Money Isn’t Everything! These Values Matter

Money Isn’t Everything! These Values Matter

According to my grandmother, “Poor or rich, money is good to have.” We need money to pay our living expenses and support who and what we care about most. Raising a family or taking care of our parents requires funds for health care, education, and the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of life. It can help us make a difference in the lives of others through giving.

Without money to pay our bills or invest, we may fall short of achieving our life’s goals and having financial security, independence, and freedom.

Money Isn’t Everything!

Money isn’t everything. It has its limitations. Obsession over money and wealth is unhealthy, mainly when it controls your life. It may prevent us from ever being satisfied with our life by continually needing to compare ourselves to others. Money matters because it is the tool we need in the absence of bartering. However, many things are more valuable and can help us achieve our full potential. Focus on those values that make you content. Review the values listed on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Self-actualization is the pinnacle of our self-fulfillment needs.

As individuals, we each have our list of personal values that give meaning to our lives. These values shape our personality, behavior, and attitudes. How often do we reflect on those traits that make us who we are? It is an excellent exercise to do to make sure you are going in the right direction. Since we serve as role models for our children, we need to be sure we send the signals we want them to see. They are worthy of us doing a check on our values and beliefs, which make us tick.

What We Value, Besides Money

 

1. Time Is A Precious Resource

Time is money, but it is so much more. If there is inequality in money and wealth, we have the same limited time. You can’t borrow or lend time at any cost. Anyone who loses family and friends knows the tragedy of time running out.

You can’t buy time unless you can pay someone to do a task for you, which may temporarily free you to do other things. But you can’t buy time in a permanent sense, no matter how much money you have.

Time is our most precious resource. As such, spend your time with people you most enjoy being with or doing what you most desire. Don’t waste your time; use it in productive ways.  Think in terms of daily accomplishments and whether you have achieved what you wanted to do. Like money, invest your time meaningfully. Find ways how to improve your time management skills here.

2. Manage Your Energy Wisely

Somewhat related to time is how we manage our energy. Energy affects our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. We all have limits to what our mind and body can do. What is personal energy or power? It is the amount of effort or strength you are willing to devote to people, things, or challenges in your life.

There are people in our lives who are delightful. We get a good boost from spending our time and energy with them. Other people may deplete our energy through negative behavior or attitudes. In this challenging year, the pandemic has weighed on our lives by making it difficult to see our friends and families. We may have saved time and energy by working remotely, but we lost the uplift from seeing people in the office. Indeed, driving to work may give us the power of the bridge, separating our home from our jobs.

3. Your Health Is Our Vital Asset

We can’t take our health–physical, mental, and emotional-for granted. Yet, we often do this by not taking as good care of our body and mind as we can.  What is your health worth? Like time, it is priceless and precious. Eating healthy, daily exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be hard to do. They are good habits to incorporate into your mindset. Even short daily movements have helped me loosen up considerably.

Recently, I complained to a friend about being more stressed about more things lately. He recommended several meditation sessions to try out. A few of the sessions were particularly helpful, so I work on those. Changing up your routine with good habits can be stimulating. 

I look forward to reading at night, playing music that fits my mood, and understanding my emotions better.

4. Family,  Friends, And Community

“First be a person who needs people. People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

Bob Merrill, lyricist Sung by Barbra Streisand

We need our family and friends for their love, affection, companionship, and to validate us. I come from a tiny family where friends were family and family were friends. The pandemic experience has required us to social distance for safety reasons. However, we have grown tired of this pandemic and staying apart from people we love. Human beings just don’t enjoy isolation. We thrive when we are with other people who are essential in our lives. They contribute to our sense of belonging, comfort, and self-worth and add to our lives’ meaning.

Community And Colleagues

Apart from family and friends, it is your community and your neighbors. Community is where you live and your colleagues at work. Work and community are spheres where you may meet new friends. We recently moved from a big city to a small town. We changed communities just before the pandemic is the ideal time for you to meet new friends. Our kids are fortunate to have met and formed relationships with good friends when they were at school. Those relationships have carried over to online and social media.

5. The Right Life Partner

Choosing the right partner you want to spend your life with is easier said than done. Only after years together can you look back and say you are fortunate to find someone to be with until you are old and gray. When you are in your 20s, how do you know if you both have the same interests, intellect, and standards?

You don’t. However, by loving one another and finding someone with who you can connect easily, learn from, trust, respect, and grow, you have the making of the right life partner.

My Life Partner

Speaking of myself, Craig and I connected instantly in what feels like a lifetime ago. We have similar interests, enjoy each other’s company. Challenges are in every relationship but knowing how to deal with each of them matters. Craig has always been my incredible support, and we both learn from each other when we have different interests or opinions. I feel lucky that we have built a tremendous enduring bond that has remained strong through the high demands of having active teens and two dogs.

6. The Virtues of Work

“Choose a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Mark Twain

It has been my great fortune to find meaningful work most of my career. Every individual should explore what kind of work they most enjoy doing. For some, it is working with their hands to craft a tangible product. Many feel rewarded by helping others, while a significant number prefer making lots of money to afford a luxury lifestyle. To each, their own goals and road to success.

I have always found challenging work to be enterprising and energizing. Working has allowed me to grow my knowledge and skills outside of my home. With so many people unemployed these days, I feel blessed to have a job that will enable me to teach remotely. The virtues of working are plentiful. Work adds meaningful dimensions to your life besides compensation. I have learned new skills, expanding my knowledge, cultivating my career and reputation. Read more on the virtues of work here. 

7. Love of Learning

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

Henry Ford

By being a lifelong learner, you can look at the world with fresh eyes. Learning can be formal, informal, or casual. You don’t have to learn in the classroom to pick up knowledge. Most of our education comes from outside of an academic setting. Picking up new information or realizing an original thought can give new highs and optimism. Whether you are learning for a career, hobby, or personal growth, never stop learning. There are only benefits to be found in lifelong learning.

Keep your brain healthy by find activities you enjoy and challenge yourself. There are so many resources and ways to learn. I have overcome some of my anxiety by improving how to cook, updating my tech skills, working on crossword puzzles, writing better, reading books I may have shied away from, and more. Chess is one of those games that I have genuinely wanted to learn how to play.

The Queen’s Gambit

I was fascinated by watching The Queen’s Gambit recently. Netflix’s series is a story of an orphan, Beth Harmon, who aspires to play chess in the male-oriented competitive world of the 1950s and 1960s. I played chess (poorly) with anyone who would play with me (only my brother) when I was in grade school. However, I would watch these intense chess players while strolling through Washington Square Park in New York City. It was so cool! Playing chess may have eluded me, but it has always sparked my interest in learning.

8. Protect Your Reputation

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Warren Buffett

Buffett’s quote on reputation is priceless. Your reputation is your brand, whether it is for a business or you. I cannot understate the importance of how you are regarded by your social circles, at work, and in your family. Reputation is your character and quality as judged by people. It forms the basis of respect and the currency of your worth. Cultivate traits like honesty, integrity, honor, and strong morals that should be in the workplace and your life. Manage your online presence for the quality of your character you are conveying.

The ruin of your reputation usually comes more quickly and efficiently than its establishment. It can be due to a lapse of ethical conduct or doing something legally questionable. Don’t post on social media without considering potential negative ramifications.

Rule of Thumb For Questionable Posts

If you are unsure, use the rule of thumb for questionable posts. That means first considering what others–friends, family, colleagues, your current or future employers–may think.

Words, photos, videos, or anything that are reflections of you and your values may last in cyberspace for all time. Protect your reputation carefully but not at all costs, which may make it harder to restore. Even now, you may already have some questionable items that may cause harm to you in the future. For example, you may want to pull that drinking contest you won with a trophy filled with bourbon, even if it is a relic of your past.

9. Experiences Over Possessions

Having experiences top buying things most of the time for me. Unique experiences tend to be more memorable and pleasurable. Traveling by camel in the desert, ziplining, and whitewater rafting bring tremendous rushes to our adrenaline. 

Studies have shown experiences bring people more happiness than do possessions. In their 2014 study, psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Thomas Gilovich found it wasn’t just the experiential purchases (money spent on doing) that provided more joy than material possessions (money spent on having). The joy of waiting in line for the experience gave participants enduring pleasure as well as consumption. Millennials are known for their preference for spending on experiences, but boomers also favored experiences in this study. 

In a 2018 study with the Center For Generational Kinetics, Expedia found 74% of Americans prioritize experiences over products. Travel tops the list of experiences that make us happy the most. Of course, these results were before the pandemic when we were able to take trips. As a result of the pandemic, experiential purchases such as traveling, concerts, and movies, have declined. No doubt, the experience economy and sharing it with others has suffered as well.

10. Find Your Passions

Passion is a powerful emotion defined as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement about doing something. Your passionate interests maybe those areas of topics, skills, or activities that excite you. Being passionate is often beyond a mere interest in something and can be an internal energy source. Like experiences, you are more engaged and engrossed in the activity or learning more about it.

Finding your passion in your job or career can motivate you to improve your performance. You don’t need to work in a position that directly aligns with your interests, but there could be an overlap between your work and other activities. Being excited about interests outside of work has its benefits. It allows you to develop new skills, meet new people, and expand your personal growth in a more balanced way.

For many years, I collected coins as a hobby, starting with Indian Head pennies, which led to my interest in the history of Native Americans, which I still am engrossed in today. Later, my husband and I became serious collectors of 18th Century American furniture and art, learning about American history.   I am always fascinated to know what passions other people have in their lives.

11. Gratitude and Empathy

“He who receives a benefit with gratitude repays the first installment on his debt.”

Seneca

Expressing our thanks to all those we love and appreciate can help us live better lives—both the givers and the receivers of our gratitude experience many advantages. Our happiness rises, we feel healthier, stress declines, and it helps us cope with a range of negative emotions. Gratitude is our moral barometer and, when genuinely given, boosts our energy. Expressing gratitude is good for our finances as well.

Gratitude has been studied extensively in the past two decades. As such, gratitude is a “gateway’ to other positive emotions– joy, pride, motivation, and wonder.

A Shared Role In Our Brain

Gratitude is on par with empathy. Empathy, a relatively new term, is defined as the ability to understand and share another’s feelings. Having the ability to understand and share the feelings of another is empathetic. Scientists have linked gratitude and empathy because there is an exact role played by each in the medial prefrontal cortex  (MPFC) part of the brain. That part of the brain helps people set and achieve goals and contributes to a wide area of functions.

Feeling grateful and empathic are enduring values that produce benefits for the giver and receiver.

12. Financial Security

Sooner or later, I wanted to get back to money as the value we share with those mentioned earlier. Achieving financial security provides peace of mind when your income can cover your expenses; after having saved for emergencies and your retirement. Financial security requires adopting good habits that can support your lifestyle while you work toward financial goals. Becoming financially secure means not worrying about credit card debt because you pay your bills in full and will not pay interest charges. 

The importance of feeling financially secure allows you to have flexibility and freedom to control your life. Financial security means different things for different people. For me, it means working at a job for less pay but feels more rewarding when teaching college students. I feel fulfilled at the prospect of sharing what I know with others. Being able to schedule my time better helps me to face the needs of my family better.

Final Thoughts

Money isn’t everything, but it matters when you don’t have enough to pay your bills. Besides money, there is much to value in our life. We should protect, honor, cherish and nurture these values for giving meaning to our lives.

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10 Money Lessons From Martin Luther King’s Words

10 Money Lessons From Martin Luther King’s Words

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left us with a rich legacy in his shortened life. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to him. The struggle to attain racial equality through King’s civil rights movement is well known. What is less known were his efforts toward achieving economic equality for all. It is very much a part of his work, sermons, and speeches. His words on education, money, and morality are eerily prescient and resonate in 2021 for many of us.

We celebrate Martin Luther King Day on January 18, 2021, as a US federal holiday with banks, and schools are legally closed. Let’s remember Dr. King and his legacy on money and economic fairness using the force of his words.

10 Money Lessons From Martin Luther King Jr.’s Words:

1. The Importance of Education

Pursuing education remains a great equalizer in society. However, it hasn’t always been available on a fair basis for all races. Higher education provides opportunities for higher earnings potential and a better standard of living. Even today, it remains out of reach for many given its high cost and the burden of student debt.

