leisure http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9467/all en-US Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father_son_fishing_70352103.jpg" alt="Father and son beating stress with inexpensive pastimes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Expensive activities are stressful for me because paying for them weighs on my mind. I enjoy cheap or free pastimes, and even some pastimes that make money. Here are some inexpensive pastimes that you can enjoy to stay blissfully preoccupied without spending much money.</p> <h2>Exercise</h2> <p>The payoffs for regular exercise are immense, not least is the relaxation.</p> <h3>1. Bicycling</h3> <p>Bicycling can be a very inexpensive hobby. I picked up a cheap used bike for $28, rode it for five years, and then sold it for $35! In addition to a bike, there are a few other things you&rsquo;ll need to get started: a bike helmet and a bike lock to keep yourself and your bike safe. If you buy an older bike, you may need to change the tires and inner tubes, but you can do this yourself for only a few dollars. A cheap bike provides transportation, exercise, and entertainment.</p> <h3>2. Walking</h3> <p>Even if you don&rsquo;t have any money at all, you can still enjoy walking. Walking is a convenient way to spend time outside and enjoy the seasons with no special equipment or planning required. When the weather is bad, I enjoy walking indoors in shopping malls.</p> <h3>3. Hiking</h3> <p>Sometimes I like to go to go hiking in a park or trail away from roads and sidewalks. Hiking takes a bit more effort than simply going for a walk near your home or workplace, but provides more opportunities to get close to nature. Most hiking trips are free, but I recently paid $10 to go for a five-hour hike among the redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument while visiting San Francisco. This was the most entertainment I have ever gotten for $10!</p> <h2>Cerebral Activities</h2> <p>After you've worked your muscles, challenge your noodle.</p> <h3>4. Reading</h3> <p>Reading can be free if you get books at a public library or find free classics to read on your electronic devices via sites such as <a href="https://www.gutenberg.org/">Project Gutenberg</a>. It seems like there is a nearly endless supply of new books coming along, plus the old classics to catch up on.</p> <h3>5. Writing</h3> <p>Writing has been a great pastime for me. It is exciting to see my work published, and I have even been able to make some money along the way from writing books, articles, and through advertising on my blog. If you are not ready to publish your work for the world to see, writing a journal for yourself or stories to share with your friends and family is a great way to get started writing.</p> <h3>6. Crossword Puzzles</h3> <p>Crossword puzzles help keep your mind sharp and some people seem to really enjoy doing them. I have tried doing crossword puzzles a few times, but it is too much like doing a homework assignment for me to enjoy. Maybe I need to find some easier crossword puzzles to build up my skills.</p> <h3>7. Brain Games</h3> <p>I have tried brain games on my computer, such as the free trial version of <a href="http://www.lumosity.com/">Lumosity</a>, and I sometimes play Math Blaster on my Android device. There are all kinds of free brain games that exercise your skills and help you stay sharp as you try to beat your high score. Some games even allow you to compare your scores with others.</p> <h3>8. Educational Videos</h3> <p>You no longer need to wait until Sunday evening for NOVA to come on PBS. You can get a wide selection of educational programs any time on Netflix ($8 per month) or YouTube (free). I like to find TED Talks on YouTube to find interesting perspectives on everything from physics to social sciences.</p> <h3>9. Online Courses</h3> <p>There are all kinds of online courses you can take for free, including subjects such as computer programming, statistics, and science. Here are some places to check for online courses that interest you:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm">MIT OpenCourseWare</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.coursera.org/">Coursera</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses">Open Culture</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.khanacademy.org/">Khan Academy</a></li> </ul> <h3>10. Jigsaw Puzzles</h3> <p>Some people get excited about doing jigsaw puzzles and like to receive them as gifts. Jigsaw puzzles can provide many hours of entertainment for not much money, and you do get a sense of satisfaction &mdash; or relief &mdash; when the puzzle is complete. You can pick up used jigsaw puzzles at garage sales for a dollar or two that provide hours of entertainment, but you might find out that there are missing pieces.