Time flies when you're having fun and hopefully your job falls into that category. Before you know it, lunch hour rolls around and you turn your head and it's time to pack up and head home. There's lots of work to get done, calls to be made, emails to send, meetings to attend, and more. You get the picture – a workday can be jam-packed, so efficiency is key in order to stay on top of your work in an organized fashion that yields positive results. These tips will help improve your daily workplace efficiency so you are able to perform at your peak and succeed both personally and for the company as a whole.
We all get entirely too much email. It's the nature of modern communication. This doesn't mean you are obligated to check your inbox every single time an email floats in or must deal with pesky spam and other unwanted communication.
One way to block spam and junk mail and prevent dangerous mail from entering your inbox is to use a platform like Sendio. It will improve inbox efficiency and save time from sifting through all the nonsense. Spam and junk won't make it to your inbox so you'll never be bothered by solicitors, ads, or annoyances that would normally interrupt your day.
Another way to get email organized is by creating folders for email categories or organized by people or businesses from whom you regularly receive email. Outlook, for example will allow you to pre-determine your email settings so these emails go directly into the folders you desire for quick access.
Thirdly, don't let email distract you from other work you're doing. Yes, it's tempting to check whenever the mood hits you, but this will decrease your concentration and derail you from staying on task. Set aside a few pre-set times throughout the day that make sense for you to check email. Consider first thing in the morning, a mid-day check, and before you head home but with enough time to respond to pressing issues. Entrepreneur even suggests, "Don't leave your email program open all day long. Alerts and beeps from incoming messages can interrupt your work flow and leave you unfocused."
With your email management under control, you'll see how much more time you have for other work, and soon you won't be so inclined to check email constantly. It's a real stress-reliever!
With so much to fit into a single workday, scheduling can make the difference between getting it all done and falling off track. Plan your day strategically for the most efficient use of your time and resources.
For example, if you know you have a meeting at 10:00am, be sure to arrive early enough to prepare and complete any other work that will need to be done before and during meeting time. If you know you have more quiet time in the afternoon, consider making calls in the morning and leave the presentation preparation and research for future meetings and conferences for that peaceful time. If you're more of an early bird, talk to your manager about coming in early before the rush. If you know you'll be away on business meetings later in the week, clear your schedule during the early portion of the week so you are able to fit in a full week's work in a shorter time.
If you allow yourself to be pulled in various directions and don't follow your plans, you are sure to let important details to slip through the cracks and lose control. Of course, things will come up, but leave room for the unexpected too. As posted on Inc., "Efficiency fanatics create standard routines in their schedule so they can achieve a disciplined approach and be ready for the important events. The more you control the calendar, the easier it is to make room for the unexpected. Efficient people set a time for each of their tasks and work to keep the schedule."
Everyone's got to eat, and by no means should you skip lunch. You need a break and enough energy to make it through the day. But long lunch breaks and too much schmoozing will make it hard to jump back into your work smoothly.
While packing a lunch is a good idea - both nutritionally and financially - do yourself a favor and eat in the cafeteria or step outside. A breather will re-energize you and give you time to reset your brain for new afternoon tasks.
If you do choose to drop by a local diner or café for your break, don't dawdle. Leave enough time to eat and do any errands that must be done during the day and make any personal calls you need to so they don't interfere with your work hours.
If you plan to take lunch with co-workers, keep discussion professional and never gossip. If you talk about work, keep it light and non-controversial. This isn't the time to dish on office politics or complain about the boss. Plus, the less you chit chat, the sooner you can get back to work without the post-lunchtime laziness and loss of focus.
Take Some Short Breaks
Since you've kept your lunch break time to a minimum, this leaves you open to take a few additional brief breaks throughout the day to stretch your legs and clear your mind. While stepping away from your desk may sound like an odd way to be more efficient, it will actually recharge you and prevent your thoughts from getting stale and your eyes from becoming strained.
As posted on Health, "After a morning break, employees said they had more energy, more motivation to return to work and were better able to concentrate. Breaks also were associated with fewer symptoms — such as headaches, eyestrain and lower back pain — when employees returned to work."
Stand up and stretch, walk around the office, or even step outside for a moment. If you need to speak with a co-worker, rather than emailing them, stop by their desk – but be sure it's OK with that person too – we all need to maintain efficiency, don't forget.
After a few minutes away from work, you will be able to delve back in with a boost of energy and some time to sort things through in your mind.
These tips will turn your workday around. No more scrambling, searching, or stalling. Efficiency leads to excellence and by making some easy-to-implement steps towards a better work ethic and a more meaningful career.
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.