I teach diverse business students who are often economically challenged at an urban-based community college part of City University of NY (CUNY). As a professor at a CUNY college, I found this incredible speech by Dr. Martin Luther King at City College’s June 12 1963 commencement. City College, located in Harlem, was founded in 1847, caters to the poor and immigrants. It was the first free public institution of higher education intended for those who couldn’t afford college.

Given my experience, I feel a personal connection to this particular speech. King targeted the importance of education and awareness of social evils (war, economic and racial injustices) for all Americans. Education, especially for the poor, is a means of lifting the oppressed and the unfortunate.

Here are some of the golden nuggets:

Power And Control As Byproducts of Education

“The complete education will equip one with the power of concentration, but it will also give him worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. It will give him a critical faculty for precise judgment, but it will also give him profound sympathies with which to temper the asperity of his judgments. It will give him not only knowledge which is power but wisdom which is control.”

  • “Education must enable a man to become more efficient and it must humanize him.”
  • “Keeping our more moral progress commensurate with our scientific and technological advances.”
  • “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically”.

 

2. “False God of Money”

In July 1953, assisting his father, Dr. King spoke on Atlanta’s first black-owned radio station. “False Gods We Worship” series on science, nationalism, and money. He feared money worship would lead to exploitation for economic ends, selfishness, cheating, and moral degradation. His concerns were fair when we think of our current financial situation many today find themselves in: the lack of emergency funds, overspending, and high debt loads.

 Among the points Dr. King made:

  • Chasing materialism is a wasted effort.
  • “We do not have to look very far to see the tragic consequences which develop when men worship the almighty dollar… it causes men to be more concerned about making a living than a life.”
  • He cautioned on the danger of spending profits made for the sole purpose of appearing rich with possessions like Cadillacs and Buick convertibles.

This phenomenon is lifestyle inflation.  Often, it occurs when we increase spending as our income rises rather than putting away some savings. As a result, living beyond our means prevents us from reaching financial goals. Its remedy is conscious financial management that requires budgeting, cutting unnecessary spending, and good money habits to target reasonable short and long-term financial goals.

3. “Drum Major Instinct” And Our Need For Importance And Recognition

Among my favorites of Dr. King’s sermons, Drum Major Instinct was given on February 4, 1968, two months before his assassination. The notion of Drum Major Instinct raised by Dr. King was the desire to gain attention, to stand out, and be recognized. By itself, without a more legitimate aim, Drum Major Instinct was about being boastful or living beyond your means. However, harnessing Drum Major Instinct can positively contribute to society by leading, inventing, or creating something for humanity.

Using cars as metaphors for prosperity, King returns to themes of economic greed and overspending. “Do you ever see people buy cars than they can’t even begin to buy in terms of their income?… But so often, haven’t you seen people making five thousand dollars a year and driving a car that costs six thousand? And they wonder why their ends never meet.”

Instead of pursuing materialistic possessions, go after better ideals like the civil rights movement and economic justice.

4. Keep Moving Forward

“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

As a preacher, Dr. King knew intimately the Gospels. He often relied on the Book of Isaiah in his speech at Spelman College Museum on April 10, 1960, as he did for “If you can’t fly.” He encouraged young men and women to keep moving forward, make achievable goals, and persevere in the fight against injustices. Dr. King warned against materialism, which focuses on “profit-making and profit-gettings aspects of capitalism.”

5. Achieving Excellence

Inspiring young students to achieve their best, Dr. King spoke at Barrett Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967. In his famous speech, “What’s Your Life’s Blueprint?”  King said:

“Set out to do a good job and do that job so well that the living, the dead and unborn couldn’t do it any better.”

“Be A Great Street Sweeper”

He went on: “If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Obtaining an education, enriched skills, and a strong work ethic will provide you with a path to achieve excellence and attain personal goals. Seek every opportunity for training at work or elsewhere and exploit your inherent abilities such as being multi-lingual. Leverage your unique characteristics that are valuable for employers. Don’t just do an ordinary job but be the best at what you set out to do.

6. “A Freedom Budget For All Americans”

The Freedom Budget was an ambitious step toward economic equality. Asa Philip Randolph wrote it with Dr. King’s support. Completed in January 1967, the Freedom Budget was a manifesto to reduce poverty. This manifesto was a step-by-step plan to wipe out poverty within ten years. Its goals were to provide better schools, homes, clean air, jobs, and guaranteed income through a $200 increase in federal income taxes ($1,587.70 in 2020 dollars) on the wealthy.

The seven basic objectives were:

  1. To provide full employment for all who are willing and able to work, including those who need education or training to make them willing and able.
  2. To assure decent and adequate wages to all who work.
  3. To assure a decent living standard to those who cannot or should not work.
  4. To wipe out slum ghettos and provide decent homes for all Americans.
  5. To provide decent medical care and adequate educational opportunities to all Americans, at a cost they can afford.
  6. To purify our air and water and develop our transportation and natural resources on a scale suitable to our growing needs.
  7. To unite sustained full employment with sustained full production and high economic growth.

Who Wrote It?

Dr. King illuminated the financial stresses afflicted on whites as well as nonwhites in our society. Several scholars worked on this doctrine, notably economist Leon Keyserling (chair of the Council of Economic Advisory under President Truman) and Bayard Rustin, legendary civil rights leader. There were 211 signers, reflecting a mix of progressive economists, thinkers, and activists of the time. The current dialogue regarding guaranteed income started with the Freedom Budget and Dr. King.

7. “Where Do We Go From Here?- Guaranteed Income For All

Adding to his economic justice efforts in the Freedom Budget, Dr. King spoke at the Eleventh Annual Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) on August 16, 1967. He pointed to progress made as black owned-banks were providing loans to black businessmen. Employment was rising for blacks in both government and private industry jobs, reflecting little but positive progress.

Calling for guaranteed income, Dr. King wanted to create full employment and payments for those in poverty. He said,  “New forms of work that enhance social good have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available.” However, blacks were earning 50% of whites’ income, and change was urgent for the good of the whole economy.  He wanted to combine the best parts of capitalism and communism to create an equal ground for those in need with guaranteed incomes.

Dr. King’s plan called for a universal basic income for all Americans by creating jobs, better education, and housing so that all could prosper at a time in the economy where many were reaching affluence. There were about 40 million people in poverty at the time of this speech. John Kenneth Galbraith, a notable economist, thought MLK’s plan would cost $20 billion per year. This cost compares to the then $35 billion annual costs of financing the unpopular Vietnam War. For more on a current view of the Pros and Cons of Universal Basic Income, see our article here.

Nixon’s Proposed Family Assistance Plan

The call for universal basic income doesn’t seem so farfetched today, and it wasn’t then either. Shortly after Dr. King’s death, President Richard Nixon had proposed an anti-poverty plan to the nation in 1969. It was called the Family Assistance Plan. Nixon’s plan would have provided an annual guaranteed minimum income of $500 for each adult and $300 for each child when the median household yearly income was $7,400. The plan intended was to gradually phase out income benefits as the family’s earned income rose. Advocates realized benefits would be within one year.

8. Leadership

Few leaders have impacted others as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had. He taught others to be purposeful, be educators and leaders, works with others to get things done, and promote justice. We are better for what he stood for and what we could have been as a nation had he lived a full life in years.

  • “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
  • “We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice.”
  • “Money, like any other force such as electricity is amoral and could be used for good or evil.”

9. Be Kind To One Another

Dr. King appeared at the Western Michigan University campus in Kalamazoo on December 18, 1963, and delivered a plea for brotherhood with these words: “We must learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools.” For sure, Dr. King was referring to the racial divide. Our country remains politically divergent. Perhaps MLK’s inspiration can heal our differences. Be kind to others as a first step.

10. Estate Planning

With all of Dr. King’s efforts to provide for guaranteed income, education, selflessness, and better jobs for all Americans, he financially shortchanged his own family. Imposing sacrifices on himself, he mostly gave away the money he earned, including the $54,600 Nobel Peace Prize received. Despite Coretta King’s plea to set aside money for their children’s education, there were no financial assets. Activist friends provided funding for his four children’s education.

Moreover, Dr. King died intestate, that is, without a will. The family did not receive guidance or instructions regarding the use of his many works. As a result, his children have fought amongst themselves in court battles over intellectual property rights. However, well-intentioned and proud Dr. King was in leaving a remarkable legacy for his family and all Americans, it is sad to know how the lack of proper estate planning can tear a family apart.

Leaving legacies in more contemporary times is even more complicated with the advent of digital technology. Most of our assets are in digital form and are still not fully addressed in our estate planning documents. Take a look at some guidance we provide to how you may best approach accounting for these assets.

Final Thoughts

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has provided us with a rich legacy. He has inspired us with his conviction for racial and economic equality. Through his words, he has provided us with valuable lessons on money: overspending, materialism, lifestyle inflation, achieving excellence in education and work,  economic parity, financial insecurity, giving back to others, and leaving assets for his loved ones.

Thank you for reading! Are there favorite MLK quotes or speeches that inspired you? Please share! We would love to hear from you!

 

Money And Life Lessons From “The Queen’s Gambit”

Money And Life Lessons From “The Queen’s Gambit”

For a moment, she wanted to say something about the expansiveness of room service, even measured in pesos, but she didn’t. She picked up the phone and dialed six. The man answered in English. She told him to send a margarita and a large Coke to room 213.” Walter Tevis, author of The Queen’s Gambit (1983)

Have you seen Netflix’s most-watched miniseries, “The Queen’s Gambit,” yet? It is the story of Beth Harmon, an orphan after her mother commits suicide and takes place in mid-1950s Kentucky. Against all odds, Harmon becomes a chess prodigy, rising to become the world’s chess master while emotionally struggling with adoption, rejection, drug, and alcohol dependency.

I was fascinated by this “coming of age” drama. Harmon playing chess is a symbol for life and, specifically, for providing money lessons. As a metaphor, chess is not new. Chess is often symbolic of life, war, and survival. The famous physicist  Richard Feynman was said to have used chess to solve mathematical and scientific problems.

Valuable Money And Life Lessons

 

1. Find Your Passions And Purpose

Beth Harmon was a socially awkward child when she arrived at the orphanage. Alone in the world, an older girl, Jolene, takes her under her wings. Harmon is more of an observer in her small world rather than a social butterfly. She finds comfort in the “vitamins,”  which are tranquilizers dispensed by the orphanage to keep the girls calm. Prescribing these drugs in the mid 20th century was common practice.

Once Harmon gets a taste of chess, her social awkwardness evaporates as she finds herself on a more confident and purposeful path. From a burgeoning interest in chess, Beth Harmon discovers her passion for playing chess as soon as she learned how to play. with hard work, passion, and determination, she won games, prize money and was able to support herself and her adoptive mother. 

2. Keep Practicing And Learning

Beth Harmon’s first exposure to playing chess was through watching the orphanage’s janitor, Mr. Shaibel. He is an experienced chess player who plays alone in the basement. Mr. Shaibel initially discourages her from watching him but soon recognizes her strong interest. Mr. Schnaibel, a chess enthusiast, mentors Harmon who learns quickly. He gives her encouragement and gives her the first chess book, “Modern Chess Openings.”  She studied and practiced moves to quench her thirst for mastering the game.

Recognizing her growing talent, Mr. Schnaibel introduced Beth to the school’s head of the chess club, who invites her to play in the tournament. This tournament is Beth Harmon’s first challenge in encountering hurdles. The high school’s chess club was male-dominated. They initially do not take Harmon as a serious contender.

Beth took the sedative pills she received at the orphanage. The pills help her to visualize the entire game on the ceiling of her room. It clears her head, increases her confidence, and spawns her dependency on drugs, which becomes problematic later on.

3. Adopted, She Adapts To Her New Situation

Beth Harmon is adopted by a childless couple, the Wheatley’s, sticking with her chess passion. She quickly realizes her adoptive parents, Alma and Allston, have marital problems, and her adoptive father moves across the country.  Beth remained with her adoptive mom, Alma Wheatley, an alcoholic who requires some adulting. Beth provided financial support to her mother, who began to enjoy Beth’s success in the game.

