Categories
Budgeting & Saving

6 Easy Ways to Build Your Emergency Fund

There’s nothing more terrifying than an emergency – especially one that costs you a fortune. Life doesn’t always go exactly as planned. Building an emergency fund is a perfect way to be prepared for whatever life may throw at you.

According to Investopedia, emergency funds help you “improve financial security by creating a safety net of funds that can be used to meet emergency expenses as well as reduce the need to use high interest debt, such as credit cards, as a last resort.” As young people, starting your emergency fund as soon as possible will help pad yourself financially against future unexpected expenses. Such expenses can stem from the loss of a job, illness, a car accident, and more.

This post was really helpful. Easy tips I can use.

How Much Should You Save?

The general rule of thumb is to save three-to-six months worth of your income. However, this can vary depending on a number of factors. For example, during the economic recession, many experts recommended keeping nine months to one year’s worth of income on hand. That’s because jobs were sparse.

How much you save will depend on a dollar amount that makes you comfortable. If you have dependents, you may require more emergency dollars than someone who does not. The reliability of your vehicle, home, and other daily essentials may also impact just how much you should keep on hand. There’s no universal answer.

The first step you should take when starting an emergency fund is laying out your monthly expenses in a month where they are highest and basing the amount you save on that number.

Ways to Start Building Your Emergency Fund

Now that you know how much you want to save, it’s time to starting building your emergency fund. But how? Here are some quick, easy tips to jump start the process:

  1. A little at a time. When looking at three-to-six months worth of your income, the number can be pretty daunting. Where do you even start? Well, you start small. 10% of your paycheck doesn’t look like much, but it will add up over time. Choose an amount that’s reasonable based on your current expenses and begin putting that money away.
  2. Earn extra cash. There are several ways you can earn extra money. You can try getting a second job. (I work as a weekend receptionist at a nursing home on top of my regular full-time job.) You can drive for Uber or Lyft. You could even try babysitting. Find ways to get a little extra cash and put that towards your emergency fund.
  3. Cut a habit. Do you buy Starbucks every morning? Eat out every night? Cut that out! That bi-weekly nail appointment? How about doing your nails at home? That money would go really nicely in your emergency fund, trust me. And you’ll begin to see it grow faster than you realize.
  4. Sell your old stuff. I’m a big fan of Plato’s Closet. It’s a quick easy way to get rid of old clothes and shoes and (hopefully) get a little bit of cash. You can also try selling items on Craigslist, such as old furniture or electronics. Once you cash in on your crap (yes, I just called it crap because you probably don’t need it or use it anymore), you can put that money straight into your emergency fund.
  5. Choose the right account type. When setting up your emergency fund, it’s worth doing your research into the type of account that is best for you. High interest savings accounts will help you save while earning a little bit of interest… and who doesn’t love free money?
  6. Set it up automatically. Automatic deposits to your account of choice will make the saving feel, well, automatic. Being automatic means you won’t need to make a conscious effort to save. How great does that sound?

Experts agree that an emergency fund is a financial necessity. Yet a significant number of Americans do not have one. With these easy tips, you should be able to start building your fund right away.

 

When it comes to saving, every little bit counts.

Small change here and there can build up over time. Small cuts in your spending can build up over time. But, in this day and age, everything is automated or monitored online. While the saving resources made available by the advent of the Internet are vast and extremely helpful, what about the ways we used to save before online banking? I was recently inspired to get creative in the ways that I save money… in addition to all those excellent online tools!

Plus, having multiple ways that you save money can’t hurt.

4 old school ways to save money

  1. Bring Back the Coin Jar

I was inspired to find new ways to save by a heavy wallet full of coins. I rarely used cash in purchases, let alone coins. So I thought, why not start a coin jar? When I was a kid, we had a huge coin jar to which the family contributed change.

When the jar was full, we cashed it in and went on a vacation. I hope to do the same with my coins now. Basically, having the intent to save your change can add up over time to allow you to travel, make a big purchase or do something for yourself you’ve always wanted to do.

  1. Implement a Cash Budget

Part of the automation of banking is credit and debit cards giving you constant access to your money. While this is great, it can also lead to excessive spending. Back in the day, if you didn’t have enough cash on you, you couldn’t spend.

