socks.aspx">mismatched socks</a>.</li> <li>Sharpen knives.</li> <li>Make a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-used-corks-including-making-money-with-them">cork board</a>.</li> <li>Make &mdash; and enjoy &mdash; your own <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">hot pack</a>.</li> <li>Clip coupons.</li> <li>Organize CD and DVD collections. (Do your DVDs and CDs end up in the wrong cases? Now is your chance to fix it).</li> <li>Stretch.</li> <li>Groom pets.</li> <li>Give yourself a manicure and/or pedicure.</li> <li>Create a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vision-boards-dream-big-play-with-pictures-and-watch-your-life-change">vision board</a>.</li> <li>Plant a window-box herb garden.</li> <li>Soak your feet.</li> <li>Defrag your computer.</li> <li>Forward this post to somebody who watches too much TV.</li> <li>Ponder <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">100 ways to change your life</a>.</li> <li>Make this year&rsquo;s Christmas presents.</li> <li><a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2011/06/preparing-for-the-no-baggage-challenge/">Clean out your purse</a>.</li> <li>See if you can actually prepare a meal just as quickly as they&rsquo;re cooking it on the cooking show you&rsquo;re watching.</li> <li>Rearrange your furniture.</li> <li>Breathe.</li> <li>Lift weights.</li> <li>Twitter.</li> <li>Clean your plant&rsquo;s leaves (using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paint-a-room-and-wash-your-face-more-uses-for-powdered-milk-than-you-ever-imagined">powdered milk</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">banana peels</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-money-saving-uses-for-mouthwash">mouthwash</a>).</li> <li>Brainstorm.</li> <li>Give (or get) a massage.</li> <li>Wax your legs/arms/etc.</li> <li>Vacuum.</li> <li>Scrub coffee stains off your mugs with baking soda.</li> <li>Prepare lunch for the next work day.</li> <li>Revamp your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/standout-stuff-to-put-on-your-resume">LinkedIn profile</a>.</li> <li>Make lists.</li> <li>Flip through magazines.</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-to-drink-more-water">Drink water</a>.</li> <li>Eat a meal.</li> <li>Write out grocery lists.</li> <li>Accumulate <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free">frequent flyer miles</a> for your next vacation.</li> <li>Exercise.</li> <li>Play with social media.</li> <li>Have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-laptop-computer">laptop</a> handy to research quirky concepts that you see on TV.</li> <li>Tweak your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/resume-quirks-to-embrace-and-avoid">resume</a>.</li> <li>Research your next vacation.</li> <li>Prepare a meal.</li> <li>Sort through photographs.</li> <li>Arts and crafts.</li> <li>Write to-do lists.</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-silver-naturally">Polish the silverware</a>.</li> <li>Journal.</li> <li>Water the plants.</li> <li>Make a scrapbook.</li> <li>Ironing.</li> </ol> <p>Here are some more bite-sized tasks you can take on during the commercial breaks. In some cases, using the commercials to time these activities (like sit-ups) can make them more palatable and reduce the discipline required.</p> <ol start="61"> <li>Wash dishes.</li> <li>Clean the house &mdash; two minutes at a time. (See if you can get a whole room done by the end of your show).</li> <li>Meditate.</li> <li>Alternate doing sit-ups and push-ups constantly through each commercial break.</li> <li>Read.</li> </ol> <p>Finally, I asked people on Facebook and Twitter what they do while they watch TV, and here are a few of their responses:</p> <ol start="66"> <li>Eat popcorn.</li> <li>Crossword or Sudoku puzzles.</li> <li>Knit.</li> <li>Facebook.</li> <li>Play with iPhone.</li> <li>Make out.</li> <li>Answer emails.</li> <li>Surf the web.</li> <li>Throw a ball for the dog.</li> <li>Think about how the TV show could have been written better.</li> <li>Contemplate how to get back that time later.</li> <li>According to my wife, mostly snore.</li> </ol> <p>And my favorite:</p> <ol start="78"> <li>Um&hellip;watch TV????</li> </ol> <p><em>What do you do while watching TV?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-fun-and-cheap-things-to-do-during-the-weekday">8 Fun and Cheap Things to Do During the Weekday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-up-and-get-out-how-to-find-cheap-local-events">Get Up and Get Out: How to Find Cheap Local Events</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-romantic-inexpensive-anniversary-celebrations">5 Romantic, Inexpensive Anniversary Celebrations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-the-most-out-of-warm-weather-weekdays">15 Ways to Make the Most Out of Warm-Weather Weekdays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle Productivity free time television things to do Wed, 06 Jul 2011 10:36:32 +0000 Nora Dunn 607410 at http://www.wisebread.com Quality of Life http://www.wisebread.com/quality-of-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/quality-of-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/quality of life.jpg" alt="free time" title="free time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">Travel is amazing for helping you realize even more about your own country, culture, and home life. And despite cultural differences, language barriers, and economical disparities, we all seem to be fighting the same demons and striving for the same goals. