Give Yourself a Break: The Productivity Secret That’ll Change the Way You Work

Flickr/halfrain

Flickr/halfrain

As a person who makes a living doing freelance and contract work from home, there are two questions I tend to get about my job. The first is whether I work in pajamas. (The answer is no.) The second is how I manage to get any work done at all.

“If I worked at home, I don’t think I’d get any work done,” people often tell me. “How do you manage to stay productive for eight hours a day on your own?”

The simple answer? I don’t.

And, according to research about productivity in the workplace, you probably aren’t productive for eight straight hours either, whether you’re working at a laptop at your kitchen table or sitting in an office or cubicle. In fact, some research suggests that many office workers are productive for as little as three hours per eight-hour work day.

Check out five tips on how to get the most work done in the least amount of time so that you can head home early — or at least right on time – in my latest post on Wisebread.

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9 Common Apartment-Hunting Mistakes to Avoid

Looking for a new apartment to rent? Spring and summer are moving season for many renters. It’s also a time filled with excitement and hope — the hope that the next place will be better than the last. I’ve been there.

Fortunately, a lot of the problems that plague renters can be avoided just by choosing that apartment a little more carefully. Check out nine apartment hunting mistakes to avoid while you’re looking in my latest post on Wisebread.

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6 Super-Cool Ways People Have Quit Their Jobs

When you’re working at a job that you hate, sometimes there’s only one antidote to cure your stress, boredom, anger, and frustration: quitting. Most of us have indulged in a few fantasies of finally walking out the door, of telling the boss what you think of her, of reclaiming your dignity, of showing that manager what you’re made of, of never looking back… but unfortunately, those outrageous abdications of gainful employment are easier said than done. After all, you probably need the money. And a good reference. Dignity be damned.

Oh well. If shouting “I quit!” isn’t in the cards for you right now — or ever — at least daydreaming about it can help make the day more bearable until you professionally, respectfully, resign.

Check out a few people who threw caution to the wind and quit their jobs in a spectacular fashion in my new post on Wise Bread.

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12 Money-Saving Tricks You Can Learn From Hipsters

Flickr/Joel Bedford

Flickr/Joel Bedford

Particularly if you live in a larger city, you’ve probably come across a few hipsters. These arty counter-culturalists tend to sport thick glasses, skinny jeans, and thrift-store inspired fashions. And, at least in the 20-30 year age group, they appear to rule.

I am not one of them. I don’t use an iPhone, I own absolutely no chic, nostalgic memorabilia and, rather than wearing skinny jeans and an ironic T-shirt, I’m often found wearing running spandex and compression socks — in public. I do, however, think that my outsider status allows me to have a more objective view of hipster culture, and I’ve noticed that when it comes to money, hipsters have some great habits.

Check out the top 12 ways hipsters stay frugal and ignore the status quo for spending in my new post on WiseBread.

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This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score

Source: Lendingmemo.com

Source: Lendingmemo.com

A credit score is a bit like the Da Vinci Code; it’s a serpentine web of myth and mystery that’s hard to crack. But there is a Holy Grail of sorts here too. Of all the different factors that feed into your credit score, many experts believe that there is one factor that stands above the rest in keeping your score high. The fact that this one ratio is so important is a little counterintuitive, so simply understanding its importance can unlock the higher credit score you’ve been looking for.

So what is it? It’s called the credit utilization ratio. Learn more about it in my new post on WiseBread.

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Top 8 Ways to Get a Mortgage with Bad Credit

Flickr/TheTruthAbout

Flickr/TheTruthAbout

Perhaps you’ve fallen on hard times or made some financial mistakes. If you’re lucky, you’ve learned from those mistakes, and are on better financial footing. Even so, it can take some time for your credit score to reflect that, making it hard to get any kind of loan or mortgage. If you’ve already been turned down by your bank for a mortgage, you may not realize that it’s actually quite easy to get a loan when you have bad credit. The catch is that you’ll pay through the nose for it.

Getting a mortgage when you have bad credit means making some concessions in terms of the price of the home you buy and the interest rate you accept. Plus, if you want to stay on firm financial footing in the future, you’ll also have to make a serious effort to improve your score.

Check out a few options to consider in my new post on Dividend.com.

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11 Food Additives You’re Probably Eating Every Day (and What They Do)

Flickr/Michelle Tribe

Flickr/Michelle Tribe

My grandparents grew up in a time and place when they knew exactly where their food came from: their own backyard. That kind of transparency seems almost unimaginable to me.

The carton of milk I buy might have been sourced from hundreds — or even thousands — of animals. The apples I carefully select tell me only the country or state in which they were grown. Even the fresh bread from my favorite local bakery is suspect; I know nothing about the flour, the seeds, or the hands that bring it to life. And I haven’t even gotten to processed food.

But let’s be honest: It’s pretty hard to avoid processed food entirely. Whether you’re talking about technicolored junk food or just canned veggies, it all contains additives that, at best, are unnecessary and, at worst, are downright harmful. Check out 11 common food additives many of us probably ingest quite often — and what they could mean for your health – in my new post on WiseBread.

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