Beth Harmon goes full throttle into the world of chess, signing up for chess tournaments across the country.

4. Overcoming Hurdles In The Male-Dominated Chess Game

In the mid 20th century, the chess game was played mainly by males, like the business world at that time. Chess was not always that way. Notable women are known to play chess: Mary, Queen of Scots, and Queen Elizabeth I. When Benjamin Franklin traveled to Europe, he played chess with socially important women.

Lyudmila Rudenko became the first female International Chess Master in 1950. However, Beth Harmon in the fictional series would have been playing in a male-oriented game as portrayed.

Overcoming Mr. Shaibel’s resistance to her playing the game was the first of many hurdles. Signing up for the first tournament in Kentucky exposed Harmon to males who initially saw her more as a curiosity until she proved her mettle. Her reputation grew as she won tournaments and cash prizes.

5. Set Goals And Have Strategies

As her winnings increased, Harmon set her sights on larger venues in different cities in the US. She dived into reading classic chess books by the masters learning each possible strategic move practicing through visualization skills. Taking tranquilizers regularly, Beth used the ceilings to envision the chessboard pieces and tried out different strategies to play in her next game.

Romanticizing the game, Beth Harmon said: “It’s an entire world of just 64 squares. I feel safe in it. I can control it. I can dominate it. And it’s predictable, so if I can get hurt, I only have myself to blame.”

Along the way, Beth met many different boys who became her friends and mentors. In her high school, girls invited Beth out to find out about the boys she was meeting at tournaments and did not know her. These girls fit the stereotype of women who went to school, got married, and had children and no career. This scenario was counter to Beth’s ambition to be top of the chess world.

Beth’s goals were to master chess, win tournaments in the US, travel to Paris, and ultimately play the Chess Master, Vasily Borgov, in the Soviet Union.

6. Financial Independence

From the start, Beth Harmon is fiercely independent and fits a different mold.  Women during the 1950s and 1960s were financially dependent on their husbands. As a successful chess player,  Beth Harmon became a role model for her adoptive mother, Alma. Alma was an accomplished pianist on her own but suffered from stage fright. She was never encouraged to play the piano, even in her home. Her estranged husband was unaware of his wife’s talent until Beth Harmon confronted him about abandoning his family without financial support.

As a result of Beth Harmon’s winnings and her rising star, she became financially independent and supported her mother.

Beth invested in herself. She used her earnings to buy chess books, a travel chess set, and magazines to learn about the games’ strategy.  She shared her winnings and encouraged her mother to travel to the tournaments in different markets. Beth and her mother became very close, supporting one another.

At times, Beth was concerned about overspending on the hotels, meals, drinks, and snacks. After all, she was footing the bill for everything.

7. Risks And Rewards

 Throughout the series, Beth Harmon discusses the specifics of chess with the friends who mentor her. The discussions are intense, intuitiveness,  energetic, and displays of genius among these avid players. They know chess well. To the amateur or non-player like myself (who enjoyed the series), it was most intriguing how they played a psychological game of wits.

Each player has only one option: to win this existential game as survival of the fittest. Risks and rewards hang in the balance as they discuss the opening move of the game.

Opening Moves

The Queen’s Gambit, the series, is named for one of the oldest openings that are still commonly played today. This opening move secures control over the center of the board. Garry Kasparov, the Russian grandmaster, consulted for the series, lending authenticity to the game. The chess pieces are the player’s possessions; they use their skills, time, energy, tactics, and patience to win this game. You can almost feel the brain waves make sounds.

Chess is like watching two people negotiate at the bargaining table. The stakes are high for each to battle the other. Risks rise with each chess win, along with the rewards of the game. As you win at one table, you move on to a stronger player until the tournament’s two strongest players are left to play.

Chess And Investments Require Discipline

Making investments are similar. You can start with a small amount of money to get the feel of investing in stocks. The stakes increase as you add more money to your investments, but you can lower your risk by diversifying your portfolio rather than investing in individual stocks. However, diversification in a pool of stocks through an indexed mutual fund reduces your risk and returns. When you make investments, you need to remain disciplined to lessen your losses.

 

8. Be Confident But Don’t Fall Prey To Overconfidence

“The key is not to be tentative. You have to play with absolute confidence.” Benny Watts

From the beginning, you recognize Beth Harmon’s confidence in herself and her game. Tested, she occasionally falters. The viewer cheers her on, as do her competitors, who she quickly demolishes. Beth gains energy from her passion for becoming the greatest chess player in the world. Those she competes with are soon in awe of her.

Beth defeats Harry Beltik, a champion player, in her first tournament at the high school. Later, he mentors her, bringing the best chess books to find out she read most of them. Later, Benny Watts, the reigning US chess champion, becomes her mentor and friend as she moves onto higher ground. These friends identify Beth’s self-destruction streak, which nearly costs her health, reputation, and life.

 

9. Fighting Demons As Her Genius Becomes Her Burden 

A confluence of factors–alcoholism, drugs, and a paralyzing loss–nearly destroy Beth. On the road with her mother, she adds alcohol to the sedatives she continues to take to help visualize the game. When she travels to Paris, her goal is to win the game if she can play Vasily Borgov, the current Russian world champion chess player. From Paris, she plans her ultimate target, to play in the Soviet Union, become the world chess master, defeating all the Soviet players, and ultimately, Borgov.

In a rare departure from her typical discipline, Beth goes for drinks with a friend the night before her Paris match and stays out late. Overly confident and distraught over her mother’s death, she cannot perform up to her standards. She loses the game badly. Upon returning to Kentucky alone, Beth Harmon is a physical and emotional basketcase.

Jolene, her friend at the orphanage, scooped her up and restored her to her former winning self.  Jolene said, “Looks like you are at the bottom of a f*cking hold. And it’s looking like you dug it yourself. My advice? Stop digging.”

Her male mentors worried about her and added their support. Harmon gained substantially through her friendships and mentoring they provided

Failure Is Possible For The Most Successful

How often, after feeling the thrill of success, do we all get tested in our professional lives? Failure is possible for the most successful. We all falter in our careers. I know I have had that experience in my profession.

It can happen when you are the pinnacle of your success and can do no wrong in the eyes of your employees, your clients, and others. Maybe that sounds like an exaggeration, and to some extent, it may be. What do you do if your product rollout is a bomb or your stock recommendation turns out to be a dud? You recognize it for the failure it is, dusting yourself off, and start again. We overthink our mistakes, but it is better to move forward.

10. Stick With Your Convictions

As a chess player, Beth Harmon stuck with her convictions. Her friends often criticized her style of playing, which was “an all-out attack.” Later, Benny Watts tells her, “You play what’s best for you.”

Two women from a Christian group offered to pay for Harmon’s trip to the Soviet Union. However, there was a catch. They asked Beth to endorse the group’s statement as an American against the policies of the Soviet Union. Beth refused to do so and returned the group’s money. She stood by her principles to avoid politics rather than compromising her position for the sake of money she needed to travel.

11. Earning Income From Chess 

Many chess players support themselves by remaining on the chess tournament circuit. The intensity of the game may be challenging to envision chess as a means of earning passive income. If you enjoy the game, there are ways to become a professional player. Winners of the world championship typically win $1-2 million. Top events can yield prize money in the $50,000 range. Other ways to earn some money are playing at clubs, tutoring, sponsorships, making presentations, and writing books.

Final Thoughts

The Queen’s Gambit is Netflix’s winning series about the rise of an orphaned prodigy in the world of chess in the mid 20th century. There is much to learn about the chess game and its 11 valuable lessons about life and money.

Thank you for reading! If you found something of value please consider sharing the post with others. Subscribe to The Cents of Money and receive our weekly newsletter.     

 

           

12 Ways To Improve Your Time Management Skills

12 Ways To Improve Your Time Management Skills

“Time keeps slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, into the future.”

 Fly Like An Eagle – Lyrics by Steve Miller

 

Have you ever felt overwhelmed and stressed with too much to do and not enough time? It’s a widespread feeling.

Having good time management skills at an early age prepares you to achieve success at your school, your workplace, and your life. It is not easy to manage our time when we have so many distractions competing for our attention with immense data growth, social media, biases, and those bad habits like procrastination. Yet, with strong motivation and hard work, we can do better. We have time management tips below.

What Is Time Management?

Time management is the process of planning, arranging, and controlling how much time to spend on tasks and activities to maximize effectiveness. Developing a good habit of managing our time will give us more control over our lives. Most of us are not good at managing our time well. According to a survey, only 10% of people say they feel “in control” of how they spend their day. Learning how to allocate our time and energy is beneficial. 

Yet having better time management skills are achievable. 

Benefits Of Time Management Are Huge

  • Become more productive, effective, and efficient.
  • Have an awareness of wasting time and able to make adjustments.
  • Have a better focus, less stress, and be healthy.
  • Improve work/life balance.

By saving more time, we can have more opportunities to achieve meaningful career and life goals.

How Time Relates To Money

We often talk about the relationship between time and money and their importance as resources. Time is money, as said by Benjamin Franklin and many others. But is it?

Time is a finite resource that, when it has passed, is permanently gone. Although money may be hard to find when you are out of a job, you have an opportunity to replace it even when times are hard, as they are now. You can file for unemployment benefits, turn to money saved for an emergency, borrow money, search for a job, or start a side hustle. While not optimum, we at least have the possibility of replacing money. On the other hand, the time spent is gone forever.

Many of the tips for improving time management skills are akin to better money management habits. Having time management strategies is essential when you are in college, in the workplace, and life. 

How To Better Manage Time And Money

Tracking time spent is similar to tracking your spending. By doing so, you may better see how wasteful you are and can make changes.

Budget your time wisely for what you need to do first before acting. When budgeting your money for essential needs such as living costs, you can better assess what you have for discretionary spending for your wants.

When you spend time foolishly, you may be late on deadlines, do a poor job, and need outside help to complete your job. Overspending leads to ramping up debt that may be difficult to pay off.

Being frugal with your time is a way to acknowledge you wish to spend it more prudently. The same goes for money when we are cheap with how we spend money.

For college students, having time management skills are a must to achieve your goals. Avoid procrastination by taking better control of your schedule. Managing your time will help you to do well and graduate from school and start your career. Time management skills are relevant. You can carry these skills forward into the workplace to be more effective and efficient at your job.

I Wasted Time At College

To be honest, my time management skills were terrible in college. There weren’t any courses to take to help you eliminate time wasters. Intuitively, I knew I was wasting time, and I know when I do so now. The difference between then and now is that I have become more aware and proactively work on being more focused—years of needing to be effective and agile as an equity analyst helped me realize better productivity. If I didn’t control my time better, my competitors would undoubtedly have advantages over me.

Improving My Skills Out Of Necessity

That said, I truly learned to develop time management skills when I went to law school. I went back to school at an older age and had some good habits already. However, I had some bad ones too. Law school made a world of good in the world of time management. As a student, I read the legal cases ahead of time, then compiled the relevant concepts into big study guides. Then I cut the principles down into an index card for each class. I had daily “to-do” lists with detailed schedules for the rest of the term. I was focused, organized, and strategic about my priorities.

Think of time management as a means to an end. Mastering your time well in school and at your job often leads to handing in your assignments on time with outstanding quality, less stress, have free time to enjoy family, friends, and yourself. By saving time, you can accomplish more of your goals in your life.

My sixteen-year-old daughter, Alex, has a system for managing her priorities with stickers for as long as I can recall. My son, Tyler, not so much. As a result, he has often been unnecessarily late with assignments. He has taken a page out of Alex’s book and has dramatically improved.

Merely having goals without good habits is not enough to reach them. Having a desire to lose to 20 pounds, handing in assignments on time, or saving $10,000 within a year is an empty promise without a plan and good habits. We can improve them with hard work, persistence, and perseverance.

12 Ways To To Improve Your Time Management Skills

 

 1. Be Goal-Oriented With A SMART Approach

To achieve success, you need to know what your short and long term goals are. Most of us are more focused on the near-term, but these targets should fit our life goals. That doesn’t mean you can’t adjust your long term plan along the way. However, having some idea of the lifestyle you’d desire motivates in the short term. For example, when you see a house near a lake and it may produce an image for your memory bank that someday you may want to pursue.