</p> <h3>11. Ancestry Research/Genealogy</h3> <p>You can make a serious hobby out of researching your ancestry. It is easier than ever to research family history and find links to your family&rsquo;s past. You can get a long way without spending much money and produce research on your family history that will be invaluable to future generations.</p> <h3>12. Learn a Foreign Language</h3> <p>When you learn a foreign language, you learn more than just a bunch of foreign words. You learn about another culture and open up opportunities to meet and learn about new people.</p> <h2>Nature/Outdoor Enjoyment</h2> <p>When you tire of puzzles and brain games, re-connect with nature.</p> <h3>13. Camping</h3> <p>Camping can be a great way to get away and see things from a fresh perspective. You can find places to camp for free, but even if you pay to stay in a campground, you can find places to pitch a tent for around $20 per night.</p> <h3>14. Fishing</h3> <p>Basic fishing equipment doesn&rsquo;t cost a lot of money. You can get an inexpensive rod and reel good enough to catch your dinner for around $25. I still have a lot of the same fishing tackle I used when I was growing up. The price of a seasonal fishing license varies by location. I paid about $20 and was able to go fishing whenever I wanted all summer.</p> <h3>15. Bird-watching</h3> <p>It is hard not to watch the birds at my house. I have seen orioles, blue jays, cardinals, robins, hummingbirds, geese, and even bald eagles. I put out bird feeders to attract birds near my house for easy observation. Even if you don&rsquo;t put out bird feeders, you can probably find interesting birds to watch and enjoy. Binoculars are useful to be able to observe birds high in trees or too far away to see easily.</p> <h2>Food-Related</h2> <p>While you don't want to use food as a coping tool, lots of the activities around food prep are satisfying and relaxing.</p> <h3>16. Gardening</h3> <p>You get to enjoy planning your garden, watching it grow, and then harvest lots of free vegetables. Gardening can be very inexpensive if you start your own seeds and make your own compost to use for fertilizer. Even if you don&rsquo;t have a yard, you can grow vegetables in pots on a patio or deck. If you don&rsquo;t want to rototill a traditional garden, you can grow vegetables in straw bales or build raised beds for easy access.</p> <h3>17. Cooking</h3> <p>Cooking is a great pastime since it reduces the probability that you will spend money on expensive restaurant food. Watch some cooking shows or videos to learn cooking techniques and get ideas for recipes you want to try out. You can get started cooking with only a few pans and utensils.</p> <h3>18. Canning Food</h3> <p>If you have a successful garden, you&rsquo;ll need to do something with all of those vegetables. The first thing I remember canning was salsa we made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro we grew in the garden. It was messy and a lot of work, but it was fun to make those cans of salsa to save for winter and to give to friends. If you have a freezer, you can use an inexpensive <a href="http://amzn.to/1Y6gll8">vacuum sealer</a> to pull the air out of plastic bags and seal up your produce to freeze without getting freezer burned.</p> <h3>19. Grilling</h3> <p>You can start grilling with a $20 charcoal grill. If $20 is too much for you, you can even make a grill for free! My kids build a kebab pit for free using concrete blocks they found and it works great. I also have a gas grill which is more expensive, but very convenient. Grilling outside is one of my favorite activities, followed closely by eating the food that I grill.</p> <h2>Creative Activities</h2> <p>Nothing is as satisfying as zoning out while making something. The doing is its own reward &mdash; but you'll also be rewarded with some of your own handiwork.</p> <h3>20. Wood shop</h3> <p>One of my favorite pastimes is working in my wood shop. I like to repair things, build small projects, and just spend time in my shop organizing my tools and thinking. A wood shop does not need to be expensive. I built one of my workbenches from a kit and others using recycled kitchen cabinets and countertops. Many of my tools were used tools that people gave me.</p> <h3>21. Photography</h3> <p>You can take surprisingly good photos with a cellphone or cheap digital camera, especially in outdoor lighting. A quality digital SLR camera with a zoom lens runs around $300 and will allow you to take your photography to the next level, providing more control over the camera settings.</p> <h3>22. Musical Instruments</h3> <p>You can pick up cheap used musical instruments on Craigslist or at consignment or pawnshops. Of course, buying the instrument is the easy part &mdash; learning to play it well takes work and practice.</p> <h3>23. Sewing</h3> <p>With a sewing machine, fabric, and a pattern, you can make your own clothes. Collecting bargain fabrics is part of the fun of sewing.</p> <h2>Social Activities</h2> <p>It's a fact of life that other people can be the cause of so much stress. It's also a fact of life that other people are often the cure.