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The Best Siri Hacks to Boost Your Productivity

the best siri hacks for productivitySince getting my iPhone 7, I have been shocked to find that I’m actually using Siri. I thought I’d look into some useful Siri productivity hacks to share, as well as ways to make Siri better (there has to be a way, right?) for a fun discussion today. Are you using Siri to boost your productivity? (Or Cortana, or Alexa, or Google Home?) What are your favorite Siri hacks for productivity and otherwise getting stuff done? (And a general question that’s more office-related: In general do you use dictation as an office hack, either via dictation software or dictating memos for your assistant to transcribe?) 

My favorite Siri hacks thus far:

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The Best Teas: What to Drink to Wake You Up, Calm You Down, and Maybe Even Replace Your Wine

teas for busy womenI can’t believe I’m about to write these words, but they’re true: I’m getting into tea.  For years I have resisted tea, hating the “bitey” taste of green tea, and not seeing the appeal in black tea. The closest I came to “liking tea” was either with fruity blends of crushed/dried flowers and fruits (without any tea leaves in there) or “sick tea,” which is just hot water with honey and lemon.  But then I started reading about rooibos tea as a wine replacement on random Reddit threads from people looking to moderate their drinking, and I thought, huh, I guess I’ll give it a try.  And much to my surprise, I liked it — it didn’t have the bite from green tea, it didn’t taste like warm jello like a bad fruit blend, and it didn’t require a fresh lemon. It’s just a warm, comforting, drink.  Finally! I thought. I get it! (By the way, I think I’m giving up wine for 2017 (but not liquor or beer); I can write more on this if you guys want.) Back to teas for busy women — the whole experience made me realize that there’s a much bigger world to tea than just green and black tea.  So, today I thought we’d go through a few quick benefits of different teas, but I’d love to hear from you, readers — Do you drink tea? What kind of teas do you like best, and what purpose do they fill in your life? Do you drink tea to replace wine, or wake you up, or calm you down? Do you like the routine or ritual associated with teas? Which type, brand or blend is your favorite? 

What to drink to replace wine or for an afternoon routine: I have no idea why, but rooibos was recommended by a few places I looked on the Internet. It also has a lot of other supposed health benefits, including improving blood circulation, promoting healthy hair, being anti-inflammatory, and more. I also like that it’s caffeine free, and requires a long steeping time (5-7 minutes), so if you tend to get distracted the way I do, you’re OK if you leave the bag in too long. (According to this Eat This, Not That article it’s also supposed to curb hunger, but I feel like drinking any big glass of liquid before dinner will do that.)

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How Do You Pamper Yourself When You’re Sick?

pamper yourself when you're sickWell, it finally happened. I caught the cold my husband and kids have had for weeks now, despite weeks of Zicam-ing it up. (With my husband, at least, it was actually the flu — the rest of us had flu shots, so hopefully I (and the kids) got a more mild version.) So here’s today’s fun topic: How do you pamper yourself when you’re sick? What goes out the window the second you find out you’re sick, and what little indulgences do you allow yourself that you wouldn’t normally? (We’ve talked about this before, but another good corollary question: how do you work when you’re sick?

For my $.02, I’ve gone to bed at 8:30 the past two nights (the “I have small kids” version of sleeping in), didn’t get out of my PJs yesterday, and wouldn’t dream of putting makeup on today. I’d also been trying to do low-carb before this, which promptly went out the window when the order went in to our local Chinese food place — wonton soup, shumai, and pork-fried rice, oh my. Instead of working yesterday during my youngest son’s nap like I usually do, I spent the time in bed, unable to sleep but reading an enjoyable and thoroughly ridiculous romance novel. (Which I finished. And then immediately bought the next one in the series on Kindle, another indulgence I don’t usually allow myself — I usually try to get my brain candy books from the library.)

As for working while sick, to me it’s all about energy management — I knew I’d have a few good hours this morning before exhaustion set in so I’ve tried my hardest to get what I needed to done without being tempted by my usual distractions.

How about you guys: How does your routine change when you’re sick? (And, anyone have a good recipe for chicken soup? We tried making one for dinner from leftover rice, shredded chicken from earlier in the week, and consomme broth, but it was a bit… salty.)