To better reach goals, a SMART approach can bridge the gap to better habits. George T Doran first introduced the acronym in Management Review in November 1981. College students and employees can use this approach to adapt to money and time management: 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic (or Relevant, Reasonable)
  • Time

A SMART Example For Students: Improve My Academics

You are a sophomore, and your GPA is just under 3.0. You have been floundering a bit but recently have decided to pursue a career in business. So it is time to work on your grades to boost your GPA to the 3.5 level by graduation.

Specific

This semester, you registered for business courses you are interested in, such as Consumer Behavior, Business Law, and Finance. You also have to take Statistics, which you are worried about because it has a lot of math. You need to get your overall GPA to B/B+, including Statistics, by the end of the semester, a 6-month target. (SPECIFIC)

Measurable

Keep in mind that your grades matter. If you can improve your grades to a solid B or higher this term, with better planning, you should lift your GPA to over 3.0.  (MEASURABLE)

Achievable And Reasonable

Ask yourself: Can I get at least or a B or better in each course I am taking? It will require more organization of due dates for homework assignments and required papers. I will be scheduling a lot more study time ahead of the midterm and final exams and ask for help when needed.

As math is sometimes an issue in Statistics, go to the Tutoring Center and schedule a few sessions ahead of exam time. Spend more time on the Statistics classwork. (ACHIEVABLE, REASONABLE)

Time

Your goal at college is to have a 3.5 GPA by the time you graduate. After graduation, you plan to get a job in business, potentially in finance, where it is competitive. With a better focus on your academics, you hope to improve your GPA each semester, picking up a few A’s.  (TIME)

2. Plan Your Work Daily

Being strategic about handling your work day-to-day is essential. You can use a daily planner or calendar app that works best for you. You should complete specific tasks in a certain timeframe.

Make a daily to-do list that is as specific as possible. This list should identify what you need to do that day. It should anticipate critical due dates to help you tackle reports, papers, meetings, exams, and projects. If you are working collaboratively with others, make sure to integrate those meetings into your planner or app.

For example, you are working with three students making a study guide for an upcoming exam on global history. Split up the topics, and each should have respective deadlines for turning in their piece to the person coordinating the whole study guide.

Organizing time in the workplace may require more effort when working when people are working in teams collaboratively rather than individually. However, planning upfront by allocating different activities to individuals in the group with respective deadlines provides accountability. No one wants to be the deadweight person in a team or department who will not be part of the group’s next project.

3. Get An Early Jump On Your Tasks

When possible, get a jump on assigned work, especially if it is not part of your routine. If you are unfamiliar with the task, there may be a more significant learning curve. Give yourself extra time by reviewing the assignment, do some research, and sketch out an outline that will help you get started. Then you can plan and prepare in advance to help spur your motivation.

Look at the big picture first and break down the assignment into smaller steps. Ask for help early if you are unsure about the work. I have sometimes wasted a lot of time fearful of admitting to others that I didn’t know something. When working on a particular company when I was an associate to a senior analyst, I was unfamiliar with a specific regulatory requirement that would impact the business. When I finally got up the nerve to ask the senior analyst, she hadn’t heard of the provision, which was unique.

4. Set A Routine

Be strategic about recurring daily tasks. Eliminate or change how you go about doing things that may have the potential to be timewasters. Reading and answering emails are essential but decide how you will address this task. Should you tackle emails first thing in the morning or later in the day? Make choices about emails and stick to that routine. If you have daily or weekly meetings with your group, stick to a specific amount of time allotted to certain topics. Avoid unnecessary meetings. A good routine is a good habit.

Determine when you are most productive. That is usually the best time to tackle demanding tasks rather than the easiest ones. Have a plan for when to handle those most critical and urgent, then devote time to the challenging projects. In my experience, if you have too many pressing demands on your time, it may be from procrastinating over the tasks. The due date is fast approaching. You realize you are behind schedule. Plan better to avoid unnecessary stress.

There Still May Be Contingencies

Recognize that as great as your daily routine may be, there may be surprises to your plan. Deadlines may be moved up or, later on, a potential opportunity to do an extra project or picking up a new client who needs a lot more attention upfront. Leave room to be flexible when you need to go a contingency plan.

I recall vigorously working on a significant report, happy to be getting some quiet time to do it. Suddenly, a merger in my industry was about to be announced that evening. Switching gears on a dime, I set aside the report I was doing to focus on the potential merger. As such, I prepped an outline of the consolidation’s pros/cons and made some calculations for the possible event. The merger announcement happened after the close of the stock market. Being ready is always a good discipline to have.

5. Consider ROTI or Return on Time Invested

Return on time invested or ROTI is a similar concept to ROI or return on investment. ROI is a well known financial ratio calculated as net income divided by the cost of investment. Using ROI, we can evaluate the investment’s cost-efficiency, whether it is a return on stocks, bonds, or a business project. ROTI, on the other hand, can help you measure how time-efficient you or your team are.

For example, how many minutes or hours did you spend at the department’s morning meeting versus what you learned? Colleagues can take a survey sharing their thoughts about how much time spent out of the total was useful. If 75% was valid out of the 90 minutes meeting, why not cut meeting times by 20-25 minutes unless there is more on the agenda? Many people found that zoom meetings have been shorter, effective, and more efficient during the pandemic. See if you are spending too much time on non-essential topics.

Related Post: 18 Financial Ratios You Should Know

 6. Track Time And Avoid Distractions

Like tracking your spending, track how you spend your time. Review how you spend your time over 30 days. You may find surprises at how efficient you are in some things, wasteful in others.

What are the most common time wasters you may find? Any of these look familiar?

Are you continually checking messages?

Long meetings that drag on. (Zoom communications were more effective. However, I noticed they are getting longer too.)

You were mulling a decision too long.

You are socializing when you have work to do.

Saying “Yes” to a task, you should have said “No.” Learn how to say No when it matters most simply. 

You are delaying more demanding tasks by spending too long on more manageable tasks.

Make changes when you become aware of how much time you wasted. Budget your time wisely, so you have ample time and resources to do a quality job. This list and many more such timewasters serve as distractions from doing our work. They are bad habits we need to eliminate strategically. We will find a lot more time available to focus on other activities that will enhance our grades, careers, and lives.

7. Make Good Habits Which Allow You To Be Effective

Once formed, habits allow us to do things automatically in everyday life. Our practices start through repeated actions that may come with rewards.

Studies say it takes 21 days to 66 days to break a bad habit like scrolling aimlessly through email or social media rather than using your time more productively.

The 21-day time frame dates back nearly 70 years. Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a 1950s plastic surgeon, found that it would take his patients about 21 days to get used to seeing their new face or post-amputation, they would sense a phantom limb. Dr. Maltz wrote about his adjustment period to changes and new behaviors to form a new habit….” it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”

There is more research that indicates that it takes 66 days to form a new habit. A 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology by Phillipa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, indicated it took 66 days on average (in a range of 18 days to 254 days) to form a new habit.

Whether 21 days or 66 days, it takes significant time, effort, and determination to create a new habit.

Habit Stacking

James Clear has studied and written extensively on habit stacking, including in his book, Atomic Habits. Clear says the quickest way to build a new habit into your life is to stack it on top of current practice. This method is called habit stacking. First, Clear explains how a study of synaptic pruning may lead to building new and presumably better habits.

In a 2007 study from Oxford University, researchers compared newborn baby brains with those of adults. They found that the average adult had 41% fewer neurons than the average newborn.

The fewer neurons was a surprising result considering that babies are born with blank slates. They don’t have the strong connections adults have. However, adult brains prune away connections between neurons that don’t get used and build up relationships often. It is a biological change that leads to skill development.

Are you with me? Synaptic pruning could lead to building new habits.

Habit stacking is related to implementation intention, created by BJ Fogg. It is pairing a new habit (you desire) with current practice (you have). You are using habits that already exist and adding new behavior. Using this method increases the likelihood you’ll stick with a practice by stacking new behavior on an existing one.

Habit Stacking: Time Examples

Think in terms of your morning routine. A typical start to my day:

Get up, go to the bathroom, shower, brush teeth, get dressed.

Go downstairs, let Kelly, our dog, out. Make coffee, say hi to Teddy, our puppy, and my husband, Craig (usually in that order).

Turn on CNBC for financial news, have coffee, and a bite. I review “to do” list, which I wrote the night before, adding tasks I hadn’t been able to finish. I may do a quick small activity like review homework from students. On days I teach, I go online to set up my lesson.

I found that I flounder after my classes end in the mid-afternoon. The habit of whittling down my list is a good habit and replaces my idleness. To remain productive until dinnertime, I realize I need to grade papers, a task I sometimes delay. Pairing a good practice with a desired habit helps me to take care of this responsibility.

Later in the day, I read emails and answer them. Make phone calls. Dinnertime is family time though, in recent years, my teen kids rush off. After work, I outline and research an article I plan to work on the next day.

Finish work for the day. Go walking on a treadmill or outdoors.

8. Avoid Multitasking By Doing One Activity At A Time

Multitasking is when you are juggling a lot of tasks simultaneously. It may seem like a great way to gets it done, but we are not doing it so well. There has been a lot of research that proves multitasking takes its toll on our productivity, especially if the tasks are involved.

There are costs in switching between the tasks. Psychologists have conducted task-switching experiments. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Robert Rogers and his team found that even when people change completely and predictably between two jobs every two to four trials, they were slower on the task-switch.

In a 2001 study, Joshua Rubinstein, Ph.D., Jeffrey Evans, Ph.D., and David Meyer, Ph.D., conducted four experiments in which young adults switched between different tasks, such as solving math problems or classifying geometric objects. The researchers found that the participants lost time when they had to switch from one task to another. As assignments got more complex, participants lost more time. As a result, people took significantly longer to switch between more complex tasks. Time costs were also higher when the participants switched to relatively unfamiliar tasks. They got up to speed faster when they changed to tasks they knew better.

More recently, a 2018 study done by Anthony Wagner, a psychologist at Stanford University, and his colleague, Melina R. Uncapher, found that heavy multitaskers have reduced memory. Specifically, people who use many media types at once, doing heavy media multitasking performed significantly worse on simple memory tasks.

To do quality work, focus on one task at a time and do it well. Multitasking may be a great concept but difficult to implement with possible downsides.

9. Prioritize Tasks

It is easy to lose focus when you have a lot of work in front of you to do that vary in priority. Some work may be necessary, urgent, challenging, or easy, required for you to do on your own or with others. Some tasks are similar, so you may be able to bunch them together in one fell swoop. Your work may be academic, rote, require technology, problem-solving, or critical thinking skills.

Prioritizing your tasks in the right way is essential for productivity. Academic and workplace settings use the following three standard methods. 

Pareto Principle

The Pareto principle is an oldie but goodie, also known as the 80/20 rule. This rule signifies the law of the vital few. It takes its name after an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, for his work in 1896.

In practice, the premise often means that 20% of customers account for 80% of its revenues. Therefore, a greater focus on those customers is essential. From a salesperson’s or student’s perspective, 20% of their work may account for 80% of their commissions or grade, respectively. The 80/20 rule is among the most useful concepts for time and life management. For example, 20% of activities are critical as it contributes to 80% of your success. Be strategic about spending your time on these tasks to maximize your goals, be it revenues, subscribers, homework, or term assignments for class.

ABC Method

The ABC Method, developed by Alan Lakein, helps you to prioritize tasks by assigning letters and numbers to the items on your to-do list. The highest priority, which is essential and urgent on your list is “A.” As such, it would get a number “1” for A1, A2, A3. Then you move to B and C.

Students use this method at colleges and businesses. It calls greater attention to what is most urgent and what “must-do” using due dates on your time table. After completing A priorities, B priorities are those B tasks you “should do,” and then C has lower priority tasks, which would be “nice to do.”

Eisenhower Method

Yes, the Eisenhower method is attributed to a quote by the 34th President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. He said, “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and important are never urgent.”

This method can be used by grouping daily tasks into four categories:

Category 1 is urgent and vital and requires the most substantial attention paid to those activities in that they are both urgent and important. For example, a due date is fast approaching for a term project worth 50% of your grade.

