Every working person is looking for new ways to improve productivity and organization. There's always a new app, a new planner, or a new website to try. But there is an analog system that actually works much more effectively than any of these options. It's called a bullet journal.
This is a system created by designer Ryder Carroll to combine his calendar, tasks and journal all into one notebook. Here are a few ways this system can help improve your productivity and organization at work.
1. Organize and prioritize your tasks
There are plenty of to-do list apps to dump your tasks into and they offer tons of ways to organize and prioritize them. But while these apps have basically infinite space to jot down as many tasks as you want, you don't suddenly have infinite time to complete all of them. Seeing how much room your tasks take up in your bullet journal will force you to prioritize. You will end up choosing what you absolutely need to have done versus what would just be nice to have done. Also, writing by hand improves your memory so even without referring to your list, you'll be less likely to forget what you planned to do next.
2. Change your layouts based on your needs
No matter how flexible planners and apps claim to be, there will always be some restraints. But in a journal, you can personalize and rearrange your spreads however you like. Your bullet journal can adapt based on the projects or assignments you're working on. With just a pen and a ruler, you can create entire spreads personalized to your specific needs. To have the same thing in a traditional planner, you would have to pay $50 to $100. But with a bullet journal, you can have your own personalized workspace pretty inexpensively.
3. Take meeting notes right next to your task list
This goes back a little into the flexibility of the system. A great perk of a bullet journal is that you can literally turn the page and start something new. If you were to go all digital, you would probably have separate to-do and note-taking apps. No need for that with a bullet journal. Just take your meeting notes right next to your task list or projections or goals or whatever you want. No need to scramble around different applications for the information you need. Everything is in one place.
4. Track long-term goals over several months or even a year
You can literally put anything you want in your journal. Want to track your work hours? Write it down. Need to check off when you talked to a client when? Write it down. You don't need expensive proprietary software. Anything you need to track, you can. Even if you don't purposely track anything, you can always flip back through your pages and see what you worked on when. It's a good record to keep in the months and years to come.
5. No charging, syncing, or updating required
Technology offers great tools, but there are a few drawbacks. Ever been in a long meeting and anxious about your tablet or phone battery? Needed to grab some notes but your app wouldn't sync? Wanted to input tasks but your app was updating? None of these issues exist with a bullet journal. Just put it in your bag and go. You will probably be the most organized and on-top-of-it person in your office. (Of course, you don't want to get it wet or accidentally leave it behind, but nothing's truly perfect.)
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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.