Procrastination is the bane of almost everyone's existence. It detracts from productivity, creates unneeded stress, and can lead to missed deadlines. It's just bad all around. However, not many people actually know the cause of procrastination or how to really work against it. But there is a one step solution that will work for everyone struggling with procrastination.


The common misconception is that procrastination is a sign of laziness or disorganization. That's not quite true. Procrastinating doesn't mean you're less productive than your coworkers, although that can be the effect. Procrastination is simply a sign of seeking instant gratification. Would you rather start on that report or watch a cute cat video? In the moment, that choice is pretty simple. Cats are cute and much less boring than typing up a report. You might be aware that starting on the report is better in the long run, but in that second, it is much, much easier to open YouTube.

Because procrastination hinges on instant gratification, people of all kinds can suffer from it. It's not just lazy or unfocused people who fall prey to it. Anyone who would rather watch an adorable dog video than do work can end up procrastinating. But the good news is: there is a simple solution. Just start.

The fastest and most effective way to overcome the procrastination hurdle is to just start working. Give yourself five minutes to get started. After those five minutes, you can take a break and watch all the adorable animal videos you want. But most likely, you'll probably end up finishing whatever you're working on before going back to YouTube.

Simply starting your work will push you past the procrastination barrier. Once you have begun, you'll probably see that the assignment isn't quite as complicated or involved as you imagined it would be. The stress over the project goes away and you can just focus on the work. And if you find it is more involved and complicated, you have time to compose a plan of attack — rather than scrambling at the last minute. Giving yourself even just five minutes to get started creates a psychological chain reaction that pushes you to finish the job.

So next time you find yourself procrastinating, close out of your web browser and open your work. Suck it up for five minutes and you'll probably have that assignment finished in no time.

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

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 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.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

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