</p> <h3>24. Volunteer Work</h3> <p>There are lots of opportunities available to volunteer some of your time working for a good cause. Volunteering can be a good way to do something you enjoy and meet other people with similar interests. Some ideas for volunteering: animal shelter, food pantry, political campaign, church organizations.</p> <h3>25. Visiting</h3> <p>If you get bored hanging around your own house, try going to someone else's house! Visiting friends or family is a cheap way to get out of the house and do something different for a change of pace. Having people come over to visit at your place can inspire you to get cleaning and projects done.</p> <h3>26. Playing Cards</h3> <p>Playing cards is a classic cheap pastime, as long as you aren&rsquo;t placing bets. Poker, bridge, and euchre are some popular card games that allow you to play competitively with others.</p> <h2>Cheap Entertainment</h2> <p>Finally, it's okay to be a couch potato from time to time.</p> <h3>27. Sports Fan</h3> <p>Some people spend a lot as sports fans, paying big money for tickets to games and buying team jerseys and other paraphernalia. But being a sports fan doesn&rsquo;t have to be expensive. I don&rsquo;t subscribe to any TV service, but I can find many of my Iowa Hawkeye football games for free, either on over-the-air TV or on radio broadcasts. Sometimes I can find a free video stream of the game on the Internet.</p> <h3>28. News Junkie</h3> <p>I listen to National Public Radio (NPR) for about an hour every day to keep up on news and world events. When I miss my chance to listen to the news for some reason, I feel out of touch and usually end up going on the Internet to check news stories I am following. Keeping up with the news is a cheap pastime and makes it easy to have an intelligent conversation with anyone you meet.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite cheap pastimes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">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/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally">The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally)</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/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv">25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV</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-awesome-money-making-hobbies">10 Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</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-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment crafts exercise fun games hobbies learning leisure pastimes projects things to do Thu, 16 Jun 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1728607 at http://www.wisebread.com Top 5 Economy Based Board Games that Make You Think http://www.wisebread.com/top-five-economy-based-board-games-that-make-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/top-five-economy-based-board-games-that-make-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/agricola.jpg" alt="Agricola" title="Agricola" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My husband and I have a fairly large collection of board games that we play in our leisure time.&nbsp; A good number of these games have an economic element that teach you to think carefully about how to invest your resources and best your opponents.&nbsp; Here is a list of my favorite economy based board games.</p> <p>First of all the following games belong to a big group of board games called&nbsp; Eurogames.&nbsp; This means that there is less conflict between players, less luck, and more strategy involved.&nbsp; The antithesis to Eurogames is what board game players fondly call &quot;<a href="http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/16485">Ameritrash</a>&quot;, which are games that involve a lot of&nbsp; rules, dice rolling, and all out bloody fights between players.&nbsp; Those who like to play a bit slower and think a bit more&nbsp; would enjoy the following games immensely.</p> <h2><strong>Agricola</strong></h2> <p>The premise of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001C7617Q?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001C7617Q">Agricola</a> is that you are a farmer in a little shack and you have to build up your farm with your family.&nbsp; You start with yourself and one other family member and then you have exactly 14 turns to make your farm as plentiful as possible with the basic available resources of wood, clay, reed, and stone.&nbsp; Eventually you can also increase your family size by having babies, and also grow food and livestock.&nbsp; This game is extremely interesting in that you have to formulate a slightly different strategy with every game you play since you are dealt a hand of possible occupations and improvements to your farm.&nbsp; You also have to balance the food production of your farm with the improvement of your farm because your family members have to be fed every few turns. Every game of Agricola is different, and you could also play a one player variant where you try to beat a high score.