It seems counter intuitive, but I’ve read that at the end of August is one of the best times to plan a vacation because you can get the best deals. We’ve talked about how to deal with vacation stress (including how to be a good employee while on vacation, and a vacation time poll to gauge how much you’ve actually taken) and we’ve talked about office etiquette around the holidays — but we haven’t talked about planning a vacation in a long time, so I thought we could discuss. How do you budget for a vacation, both in terms of money and time? (Does anyone do the “extra savings account just for vacations” thing?) Do you like to vacation in the summer or some other time of the year? Have you taken the same vacation multiple times (for example, I’ve been on FOUR Paris vacations — I love the city and love seeing new sides to it every time I go)? Or are vacations all about family for you, spending time with your parents (either in your childhood home or at a family beach house or the like)? [Read more...]
I’m curious, ladies — am I the only one who is crushed by the overwhelming amount of information hurtling my way on a daily basis? I get about 600 emails daily. Every time I log on to Facebook or Twitter I end up throwing at least 5 new articles onto my “read it later” list via Pocket (which now has something like 1150 unread articles). Pinterest seems like a bottomless pit of recipes and DIY projects that I know I’ll never try but decide to Pin anyway. Not to mention the numerous magazines I get monthly, and the 1000s of RSS feeds in my Netvibes reader. (In fact, when I first started this blog I swore I would never do more than a few posts a day because I had stopped reading other blogs like Jezebel and Gawker, overwhelmed by the sheer number of posts every day.) So… how do you deal with information overload? I have a few suggestions, but I’m really curious what you guys do — do you rely on certain apps? Do you have methods (like maintaining inbox zero, or declaring email bankruptcy on a regular basis)? What helps?
For my $.02: [Read more...]
If you’re carrying a million bags, how do you look professional? How can you lighten your load and reduce the number of bags you’re carrying? Reader R wonders…
I work in a large corporate environment and recently had a daughter. I’m back at work, but I feel like a bag lady. I’m only 5’3″ and have to carry in my laptop, purse, pump, lunch, and coffee. (Not brave enough to add my gym bag to the mix, although I’d like to.) I feel like the bags overwhelm my frame and generally make me look smaller, younger, and unprofessional. How do others juggle all this STUFF?
Congratulations on your daughter, R! Great question — I can see how this is a problem for new mothers, but also for other people carrying too much stuff. We’ve talked about what your tote bag says about you, as well as how to save your back while commuting, but we haven’t really talked about a) how to lighten your load, and b) how to balance your load (particularly if you’re petite) so it looks more managed.
From my perspective, most of reader R needs to do is to reduce the amount of stuff she carries. Some tips: [Read more...]
I am kind of an obsessive list-keeper and note-taker. Back when I had a Palm Pilot, it was filled with ‘em; now that I’m on Android I’m still happily using the program B-Folders to keep track of my myriad lists. Am I crazy? Sure. (All the best people are.) But I sometimes really marvel at how useful my odd little lists are, so I thought we’d discuss — are you guys fond of lists? Have you found that certain “weird” lists you make are really helpful from an organizing/productivity standpoint, either for life or work?
For my own $.02, here are some of the weirder lists I keep that I’ve found to be ridiculously useful (and how I use ‘em): [Read more...]
How do you pay off big student loans? Can you manage your debt when you’re facing huge numbers, such as six figures? We’ve talked about when to save versus when to pay down debt before, but a number of readers have asked for a post on Really Big Debt, so let’s discuss (particularly since the interest rate just doubled on new Stafford loans!). I polled some friends to ask who had a plan or success story that didn’t involve inheritance/lottery, and thought I’d round up their stories, anonymously, below — but readers, please share your own! Have you paid off major debt (student loans or otherwise)? What is your plan to pay it off? (Pictured: one of Nordstrom’s top rated wallets: Hobo ‘Lauren’ Double Frame Clutch, with 95 positive reviews. Available in six colors for $110.)
M’s Story: Some repayment assistance / A whole lot of payment discipline
So, on my loans: the total between grad and law school was about $130k. I was fortunate to go to a law school with a repayment assistance program for graduates working in non-profit organizations… which requires the 10-year repayment plan. I bit the bullet and went for it, feeling like I’d rather suck it up for ten years and be FREE than have student loans following me into my 50s. Consolidated all the loans (with super-low interest rates, hooray), signed up for repayment assistance, and made sure to sign up for auto-pay on the loans to make non-payment/paying less not an option. [Read more...]