Installing a weekly cash budget, and therefore restricting your credit and debit card usage, will cut unnecessary spending and ultimately open up more of your income for savings.

  1. Host a Garage Sale

Okay, so not exactly a way to “save,” but definitely a way to make a little bit more cash to contribute to your savings. Clear out your basement, attic or garage of all that old junk that you never use anymore – you’d be surprised what people will pay for your “junk!”

But how do you get people to come?

Nowadays, there are so many ways to get the word out about your garage sale: social media, Craigslist, word of mouth, etc. Check information about your neighborhood, some will have a designated weekend for a neighborhood garage sale. You’ll have people lining up before you know it.

  1. Hide it Under the Mattress

I don’t mean literally.

Back in the day, if you wanted to save money, you hid it under your mattress. Or in a box under your bed. Or in a sock drawer. While I’m not suggesting you do this, the concept is still valid. Set aside a small amount of cash each week into an envelope or box that you keep in a safe place.

Over time, those small amounts will become a big amount. Use that money for emergencies or a special treat to yourself.

  1. Bonus Tip! The “So Many Days” Rule

Another great way to limit your spending, and ultimately increase your savings, is to apply the “So Many Days” Rule to your luxury purchases.

After a special purchase, shopping spree, new electronics, expensive dinner, etc., designate a certain number of days (e.x. 30 days) that you must wait before another special purchase.

By giving yourself a measurable amount of time to follow, you can limit the big ticket items and put more money into savings.

It’s hard to remember how people kept track of their money before things like online banking and ATMs. But the old times may be on to something! As clever, creative ways to save money, the above options are great inspiration.

However, remember: these ideas are meant to complement a significant savings strategy, not supplement it. You should always have a bigger plan in place, but the little bits do count – literally!

The days of living paycheck to paycheck on your meager part-time income are over. Your bank account has finally reached multiple digits and you can’t wait to make use of your new disposable income. But… should you? As they say, with more purchasing power comes more responsibility. (Or do they say that?)

Eventually, you may need to start paying student loans. Or a cell phone bill. Or a car payment and insurance. Or maybe you want to take that international vacation you’ve always dreamed of. Whatever it may be, and whether you acknowledge this now or not, you have to change your behavior now to create more financially responsible habits in the future.

The first step to more responsible finances is budgeting.

You probably know you need to create a budget for yourself, but are stuck on where to start. First and foremost, you need to determine where your money is being spent. A smart way to do this is by categorizing your expenses into two groups, essential expenses and discretionary expenses.

Essential Expenses

Rent, insurance, car payments, utilities, bills, loans. Any one of these can be considered your essential expenses. Often described as “needs” versus “wants,” these are the expenses essential to basic living functions and survival. Pretty self-explanatory.

However, be honest about which expenses you consider essential. A shopping spree every month or bar tabs will likely not fall under this category.

Discretionary Expenses

As you can imagine, discretionary expenses are basically… everything else. Anything not required for living. Alcohol, non-essential clothes shopping, vacations, movie tickets, salon visits, whatever it may be for you.

Once you’ve categorized your expenses, you can begin budgeting. Analyze your expenses and determine where you can spend less. Set restrictions for yourself and stick to them. I read somewhere once that budgeting can be like a diet – you set out with good intentions, but after a few weeks you begin to stray from your plan. Don’t let that happen o you.

If you follow your budget, you should now have some extra money in the bank. Can you guess what you should do? Complete the second step to responsible finances: Save it.

Standards for saving vary based on the person you’re talking to, but I’ve always believed that you should have 3-6 months living expenses in your savings. In the event of an emergency, or unpredicted event such as job loss, you need to have a plan. At the end of each month, put away the money you saved by reducing spending through your budget.

No doubt about it, budgeting takes a lot of self-discipline. Building a budget, sticking to it, and tracking it frequently all are a challenge. But hopefully these tips and tricks will help you get over the initial hurdle of creating your budget so you can move on to better responsible financial habits.

Do you have any tips for new budgeters?

Originally posted 2016-08-28 08:00:14.

