We all want to be standouts at work from the moment we reach our desks until we shut the lights for the evening. Part of being a stellar employee is being as productive as possible. But with the wide array of distractions, disturbances, and unforeseen dilemmas that weasel their way into the everyday, productivity can unfortunately dwindle.
Don't let non-important nuisances and idiotic interruptions meddle with your mind. You can be in charge of your work day and make productivity the primary priority. When you weed out the nonsense and time-wasting capacity-crushers, your productiveness will soar and the lost opportunities will be found once again.
These 4 things that are causing you to be less productive at work must be wrangled in and repurposed in order for you to make the most of your work day. Follow these tips to achieve better concentration and control. Productivity = power!
While not many of us hear that exciting notification, "You've Got Mail!" anymore, the moment a new email arrives in the inbox is a real thrill for many. Do you check your inbox countless times throughout the day, perhaps every time a new item comes in? Not only is this slightly obsessive, it's severely sucking the time out of what's sure to be an already busy day.
As per Hubspot, "Constantly switching tasks between work and email can really hurt your productivity. To help you focus in chunks of time, turn off those pesky email alerts and limit checking your email to specified breaks."
Consider 3 checks per day – first thing in the morning, before lunch, and an hour before you plan to leave in order to give you enough time to respond to anything pressing. Believe it or not, no one is expecting you to reply to their email immediately (unless they fall into the unproductive category). If something is extremely urgent, you'll receive a phone call… remember those?
Additionally, you can set your email to automatically send certain items into pre-set folders for your perusing preferences. Check the high priority folders a bit more frequently, if necessary, when something is of top concern or you're on a tight deadline.
It may take time and a little uneasiness to make this email checking change, but over time, the increase in your productivity will become evident. Don't be held captive by your inbox! You're in charge of what gets opened and when.
Social Media Sink Hole
One of the biggest disruptions of the modern age is social media. Feeds, pages, profiles, and pics are draining the life out of a full day of work. Your Twitter page is likely opened in a tab on your computer right now. Unless you actually work for Twitter or are a social media manager or have a similar job, there's no reason that any social media site should be part of your work day. And you're only fooling yourself if you constantly check Facebook on your smart phone on the down low.
Is it really that important to "like" Betty's status update when you should be finishing that report due at 3pm? Sure, it's cool that she's having fun on her honeymoon in Barbados, but that won't impress your boss when he reads your less-than-complete review of the company's Q3 earnings.
Train yourself to only check social media during your lunch break. Or, gasp, wait until you get home. You'll be surprised how free you will start to feel. And don't forget to change your settings on your phone so you aren't interrupted by notifications and messages from your more easily-distracted (and still underproductive) friends. The posts and photos won't disappear if you didn't see them the instant they were put live. What may disappear is your focus if you choose to give in to the urge to waste time and scroll through silly pet pictures and political memes all day.
Do you find yourself responding "Yes" to every single meeting request you receive? Sure, no one wants to miss out on a good gathering, but before agreeing to attend, take a moment to assess whether or not you'll benefit from participating.
Many meeting invites are sent as a courtesy rather than a real need. Plus, any decent invitation will come with a brief synopsis of the planned agenda and what the intended goal is. Will you gain anything from spending up to an hour sitting in this meeting or is your input vital to its success? If the answer is no, then that should be your R.S.V.P. as well. You can always get a summary of the meeting after the fact or send someone else from your department who'd be a better fit for the meeting's intentions.
And don't worry about offending anyone or feeling left out. Saying yes to everything doesn't make you a better worker, it only makes you a people-pleaser. According to Under 30 CEO, "Any time you say 'yes' to something, it means less time and energy you can give to something else. Ask yourself where this fits into the importance/urgency grid." If it falls on the low end, it only makes sense to focus on the work that will move the needle.
As per Hubspot, "The average person wastes 31 hours in meetings per month." Not to mention the time it takes to get back to what you were working on before the meeting began. Hubspot notes that is takes about 25 minutes to refocus after switching tasks. And if there's more than one meeting per day, your productivity will pitfall pitifully.
We've all got a lot on our plate, but trying to do everything at once is a productivity nightmare. It's difficult to get deep into the nitty gritty of any one particular task when your mind is scattered on everything you need to work on simultaneously.
Hubspot asserts that, "Research shows (multitasking) can make us less effective, increase mistakes and stress, and costs the global economy an estimated $450 billion every year. Only 2% of the population is capable of effectively multitasking. For the other 98%, all it does is cause us to be 40% less productive and make 50% more mistakes than non-multitaskers."
You must keep your focus on one item at a time. Finish the job and move on. You'll feel satisfied that a task is completed from start to end and you can move on to the next task with a fresh mindset. At first you may have trouble getting the other agenda items out of your head, but you'll need to have a clear head in order to get the best result for each project.
Under 30 CEO suggests making a "To Do" list to keep your thoughts in check. Itemize what's on your schedule and prioritize them, getting to the most urgent matters first. It's a shame to leave your office with a bunch of tasks only partially completed. It can lead to stress, frustration, and a manager that's not sufficiently satisfied with your achievements. Finishing a task is rewarding and productive and will give you the energy and drive to get to the next thing on your list.
Are you ready to be more productive tomorrow? You can drown out the noise and get to what's important. Start by asking your cousin to stop posting those irresistible photos of her new puppy on Instagram!
As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.
Extensive Plants and Greenery
A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.
As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.
There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.
Usable Outdoor Furniture
Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.
A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.
Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.
Acting Quickly Out of Emotion
Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.
Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.
Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation
Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.
If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.
Donating Unusable Materials
Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.
Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.
Strictly Giving at Year's End
As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.
With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.
Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.
The Age of Your House
Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.
The One-Percent Rule
An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.
The Square-Foot Rule
Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.
The Mix and Match Method
Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.
Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.