The work-life balance is notoriously difficult to maintain. Some of us are nine to fivers, some of us freelancers, and some still, workaholics. But how do we know when we spend more time at the office than we do at home? Here are the tell-tale signs that it's probably time to call it a day.
1. You have an extra toothbrush in the office bathroom.
Just like the "toothbrush milestone" signifies a big jump in a romantic relationship, it also signifies a big jump in a professional relationship. In this case, the relationship is between you and work. When you're brushing your teeth in the office bathroom, that means you've spent way too much time in the office. Or you should stop ordering from that chicken wing place.
2. You have a lamp at your desk and you actually use it.
It may seem mundane. Sure. A good old ordinary lamp. But if you actually use it, that means the natural light in your office is not bright enough to supply adequate light. That means one of a few things: it's way too early to be working, it's way too late to be working, or you need to invest in some better wattage overhead. If you're going to use a lamp, you should use this one.
3. You're the office barista.
First one in makes the coffee, right? If you find yourself constantly refilling that thing and restocking the whole office, congratulations: your benevolence may likely never be rewarded. We say, it's okay to give yourself credit by writing a little note by the coffee maker, "Coffee courtesy of [Your Name Here]. You're welcome."
4. You have a full set of cutlery and tableware in the kitchen.
Many employees come equipped with their own mugs and minimal cutlery to take care of their daily lunch situation. But if you find that you also have a pitcher, a lemon zester, measuring cups, a decanter, and a standing mixer in your office kitchen, you may want to consider going home at some point. Unless you're making pancakes for the whole office, we suggest you keep that stuff for Sunday morning in your pajamas.
5. You arrange roses in the waiting room.
Uh oh. Now that your office is becoming so homey and lovely, why would you ever want to leave? And now that the smell of overused servers is masked by garden-fresh roses, there's more reason to stop and give 'em a sniff.
6. You put your feet on your desk and you're not even aware of it.
We want you to be comfortable at your desk. That's why we love ergonomic chairs and little zen gardens. But it's kind of crossing the line when you recline too much. You might just fall asleep!
7. You've slept on your office couch on more than one occasion.
There's nothing wrong with late nights. But fact: someone can mistake you as a scary intruder if they come in in the morning to see you snoozing (and drooling) on the office couch. There's nothing you can do at 4am that you can't do the next day after a full night's sleep. Here are some sleep tips to get you primed for a great day.
8. You have a set of nail clippers and a comb in your file cabinets.
Personal hygiene is important, but please, not at your desk.
9. You watch TV in the office lounge during your lunch break.
Your lunch break is yours to do whatever you want. So take a load off. As long as you're not laughing disruptively like you would at home, we say this one's okay.
10. Your whole day is one continuous lunch break.
Similarly to point 4, if you live at your office, you'll likely have a large array of snacks to keep energized. Despite what dieters will say, snacking is important. But if you're spending an hour deciding what to eat next, you should probably be doing that at home.
11. On dress-down Fridays, you bring your slippers.
We know the term "dress-down" is vague, but it still has to be professional. Jeans are acceptable, but footie pajamas get a bit iffy. It depends on your boss.
12. You are obsessed with your office goldfish, Goldie.
There are so many benefits to having pets in the workplace. First of all, pets can be a great stress-reducer. But spending all of your time watching Goldie eat her fish flakes and bump into the pirate treasure chest is not going to do anything for your productivity.
13. You have off-season coats and accessories in the office closet.
It's great to be prepared when a thunderstorm unexpectedly hits. But chances are, you're not going to need your rain boots, overcoat, duffle bag, extra belts, ties, etc. The closet is community ground, and please, take that stuff home already.
We love that you're spending a lot of time at the office. You're making great connections with your coworkers, showing your boss you're devoted to your work, and really making yourself at home. But remember, it's not the number of hours you put in, but the quality of work you do at the office. And at the end of the day, your own bed is a lot nicer to sleep in than a sleeping bag you've set up in the conference room.
Spending too much time at the office? Maybe it's time to join the family business.
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.