Next, Category 2 refers to essential but not necessarily urgent tasks. For example, you need to plan and organize activities for such an essential conference for your company requiring speakers on specific topics in a relatively short time frame.

Category 3 tasks that are urgent but not important and may be delegated to someone else, freeing time up for you. Workers must undertake delegation of tasks, but people are often reluctant to do so to their detriment. Learn how to do this better.

The final group is Category 4, the lowest priority. These tasks are neither urgent nor essential and are often timewasters. As such, they seriously should be considered for being dropped.

There are other methods people can use to identify what is most critical and least critical in their to-do list. The point is that they deserve varying amounts of attention determined by their importance and urgency. Don’t make a task “urgent” just because you avoided doing it for so long. That is just procrastination.

11. Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination is the enemy of good planning, whether for financial or time management.

For those who procrastinate, tomorrow is always a better day to make better decisions or tackle tasks we don’t want to do. Procrastinators voluntarily delay doing something like paying their bills or doing their work, despite knowing they will be worse off due to the delay. Avoiding procrastination is a way to back on track.

When planning your daily, weekly, or monthly calendars, you schedule dates when essential tasks like reporting for school or work and paying bills. With fair scheduling and using a calendar, you will take care of what’s necessary on time before it becomes urgent.

College students are big procrastinators.

Procrastination tends to be particularly prevalent among college students. An estimated 25%-75% procrastinate on academic work. As a professor, I can attest to grappling with students handing in assignments well after deadlines despite knowing the due dates at the start of the term, and amplified by me in the classroom or online.

In a classic 1995 study, Joseph R. Ferrari, Judith I. Johnson, and William G. McGown have written academic research on students and their tendencies to:

  • appropriate too little time to perform tasks;
  • overestimate how motivated they will be in the future, and
  • mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right mind to do the project.

It’s not just college students who procrastinate. According to Ferrari, 20% of US adults are chronic procrastinators. Delaying is part of their lifestyle.

Surveys show employees often opting into an employer-sponsored retirement plan because they are confused by the choices given. Yet, they often are aware that they can make future changes to their goal.

12. Biases Cause To Be Less Rational

Biases tend to get in the way of working rationally, whether we manage our finances or time. We have written a lot about biases.

Related Post: How Our Emotions Lead To Irrational Money Decisions

Present Bias

Behavioral economists refer to procrastinators as having “present bias” tendencies. They frequently are overweighting decisions today with instant gratification and underweighting tomorrow that result in pain and losses in the future.

Academic research is plentiful in confirming that procrastination is a significant predictor of impulsive financial behavior and inadequate financial and time management planning.

Sunk Cost Fallacy

Sunk cost fallacy is another significant bias. You cannot recover these sunk costs. Let’s apply it to money or time. Imagine paying $50 for a ticket to a concert. On the day of the show, there is a blizzard. Despite the worsening weather, you drive hours to get to the concert because of your initial investment even though you are less interested in going to the event.

Sometimes you may be spending a lot of time researching and writing a paper. You have been writing pages and realize the topic is not that interesting, and you are spinning your wheels and wasting time. Still, you don’t want to abort your paper, and you keep going.

Both of these examples are casualties of this bias. When you think you are spending too much time on an activity you no longer are interested, you are likely to do a lower quality report.

Instead, step back and evaluate if you can do a better job by focusing on another topic or activity. Don’t worry about the time spent because you still need to complete the task. Reversing course can be painful, but I often have regretted not doing so in the past. Start by sketching an outline of your report and begin to research your topic.

Plan For Downtime

I hate wasting time and other people’s time. As a result, besides my phone and iPad, I often carry a notebook, a book, and a small calendar with me when I find some downtime outside of my office or home. When I meet someone in a restaurant, Starbucks, or the park, I enjoy working on some small tasks as a precursor for doing an article or a report if I am early. Alternatively, if I don’t feel like working, I may read a book.

Reading during downtime has been a reasonably typical habit going back to law school when my time was limited. It was always difficult to carry those heavy legal textbooks to use my class notes to summarize on index cards for studying.

Sometimes, we just need downtime to stretch, yoga, walk, run, sit, and just enjoy our lives. For some, the pandemic has allowed us to have time to be at home with our families if we were fortunate enough to work remotely. That means reducing your commute and being home more. Saving time may have resulted in some to achieve a work/life balance that didn’t exist before.

Final Thoughts

We have a precious amount of time to do what we need and want to do at school and work. By improving our time management skills, we can more control over our lives while being more productive. Although multitasking doesn’t work well, there are many ways we can improve our effectiveness and efficiency.

Thank you for reading! If you found value in this article, you can find other articles on topics that may be of interest to you on The Cents of Money. Consider subscribing for free, get our weekly newsletter, and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Time keeps slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, into the future.”

 Fly Like An Eagle – Lyrics by Steve Miller

 

Have you ever felt overwhelmed and stressed with too much to do and not enough time? It’s a very common feeling.

Having good time management skills at an early age prepares you to achieve success at your school, your workplace, and your life. It is not easy to manage our time when we have so many distractions competing for our attention with growth in big data, social media, biases, and those bad habits like procrastination. Yet, with strong motivation and hard work, we can do better.

What Is Time Management?

Time management is the process of planning, arranging, and controlling how much time to spend on tasks and activities to maximize effectiveness. Developing a good habit of managing our time will give us more control over our lives. Most of us are not good at managing our time well. According to a survey, only 10% of people say they feel “in control” of how they spend their day.  Learning how to allocate our time and energy is beneficial.

Benefits Of Time Management Are Huge

  • Become more productive, effective, and efficient.
  • Have an awareness of wasting time and able to make adjustments.
  • Better focus, less stress, and healthy.
  • Improve work/life balance.

By saving more time, we can have more opportunities to achieve important career and life goals.

How Time Relates To Money

We often talk about the relationship between time and money and their importance as resources. Time is money as said by Benjamin Franklin, and many others. But, is it really?

Time is a finite resource that when it has passed, it is permanently gone.  Although money may be hard to find when you are out of a job, you have an opportunity to replace it even when times are hard, as they are now. You can file for unemployment benefits, turn to money saved for an emergency,  borrow money,  search for a job, or start a side hustle. While not optimum, we at least have the possibility of replacing money. On the other hand, the time spent is gone forever.

Many of the tips for improving time management skills are akin to better money management habits.

How To Better Manage Time And Money

Tracking time spent is similar to tracking your spending. By doing so, you may better see how wasteful you are and can make changes.

Budget your time wisely for what you need to do first before acting. When budgeting your money for essential needs such as living costs, you can better assess what you have for discretionary spending for your wants.

When you spend time foolishly, you may be late on deadlines, do a poor job, and need outside help to complete your job. Overspending leads to ramping up debt that may be difficult to pay off.

Being frugal with your time is a way to acknowledge you wish to spend it more prudently. The same goes for money when we are being frugal with how we spend money.

For college students, having time management skills are a must to achieve your goals. Procrastination needs to be avoided by taking better control of your schedule.  Managing your time will help you to do well and graduate from school and start your career. Time management skills are relevant. You can carry these skills forward into the workplace to be more effective and efficient at your job.

I Wasted Time At College

To be honest, my time management skills were terrible in college. There weren’t any courses to take to help you eliminate time wasters. Intuitively, I knew I was wasting time, and I know when I do so now. The difference between then and now is that I have become more aware and proactively work on being more focused. Years of needing to be effective and nimble as an equity analyst helped me to realize better productivity. If I didn’t control my time better, my competitors would certainly have advantages over me.

Improving My Skills Out Of Necessity

That said, I truly learned to develop time management skills when I went to law school. True, I went back to school at an older age and had some good habits already. However, I had some bad ones too. Law school made a world of good in the world of time management. As a student, I read the legal cases ahead of time, then compiled the relevant concepts into study guides that were big. Then I cut the guides down into an index card for each class. I had daily “to-do” lists with detailed schedules for the rest of the term. I was focused, organized, and strategic about my priorities.

Think of time management as a means to an end. By mastering your time well in school and at your job, it often leads to handing in your assignments on time with great quality, less stress, have free time to enjoy family, friends, and yourself.  By saving time, you are able to accomplish more of your goals in your life.

My sixteen-year-old daughter, Alex, has a system for managing her priorities with stickers for as long as I can recall. My son, Tyler, not so much. As a result, he has often been unnecessarily late with assignments. He has taken a page out of Alex’s book and has greatly improved.

Simply having goals without good habits is not enough to reach them. Having a desire to lose to 20 pounds, handing in assignments on time, or saving $10,000 within a year is an empty promise without a plan and good habits.  We have the ability to improve them with hard work, persistence, and perseverance.

12 Ways To To Improve Your Time Management Skills

 

 

1. Be Goal-Oriented With A SMART Approach

To achieve success, you need to know what your short and long term goals are. Most of us are more focused on the near-term but these targets should fit with your life goals. That doesn’t mean you can’t adjust your long term plan along the way. However, having some idea of the lifestyle you’d desire provides motivation in the short term. As an example, when you see a house near a lake and it may produce an image for your memory bank that someday you may want to pursue.

To better reach goals, a SMART approach can bridge the gap to better habits. George T Doran first introduced the acronym in Management Review in November 1981. This approach can be adapted for money and time management and can be used by college students and employees.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic (or Relevant, Reasonable)
  • Time

find an  example for time mgt

A SMART Example For Students: Improve My Academics

You are a sophomore and your GPA is just under a 3.0. You have been floundering a bit but recently have decided to pursue a career in business. So it is time to work on your grades to boost GPA to the 3.5 level by graduation.

Specific

This term you registered for business courses you are really interested in such classes as Consumer Behavior, Business Law, and Finance. You also have to take Statistics, a course you are worried about because it has a lot of math. You want to improve your overall GPA by getting B/B+ in all your courses, including Statistics, by end of the semester, a 6-month target. (SPECIFIC)

Measurable

Keep in mind that your grades matter. If you are able to improve your grades to a solid B or higher this term, with better planning you should be able to lift your GPA to over 3.0.  (MEASURABLE)

Achievable And Reasonable

Ask yourself: Can I get at least or a B or better in each course I am taking? It will require more organization of due dates for homework assignments and required papers. I will be scheduling a lot more study time ahead of the midterm and final exams and ask for help when needed.

As math is sometimes an issue in Statistics, go to the Tutoring Center and schedule a few sessions ahead of exam time. Spend more time on the Statistics classwork. (ACHIEVABLE, REASONABLE)

Time

This will fit with your long term goal at college to have a 3.5 GPA by the time you graduate. Your plan is to get a job in business, potentially in finance where it is competitive. With a better focus on your academics, you hope to improve your GPA each semester, picking up a few A’s.   (TIME)

2. Plan Your Work Daily

Being strategic about handling your work day-to-day is important. You can use a daily planner or calendar app that works best for you. Depending on whether you are a college student or in the workplace, you have specific tasks that need to be done in a certain timeframe.

Make a to-do daily list that is as specific as possible. This list should identify what you need to do that day. It should anticipate key due dates to help you tackle reports, papers, meetings, exams, and projects. If you are working collaboratively with others, make sure to integrate those meetings into your planner or app.

For example, you are working with three students making a study guide for an upcoming exam on global history. Split up the topics and each should have respective deadlines for turning in their piece to the person coordinating the whole study guide.

Organizing time in the workplace may require more effort when working when people are working in teams collaboratively rather than individually.  However, planning upfront by allocating different activities to individuals in the team with respective deadlines provides accountability. No one wants to be the deadweight person in a team or department who will not be chosen on the next project for the group.

3. Get An Early Jump On Your Tasks

When possible, get a jump on assigned work, especially if it is not part of your normal routine. If you are unfamiliar with the task, there may be a larger learning curve. So give yourself extra time by reviewing the assignment, do some research, sketch out an outline that will help you get started. Planning and preparation in advance help to spur your motivation.

Look at the big picture first and break down the assignment into smaller steps. Ask for help early if you are unsure about the work. I have sometimes wasted a lot of time fearful of admitting to others that I didn’t know something. When working on a particular company when I was an associate to a senior analyst, I was unfamiliar with a certain regulatory requirement that would impact the business. When I finally got up the nerve to ask the senior analyst, she hadn’t heard of the requirement which apparently was unique.