</p> <h2><strong>Puerto Rico</strong></h2> <p>I like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008URUT?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00008URUT">Puerto&nbsp;Rico</a> a lot because there is almost no luck involved. Everything you do depend on what other players do.&nbsp; Every player is a plantation owner that tries to build up the most valuable plantation in Puerto Rico while shipping goods from the plantation back to Spain&nbsp; for points.&nbsp; There are a set of occupations that the players can take every turn, and each occupation gives a certain bonus. Every player is then given an equal opportunity to do the actions of the occupation chosen.&nbsp; There is also a pile of money that can be saved to upgrade the plantation.&nbsp; You also have to manage your workers to get the best production results.&nbsp; My general strategy in this game is to save up a lot of money to buy the best buildings because they give the most bonus, but it also takes some work to build up a viable income stream.</p> <h2><strong> </strong><strong> Power Grid </strong></h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007YDBLE?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0007YDBLE">Power Grid</a> is a bit like Monopoly with power plants, but there is a much smaller element of luck.&nbsp; Every player is given 50 units of currency to start with, and then there is an auction for power plants.&nbsp; Each power plant has a different minimum bid and they use different resources to produce different amounts of power.&nbsp; Players also have to spend their money to buy resources and houses. The houses are placed on a map so there are also connection costs between the homes.&nbsp; Once all the purchasing is complete players can use the resources they bought to power the houses they bought.&nbsp; Each home that is powered generates more money.&nbsp; This game is great for illustrating the laws of supply and demand because the prices of the desirable power plants go up as players bid, and the prices of resources also go up as they are depleted.&nbsp; In the end of the game the player who powers the most houses wins, and in case of a tie the person&nbsp; with the most money wins.</p> <h2><strong> </strong><strong>Caylus</strong></h2> <p>I played <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BNFHBI?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000BNFHBI">Caylus</a> a bit less than the others games on this list, but it is quite fun with more than two people.&nbsp; The basic premise is that you are a serf to a king, and you try to win the king's favors by helping him build a castle.&nbsp; In the meantime you try to collect resources and money for points.&nbsp; You use your resources to build buildings in the kingdom and whenever another player uses a building you own you get a point.&nbsp; You also get points for building castle pieces and favors.&nbsp; Similar to Agricola, you have a limited number of workers to take certain actions, but you have to pay gold to take each action.&nbsp; So in the entire game you need to balance the amount of gold you earn with the amount of actions you take because if you use too many actions it is possible that you cannot do much the next turn.&nbsp; There is also a mechanic by which other players can screw up your plans by moving a marker that dictates where the actions end so you have to be wary of where you place your workers.</p> <h2><strong> </strong><strong>Le Havre</strong>&nbsp;</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001N815J8?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001N815J8">Le Havre</a> is probably the hardest one to master out of these five because there are a lot more types of resources to manage. You also have a lot of choices of actions to take with each turn so it is difficult to make a decision.&nbsp; It can be described as a combination of Puerto Rico and Agricola since it involves shipping goods, feeding workers, and also purchasing improvement buildings.&nbsp; Anyone can use the improvement buildings but some buildings require players to pay a cost to the building's owner.&nbsp; This is also a game where the person with the most points win in the end, but you have to manage your money and resources carefully along the way to produce the best results.&nbsp; This game could also be played single player.</p> <p>Every year there are new board games being published so I am sure that I will be able to add to this list in the future.&nbsp; I like these resource and money management themed games the best because they make you think of how to optimize an outcome with what little resources you have.&nbsp; Although these games are quite simple compared to the real world, I think&nbsp; you could definitely apply the basic principles in them to optimize and better your lives.