Are company meetings getting you down? Do you find yourself hoping for a productive meeting but wind up stuck in a conference room for an hour (or more) wondering what the point was? Is half your day stolen away from you due to one meeting invite after another and you feel obligated to attend? Bring meaning back into meetings with these 4 tips to help make the most of them. Getting together with co-workers to make progress is possible if you implement changes that will move the needle rather than having you feeling like you're being poked in the eye with one!

1. Have a Clear-Cut Objective

What's the plan, Stan? Your meeting needs a plan and purpose. As per Forbes, "Before you send that calendar invite, ask yourself: What do I seek to accomplish?" Not only will this give a clear-cut definition of what your motives and goals are, but your attendees will come prepared with useful tools and talking points.

As Effective Meetings notes, "The more concrete your meeting objectives, the more focused your agenda will be. (Another) benefit of having specific objectives for each meeting is that you have a concrete measure against which you can evaluate that meeting."

Learn what works and what needs improvement. The next meeting and those thereafter will be more fine-tuned and worth the effort.

2. Come Prepared

Speaking of arriving well-prepared, both the meeting organizer(s) and the invitees must have adequate time and resources to best position themselves to bring well-thought out material, information, and data to the meeting in order for it to be as effective and fruitful as possible.

According to The Muse, "Figure out what you already know about the topic of the meeting, and determine if there's anything you need to research and learn beforehand. Jot down a few questions that you plan to ask in the meeting."

Without pre-planning, the meeting may not deliver the results expected. Participants who come with ammo are the ones who will collectively shoot for the stars with the most accurate aim.

3. Watch the Clock

A meeting needs a defined start and end time. There are only so many hours in a day, and people have work to do. Be sure your meeting starts promptly and is run in a fashion that allows for a resolution once the bell rings. Like Entrepreneur notes, "If you don't start your meetings on time, chances are you won't end on time. Then the next meeting starts late. Before you know it, the entire day is off schedule."

Be sure to create and stick to an organized agenda. Forbes notes, "Create an agenda that lays out everything you plan to cover in the meeting, along with a timeline that allots a certain number of minutes to each item, and email it to people in advance." Entrepreneur adds, "By sending the agenda 24 hours in advance you give people a chance to prepare and make most of the time."

By making it clear that you value and respect the time of your co-workers, they will reciprocate. This creates a harmonious workplace and a day that delivers results by closing time.

4. Follow Up

Meetings have a goal to make something happen, so you'll need to follow up to be sure all assigned tasks are underway or completed. According to Entrepreneur, "Before you end your meetings make sure you recap any immediate actions and assign them to the appropriate owners."

After the meeting, send a brief email to all participants with the meeting's highlights and takeaways. As per Meetings.org, "Meeting minutes are very helpful as a reminder to everyone of what happened during the meeting and what is meant to be done now, by whom and by what date. It is good practice to circulate the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting has taken place."

Following up will keep participants accountable and responsible for their portion of the workload and keep everyone in-the-know about the projects and plans moving forward. With proper follow-up, the meeting's initial goals will be kept in check and reached with a solidified group effort.

Now it's time to plan your next meeting that will be smoother and more successful than in the past. But before you reserve the conference room, read "Can This Meeting Be an Email" and save everyone some time.

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I thought I had a pretty good handle on my finances out of school. I worked several jobs while attending university and had little to no problem managing my income. However, once I graduated, I realized how much more complicated personal accounting could really be.

There were so many variables I needed to keep track of. Biweekly bills, monthly charges, and general necessities amounted to a heap of confusing numbers that were often impossible to decipher. The funniest part was that I was actually trying to do this by hand (I don't know what I was trying to prove to myself, either).

After messing up for the 17th time, I decided to give Microsoft Excel a shot. I used Excel a bit in school and I knew all the big-wig finance people used it, so what could I possibly have to lose? The answer is about six hours of my precious time. Excel isn't much of an improvement over handwriting and it's still dependent on the user to manually input all of the information. It's like doing everything by hand with the slightest help, meaning that it still required a tremendous amount of time and concentration. Well that was all for nothing, I guess.

It's sort of funny. I was certain that I could manage my personal finances with ease, when it's practically a full-time job. I was already stressed out enough with my first job and I knew I didn't have enough time to give my finances the attention it deserved.

That's why I decided to try out a budgeting app. My best friend told me that he uses an app called Truebill to manage his finances. "What does it even mean to manage your finances?" I asked him. He told me that Truebill was the personal financial assistant I wished I could have. It could aggregate all of my account information into one place and give me specific insights and actions.

I loved the idea of having full control over my finances, especially during a time of financial uncertainty, and I realized that Truebill would be the easiest way to accomplish this. The user interface is incredibly simple and intuitive, so it doesn't even feel like a finance app! Truebill offers a multitude of features, with their most popular being the ability to cancel subscriptions with the press of a button.