4. Set A Routine

Be strategic about recurring daily tasks.  Eliminate or change how you go about doing things that may have the potential to be time-wasters. Reading and answering emails are important but decide how you will address this task. Should you tackle emails first thing in the morning or later in the day? Make choices about emails and stick to that routine. If you have daily or weekly meetings with your group, stick to a specific amount of time allotted to certain topics. Avoid unnecessary meetings.  A good routine is a good habit.

Determine when you are most productive. That is usually the best to time tackle hard tasks rather than the easiest ones. Have a plan for when to handle those issues that are most important and urgent, then devote time to the difficult projects. In my experience, if you have too many pressing demands on your time it may be from procrastinating over the tasks. Now, it is urgent and should have been done days ago but the due date is staring you down. That is unnecessary stress that can be better planned for.

There Still May Be Contingencies

Recognize that as great as your daily routine may be, there may be surprises to your plan. Deadlines may be moved up or later on, a potential opportunity to do an extra project or picking up a new client who needs a lot more attention upfront. Leave room to be flexible when you need to go a contingency plan.

I recall vigorously working on a major report, happy to be getting some quiet time to do it. Suddenly, there were noises that a merger was going to be announced that evening in an industry I was responsible for.  Setting aside the report I was doing, I prepped an outline of the pros/cons of merger and some calculations for the possible event which did in fact happen after the close of the stock market. Being ready is always a good discipline to have.

5. Consider ROTI or Return on Time Invested

Return on time invested or ROTI is a similar concept to ROI or return on investment. ROI is a well known financial ratio calculated as net income divided by the cost of investment. Using ROI, we can evaluate the cost-efficiency of the investment made whether it is a return on stocks, bonds, or a business project. ROTI, on the other hand, can help you measure how time-efficient you or your team are.

For example, how many minutes or hours did you spend at the department’s morning meeting versus what you learned? Colleagues can take a survey sharing their thoughts as to how much time spent out of the total was useful. If 75% was useful out of the 90 minutes meeting, why not cut meeting times by 20-25 minutes unless there is more on the agenda? Many people have found during the pandemic, that zoom meetings have been shorter, effective, and more efficient. Compare the zoom meetings to those in the office to see if you are spending too much time on topics that are non-essential.

Related Post: 18 Financial Ratios You Should Know

 

6. Track Time And Avoid Distractions

Like tracking your spending, track how you spend your time. Review how you spend your time over a 30 day period. You may find surprises at how efficient you are in some things, wasteful in others.

What are the most common time wasters you may find? Any of these look familiar?

Constant checking of emails and texts.

Long meetings that drag on. (Zoom communications were more effective, however, I noticed they are getting longer too.)

Mulling a decision too long.

Socializing when you have work to do.

Saying “Yes” to a task you should have said “No”. Learn how to simply say No when it matters most.

Delaying harder tasks by spending too long on easier tasks.

By being aware of how much time is wasted from these bad habits, we can make changes. Budget your time wisely so you have ample time and resources to do a quality job you can feel good about. This list and many more such timewasters serve as distractions from doing our work. They are bad habits we need to strategically eliminate. We will find a lot more time available to focus on other activities that will enhance our grades, our careers, and our lives.

7. Make Good Habits Which Allow You To Be Effective

Once formed, habits allow us to do things automatically in everyday life. Our habits form through repeated actions that may come with rewards.

Studies say it takes 21 days to 66 days to break a bad habit like scrolling aimlessly through email or social media rather than using your time more productively.

The 21-day time frame dates back nearly 70 years. Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a 1950s plastic surgeon found that it would take his patients about 21 days to get used to seeing their new face or post-amputation, they would sense a phantom limb. Dr. Maltz wrote about his own adjustment period to changes and new behaviors to form a new habit….”it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”

There is more research that indicates that it takes 66 days to form a new habit. A 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology by Phillipa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, indicated it took 66 days on average (in a range of 18 days to 254 days) to form a new habit.

Whether 21 days or 66 days, it takes significant time, effort and determination to create a new habit.

Habit Stacking

James Clear has studied and written extensively on habit stacking, including in his book, Atomic Habits. Clear says the quickest way to build a new habit into your life is to stack it on top of a current habit. This is called habit stacking. First, Clear explains how a study of synaptic pruning may lead to building new, and presumably better habits.

In a 2007 study from Oxford University, researchers compared newborn baby brains with those of adults. They found that the average adult had 41% fewer neurons than the average newborn.

This was a surprising result considering that babies are born with blank slates. They don’t have the strong connections adults have. However, adult brains prune away connections between neurons that don’t get used and build up connections that get used more often. It is a biological change that leads to skill development.

Are you with me? This may mean that synaptic pruning could lead to building new habits.

Habit stacking is related to implementation intention, created by BJ Fogg, it is a pairing a new habit (you desire) with a current habit (you have). You are using habits that already exist and adding new behavior. Using this method increases the likelihood you’ll stick with a habit by stacking new behavior on an existing one.

Habit Stacking: Time Examples

Think in terms of your morning routine. A typical start to my day:

Get up, go to the bathroom, shower, brush teeth, get dressed.

Go downstairs, let Kelly, our dog out. Make coffee, say hi to Teddy, our puppy, and my husband, Craig (usually in that order).

Turn on CNBC for financial news, have coffee and a bite. I review my “to do” list which I wrote the night before, adding tasks I hadn’t been able to finish. I may do a quick small activity like review homework from students. On days I teach, I go online to set up my lesson.

What happens after my classes are done in the mid-afternoon I have often found that I have floundered. The habit of whittling down my list is a good habit and I am mindful to be more detailed about what needs to be done. To remain productive until dinnertime I realize I need to review papers for grading, a task I sometimes delay doing. Pairing a good habit with a desired habit helps me to take care of this responsibility.

Later in the day, I read emails and answer them. Make phone calls. Dinnertime is family time though, in recent years, my teen kids rush off. After work, I outline and research an article I plan to work on the next day.

Finish work for the day. Go walking on a treadmill or outdoors.

8. Avoid Multitasking By Doing One Activity At A Time

Multitasking is when you are juggling a lot of tasks simultaneously. It may seem like a great way to gets done but we are not doing it so well. There has been a lot of research that proves multitasking takes its toll on our productivity especially if the tasks are complex.

There are costs in switching between the tasks. Psychologists have conducted task-switching experiments. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Robert Rogers and his team found that even when people switch completely and predictably between two tasks every two to four trials, they were slower on the task-switch.

In a 2001 study, Joshua Rubinstein, Ph.D., Jeffrey Evans, Ph.D., and David Meyer, Ph.D., conducted four experiments in which young adults switched between different tasks, such as solving math problems or classifying geometric objects. For all tasks, the researchers found that the participants lost time when they had to switch from one task to another. As tasks got more complex, participants lost more time. As a result, people took significantly longer to switch between more complex tasks. Time costs were also greater when the participants switched to tasks that were relatively unfamiliar. They got up to speed faster when they switched to tasks they knew better.

More recently, a 2018 study done by Anthony Wagner, a psychologist at Stanford University, and his colleague, Melina R. Uncapher, found that heavy multitaskers have reduced memory. Specifically, people who use many types of media at once, doing heavy media multitasking performed significantly worse on simple memory tasks.

To do quality work, focus on one task at a time and do it well. Multitasking may be a great concept but difficult to implement with possible downsides.

9. Prioritize Tasks

It is easy to lose focus when you have a lot of work in front of you to do that vary in priority. Some work may be important, urgent, hard, or easy, required for you to do on your own or with others. Some tasks are similar so you may be able to bunch them together in one fell swoop. Your work may be academic, rote, require technology, problem-solving, or critical thinking skills.

Prioritizing your tasks in a good way is essential for productivity.  Here are three common methods that can be used in an academic or workplace setting.

Pareto Principle

The Pareto principle is an oldie but goodie also known as the 80/20 rule. This rule which signifies the law of the vital few was named after an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto for his work in 1896.

In practice, the premise often means that 20% of customers account for 80% of the company’s revenues. Therefore, a greater focus on those customers is important. From a salesperson’s or student’s perspective, 20% of their work may account for 80% of their commissions or grade, respectively. This principle can be used in many applications, including time spent. For example, 20% of activities are so critical as it contributes to 80% of your success. Be strategic about how you spend your time on these tasks to maximize your goals be it revenues, subscribers, or homework or term assignments for class.

ABC Method

The ABC Method developed by Alan Lakein helps you to prioritize tasks by assigning letters and numbers to the items of your to-do list. The highest priority which is important and urgent on your list is “A.” As such, it would get a number “1” for A1, A2, A3. Then you move to B and C.

This method is used by students at colleges and businesses. It calls greater attention to what is most urgent and what “must-do” using due dates on your time table. After A priorities are completed, B priorities are those B tasks you “should do” and then C has lower priority tasks which would be “nice to do.”

Eisenhower Method

Yes, the Eisenhower method is attributed to a quote by the 34th President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. He said, “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and important are never urgent.”

This method can be used by grouping daily tasks into four  categories:

Category 1 is urgent and important and requires the strongest attention paid to those activities in that they are both urgent and important. As an example, a due date is fast approaching for a term project that is worth 50% of your grade.

Next, Category 2 refers to important but not necessarily urgent tasks. For example, you need to plan and organize activities for such an important conference for your company requiring speakers on specific topics in a relatively short time frame.

Moving down to Category 3 are tasks that are urgent but not important and maybe delegated to someone else, freeing time up for you. Delegation of tasks must be undertaken but people are often reluctant to do so to their detriment. Learn how to do this better.

The final group is Category 4, the lowest priority. These tasks are neither urgent nor important and are often timewasters. As such they seriously should be considered for being dropped.

There are other methods people can use to identify what is most critical and least critical in your to-do list. The point is that they deserve varying amounts of attention determined by their importance and urgency.  Don’t make a task “urgent” just because you avoided doing it for so long. That is just procrastination.

10. Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination is the enemy of good planning whether for financial or time management.

For those who procrastinate, tomorrow is always a better day to start to make better decisions or tackle tasks we don’t want to do. Procrastinators voluntarily delay doing something like paying their bills or doing their work, despite knowing they will be worse off due to the delay. Avoiding procrastination is a way to back on track.

It is important when planning your daily, weekly, or monthly calendars, that you schedule dates when important tasks like doing a report for school or work and paying bills that are due. With good scheduling and using a calendar, you will take care of what’s essential on time before it becomes urgent.

College students are big procrastinators

Procrastination tends to be particularly prevalent among college students. An estimated 25%-75% procrastinate on academic work. As a professor, I can attest to grappling with students handing in assignments well after deadlines despite having known the due dates at the start of the term, and amplified often by me in the classroom or online.

In a classic 1995 study, Joseph R. Ferrari, Judith I. Johnson, and William G. McGown have written academic research on students  and their tendencies to:

  • appropriate too little time to perform tasks;
  • overestimate how motivated they will be in the future, and
  • mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right mind to do the project.

It’s not just college students who procrastinate. According to Ferrari, 20% of US adults are chronic procrastinators. Delaying is part of their lifestyle.

Surveys show employees often put off opting into an employer-sponsored retirement plan because they are confused by choices given. Yet, they often are aware that they can make future changes to their plan.

11. Biases Cause To Be Less Rational

Biases tend to get in the way of working rationally whether it is when we are managing our finances or time. We have written a lot about biases.

Related Post: How Our Emotions Lead To Irrational Money Decisions

Present Bias

Behavioral economists refer to procrastinators as having “present bias” tendencies. They frequently are overweighting decisions today with instant gratification and underweighting tomorrow that result in pain and losses in the future.

Academic research is plentiful in confirming that procrastination is a significant predictor of impulsive financial behavior and poor financial and time management planning.

Sunk Cost Fallacy

Another major bias is sunk cost fallacy. It refers to sunk costs which is a cost already spent and can’t be recovered. It can be applied to money or time. Imagine paying $50 for a ticket to a concert. The day of the concert, there is a blizzard  and it is expected to get worse. You drive hours to get to the concert because of your initial investment even though you have less interest in going to the event.