&nbsp; These games are also great for teaching older children the basics of money and resource management.</p> <p><strong>Are you a fan of any of these board games?&nbsp; What's your favorite economy based game? </strong></p> <p><em>Disclosure: This post contains my Amazon affiliate links to the games. You could also get these games from your local game store and other reputable online retailers.&nbsp; The games in my list are fairly reasonably priced and most are below $50 unlike the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/theres-a-board-game-out-there-that-will-teach-you-to-be-rich-if-you-can-afford-it">recently mentioned Cashflow board game </a>which is in my opinion a money making scheme by the inventors.&nbsp; <br /> </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-five-economy-based-board-games-that-make-you-think">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/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">Make Your Hobby Pay Its Way</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/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes</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/open-group-write-regional-events-and-things-to-do-for-under-5">Open group write - regional events and things to do for under $5</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/25-awesome-useful-gifts">25 Awesome, Useful Gifts</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/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Art and Leisure board games hobbies leisure Thu, 06 Aug 2009 13:00:25 +0000 Xin Lu 3472 at http://www.wisebread.com More Living a Life of Weisure - 15 Suggestions to Help You Keep the "L" In Your Leisure-Time http://www.wisebread.com/more-living-a-life-of-weisure-15-suggestions-to-help-you-keep-the-l-in-your-leisure-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/more-living-a-life-of-weisure-15-suggestions-to-help-you-keep-the-l-in-your-leisure-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1182580_yacht_silhouette.jpg" alt="yacht silhouette" title="yacht silhouette" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="150" height="300" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There were some excellent points brought up a few days back in a previous post about &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-a-life-of-weisure">weisure-time</a>,&quot; a euphemism coined when we increasingly spend our leisure time engaging in our work. A few people indicated that it would be helpful to have some tips or suggestions as to how, if living a life of weisure was not desirable, to better manage our time so as to avoid it altogether. With that in mind, I&rsquo;d like to offer 15 helpful suggestions to meet that end.</p> <p>Before I begin, however, I&rsquo;d like to point out that for many of us, a life of weisure is what we aspire to. Some of us just love our jobs enough to want to fill every waking moment with our work, regardless of how our friends and family feel about that. And for some of us, we might not have much choice, as our professional circumstances require that we work long after we&rsquo;ve left the office, or possibly lose our jobs.</p> <p>But if replacing your free time with business related activities makes you unhappy and you have some ability to change it, which is most often the case, then there are some ways to help lower the prominence of weisure in your life, and it all boils down to time management.</p> <p>And while I&rsquo;m no expert on the subject of time management, I do have a couple of things that give me some semblance of credibility in the matter. First off, I was once in college, and spent a great deal of time at least feigning being organized, namely in the interest of passing my classes. I&rsquo;ve also held a few jobs where I was in charge of a number of administrative issues, so time management was an integral part of my duties. Finally, I&rsquo;m a parent, and as anyone with children knows, being around kids and getting them where they need to be requires organization for the sake of your very survival. For the record, having children and a family also have a wonderful way of instilling us with perspective and reminding us of why we work in the first place.</p> <p>But it has to come from us, and the sooner we acknowledge that, the sooner we can work towards achieving better balance in our lives, and here are some helpful suggestions to begin that process.</p> <p><strong>1. Define your role with your employer at the beginning</strong>, and then set your schedule accordingly. A life of weisure is usually something we evolve into. Most of us don&rsquo;t seek out jobs knowing that they will require us to work 60 to 80 hours a week. They generally begin with reasonable working hours, and over time, we gradually build up to it. So set the proper precedents and work hard to maintain them.</p> <p><strong>2. Keep your job in perspective</strong>, and remind yourself why you&rsquo;re working in the first place. This help you to define your goals at work as well as at home, then establish an acceptable amount of time exclusively for work or play.