Categories
Young Finances

45+ Must Read Blogs for College Students

The Internet is filled with tons and tons of great content for college students. It can seem daunting to sift through it all to find what’s really valuable. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our favorite blogs that provide everything from entertainment to inspiration to advice and more.

General & Lifestyle

Lifehacker: If efficiency is of interest to you, then you have to read Lifehacker. Even the “About” description is efficient: Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done. Descriptions don’t get more concise than that. Lifehacker gives you ways to, well, hack life. And those tips can help college students save time, money, and prevent stress.

Kineda: Dubbed “Your Premier Online Lifestyle Magazine,” this website is chock-full of content from a range of topics – culture, style, footwear, tech, entertainment, automotive, and design, to be exact. The website’s simplistic layout makes for an excellent user experience and, quite frankly, no matter what you’re interested in you can find something here for you.

everything i did: The writers here are all about helping others build a better life. Through sharing stories of the mistakes and lessons from their own lives, you can glean insights on how to live a better life yourself.

Forever Twenty Somethings: If you’re needing a mental break, and enjoy lists, this is the place to go. Find fun articles, helpful tips, and a lot of entertainment on this lifestyle, Buzzfeed style blog.

The Positivity Blog: This blog is exactly what it sounds like… a place for positivity. It offers “practical personal development advice and step-by-step strategies that work in real life to produce positive results.” Find tips for living a happier life, increasing confidence, becoming more productive, and improving relationships.

GenYize: Become a “Solutionist” with GenYize, a blog dedicated to millennials helping other millennials navigate life and plan for the future. Solutionists challenge the status quo and work to advance their generation. Sound like you?

Treehugger: Taking better care of our planet is an incredibly important charge, and one that we may not quite know how to do. Enter Treehugger. This “media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream” strives to be “a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information.” If you have a passion to protect our environment, definitely subscribe to this blog.

Life After College: Okay, so you might still be in college, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start preparing for what happens after graduation. Life After College helps people wake up, live big and love the journey.

When I Grow Up: No, this isn’t the start of a Pussycat Dolls song. (Not sure why that song jumped into my head.) Michelle Ward is the founder of this blog which focuses on career success, change, and encouragement.

Advice from a 20 Something: Need advice? Ask Amanda! This advice column for the modern age covers everything from blogging to fashion to health and beyond. Any question you could have is likely covered on this blog… and if it’s not, you can submit a question yourself!

The Minimalists: At age 30, the two authors of this blog left their cushy corporate jobs to embark on a 21-day journey to minimalism. Their blog teaches you not how to have less, but make room for more time, passion, experiences, and growth.

Zen Habits: Life is chaotic and we often get lost in things that, when we really think about it, aren’t that important. Zen Habits helps you find simplicity and mindfulness amidst the chaos, and focus on what’s important.

Apartment Therapy: A sister blog of The Kitchn (linked in the below ‘Health & Fitness’ category), Apartment Therapy is a collection of resources and ideas to create a beautiful home while maximizing your budget and space.

Instructables: This blog takes how-to’s to a whole new level. Instructables gives people a platform to share what they make, so that you can embark on whatever DIY project tickles your fancy.

Sploid: Stimulate your brain on Sploid, a blog subset of Gizmodo, that shares intriguing and just plain interesting content that will probably blow your mind.

Education

Chegg Blog: You’ve probably heard about Chegg as a resource for college students, but did you know they have a blog? There’s even a post about the 5 things you didn’t know your microwave could do. I’m definitely reading that one!

TED Blog: If you’re familiar with TED Talks, then you know the power of these information-packed presentations. For more great content, check out the blog.

Career

InternQueen: Chances are at some point in college you’re going to have an internship. Let the Intern Queen answer all your questions and prepare you for success in your endeavors! You can even find available internship opportunities on the site.

Ms. Career Girl: Ms. Career Girl is the ambitious, powerful woman in all of us, just waiting to break free. This group blog contains valuable information on everything from job search to travel, relationships to personal finance, fashion to professionalism and more.

Study Hacks: How do people reach the upper echelon in their careers? And of equal importance, how do they do so while keeping their work a meaningful and sustainable part of their life? These are the questions that Cal Newport, computer science professor at Georgetown University, aims to answer. Curious? Check out his blog.

