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The Best Lists To Keep (That Might Seem Obsessive But Are Actually Super Useful)

The Best Lists to Keep | CorporetteI 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...]

Tales from the Wallet: Tackling Big Debt

how to pay big debtHow 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...]

Open Thread: Staycations

StaycationsWith the Fourth of July right around the corner (and a nice four-day weekend for most US readers), I’m sure a lot of people have travel plans.  For those of you who don’t, though, I thought we’d talk about staycations — what are your favorite things to do on staycations?

For my $.02, I’ve enjoyed a number of staycations through the years…

  • Museums.  For a long time, I used to take a regular museum staycation in the beginning of the year (usually either over the 3-day MLK weekend or the 3-day President’s Day weekend) — I would pick a few museums that I hadn’t been to in a while, or had great exhibits I hadn’t seen, and try to my tourist thing in NYC — and go to at least two a day.  I would normally be exhausted after the weekend, but I really did feel like I’d learned a lot (and felt like a tourist!). [Read more...]

How to Schedule Appointments When You’re Very Busy

how to make appointmentsHow do you stay on top of hair cuts and other personal care appointments when you’re a busy professional? Reader S, who is about to start as a summer associate, wonders…

I’m in law school, about to start as a summer associate at a firm in NYC, and I was wondering if you had any advice on scheduling appointments while working at a firm. I know that as a summer, I probably won’t have the same workload as I would as a junior associate, so this is mostly a question for the future. When you were in BigLaw, how did you stay on top of things like hair cuts and waxing appointments? It just seem like the hours you need to be working and in the office would make it really hard to schedule things in advance or take the time off to get in with your favorite person.

Great question, S — for my $.02, the answer is to make friends with your calendar system. Let me explain:

- Schedule appointments at the first or last appointment of the day. Doctors, hairstylists, it doesn’t matter — everyone who is appointment-based falls behind. Another option: take advantage of weekend appointments where offered.

- Schedule WELL in advance. The first or last appointment of the day (or the weekend appointment) can be really hard to get, which is why you should try to schedule everything ahead of time, when you can afford to wait a few weeks or months. [Read more...]

Tales from the Wallet: Controlling Your Spending

how to control your spendingHow do you bring yourself back when you’re consistently over budget — what changes do you make, on either a small or large scale, to control your spending? We’ve talked about how to set a budget, as well as how to live within your means, but we haven’t talked about that thing that everyone needs to do from time to time:  rein yourself in when you’re spending more than you want to. There are two sides of this coin, I suppose.  First, maybe you’re spending too much and sending yourself into the red — credit card debt is climbing, other bills are going unpaid, etc. Second, maybe you’re still spending within your means, but you just feel like you’re out of control — maybe you were raised with a more limited budget, or maybe you just know you can save a lot more than you are right now.  Either way, the question is the same: how do you stop spending? (Pictured: Moyna Dollar Sign Pouch, available at ShopBop for $40.80 (on sale from $51).

I’ve done a number of things through the years, including: [Read more...]