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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 Workwear For Size 16 (and 18, and 16P, and 16WP, and 14W…)

The Best Workwear For Size 16 | CorporetteWe haven’t talked explicitly about the best workwear for cusp sizes in far too long, ladies — if you’re a size 16 or 18, what are your favorite stores and brands? Given the fact that the average American woman is now a size 16 and 5’4″, this is particularly a difficult question because with those stats you may fit in regular sizes (e.g., 12, 14, 16, 18), plus sizes (e.g., 10W, 12W, 14W, or 16W), petite regular sizes (such as 14P, 16P, 18P) or that rare bird, petite plus sizes (12WP, 14WP, or 16WP) — this is why women in this size range are called “inbetweeners!” But a lot of “regular” stores only carry sizes up to size 12 — and a lot of “plus” stores only start at 18W. Add to that the fact that most stores carry very few of those sizes on the shelves, and you may be stuck in a never-ending cycle of online shopping and returning stuff, as several readers noted in our post on how to return items bought online. SO. Let’s discuss, ladies: What’s the best workwear if you’re a size 16? If you’re an “average” size and right on the cusp of plus sizes, which brands or stores have you found to be the best for you? What styles of clothes work best for your body type? What brands run small; which run big?  

Psst: If you are interested in plus size workwear, please sign up for CorporettePlus, our newsletter! Signing up helps us gauge interest in the project, and we promise not to blast your email more than once a week at most. (Right now it’s more like once a month.)

Some of the brands I know of include:

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How Do You Use Your Instant Pot? An Open Thread for Busy Ladies

All right, readers — who’s a fan of the Instant Pot? Which are your favorite recipes; what are your best Instant Pot tips for busy ladies? 

Unless you’ve been living under an Instant-Pot-sized rock, you’ve probably noticed the hype around this really versatile kitchen appliance. (NPR just referred to its “viral word-of-mouth success” in a headline the other day.) Many of you — like me — probably either got one or gave one for the holidays and have been spending the last month experimenting (or listening to someone else talk about their experimenting). A reader recently asked for a post similar to the slow cooker recipes post but this time specifically for Instant Pot recipes, and so we thought we’d gather some helpful links and recipes today. Do you have an Instant Pot? What do you use it for?  As a busy woman, do you find that the Instant Pot is better or worse than the slow cooker (where, for example, readers have complained that it’s difficult to find slow cooker recipes with long cook times to allow for their work schedules)!

Whoa: Note that you can get decals, like this one from Etsy seller Emilia Sofia Boutique. I also like this Gosling-themed decal: “Hey girl, drink some wine while I make dinner” from Etsy seller Big Dipper Designs.

Instant Pot is designed to replace a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, etc., and its fans use it to make everything from chili to cheesecake. The company offers several models with different sizes and features — the DUO60, DUO50, DUO80, LUX60, and the IP-Smart Bluetooth model — but we won’t take up space here describing the differences because Amazon already has a chart that does that. (Scroll down on the page to find it.) (Here’s a post from Hip Pressure Cooking to help you decide, too.) The Instant Pot is currently Amazon’s #1 bestseller in the Home & Kitchen category, and the price range is $80-$180, depending on which model you choose.

Here are a few resources for the new Instant Pot user:

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