Health & Fitness

Hello Healthy: As far as health blogs go, Hello Healthy is a favorite of mine. It is the official blog of My Fitness Pal that’s chock-full of recipes, exercise tips, and health advice. Its simple layout and easy to read content makes healthy living easy, fun and delicious.

The Kitchn: Recipes. Cooking lessons. Product reviews. Kitchen design. And more. The Kitchn is a daily food magazine helping people live happier, healthier lives.

Daily Cup of Yoga: Do you define yourself as a “yogi”? Then you have to check out this blog. Not only does it document a man’s journey with yoga, but also delivers inspiring content for simple living.

Eat + Run: U.S. News & World Report is a thought leader in many areas – best hospitals, best universities, etc. Did you know they also have a health blog? Their suite of experts provide food and fitness articles that are worth checking out.

Travel

The Blonde Abroad: Kiersten is a California native who left her stuffy corporate finance job to travel the world… and blog about it. Follow along on her adventures and, like me, be a little jealous.

Nomadic Matt: Travel more while spending less – $50 a day, to be exact. Nomadic Matt has been traveling the world since 2006 and now he uses his experiences to help others travel cheaper and take their dream vacation.

The Savvy Backpacker: Say hello to James and Susan, the experts on backpacking through Europe. Be careful jumping on this blog though, it’s going to make you want to walk out of college and never look back.

Science, Technology & Gadgets

Gizmodo: Do you love technology, gadgets, science, and all kinds of toys big and small? What about beautiful and smart design? Aircraft that fly at three times the speed of sound? Spaceships that reach every corner of the solar system? Geek culture? Science fiction? Then you have to check out Gizmodo.

Boing Boing: As a college student, you’ll definitely want to keep up with this “Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things.” Common themes include technology, futurism, science fiction, gadgets, intellectual property, and more. You’ll find some provocative thoughts, interesting discoveries, and a whole lot of weird.

Science of Us: Curious why we mishear song lyrics – or why we “happy cry?” Science of Us is a subset of New York Magazine that delivers quick, witty articles on a variety of subjects you didn’t even know were of interest to you.

News, Current Events, & Pop Culture

AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth. Wouldn’t you agree? AMERICAblog agrees. For college students looking to keep up with US politics, both domestic and foreign, this is a great venue for keeping abreast of current political events.

The Skimm: Okay, so not exactly a blog, but definitely worth mentioning. The Skimm is a daily email newsletter that gives you updates on news and current events in easy to consume and understand ways. I recommend signing up ASAP!

Socialite Heights: Keeping up with pop culture can be challenging for a college student. Enter Socialite Heights, your quick delivery source for the latest on fashion, music, fine arts, and leisure.

Vox: Yet another news source, but one that helps you understand the news, not just hear what’s going on.

Mic: Mic approaches news from a different perspective by tailoring its coverage to young people and millennials. For a college student looking to keep up with current events, Mic speaks to you and in a way that helps you make sense of the world.

For Women

CollegeFashion: Skewed towards women, College Fashion is great for keeping up with the latest fashion trends (and finding affordable options). On the CF blog, you’ll find fashion tips, trends, beauty tips, online sale updates, décor ideas, student street style, and style advice.

Refinery29: Are you a smart, creative, and stylish woman? Find everything you need on Refinery29! This fast-growing blog is quickly becoming a one stop shop for everything trendy for young women.

The Everygirl: The ultimate inspiration for the creative, career driven woman, aka The Everygirl. This blog shares content related to travel, current events, food & drink, finance, and more.

For Men

Primer: Finally! Something for men! Primer Magazine is all about career success and personal wellness – how men can better themselves and walk confidently through the gate of adulthood.

Por Homme: The name alone should tell you everything you need to know – Por Homme means “for men” in French. Categories include style, leisure, toys, startups, industry, people, and society catered to men.

Mantelligence: How to order a martini like a man? Yep, that sounds like useful advice. For all the manly intelligence you could ever need, head over to Mantelligence to be the best man you can be!