Okay, I had no idea how many subscriptions I was still subscribed to. In fact, I wasn't even using a quarter of the subscription services I was signed up for. Subscription boxes, streaming services, my old gym, and even an old subscription to my favorite magazine--it was all there and I was livid. How could I let myself waste all of this money and how did I never catch this? Thank goodness for Truebill.

Truebill also offers bill negotiations. There is a 40% fee based on how much you save and Truebill even claims that there is an 85% chance that they'll be able to lower your bill once a negotiation is requested. Why wouldn't I take them up on this? There was zero risk and I would only have to pay once my bill was lowered (which means that I would be saving money regardless).

More standard features of Truebill include the ability to generate a credit report on-demand and even request a pay advance. I only used the pay advance feature once when I wanted to buy a gift for my mom, but didn't have enough cash in hand and Truebill automatically reimbursed itself when I got my next paycheck.

The credit report is another fantastic feature and practically taught me what good credit meant. Truebill's credit report basically shows you which financial decisions have the most significant impact on your credit score and ways that you can improve your credit month-over-month. I've never had such control over my credit and it feels good.

I'll be the first to admit that I was extremely naive coming out of school. I figured that as long as I was attentive, I could manage my finances with ease. We manage money to some extent throughout our entire lives, but once you're thrown out on your own, it's a completely different story. With Truebill, I've finally been able to take control over my finances and stay on top of all of my responsibilities.

Update: Our friends at Truebill are extending a special offer to our readers! Follow this link to sign-up for Truebill.

My buddies and I always try to make it out to a game, but we never really care which one we end up at. Obviously we have our favorite sports and teams, but it was rarely about what game we went to or who we saw playing. It was about watching the game live.

In the early months of lockdown, all we had was Korean baseball, and trust me, we loved it. The only issue was, none of us had any idea what the commentators were saying. Even then, a few of my friends weren't huge fans of baseball. They were into sports like football and basketball, ones that moved at a quicker pace with less down-time in between plays.

We decided to see if there were any other events going down and came across horse racing. Yes, horse racing. It was perfect--short, fast-paced, and most importantly, an opportunity for betting.

I had never really considered watching a horse race any time other than the Belmont Stakes, but the prospects of the sport seemed exhilarating. Even better, with horse racing we knew we could still recreate the atmosphere of a race track. Salty snacks? Check. Stale beer? Check. A simple and easy way to bet? Check.

One quick Google search later, we came across TVG, powered by FanDuel. It's an online betting platform that takes you right to the heart of the action. We were a little apprehensive about using a mobile app to place our bets, but TVG's ability to bet on live horse races from all over the world was too good to pass up.

Here are 5 reasons why we are obsessed with horse racing thanks to TVG:

1. Betting has never been easier

Use your phone or computer to watch and bet on live horse races in real-time. TVG offers a bunch of features to make betting even simpler--live odds and handicapping tips leverage recent learnings to help you make your best bet. Not to mention, TVG's exclusive race content and wagering guide offers an under-the-hood look into the strategy behind horse race betting.

2. The biggest selection of horse races out there

If you're looking to drop a little dough on a horse race, chances are your best option is your local race track. But watching the same few horses races over and over again isn't the most exciting thing. With TVG you have access to over 150 tracks worldwide with races happening consistently throughout the day.

3. Get a generous sign-up offer when you place your first bet

Once you register your account, you will be eligible for a $200 risk-free bet. All you have to do is place your first bet and you're covered. If you happen to lose, TVG will insure you for up to $200 as a sort of wagering credit. I may have been a little trigger happy when placing my first bet, so having this insurance was a great perk. There are also a bunch of promotional offers available year-round.

4. Making deposits and cashing out at the touch of button

With a ton of payment options such as PayPal, BetCash, debit/credit, wire transfers, and other third-party services, making a deposit is a breeze. But what about the payout? Depending on your deposit method, your withdrawal will be available in a few days. No more waiting in-line to collect your winnings!

5. Watching live races with your friends while betting is exhilarating

Even when we were watching Korean baseball, Zoom calls with my friends were a little dull.

With TVG, we haven't had this sort of fun in months! Every weekend we'll turn on a race and throw our bets in. After a few races, and quite a few drinks, we'll tally up our winnings to see who won the most! Sometimes it's not even about making money, but just having a good time.

TVG is the perfect way to add a little excitement to an otherwise mundane afternoon. It introduced me to the world of horse racing, a sport I never would have considered otherwise.

The races just keep ramping up and thanks to TVG, I can always get in on the fun.

UPDATE: The biggest derby in horse racing is THIS WEEKEND. Get in on the action with your $200 risk-free bet!

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