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I’d like to share a story about a man named Joe (a western nickname derived from his longer Thai name) who I met in Thailand. It doesn’t matter that Joe grew up in a place barely imaginable to westerners, and lives a very different life on the outside as us; when he shared his life story with me, I realized that the battle for quality of life exists absolutely everywhere. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Joe grew up in remote northern Thailand. In the sleepy town where he was raised, the small number of inhabitants live off the land. They work two months of the year; one month planting, and the second month harvesting. The entire rest of the year is spent living a “quality life”. Everything is hand-crafted, and beautifully at that. A simple soup ladle has an intricate and ornate wooden handle. Why? Because they have time, and having beautiful things improves their quality of life. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Although Joe says they only work two months of the year, there is still work to be done. They tend their personal gardens for an hour each day. Since everything is handcrafted, time is spent making and repairing their wares. And of course there must always be home repair and maintenance projects on an ongoing basis. But then again, we in the western world also are laden down with many of these tasks, in addition to a 40, 60, 80, or even 100 hour workweek. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But as Joe grew up, like so many adolescents and young adults, he wanted what was on the other side of the fence. He longed to partake in the business of city life, smell the aroma of success, and interact with movers and shakers. And off to Bangkok we went. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Once in Bangkok, Joe led a successful career as a marketing manager. But as successful as he was, and as successful as others saw him to be, he worked long hard hours, and barely made enough money to pay for rent, much less live the life he thought a “successful” person should live. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Joe would wake up at 5am, and would return home from work at 10pm. Only to wake up and repeat the same process, six days a week. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">A pair of jeans would cost one quarter of his monthly income. Rent: more than half. Food: another quarter. And after many years of this life, Joe realized that not only was no money left at the end of the month, but also no energy. No life. No love. And no happiness. In short – no quality of life. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Joe’s mind began to wander back to the life of his family, still in his home town. How on earth could he have thought that this life of “success” in the big city was better? Now the years of wisdom in the lines on his parents’ and grandparents’ faces made sense, as did their expressions of astonishment when Joe originally said he wanted to move away. They knew. But they also knew that Joe had to learn this lesson on his own. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Ten years later, Joe returned to his home town. His family and old friends accepted him with the unconditional love and acceptance that comes with the territory. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Now, Joe teaches westerners looking for their own quality of life the value of what may be right in front of them. He is a pioneer in sustainable living techniques, and adobe hut construction. He is now adopting a seed-saving program and other inspirational initiatives so that more and more people can preserve the beautiful world we live in as well as our quality of life (in the food we eat, places we live, and company we keep). </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But first and foremost – he doesn’t work 17 hours a day any more. He enjoys the little things that most of us don’t even understand, much less know how to enjoy. And he has defined for himself what “quality of life” really means. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Does his struggle in Bangkok sound familiar to our own daily struggles? Never having enough time or money? Never being able to just “be”? </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I wonder if there is a way for us to achieve that life – or at least that state of mind – in our part of the world. If everybody, despite background, culture, language, or family, wants the same thing, then maybe it’s easier to achieve than we may think. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quality-of-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-champaign-urbana">Free and cheap things to do in Champaign-Urbana</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/america-is-the-no-vacation-nation">America Is the No Vacation Nation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv">Massive List of Things to Do While Watching TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">Make Your Hobby Pay Its Way</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Art and Leisure free time quality of life schedules work Fri, 30 May 2008 07:41:53 +0000 Nora Dunn 2135 at http://www.wisebread.com