 

Podcasts

Hardcore History: Even if you’re not a history buff, Dan Carlin does an excellent job of using storytelling to chronicle historical events. Someone who makes learning fun? Sign me up!

WTF with Marc Maron: For that dose of comedic relief in your day, check out Marc Maron’s podcast where he interviews various celebrities in the entertainment business.

Criminal/Serial: We couldn’t do a podcast category without mention these hugely popular ones. Criminal does one story per episode in a similar style. Serial, a spin-off of This American Life, features one story throughout a season.

Plz Advise: Hosted by Molly McAleer, former writer for 2 Broke Girls, this podcast answers all your burning questions frankly and honestly. This one is not for the easily offended.

All Work, All Play: Familiarize yourself with the millennial outlook with this podcast which is half dedicated to work topics and half dedicated to the lighter stuff.

What are some of your favorite blogs? Share them in the comments below!

Originally posted 2016-01-13 10:00:01.

Categories
Young Finances

75+ Back to College Items to Include on Your College Packing List

Photo Cred: HGTV

No one likes to think about back to school shopping this time of the year… because that usually signals the end of summer. (And no one ever wants summer to end!) But, as they say, all good things must come to an end and it’s time to head back to school. That means making sure you’ve got everything you need before you make the trek, however long, back to college.

Fortunately, we’ve got the ultimate back-to-college shopping list already put together for you! And, for those who are too busy or love to procrastinate, don’t forget to take advantage of Amazon Student. Amazon Student offers free two-day shipping on millions of items, plus exclusive deals and promotions, unlimited instant streaming of 40,000 movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video, more than a million songs and hundreds of playlists with Prime Music, and free unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos. Students can sign up for a 6-month free trial, after that it’s a 50% discount off Amazon Prime.

For Your Dorm/Apartment

  • Bedding: Comforter & linens, mattress pad, pillows & pillowcases, bed risers (Walmart for $24)

bed risers

  • Area rug
  • Curtains & curtain rods (if needed)
  • Plastic shoe hangers
  • Shoe rack
  • Posters/Picture frames
  • Pop-up hamper
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Clorox wipes
  • Glass cleaner
  • Plunger/toilet brush
  • Mini vacuum/Swiffer/Broom & dustpan
  • Mini fridge (if moving into a dorm)
  • Microwave (if permitted)
  • Cooking & kitchen utensils
  • Paper towels & plastic utensils, plates, & cups
  • Full-length mirror
  • Desk/floor lamp
  • Storage bins Stor-n-Slide Underbed Boxes (The Container Store: $13-17)

storage bin

  • Hangers
  • Bulletin board/dry-erase board
  • Coffeemaker
  • Blender (if permitted)
  • Toaster (if permitted)
  • Trash can
  • Iron & small ironing board
  • Tool kit with hammer, nails, screwdriver, etc.
  • Air freshener
  • Garbage bags
  • Jewelry organizer
  • 3M tape or adhesive strips

Personal Items

  • Toiletries: Shampoo & conditioner, deodorant, body wash, face wash, hair products (including hair ties, bobby pins, clips, etc.), hair tools (straightener, curling iron, etc.), makeup & remover, moisturizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss & mouthwash, shaving cream, sunscreen, cotton balls
  • Bathrobe

men's robe

  • Medication & First Aid Kit
  • Bathing suit
  • Overnight bag for short trips
  • Umbrella
  • Shower shoes
  • Towels & wash rags
  • Shower caddy
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, bleach & stain remover
  • Sewing kit
  • All pertinent documents (insurance card, ID, passport, copy of birth certificate, etc.)
  • Food & snacks

School Supplies

  • Notebooks
  • Binders & dividers
  • Pens, pencils, permanent markers, highlighters, etc.
  • Post-its
  • Flash drive
  • Dictionary & thesaurus
  • Planner (Office Depot: $18)

college planner

  • Calculator
  • Backpack
  • Computer paper
  • Tape
  • Stapler & staples
  • Index cards
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors

Electronics

  • Extension cord
  • Speakers (including portable speaker)
  • Power strip
  • Ethernet cable
  • TV (with HDMI cord to hook up your laptop)
  • DVD player
  • Computer
  • Printer & ink
  • CameraNikon COOLPIX camera (Best Buy: $110)

nikon coolpix camera

  • Chargers (phone, camera, computer, etc.)
  • iPod & Headphones
  • Kindle/Nook

As daunting as packing can be, no one likes forgetting anything. Be sure to check off this list as you’re getting ready to go back to college.