</p> <p><strong>3. Be organized (part 1).</strong> I realize this is a no-brainer, but it&rsquo;s amazing how a little organization goes a long way. Set up a schedule and stick to it, letting others know that you won&rsquo;t give in to exceptions. This also includes keeping your work space tidy. I can&rsquo;t tell you how much time I&rsquo;ve wasted searching for something lost in the mess of my desk, not to mention the frustration and aggravation that ensues.. And lists can be your best friend.</p> <p><strong>4. Keep a journal of your time.</strong> History is a great teacher. By knowing how your time was spent in the past, you can gain a much better understanding of how to optimize your time in the future. </p> <p><strong>5. Learn to delegate.</strong> This is a complicated issue, because for some of us (myself included), the insecurity of wanting to know we&rsquo;re needed turns us into martyrs who refuse to let others do our work, thus giving us the illusion that we are indispensable. In certain instances you may be the best person for the job, but for the most part, work can be shared with good results. If you still feel that only you should do the work, then you&rsquo;re really not in a position to complain when it was a self imposed circumstance.</p> <p><strong>6. Learn to say no.</strong> One of the hardest things I learned at work was that I had a right to decline a task if it was with good reason. In fact, duties were often prefaced with an inquiry as to whether I had the time to do something. Of course, I foolishly said yes to everything, even when I had the right to say no.</p> <p><strong>7. Prioritize.</strong> Tackle the most important jobs or the hardest ones first. With the heavy hitters out of the way, you can almost find enjoyment in doing the lesser trivial things, almost like a mini vacation (I know, it&rsquo;s a stretch). Also, group similar tasks together and do them concurrently to maximize efficiency.</p> <p><strong>8. Break up big jobs</strong>, if possible, and finish them over the course of more than one day. Chipping away at the stone helps make big tasks more tolerable. Don&rsquo;t try to do everything in one fell swoop if possible. Also, breaking things up will often give you a fresh point of view when you return to it, which might ultimately help you do a better job.</p> <p><strong>9. Communicate.</strong> Be on the same page with other important people in your life. This includes your boss as well as your friends and family. We often are incapable of seeing how our lifestyles are affecting us and those around us, though your boss won&rsquo;t hesitate to let you know. Like any relationship, constant communication will relay to you how your time spent is affecting your professional and personal relationship.</p> <p><strong>10. Deal effectively with distractions and interruptions.</strong> Unless you lock yourself up in your office (assuming you have an office) and unplug the phone, things are going to interrupt the flow of your work. The question is how to deal with them. When possible, take a message or promise to call back, whatever it takes to shorten the duration of the interruption. Also, don&rsquo;t make yourself too comfortable during a distraction (I read somewhere it&rsquo;s good stand up during a phone call) and keep the important task at hand in plain sight to remind you to keep it short.</p> <p><strong>11. Be organized (part 2).</strong> Set aside a block of time to return calls or respond to emails. Don&rsquo;t try to take on everything that crops up, including phone calls, emails, and inquiries. Unless it&rsquo;s urgent, which it usually is not, tactfully let people know that you will address certain things at certain times, and stand your ground.<br /> <strong><br /> 12. Give yourself a cushion.</strong> Don&rsquo;t schedule every working minute because things never work out exactly as you plan them. A break in time will give you a margin for error that can compensate for lost time due to complications.<br /> <strong><br /> 13. Give personal or family time the credit it deserves.</strong> That doesn&rsquo;t mean you have to pencil in time with your spouse in your calendar, but when you set aside personal time, give it the importance that its due. Don&rsquo;t think of it as time that is easily sacrificed because it&rsquo;s not as important as your working time. And try to do without cell phones for the few short hours that you spend outside of work. For most of us, there won&rsquo;t be any negative consequences.</p> <p><strong>14. Consider compromising time in one place </strong>to have more in another. In other words, less time at lunch or in the break room might translate into more time at home (for some people this may not be desirable). This may not guarantee that you can leave work early (in fact, it probably won&rsquo;t), but it might mean you won&rsquo;t have to stay later.