Consistently late for work? Here are a few tips to help your morning zombie self get out in time.

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Save And Spend

Save And Spend

 

Maybe you’ve got college debts to pay off. Maybe you’re debt free but are a forward looking individual preparing for financial freedom well before you hit the half century mark.

 

Wherever you fall on the personal finances continuum, if you want to save and get ahead, the first thing you need to do is create a budget.

 

Why budget?

Without a budget you really can’t accurately judge where your money is going, how much you can afford to spend on a Saturday night out, if bringing your lunch everyday is enough to get you closer to your financial goals.

 

There are lots of ways to go about creating a budget. Here are a couple of straightforward ones you could try.

 

Pre-budgeting homework

Before you can create that budget you need to have an idea of how much money you actually spend. Make a list of all your expenses, groceries, gas, monthly bills, gym membership, pet costs – everything you can think of.

 

Some of those expenses are fixed. Like your gas bill and your phone bills. There is no wiggle room. Some of your expenses are flexible, like groceries and clothes. Divide all your expenses into two columns, fixed and flexible. Now you have a concrete idea of exactly what you’re working with.

 

Subtraction budgeting

With this extremely straightforward method, all you do is add up all your monthly bills. Subtract that from your take home monthly income and see what’s left for savings. If there is nothing left or not as much as you were hoping to put away then where you can skim from that flexible column. Maybe cut back on groceries and movie nights.

 

50/20/30 budgeting

50% goes to your fixed costs. Rent, utilities, bills you see month after month go here

 

20% is allotted to financial goals. This is money that goes towards savings or towards paying back debt or towards creating an emergency fund.

 

30% is for your flexible spending. This is where the grocery money comes from, hobbies, clothes, entertainment.

 

By doing a thorough examination of how much you have coming in and where it’s currently going out it’s much easier to create a budget you feel comfortable sticking to as you work towards achieving your financial goals.

Make Your Words As Strong As Your Intentions

Make Your Words As Strong As Your Intentions

 

So often we hear It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Generally that’s taken in the context of tone of voice and body language, but oftentimes the specific words you use to express yourself are just as important.

Someone asks you if you’ll be able to get a project done on time. Yes you can – so you answer: Yes I think I can or Yes I can.

There may not seem like a huge difference between those two sentences, but one is an absolute affirmative, while the other still has question marks attached to it. Which one would you rather hear?

The words you choose speak volumes about you and at the same time influence how others perceive you.

Indefinite statements vs. definite statements

When you say things like I think or I guess, whatever follows is automatically on weaker ground than a simple direct answer. I guess I’ll go to that seminar implies and underlying unwillingness to do it and makes you seem wishy-washy. I think I’ll go to that seminar implies a lack of commitment. I should be able to go. I’m supposed to go. The listener all of those statements will still not have any idea of whether or not you actually have any intention of going.

Yes I’m going is clear and decisive.

No I don’t believe this will be of benefit to me removes any ambiguity and provides a reason.

If you actually don’t know, give a reason why and a time when you will have an answer. I have to check with X, I will let you know by the end of the day.

 Avoid negative statements

If you want someone to listen with an open receptive mind, you’ll have more success if you frame what you have to say using positive words rather than negative ones.

Rather than Don’t always hit reply all, turn the statement around to Only hit reply all when necessary.

Instead of I don’t like negative people go with, I prefer positive people.

by removing the negative words you’re eliminating a negative undertone you may not even realize is there.

Eliminate can’t

You may not be able to do everything you’re asked to do, however can’t is often people’s go-to word for won’t.

If you actually mean won’t then say so. It’s always better to be clear with your words and intentions. If what you’re being asked is outside of your skill set or knowledge then follow up with a solution. That’s not something I’m familiar with, I will call Sarah she can help. Or I have not done that before, I will find out how.

Your words are a reflection of who you are. People will be more inclined to listen to and follow someone who is direct, straightforward and positive. They will trust a person who is unambiguous in what they say.

Why You Need To Disconnect For A While Everyday

Why You Need To Disconnect For A While Everyday

 

Technology is great for so many things, from helping you get a job, to keeping you informed about news and current events, to getting you to that restaurant for your first date with that new person you met online.

What you may not realize is, technology can also lead to depression, stress and sleep disorders. That’s why it’s so important to enter the technology free zone for a while every single day.

Technology gives us the illusion of doing things faster

Having the ability to find everything you need with the click of a few buttons make us feel like we should be doing things faster.

With customer service calls or data entry, the next thing is always waiting for you to be ready.

People are expected to move in lockstep with the technology around them. It can be stressful trying to keep up with programs and technology that’s always changing.

Happy faces everywhere are depressing

When you’re always plugged in everyone else seems to be having a better time than you are. We see their happy faces on Instagram or Facebook and wonder why we aren’t living lives as fun filled and spectacular as the people around us. Even if we realize most of what we see is being posted for show, it’s still hard not to feel inadequate.

Too much light makes for too little sleep

The light from TV and computer screens messes with our sleep rhythms. If you’ve been looking at one screen or another all day you’re going to have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

Do you really need to be plugged in?