We’ve talked a lot about being sick at work in the past, including the six things you MUST have on hand at the office if you’re sick, how to ward off a cold, the business etiquette question of shaking hands when you’re sick, and, of course, the more particular question of whether it’s appropriate to actively network while sick.

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How to Take a Partial Social Media Break

Something I’ve noticed a LOT of friends doing lately is backing away from social media. I’ve been doing a partial social media break, since as a blogger I can’t really take a total break — but I’ve definitely modified my consumption. So let’s talk about it: What are you doing with the extra time if you’re on a break? Where are you getting your news and intel if you’re on a TOTAL break? What other ways are there to take a partial social media break? (In related news, we’ve also talked about how to focus on work when current events are stressful.) Some options I’ve heard of or have done myself for a partial social media break:

1) Modify your news feed so you don’t see people, groups, or news sources that are stressing you out. I regularly do this trick with people I’m “friends” with on Facebook for some historical reason, but don’t want to see every hourly thought from — for example, that guy who sat behind me in English class in 11th grade. I will also admit that I did this with groups like Pantsuit Nation and Lawyers for Good Government, particularly in the days before the inauguration where I felt like I kept seeing frenzied posts containing bad information.

Here’s how to hide posts from friends: Click the dropdown arrow and then choose “Unfollow ____.” You’ll stay friends but stop seeing posts.

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The Best Knee-High Boots for Commuting, Work, and More

The Best Knee-High Boots for Commuting, Work, and Beyond | CorporetteSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have. Today’s hunt: the best knee-high boots for commuting, work, or more. 

As work-appropriate booties have surged in popularity, we recognize that knee-high boots aren’t as strong a trend as they once were — still, I see a ton of women still wearing them, and I repeatedly see readers noting that they prefer knee-high boots for their lifestyle (or just for general personal style reasons).  I mostly see women commuting in them and wearing them with skinny jeans on the weekend, so I thought I’d focus this Hunt on flat, low-heeled styles. An important caveat: I see a lot of women swearing by flat over-the-knee boots for commuting, but OTK boots are solidly in “know your office” territory — in our last poll most women didn’t think they were appropriate for their offices. If you are on the hunt for an OTK boot, I’d either go low (very inexpensive, like this $38 pair) or high (do the classic Weitzman OTK boot) and call it a day — or make an actual trip to the store to find a good OTK boot somewhere between those two.

As we’ve noted in our past roundups of flat knee-high boots for work, watch out for slouchy boots, heavy treads, or Western influences — and if you intend to wear them the entire day at the office, make sure your outfit is intentional (and not that “I never got around to changing my commuting boots” look).

First, some specialty styles to include in our roundup of the best knee-high boots for commuting, work, and beyond:

Pictured below: some of our Hall of Fame boots — the best-selling styles that have been around and loved for years!

the best knee high boots for commuting!

Pictured above: one / two / three

Curious about our older roundups? Here are links to 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 — and our last discussion on whether knee-high boots are appropriate for the office. (Do you still think this is a question at all, ladies?)

Today’s featured knee-high boots for commuting or work include:

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How to Set Financial Goals for the Year

How to Set Financial Goals for the Year | CorporetteToday’s topic in Tales from the Wallet: do you set financial goals for the year? I started setting explicit financial goals when I left my cushy BigLaw job a few years ago — I had been so comfortable there that I could easily move every other paycheck to an interest-bearing money market fund, and then I took a job at a nonprofit, making about a third of my former salary. Suddenly faced with the prospect of austerity, I decided to set financial goals for the year.

Every year, I’ve kept my goals short, choosing just three or four, and I’ve gone back at the end of the year to see how I did. In 2010, my goals were to “1) bank all Corporette income, 2) renovate kitchen within budget, 3) max out 401Ks, and 4) pay down at least $10K of (my husband’s) student debt.” A few years later, when my first son J. came along, the goals were to “1) save 10% of our income, 2) max out J.’s 529 on top of our savings, and 3) assess all investments and figure out fees, performance, etc.” (That last one was a doozy and I wrote about it in our post on asset reallocation.)

(Pictured: Everyone says Comme des Garçons makes the best wallets — this gorgeous red continental wallet looks lovely.)

The “save X% of our income” goal is a mainstay on the goal list for me (sometimes 10, sometimes 15) and I’ve usually done a bit of planning to figure out how to get there. For example:

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