Sometimes you may be spending a lot of time researching and writing a paper. You have been writing pages and realize the topic is not that interesting and you are spinning your wheels and wasting time. Still, you don’t want to abort your paper and you keep going.

Both of these examples are casualties of sunk cost fallacy. When you think you are spending too much time on an activity in which you no longer are as interested, you are likely to do a lower quality report.

Instead, step back and evaluate if you can do a better job by focusing on another topic or activity. Don’t worry about the time spent because you still need to complete the task. Reversing course can be painful but I often have regretted not doing so in the past. This is why spending time outlining the task, doing some research may take you on a better path.

12. Plan For Downtime

I hate wasting time and other people’s time. As a result, besides my phone and iPad, I often carry a notebook, a book, and a small calendar with me when I find some downtime outside of my office or home. When I am early for meeting someone in a restaurant, Starbucks, or the park, I enjoy working on some small tasks as a precursor for doing an article or a report. Alternatively, if I don’t feel like working, I may read a book.

This has been a fairly typical habit going back to law school when my time was limited. It was always difficult to carry those huge legal textbooks so I would work on using my class notes to summarize on index cards for studying.

Sometimes, we just need downtime to stretch, yoga, walk, run, sit, and just enjoy our lives. For some, the pandemic has allowed us to have time to be at home with our families if we were fortunate enough to be to work remotely. That means reducing your commute and being home more. This may have resulted in some to achieve a work/life balance that didn’t exist before.

Final Thoughts

We have a precious amount of time to do what we need and want to do at school and work. By improving our time management skills, we can have more control over our lives while being more productive. Although multitasking doesn’t work well, there are many ways we can improve our effectiveness and efficiency.

Thank you for reading! If you found value in this article,  you can find other articles on topics that may be of interest to you on The Cents of Money. Consider subscribing for free, get our weekly newsletter, and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: An Inspiration To Working Mothers

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: An Inspiration To Working Mothers

“…My success in law school, I have no doubt was in large measure because of baby Jane…Each part of my life provided respite from the other and gave me a sense of proportion that classmates trained only on law students lacked.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is gone. Just like that, she is in the past tense. Ginsburg had an amazing and productive life, leaving us a rich legacy. She was a working mother, tenacious throughout her career. RBG inspired me to go to law school even as we had two young children at home. It was a risky move for me at a late age after a successful career in finance.

I never met her, but I devoured her legal opinions and speeches, feeling like I knew her. She left a treasure trove of work fighting for equality for women and gender discrimination, equally representing men when the law was unfair. Her iconic legacy contains themes of independence, giving back to others, reproductive and voting rights. She reminds us that societal change is often slow.

Today, we can take for granted the many accomplishments of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This article is my tribute to her with gratitude for inspiring me to change my career to law and ultimately teaching college students. I identified with her upbringing, independent nature, faith, and love of lifelong learning.

Some have pointed out Jewish teaching that those who die just before the Jewish New Year-as RBG did-are the ones God has held back until the last moment because they were needed the most. That may be. We still need Ginsburg, and fortunately, we can look back to her words through her opinions.

1. Being Independent

” My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”

Raised in a modest Jewish home in Brooklyn, Ginsburg was influenced mostly by an immigrant family. They valued education above all else. Her mother, Celia, was born in New York to Austrian immigrants. Although bright, Celia could not further her education past high school as her family pushed her brother, rather than Celia, to attend college. Although she died young, Ginsburg’s mother was a significant influence, teaching her daughter to be independent.

Attending Ivy League schools–Cornell and Harvard Law School–should have meant an easy road to success for RBG. But it wasn’t.

 With her husband’s support, Ruth Bader Ginsburg achieved what few women were able to do at that time. She paved a road for working women who wanted to pursue both a career and a family. How novel it was then to want to achieve success outside of raising a family. It was still unusual for me to pursue this course decades later.

Related Post: 10 Ways For Women To Achieve Financial Independence

2. True Equality Between The Sexes

“Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”

“I went to law school when women were less than 3% of lawyers in the country; today they are 50%. I never had a woman teach in college or in law school. The changes have been enormous. And they’ve just-they’ve gone much too far [to be] going back.”

Women have been 47% of graduating law school classes since 2000. Yet, only about 18% of equity partners are women in the US today. Women often have different considerations than their male counterparts.  In an article by the American Bar Association, the conflict between the need to produce heavily billable hours to make partner and female fertility coincide at similar timeframes. Women choose differently than men but not out of choice. Despite Ginsburg’s efforts, gender bias remains in the legal profession and elsewhere for working mothers. However, her work gave us a better framework.

3. Gender Discrimination

Ruth Bader Ginsburg made her mark in gender equality, first as an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). This happened well before she became the second woman Associate Justice on the Supreme Court in 1993. She represented both genders fighting for her belief that gender should not always be the basis for decisions. Three cases signaled Ginsburg’s prowess in gender discrimination.

Reed v Reed

Ginsburg challenged the existing rule in the Idaho statute that “males must be preferred to females”  as administrators of estates in the landmark 1971 Reed v Reed case. The Reeds were separated, and Sally Reed, as the grieving mother, won the right to administer her deceased son’s estate. Significantly, it was the first time the Supreme Court prohibited different treatment based on sex under equal protection of the 14th Amendment. The Reed case was a significant win for Ginsburg.

Moritz v Commissioner

In the 2018 film, On The Basis of Sex, Ginsburg and her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, argued for Charles Moritz in the Moritz v Commissioner case in 1972. Moritz, an unmarried man, had claimed a tax deduction for his caregiver’s cost for his invalid mother. The IRS denied the deduction specifically allowed only for women and formerly married men, excluding Moritz. Typically, women play the role of caregivers and continue to be so today. On appeal, the tax code unconstitutional, conflicting with the equal protection of the 14th amendment. Moritz case was a significant win for Ginsburg, who sought to challenge traditional gender roles. Having a male plaintiff helped her to make judges more receptive to the notion of gender discrimination.

Weinberger v Weisenfeld

Ruth Bader Ginsburg represented Stephen Wiesenfeld in the 1975 landmark case of Weinberger v Weisenfeld. After his wife, Paula, died in childbirth, Weisenfeld became the sole provider for their newborn son. Having to cut work hours, he sought child care. Wiesenfeld was ineligible for Social Security survivors’ benefits that were made available for widows, not widowers. Ginsburg argued that Wiesenfeld was being discriminated against as a widower because his deceased wife’s contributions to Social Security received unequal treatment relative to salaried men.

The case showed how traditional gender roles formed social security provision. Traditionally women were the caregivers, not men who are traditional breadwinners. According to Ginsburg’s views, conventional gender roles need change. The barriers for women erected by men were quite the norm in the 1970s. Women could not get their credit cards without their fathers or husbands as co-signors until the 1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

RBG said:

“Our goals in the ’70s was to end the closed-door era. There were so many things off-limits to women, policing, firefighting, mining, piloting planes. All those barriers are gone. And the stereotypical view of people of a world divided between home and child-caring women and men as breadwinners, men representing the family, outside the home, those stereotypes are gone. So we speak of a parent-rather than mother and wage earner rather than male breadwinner.”

4. Why Dissents Matter

Ruth Bader Ginsberg is not only known for her opinions that she wrote in majority decisions as Associate Justice on the Supreme Court (e.g., United States vs. Virginia), but she advanced her legacy in her dissents. While dissents do not bear the court’s imminent power like majority opinions, they carry weight into the future. “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

She strongly dissented in Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in 2007. The Supreme Court ruled that a female tire-plant supervisor waited too long under the law to bring a Title VII to pay discrimination against her employer. In her dissent,  Justice Ginsburg said the majority’s ” cramped” interpretation of the filing deadlines neglected the insidiousness of pay discrimination. At her encouragement, Congress amended the law to make it easier to challenge unequal pay.

“Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the most significant dissents do become court opinions, and gradually over time, their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today but for tomorrow.”

Dissents Often Point To The Future

I have always encouraged my students to read dissents as carefully as the majority opinions in my classroom. Although not binding, individual dissents ring real in more contemporary times. I may have channeled Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s message on dissents when I assigned the Plessy v Ferguson case decided in 1896. Justice John  Harlan’s lone dissent in the case considered a Jim Crow-like rule in Louisiana presaged segregation and the Brown v Board of Education. Harlan argued the decision would poison relations between the races.

5. On Voting Rights And Racial Discrimination

Ginsburg’s most famous dissent has to be in Shelby County v Holder. She criticized Chief Justice John Robert’s 5-4 ruling. The 2013 case struck down a vital section of the Voting Rights Act, freeing southern states from apparent voting changes with the federal government. In a vehement dissent, she objected to the conservative view that Jim Crow era discrimination no longer justified VRA’s rules.

“Throwing out preclearance when it has worked to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

“Just as buildings in California have a greater need to be earthquake proofed, places, where there is greater racial polarization in voting, have a greater need for prophylactic measures to prevent purposeful racial discrimination.”

Ginsburg credits her dissent for the nickname “Notorious RBG.” It is a play on the name of the rapper, Notorious B.I.G. Apparently, a second-year New York University Law School student posted Ginsburg’s dissent on a blog, channeling her anger into something more positive.

6. Give To Others Who Are Less Fortunate

“I tell law students…if you are going to be a lawyer and just practice your profession, you have a skill like a plumber. But if you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself…something that makes a life a little better for people less fortunate than you.”

7. On Men On The Court

In Safford Unified School District v Redding, a 2009 case, Savana Redding, an eighth-grader was strip-searched by school officials. They were tipped off by another student who told them she might have ibuprofen on her person in violation of school policy. The search violated the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. As the only woman writing an opinion in the court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg commented on her male colleagues’ indifference to this girl’s strip search. She said, “They have never been a 13-year-old girl.”

8. The Roe V Wade Decision

Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a sometimes controversial view of Roe V Wade, the 1973 abortion case. In her confirmation hearings as Associate Justice by the Senate, she was critical of the decision. She would have preferred that the decision relies on equal protection of the 14th Amendment rather than the right to privacy. She said, “Abortion prohibition by the State, however, controls women and denies them full autonomy and full equality with men.” Instead, Ginsburg believed that Struck vs Secretary of Defense, a case she represented as an attorney for the ACLU, was the better case.

There, Susan Struck was an Air Force Captain who got pregnant while serving in Vietnam. She sued the Air Force after it said she would have to either have the abortion at the base hospital or leave if she wanted the child. She didn’t want an abortion. Instead, she tried to put the baby up for adoption because abortion violated her faith. Ginsburg found the regulation violated the equal protection principle as men were not “ordered out of the service because he had been the partner of the conception”. Struck lost in the lower court and the Supreme Court was going to hear it but the US Air Force waived Struck’s discharge and the case became moot.

9. Invest In Yourself

“So often, in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great good fortune.”

Ginsburg couldn’t land a legal job after law school. Her gender impeded her from working as an attorney. She turned to teach others and became an attorney at the ACLU, advocating for those discriminated against. She essentially invested in herself, building her great confidence up to the Supreme Court. How fortunate she found her calling as a fighter for women’s rights and gender equality. It is lucky for all of us.

10. Women And Power

“As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what we can do, as women can see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things and we’ll  all be better for it.”

I wonder what Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be thinking if she knew that both presidential candidates, Biden and Trump, have said that they want to replace Ginsburg with a woman. To the best of my knowledge, I do not recall a time when a replacement to the Supreme Court was referred by gender. Since the very first appointment to the Supreme Court, it was assumed the Justices would be white men until Thurgood Marshall was appointed as the first black justice in 1967 and Sandra Day O’Connor as the first woman justice in 1981. Let’s hope we have a diverse bench representing the US completely.

11. Work/Life Balance A Key To Gender Equality

Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke frequently on the need for work-life balance in our lives. At a 2016 event, she spoke on her belief that law firms needed to allow parents of both genders to succeed in their careers. For that to happen, RBG said it was essential to enable these professionals to have time away from work. She pointed to firms accommodating employees to work remotely given the advances in technology. RBG added that it was up to women and men to make demands in their workplace for such accommodation. She was against those who suggested being successful means giving up your career.

We will miss Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her outspoken voice and brilliant mind. She was my hero.

