Archive for January, 2012

Most corporations these days use Microsoft Outlook as their email platform. With this, there are many tools you can use to help not only organize your emails, but also organize you time (calendar), and daily tasks. Here are a few tools I use  to help you maximize your time and minimize the clutter with Microsoft Outlook:

  • Manage Email– You can keep your email managed with the creation of folders to organize your emails in by subject or any other method, and flags to remind you of items that need immediate attention or can wait.
  • Contacts- This is where you store names and contact information in individual info windows, which have fields for all pertinent information, and a window for recording personal notes. As with your Inbox folder list, you can also create separate folders for different types of contacts. I have separate folders for family, friends, business contacts, and specific groups.
  • Calendar– By keeping track of what you have planned for today, tomorrow, next week, and next month is critical to planning what you need to focus on and when. Outlook’s calendar is a great way to do this and it can even be synced up with your smart phone so that you can have your calendar handy any where you go.
  • Tasks– By keeping your to-do list in Office Outlook, you can view and work with the list right next to your email and calendar, and you can tie tasks to your calendar, contacts, and email. For example, you can configure a task to send you recurring reminders, or you can assign tasks to others on your contact list.
  • Distribution lists– If you have groups of contacts to whom you often send email messages or meeting requests, rather than retype each email address every time, you can group the addresses in a distribution list. For example, you could create a distribution list named Budget Team. Then, when you send email messages or invitations to all of the budget team, just type Budget Team in the To line.
  • Notes in Office OneNote– A quick way to take notes and save information after meetings. If Office OneNote and Office Outlook are both installed on your computer, you can access OneNote from within Outlook. For example, after you read an email message, click Send to OneNote to save the message in your notes. In OneNote, you can add notes to the message, along with other items, like files and links. You can also access OneNote from a Contact or an Appointment and from the Outlook toolbar.

These few tools should help you on your way to be more efficient in your endeavors, and to developing a useful skill that can ease a bit of stress in your life. Stay focused and put your attention where it is most important, even if what is the most important is YOU!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, please use the comment section below! 🙂

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My husband and I was out shopping this weekend for a new laptop and at one of the electronic stores we met a wonderful young man. He knew his products well and was extremely helpful in our buying experience. After we determined the many things that we needed for this purchase, we began to process the in-store credit card application in order to take advantage of the promotional 18-month no interest program. I try to use these programs for all my big purchases so that I can spread the burden over a period of time instead of hitting my saving account immediately. This allows me to plan well financially for unexpected items yet have plenty of time to make sure the purchase is paid off prior to the 18-month term date.  This is one of the main benefits to having good credit.

After everything was completed, the young man asked me, “How do you get such good credit?” Even though he didn’t have access to our credit score or any information other than what we were approved for on the spot, he was surprised at the quickness and the amount of credit we were given in a matter of moments.  So here are a few tips to creating better credit which will allow you to create efficiencies into your financial life.

#1- ALWAYS pay all your bills ON TIME!

#2- Keep your balances on all your credit cards less than 35% of the over credit limit.

#3- Do not spend more than you can pay off at the end of every month. If possible, pay off all your balances EVERY month.

#4- Get a “secured” loan (i.e. car loan, home equity loan) to help build your credit.

Here are a few additional items that will help you get a loan but doesn’t necessarily build your credit score:

-Bank Accounts

-Employment History

-Residence History

-Utilities in Your Name

However, keep in mind if you over draw your bank account or do not pay your utilities on time, it can have a negative effect on your credit when they report your account delinquent to the credit agencies.

The best thing you can do to start building credit is to live within your means. Creating good credit takes time. Your credit is based on a number of factors such as length of time you’ve had credit and payment history. So it is extremely important not to just establish credit but to also maintain good credit. This will open many doors for opportunities to financial security.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, please use the comment section below! 🙂

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Finding the right kind of accommodations that fit your specific needs can be a hard task. Whether you are planning a business trip or a family vacation, there are many choices in accommodations. With the economy the way it is, many of us are looking for the best accommodations for the best prices possible. Here are a few options that can help you feel more at home while away from home and won’t necessarily be as hard of a hit on your pocket-book.

– Condo’s- This type of accommodation is great for a family vacation and sometimes can be more economical even for longer business trips. The best way to get the best deal is usually through a timeshare exchange company. You can usually do this if you own a timeshare or if you know someone who does. If you don’t own a timeshare or know someone who does, you can still rent condos from discount vacation rental sites or directly from the owners.

-Extended Stay Hotels- These generally have condo like accommodations with kitchenette and a separate bedroom and living room. They can make being in one location for an extended time a little more comfortable.

-Hotels with extra amenities- There are many hotels these days trying to attract more business with extra amenities such as free breakfast, free wi-fi, gyms, etc. These are not only conveniences but can save you quite a bit of money by not having to pay extra for them.

These are just a few options that are out there. The key is to take the time to research which options would work best for your trip and your budget. Please join me for upcoming blogs on Travel Tips to Save you Time and Money coming soon! If you have any questions, comments, or tips you would like to share, please use the comment section below.

