While it seems that everyone could benefit from some extra time, making the most of your time can give the illusion that you have more of it. With fixed daily tasks and spontaneous assignments, late nights can become the norm. But with knowledge about time management, you can maximize the little time you have and get more done. Here are some tips to get you there.
1. Always ask for a deadline.
The word "deadline" sends a lot of us into panic mode, making us recall sleepless nights in the library at college trying to get a paper in on time. But fear not. Much like the words "diet" or "budget," these negatively stigmatized words are actually designed to give you more freedom. A deadline will give you the opportunity to plan how long an assignment will take. If you are not given a deadline, give yourself one so that you will hold yourself accountable. But according to Ty Kiisel at Forbes, "don't make promises you can't keep." Be realistic, and get your work done on time.
2. Overestimate how long a task will take.
Playing it safe is always better than rushing to complete an assignment. Just giving yourself a buffer of five or ten minutes can help you feel more relaxed and ahead of schedule. Working with a clear head will allow you to focus more on the task at hand and less on the ticking clock.
3. Prioritize realistically.
You know this one. Not every task will be of equal importance, so be smart about prioritizing. If you can, plan for more difficult assignments in the beginning of the day when you are fresh and alert, and more rote tasks later on in the day when you'll likely need a break. Kevin Purdy of Fast Company warns against checking your email during the first hour of your day. Instead, do some heavy lifting.
4. Do less tasks per day.
When you have 100 items on your to do list, the chances will be low that you'll get anything done. Give yourself only the tasks that you know you will get done today. Keep it to 5 to 7 items, only. That's about all we can handle. Plus, a to do list that's all checked off is so much nicer than one that still has outstanding items. Here's a great resource to make your to do list!
5. Make an hour-by-hour schedule.
Think back to high school. Every hour of your day was scheduled out by classes, and it worked. Do the same in your work life, but understand that things will be variable. If you have a potential schedule to work from, though, it will be a lot easier to know what you're going to do every day. We like to write it down in a planner, old school, but feel free to use calendar apps if that floats your boat better.
6. Revel in your contingency time.
Remember all that extra time you have because you overestimated the time it takes to do your tasks? Now, use that time as contingency to take care of anything that was unexpected, or just relax!
7. Take frequent breaks to separate activities.
Your breaks are your rewards between completing tasks. Don't think that taking a break will waste time. It will actually help boost your endurance by giving you the chance to recharge and get that circulation going.
You have a lot more time than you think you do, if you use it efficiently. But we won't hold you up anymore. Get back to work!
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Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.
Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.
But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.
Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.
Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.
More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.
Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.
Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.
Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.
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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.