Final Thoughts

Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspired me not only to be an attorney but to be a better person, to give back to others, to evolve my thinking and pursuits no matter my age. She was passionate about learning and investing in herself. The path for working mothers was very dim when Ginsburg entered her profession. She spoke of work-life balance, something she was able to achieve. There is still not a clear way for women to achieve success in both roles but things are getting better.

As an octogenarian, she earned a rock-star status for a good reason. Through humor and intellect, she was the embodiment of a protector of our rights. Ginsburg’s tenacious and energy is a model we should all adopt in our careers to achieve success.

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Remote Working As The New Norm: Advantages and Disadvantages

Remote Working As The New Norm: Advantages and Disadvantages

“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in the kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.”

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin America

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we, as a society, have been forced into virtual reality. To avoid the virus’s spread, we have shifted to contactless services, mostly online learning, telemedicine, and remote working. Are we tiring of all of this virtuality?

As COVID caused work disruption, many organizations that had already embraced remote working quickly adapted their employees to a full-time virtual schedule. Remote working expanded dramatically as working from home became a necessity for many reasons. In their latest conference calls with investors, company management addressed how they could quickly hook up their employees to their networks, enabling new remote working arrangements.

With the virus still a menace,  employees are not rushing back to their offices. Reflective of the work at the home trend, public transit systems across the country have lost significant ridership.

For organizations with new remote working arrangements, there was more of a learning curve. Companies shifted their employees to work from home with virtual tools for the first time. While CEOs speak with pride at how well they handled the technological aspects, the human element matters much. Remote work is not for everyone as recent surveys imply.

As a professor, I have been working from home since March 2020 and will continue to do for the Fall semester. Students adjusted at varying paces, adapting to the technology but still wanting face-to-face contact, whether in the classroom or during office hours.

Remote Working Is A Growing Trend Likely To Last

Unlike the massive move to online learning for schools, colleges, and universities in March 2020, remote working was already growing. Millennials had sought flexible time as a desirable perk. Recent college grads and even Boomers have sought this desirable perk. Working from home is far more geared for those in specific careers requiring higher education, city dwellers, and in higher-income brackets. For example, people working in accounting, finance, and software engineering were more likely to work from home than meatpackers. The latter had to make tough decisions between facing the health crisis or stop production altogether.

Remote working doesn’t work for everyone, even for employees in suitable jobs where working from home is more common. According to the US Census, about 5.3% typically work from home. In the Owl Labs State of Remote Work 2019  survey, 38% never worked remotely pre-pandemic, while 62% have worked remotely at any frequency.

We first addressed how the coronavirus would be a tipping point for remote working here and have updated our thoughts.

Remote Work: Advantages And Disadvantages

 

Advantages

 

Flexibility

Alternative work arrangements are valued as long as employees have reliable internet connections. As reported in this survey, the ability to have a more flexible schedule is the most significant benefit, according to 32% of people who regularly work remotely. For working parents, the desire for work at home tends to be higher than for people without children. Working at home tends to be less stressful. Avoiding lengthy commutes reduces angst while saving time and money. As a result of the virus outbreak and social distancing, many workers could transition reasonably easily to working from home.

It is difficult for young people seeking desirable jobs in San Francisco and New York City to find affordable apartments or homes. Working from home at least part of the time could be their solution. Eliminating some commuting time would be a game-changer, especially if they are thinking about starting a family. Autonomy for employees working at home leads to improved job satisfaction.

Better Work/Life Balance

For many, remote working provides a better work/life balance. By avoiding a potentially long and irritating commute to work, you can start your day earlier. You can work at your own pace provided it coincides with the job’s priorities. It may be more comfortable to take care of doctor appointments, picking up kids from school, or taking care of chores at different times of the day, and working when you are most productive and at your best is a great option. 

In recent years, remote working jobs have provided work/life balance benefits as a top perk. Employers and employees are seeing positive remote work productivity, eliminating one of the issues employers feared increasing remote work job opportunities.  

Increased Productivity

Many employees report increased productivity working from home. Those traits transfer to wherever as long as you have self-discipline and are organized. Distractions at the office occur beyond the water cooler. Gossip, office politics, meetings, and calls often threw me off my game when I worked on Wall Street. I was far more productive late at night or over the weekend when I tuned everything out, but the work needed to get done.

To be productive at home may require some self-discipline. Prioritize your “must-do” work first. Then manage your time to maximize your achievements fully. I can thank my mom, who always pestered me by asking, “So what did you accomplish today?” at a very early age. One danger of working at home is that many people say they work longer hours. While it is easy to justify longer work time without the commuting time, give yourself that needed a break. Take a walk, exercise, or text a friend.

Savings For The Employees

People working from home realize additional savings. According to Global Workplace Analytics, working at home half the time results in savings of $2,500-$4,000 per year. The reduced costs stem from less travel, parking,  and food. These savings are net of expenditures for the home, such as additional energy and food costs. These may vary depending on how far your commute is and if there are bridge & toll payments. You may even save money on your office wardrobes by staying in casual clothes or PJs. Remember to put these savings into your emergency funds account and invest in accessible liquid securities. We discuss why you need an emergency fund and where to invest your account here.

We should save time, that precious resource. If you work remotely half the time, Analytics estimates you save the equivalent of 11 workdays based on lower commuting time. Who wouldn’t want to get those days back? There is a close relationship between time, money, and productivity.

Company Cost Savings

A typical employer could save an average of $11,000 annually per half-time telecommuting per employee based on estimates from Global Workplace Analytics. Increased productivity, lower real estate taxes, reduced absenteeism and turnover, and better disaster preparedness contribute to those forecasts. During COVID, there may be far more savings than the $11,000 estimate based on drastically reduced travel and entertainment expenditures.

Employers are encouraged to use this Free Telework Savings Calculator, which has received accolades from Congress. The comprehensive calculator allows employers to quantify benefits based on US census data from states, cities, or even counties and congressional districts with 59 variables.

For example, to calculate real estate savings, employers can change assumptions based on average office size, $/square foot, person/desk ratio, and other related variables and locations. Employers will be able to save office rent in high-cost cities like New York where most midtown commercial buildings have been empty most of 2020.

Increased Independence

According to the SHRM 2019 Employee Benefits survey, 69% of employers offer remote work on an ad hoc basis to at least some employees. However, full-time employees are more than four times likely to get those options. Post- COVID, many employers will have had more experience and confidence to offer remote working options. Giving employees greater autonomy from working at home leads to better job satisfaction and reduced turnover, a significant benefit for employers.

 Flexible Work Options Attract And Retain Talented Employees

There was increased demand for a flexible work option that including working-at-home, especially from young people before the coronavirus. It is likely to be an important company benefit for many candidates. Many companies have allowed their employees to work from home during the virus that may not have encouraged the arrangement before. As a desirable perk for young employees, flexible work offerings help to attract and retain talented employees.

As a result, management may be having positive experiences with remote working options. They have been able to test the resilience and productivity of their employees. With positive results, they may be more willing to encourage telecommuting. It is foreseeable that those employees who worked from home will not readily go back to working in an office environment only. Employers need to anticipate more demand for working from home options.

Employers Have More Confidence

Many companies may have resisted allowing their employees to work at home to fear lost productivity or lack of essential technology. Findings from a May 2020 study reported that remote work had only a small negative impact on productivity (of 1%). However, those employees working from home with children reported a slightly larger decrease (2%) in productivity.  In some cases, it seems that businesses may have realized some productivity benefits.

Those companies that had already deployed powerful technology for their workers may have been more prepared for the challenges. Technology for employees requires support with web-based teleconferencing and video conference platforms. Other companies may have been more flatfooted. They could not move to a “Plan B.” These companies will need to develop better disaster planning strategies develop. There is, however, a more significant infrastructure issue. There is a lack of broadband Internet availability in rural and poor areas, which may hamper some employees from working from home.

Remote Work As A Desirable Skill

As a remote worker, you are likely to develop new and different skills. Learning how to work independently and collaboratively sounds a bit oxymoronic, but it is not. While you may be working alone when home, there are times when you will be working as part of a team. There will be greater emphasis on communication skills, whether in written, video, or phone calls. Increasingly, there are many software and apps such as Slack, which you can use to share documents and to communicate. Working from home requires more focus to separate yourself from distractions at home and to stay productive. These are attractive traits to have in your work background.

A Societal Benefit

For companies in congested traffic areas such as Los Angeles, offering alternative working options for employees would be seen as an eco-friendly move. All organizations need to play their part in battling climate change by reducing their carbon footprint. Besides day-to-day commuting, there may be reduced business travel to meetings and conferences, affecting our energy consumption. This energy change has resulted in a better environment from reduced commercial and educational sources since COVID began.

Disadvantages

However, not all employees want to work from home. It became necessary for workers to remotely due to COVID. Firms were not fully prepared for this change. Other organizations have been allowing remote working for years. In a Robert Hall survey, 47% of employees surveyed said that the company provides that option. Of that 47%, 76% do take advantage of the perk either working at home or elsewhere. However, 24% of employees did not opt to work outside of the office.

Reasons:

  • They did not have adequate technology available at home (39%).
  • Workers are not as productive working from home (38%).
  • Fear of missing out on opportunities or assignments if they were not in the office (29%).
  • Employees felt lonely and missed interaction in the office (22%).

We will address each of these and other disadvantages.

Remote Work Doesn’t Work For New Hires Without Some Training

Starting your first job out of college, starting a career, or an internship is often a challenge. Thrown into a new environment with new people, management, and new systems, it takes time to learn who are your colleagues, boss, and priorities. You feel like a fish out of water. However, working remotely for a new employee for the first time may be too overwhelming even for the most confident person.

As an example, Google has said they intend to keep employees working from home until mid-2021. At a minimum, these organizations need to make exceptions for new hires to acclimate them to the home office for some time. Management needs to be sensitive to increased communication, clarity about the priorities, and sharing their expectations to new employees.

Lack Of Adequate Technology At Home

The lack of access to broadband Internet in rural and poor communities is not a new problem. About 5.6% of our population in rural markets lack access, according to the FCC. Some say it is higher than that. The lack of high-speed connections, that is, the digital divide, became far more visible during the pandemic. Some work-at-home employees may rely on satellite connections or travel to the next town to a library to get links to participate in video conference calls.  Some families may not afford subscription services, internet capacity, or equipment to work from home. They may have been using mobile devices that are not suitable for work.

Feeling Isolated

Employees, not just new hires, have expressed feelings of isolation when working at home. There are fewer chances for employees to be engaged or socialize with others when working from home. The camaraderie at the office is often a big motivator but more awkward when everyone is at different locations. Having zoom calls can be stilted or challenging when some people have dogs or kids in the background. I am guilty of having that background noise when speaking to my boss.

I have reached out to several business owners who began remote working as a result of the pandemic. We spoke about how they deal with some of the challenges raised by employees staying connected to their organizations. They shared that they have increased one-to-one communications to keep in touch. At least at first, some managers reset productivity expectations for the businesses that rely on face-to-face interactions. Some explored virtual get-togethers with staff and clients using coffee klatches, fitness instructors, virtual dance and pizza parties, and cocktails on Friday afternoons. Stitch and bitch sessions are also growing in popularity as employees may be growing tired of the virtual office.

Difficult To Unplug From Work

While a work-life balance is usually an advantage of working from home, some find it difficult to separate your career and personal life. You may be working longer hours because you are not commuting and have free time. What sometimes helps is to write out my to-do list for the next morning as a final task in the evening.

There are plenty of distractions around my house that remind me that I am working from home. I block it out during the day, but I usually get a tap from the dog or one of my kids telling me it is time to stop. It is a good idea to have boundaries between my physical desk and home life, but my husband commandeered the house’s best space.

Final Thoughts

The rapid move to remote working for many organizations happened quickly due to the pandemic. Working from home was already a growing trend and, for many, a desirable perk. There are many advantages of working remotely, but it is not for everyone. We addressed some of the key disadvantages or situations where remote working may be problematic. To some degree, management may improve the remote work experience simply by being more sensitive to employee needs. The lack of broadband technology in rural areas requires government intervention to improve connectivity and our aging electronic grid which we address here.

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