Is being plugged in all day essential for your job or is it also an excuse to see what’s going on over on Facebook or Twitter. If you really want to be productive, you will get a lot more done if you disconnect. Don’t even give yourself the opportunity to stroll over to the too much light side. Without the chatter and instant gratification of the world’s silly antics distracting you, you can concentrate and think in the quiet space of your own mind.

You sometimes need to unplug to realize how relaxing it is. There is no reason to go and live on an island with no access to the daily buzz, but there are very good ones to leave all your connections unplugged for a while everyday. To give your eyes and mind a break. If you want to really do yourself a favor, take yourself outside for a walk or a run. Technology free, it’s a way to recharge mind and body.

An Ernest Hemingway Quote

Ernest Hemingway Quote - The Job Window

“When people talk, listen completely. People rarely listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

As this Ernest Hemingway quote displays, listening is almost like a superpower. We live in such a self obsessed society, that often in conversation the only thing you’re doing is waiting your turn to speak, and not fully internalizing what the other person is saying too.

People can see right through that. They know you’re not listening. And in turn they won’t listen to you either.

Stop that cycle. When you’re talking to someone – listen to them. Ask questions. Do your best to fully understand. And don’t ask questions so it SEEMS like you’re interested – just actually get interested! No matter what they’re talking about, I’m sure you can find an aspect of it that genuinely interests you. So delve into that. People appreciate it.

It’s also really helpful when it comes to your job – if you fully listen and really, wholly understand what is expected of you and what your goals are, you’ll be more able to achieve them successfully.

Not to mention that your boss will appreciate your genuine attentiveness and focus.

Listening will also make you a much better conversationalist – people love to talk, and when you show actual interest and understanding of what they’re telling you, they’ll appreciate and like you much more for it.

So if you want to be a better worker, conversationalist and friend – learn to listen.

 

Keeping that Great Attitude

Keeping that Great Attitude

You like your job, you’ve been doing it a while, it’s easy to become complacent and unmotivated. The key to staying fresh and motivated, to keep moving forward and expanding your horizons is maintaining your attitude.  Not only will a great attitude help you stay happy and fulfilled – as a byproduct you’ll want to push yourself faster and harder. You’ll be excited about achieving new things.

What if this was the last day of your life?

In a previous article about Steve Jobs we mentioned the question he asks himself everyday, “If this was the last day of my life would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”

Ask yourself that question to help you put your days into perspective. You only have so many days to accomplish all the things you want. You have priorities, you have goals and dreams. Ensure as many of your days as possible are bringing you closer to those priorities, are helping brings those dreams out into the light of day.

Giving vs. receiving

All of us spend so much time thinking about what we can get. Things we can buy, what someone can give us professionally or personally. Things that we believe will enhance our sense of self worth. All those get things are good, but the satisfaction they bring is fleeting. Sure you feel good when you buy a new gadget, but soon the new gadget becomes just another gadget and you start longing for the next one. Sure that person helped you get to the next level, but now that you’re there, you’re already chasing after the next person. Sometimes after all that chasing you realize you’ve only been running on a treadmill, never actually getting anywhere. Sometimes the only way you will feel like you’re getting somewhere is to get off the treadmill altogether. To give yourself the chance to be the giver rather than the receiver. The benefits of helping someone else are twofold.

  1. You’ve helped someone else
  2. You feel really good about yourself.

And that good feeling you’ve created for yourself has the tendency to stick around a lot longer than the good feeling of a getting new thing because it’s mixed with pride and accomplishment and an all-around, good job me!

 Cultivate some patience

Heard a new song on the radio and you want it? No problem it’s a click away. Got a hankering for some pizza? Delivered, take-away or dine in – your choice.  Suddenly interested in a course on inhabitants of the Jurassic? An online course is as close as your tablet. With so much so easily available, it’s easy to think everything should be on demand. The perfect job. The exact experience you’re looking for. Then it’s not and with the world still at your fingertips, you start to feel depressed, like nothing is possible. Attitude adjustment! Have patience. Work towards your goals. Don’t expect them to materialize right away. Think of the three little pigs. Sure you can have a house of straw in about five minutes but it will blow down even faster. A house of sticks might take a little longer to build, but it will come down with the wolf’s laugh. The house of bricks will take some time to build, but it’s going to withstand whatever life throws at it and when you look at that house you built – boy does it feel good!

Keep yourself engaged

One of the easiest ways to get into a rut is having nothing to look forward to. No carrot just outside your reach. Have you achieved the goals you set out for yourself? If not are you still working towards them? Does the thought of your goals add a spring to your step in the mornings?

If you have reached all your goals do you have new ones? They don’t have to be monumental goals (although they can), but they do need to be objectives to keep things interesting.

Pay attention to your inner voice

Like it or not that little voice inside your head sways a lot of influence over you. If it’s always telling you that you can’t do something then you’re going to believe it. If it’s always telling you to keep going because you CAN then you’ll believe that too. You don’t have to agree with what that voice says. You are the narrator of that story. Change it if you want to.