The mid-day slump is no joke. After lunch, your brain just wants to rest. This is why so many office workers tend to have an afternoon cup of coffee to power through. But what you probably really need is a short power nap. Unfortunately, this kind of behavior is not usually accepted in the modern office. Sure, if you really want to take a nap, you could sneak under your desk like George Costanza. However, what really should be happening is a complete culture change.


Sleep actually improves your productivity, so we should stop viewing it as a lazy activity. It's easy to think that sleep is not productive. From the outside, you're really not doing much. You're just laying there. However, on the inside, your brain is sorting through information and clearing out dust, so to speak. Getting enough sleep is crucial to your health and well being, but taking a short nap in the afternoon is just enough to kickstart the rest of your day.

About 43 percent of Americans say they need more sleep, according to a 2013 Gallup poll. The same survey found that 40 percent of adults in the country get less than seven hours of shut eye a night. Meanwhile, eight hours is the actual recommended amount you should be sleeping to stay healthy. With our current work culture, it's more acceptable to lose sleep to work than it is to take some time to rest and recharge. But this mentality is completely wrong.

Naps don't take away from productivity. They actually improve it. During the mid-day slump, it can be hard to focus on anything — let alone get anything done. Instead of wasting time trying and failing to complete tasks, you could take a short nap and then be able to jump right back into your work with renewed energy and focus.

Why does this work? Several studies have found that while a person is awake but tired or sleepy, the neurons involved in memory will not fire. Meaning, you seem awake, but your brain really isn't. Accessing memories or creating new ones can be a challenge. A short 15-minute nap can fix this situation. However, a longer 30-minute or 60-minute nap can put you into a deeper sleep, causing you to be groggy when you wake up. And while you really should get enough sleep at night, taking a nap during the day can also help combat sleep deprivation — if needed.

Some companies have been early adopters of the idea that sleep improves productivity. Google and The Huffington Post have set up nap rooms in their offices. There are entire companies that manufacture ergonomic recliners with an adjustable pod top to block out the light. The perfect piece of furniture for a mid-day power nap. Unfortunately, mainstream work culture still hasn't caught up with the science. And it really should.

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Developing further skills can boost your career at any stage.

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.

Tableau

Tableau's data visualization capabilities are comparable to Domo and Power BI.

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.

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.

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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.

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