Back-to-school shopping can be an expensive endeavor, too, so you may need to get creative to find the best deals. As I said before, Amazon Student is really convenient. Also, check the Internet and your local newspaper for coupons and sales. Every little bit counts! Dollar stores and places like Five Below tend to have kitchen, cleaning, and dorm necessities for really cheap, which makes them a great place to start. (I just bought an over-the-door shoe hanger from Five Below for <$5!) Just remember to hunt for the sales and not get carried away with the back-to-school shopping.

Anything else you would include on this college packing list?

Originally posted 2015-09-14 10:00:00.

Categories
Career

Why You Should Take an Internship

Speaking from experience, an internship right out of college was NOT what I wanted. I had done internships in college to gain experience. I paid my dues, studied hard, got excellent grades, several degrees, honors, the list goes on. I was ready to jump into the workforce full strength.

When I found a job I liked after graduation, they offered me a 3-month internship to start out. At the end of the 12 weeks, I was to be evaluated and possibly extended a full-time offer. I hated the uncertainty of it. I hated the idea of being a meager intern straight out of college. I really didn’t want to take it.

And yet, the job sounded like a perfect fit. If the company felt confident enough to offer me an internship, why not just give me the full-time job? I struggled for days over the decision. Finally, I accepted. And guess what? A year later, I’m still there.

Don’t get me wrong, there were things I hated about it at first. Primarily, the pay. It was significantly lower than a full-time salary. I also hated the title and the impression it gave. And I hated that after all my time and effort, I may not have a job at the end.

Eventually, though, I started to realize the benefits of the internship. I began to understand why the company chose this process to hire new grads. And I’m here today to share some of those insights with you:

An internship is a cultural test run… for both parties.

You probably knew this already, but never understood how important this is. Organizational culture is one of the most important intangibles that drive a business. One wrong pieces and the whole structure could come crashing down. Internships are a way for you to test out your fit with the organization, but also for the organization to test you out.

What if the job description doesn’t match what you’re actually doing?

You can put things down on paper, but that doesn’t make them true. A job description is someone’s best effort at putting your position into words, but the actual work you do may vary from the description. The last thing you want to do is find this out after you’ve been sucked into a full-time job. An internship is your time to test out the job and see if it’s what you expected.

Are you actually qualified for this job?

We never know how prepared we are for the real world until we’re in it. Internships help the company determine if your qualifications match what is required by the job. Sometimes, this might not always match up and that’s okay! It’s better to go somewhere else and get experience than waste time in a job where you’re in over your head.

As I said before, I really didn’t want to take an internship out of college. But actually experiencing it made me realize how valuable it is as an experience. Don’t disregard a job just because it starts out as an internship. It may turn into something great for you.

What was your internship experience like?

Originally posted 2015-03-23 10:00:00.

Categories
Career

How to Deal With a Condescending Coworker

No matter what stage of life you are in, you have most certainly dealt with someone who is condescending. Whether it’s someone in a group project in school, a boss, or a coworker, you will experience people like this your entire life. That’s why it’s important to learn now how best to deal with condescending people.

There are many effective ways to combat condescending behavior. Here are just a few pieces of advice:

Kill them with kindness.

The best diffuser to negativity and/or meanness is kindness and positivity. Despite the condescending nature of someone’s behavior, keep a positive attitude when dealing with him or her. Respond with almost excessive kindness and you’ll see their poor attitude begin to diffuse. Kindness is like a fire extinguisher to any sort of rudeness. Remember to smile, accept tasks with enthusiasm, and never let their negativity rub off on you.

Swallow your pride.

This is especially true if you’re dealing with someone in a higher position than you. Sometimes, authority can go to people’s heads. Unfortunately, if you’re a subordinate, you just have to deal. The number one thing to remember is don’t take it personally. It may be that this person doesn’t even realize they’re being condescending. Even if they do, sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and ride it out. One day, you’ll be the one in their position and you’ll have learned how not to act. That’s enough of a victory for you.