<br /> <strong><br /> 15. Defend your own time.</strong> Others will feel that their needs are greater than yours. When you multiply that effect over many people, it can simply overwhelm you, and it&rsquo;s a slippery slope when you start compromising your own time to attend to everyone&rsquo;s issues. So let them know (again, tactfully) that it&rsquo;s not okay to interrupt you and don&rsquo;t accept the preface, &ldquo;I know you&rsquo;re busy, but&hellip;&rdquo;</p> <p>As always, if you have any of your own suggestions or experiences that you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>In the end, the situation and the need vary from person to person. Only you know your own circumstances, so act accordingly. It&rsquo;s your life, and the impetus ultimately lies with you to decide whether or not you wish to maintain the &ldquo;L&rdquo; in your leisure-time, or replace it with a &quot;W.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fred-lee">Fred Lee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/more-living-a-life-of-weisure-15-suggestions-to-help-you-keep-the-l-in-your-leisure-time">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/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</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/living-a-life-of-weisure">Living a Life of Weisure?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale">How to Sell Your Kid&#039;s Stuff at a Consignment Sale</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-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads">5 Financial Reasons Paid Parental Leave Is Essential for Moms and Dads</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Family Lifestyle leisure weisure Fri, 22 May 2009 11:30:23 +0000 Fred Lee 3191 at http://www.wisebread.com Open group write - regional events and things to do for under $5 http://www.wisebread.com/open-group-write-regional-events-and-things-to-do-for-under-5 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/open-group-write-regional-events-and-things-to-do-for-under-5" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/carnival.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>Open call</strong> </p> <p>This will the be first in our new series of open group writes.  It&#39;s a chance to showcase great bloggers in the Wise Bread community and provide more resources for our readers.  To participate, write a post on the designated topic and send us your link.  We&#39;ll post an article with links to all qualified submissions in a few weeks. If you don&#39;t have your own blog, <a href="/forums/frugal-living/wise-bread-group-write-things-do-under-5-a-2712.html">post it in this forum thread</a>, and we&#39;ll link to your forum post. </p> <p><strong>The topic</strong> </p> <p>Share a list of the best events and activities to do in your city for under $5.  Keep it region specific -- please don&#39;t say &quot;go to the closest park.&quot;  And keep at least most of your list relevant for an unlimited time.  Try not to include too many soon-to-expire events or activities (annual events on the other hand are great to include).  We want this list to still be useful and relevant long after it&#39;s been posted. </p> <p><strong>The rules</strong></p> <p>We accept articles written in the past, as long as it&#39;s still relevant.  </p> <p>It needs to include several activities, not just a review of one. </p> <p>The article must be region specific.  An article on &quot;The top 10 things to do in the US&quot; will not be included. </p> <p>Submitting your link does not guarantee its inclusion on the final post.  We will only include relevant and useful articles. </p> <p> Links need to be submitted by August 29.  </p> <p><strong>Submission Requirements</strong> </p> <p>Name</p> <p>City/State the article pertains to </p> <p>Permalink to article </p> <p>Submit the links to editor@wisebread.com.  Please put &quot;Group Write: $5 Fun&quot; as the subject of the email. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Thanks to all those who particpated!  Here is our <a href="/free-and-cheap-fun-things-to-do-in-your-city">ultimate list of $5 fun</a>. Please continue to keep it relevant by sending new links!</strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/open-group-write-regional-events-and-things-to-do-for-under-5">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/top-five-economy-based-board-games-that-make-you-think">Top 5 Economy Based Board Games that Make You Think</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/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes</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/8-fun-and-frugal-things-to-do-with-origami">8 Fun and Frugal Things to Do with Origami</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">10 Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Art and Leisure cheap activities fun leisure regional events Mon, 28 Jul 2008 19:09:46 +0000 Lynn Truong 2259 at http://www.wisebread.com