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Whether you are planning a business trip or a family vacation, the keys to a successful trip are Planning Ahead, Research, and Organization. With following these three key steps you can have a stress free and more enjoyable travel experience.

Planning ahead is as simple as just that. The farther in advance that you plan, the more options that will be at your disposal. The more chances you will have to find the best deals at the best places. Researching where you are going is another important step. If you know what kinds of things you can do, places you want to see, or places you want to eat ahead of time, you will waste less time when you are actually at your destination and can use this time to enjoy your trip.

Organization is probably one of the most important steps to having a stress free travel experience. If you have everything organized like hotel accommodations, transportation, activities and the like, there is less chance that you will forget something important that could possibly ruin your trip. In the past I have used folders, and binders to gather all my confirmations and travel documents. However, I have found a great app called Tripit that can compile all your trip information electronically on your smart phone. This makes it easier to have all your documents at a touch of a button.

If you follow these three basic key steps to planning a trip, you will have a much better chance at having a more enjoyable, lower cost, and lower stress trip.  Please join me for upcoming blogs on Travel Tips to Save you Time and Money coming soon! If you have any questions, comments, or tips you would like to share, please use the comment section below.

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At the end of Sunday night, how often do you ask yourself, what happened to the weekend? The real question is, what consumed your weekend? Was it laundry, running to the store for the fourth time this week, putting away all the clutter that is building up around you, or doing something fun with your family?

Being organize can benefit you in so many ways. It will help you create balance and efficiency in your life so that you have more time to do the things you love instead of the things you dread. If you are organized you can reduce the clutter around you and thus spend less time dealing with it. You can save money by knowing exactly what you need when you go to the store and not buying things that you don’t need. It will also save you time and gas from running to the store multiple times to get the things you missed. You can save money by planning ahead and researching the cheapest place to buy what you need. This is one of the biggest time & money savers when you don’t have to waste time, gas, & potentially higher prices running around trying to find the best price and availability for a product.

When organized, you will be more productive and be able to get more done in less time, thus leaving more time for other more important or at least more fun items. Being organized is a process and has to be done in steps, start with the small things and work your way up. You will begin to focus on the big picture which will allow you to figure out what is important and what isn’t. Just don’t give up! If you take the time to be organized, you will end up benefiting in both time and money. How can you go wrong with that outcome?

So start getting organized today and get your time and money back in the right place!

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Most people associate efficiency with only time management, but it can also be applied to your financial management as well. My family and I love to travel and one way I have found to help offset our travel costs is by using my credit cards in a smart manner. I am not talking about the usual topics you see out there of paying more than your minimum payment and never carrying a balance of more than 30% of your allowed limit. This is a whole separate realm of using your credit card to save you money. This is the realm of the “Air Mile Cards”! These days your points that you earn on these cards can be used for so much more than just free flights. You can pay for travel with points, get gifts cards to stores and restaurants, buy household products such as appliances, jewelry, the list goes on and on!

The most important thing to remember with this kind of strategy is that in order for it to save you  money, you have to NEVER carry over a balance. You have to pay off your card EVERY month, otherwise the interest charges will far out way your benefits from the miles earned. Here is how you can rack up huge amount of air miles every month on stuff you buy anyways:

  • Set up all your monthly payments to be directly charged to your credit card (cable bill, phone bill, insurance payment, ect). This is everything that you would normally write a check for or have directly withdrawn from your checking out. Note: Do not include any bills that charge an additional fee to charge it to your credit card. This fee would negate the benefit of the miles.
  • Use your card when grocery shopping, putting gas in your car, eating out at restaurants, or any purchases that accepts credit cards at no additional fee.

The biggest risk that this method creates is that if you are not a careful spender you may find that you are over spending more than you can pay back at the end of the month. A great way to overcome this risk is to still keep a checkbook, but for your credit card purchases. Set your budget of what you can spend, and write down your charges just as you would do if you had written a check. Deduct these from what you have set aside in your actual checking account to cover these costs. This way at the end of the month you will have the cash to pay for what you have charged on your credit card. In addition, if you are holding your cash for the month in an interest bearing account, you have also earned interest on your cash while your expenses are sitting at the credit card company! A Win/Win situation for you!

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Here are a few tips to help you keep organized everyday. These tips can be applied to your personal and professional life to help create a balance so that you have more time to do the things that you really enjoy. The key to accomplishing this task is to follow the motto, “If you have time to do something now, just do it!”

Don’t let your INBOX or kitchen counter get cluttered up with items that really would only take a few minutes to complete and send on their way. This is one of the most time sucking and discouraging ways to deal with your incoming items. Not only are things not getting done, but everytime you look at the stack in front of you, it gets even more discouraging to want to dig into it and get started. Thus it will continue to grow until its a monumental task to clear out. If you deal with items as they come in then not only is it done, but you aren’t wasting time later picking it up again.

Keep in mind that it is not an overnight transformation and that it takes time to build it into your daily routine, both in the office and at home. I discuss in my video what my routine is and how I have incorporated both in my personal life and at work.

I hope that this blog has been helpful to you in creating efficiency in your life. If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment, please do so below!

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