Don’t let them see you sweat.

In some cases, the person you’re dealing with may act in a condescending nature just to get a rise out of you. Be better than that. Don’t let them see you react, especially in a negative way. A poor immediate reaction can undermine your effectiveness as an employee, so hold your emotions until you are alone or back in your office.

Prove them wrong.

Maybe the condescending person acts this way towards you because they don’t feel you can handle the job or responsibility. So, knock it out of the park. There’s no better feeling than exceeding someone’s expectations, especially when they don’t think you can do it. Take on extra responsibility, go above and beyond, do anything to outshine their opinion of you. That is the best reward.

While any of these methods will help you deal with a condescending coworker, the one thing you absolutely cannot do is respond in the same manner. Never try fighting fire with fire in these situations. It will only create disastrous conflict, which is the last thing you want in a work situation.

What are some things you do when dealing with condescending people?

Originally posted 2015-03-16 10:00:00.

Categories
Career

Workplace Time Traps and How to Avoid Them

Every day, we are faced with a growing number of distractions at work. Despite our best efforts, what I call “time traps” tend to take over more of our work hours than we intend. We get so caught up in them that before we know it, a huge amount of time is lost to these distractions.

But losing valuable time in the day is only one downfall of time traps. Most of these activities listed below will also disrupt your productivity. By some accounts, it can take a person up to 25 minutes to refocus after being hit with a distraction. And, let’s be honest, in 25 minutes you’ll likely get a text from a friend or an email from a co-worker that will restart the whole process.

Common Workplace Time Traps

Recognizing where you time is being lost is the first step to avoiding workplace time traps. Here are just a few of the many distractions we may face in a day.

  1. Cell Phone: This one is pretty self-explanatory. In the time it takes you to read this article, you’ll probably check your Facebook wall or send out a Tweet from your phone. Between texts, calls, social media, email and other miscellaneous apps, we allow our phones to take over our attention far to often. It’s time to put it away.
  2. Email: On a similar note, emails are one of the most time-consuming work activities. First and foremost, if you’re the type of person who checks an email as soon as you receive the notification, you could be seriously disrupting your focus. Calculating how many emails you receive per day multiplied by the 25 minutes it takes to refocus and we’ve got a problem.
  3. Web Browsing: If Buzzfeed is your weakness, or you have to check ESPN every hour for updates on your teams, you may be succumbing yourself to one of the worst time traps. It’s easy to get caught up in browsing your favorite sites, including social media. Too easy.
  4. Chatty Coworkers: I personally struggle with this one more than anything. I don’t want to be rude and tell someone to leave me alone, but, seriously, leave me alone. Being interrupted by someone who just wants to “chat” while you’re in the middle of a project can be frustrating. And, if they’re extra chatty, you could lose more than 15 minutes of productive time.
  5. Disorganization: You may be wondering how being disorganized can be considered a time trap. But, imagine that you are looking for something – a file at your desk, a document on your desktop – and your workspace is a mess. You could be wasting minutes (that add up to hours) looking for whatever it is that you need.

While these are only a small few of the distractions we experience every day, it’s important to acknowledge them. To help eliminate time traps, you have to recognize where you’re losing your focus.

How to Eliminate Workplace Time Traps

Once you know into which traps you fall, it’s all about avoiding them. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Plan your day. Working against a plan will help you stay on task, and likely reduce distractions.
  2. Schedule it. Set a time to answer emails and outside that window, don’t even open your email. Allow yourself a certain time each day to browse your favorite site (like, on lunch, for example). Stick to it.
  3. Put the distraction away. If it’s your phone, keep it in a bag or away from your work area.
  4. Politely ask for space. When someone comes to chat, nicely let them know that you’re in the middle of something important and that you’ll get back them.
  5. Clean up. Makes sense.

You know what they say: Time is money. And time spent caught in these traps can be costly in more ways than just financially. Don’t let yourself become swallowed up by these workplace time traps.

Do you find that you have fallen prey to one or more of these workplace time traps?

Originally posted 2014-11-07 06:00:42.