What We Really Do In January

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

January is a bit of a let down if we’re honest. There is so much hype surrounding December and even November, with the holidays and New Years. And when we reach that time where we cross over to a New Year, there are so many people saying New Year, New Me. Setting resolutions and promises to change and do new, positive things. Unfortunately, those well-meant promises aren’t easily kept. Changing habits or even making new ones takes a lot of willpower. But just because you don’t immediately accomplish every little thing within those first few weeks of the year doesn’t mean that you have failed and should stop trying. What we really do in January doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish what you set out to do.

Money

Following the holiday’s everyone is scrambling trying to sort out their finances. So many people use their savings to pay for Christmas, and so when it comes to the New Year, their funds are low. Rather than trying to push those minimal finances to stretch to pay for all those new activities you wanted to get involved with, wait a month and give your savings account a chance to gain a little of what it has lost. Besides, most places put up their prices in January purely because so many people sign up this month. So when you get to the end of the month and realize that you haven’t started going to the gym, or haven’t had the money to start eating clean yet, don’t worry.

Normality

Throughout the holiday’s normality goes out of the window. Following Thanksgiving, the build-up to Christmas is a blur of shopping and visiting. Christmas day is all about eating rubbish from the moment you wake up, afternoon naps, and late bedtimes. Then you have the lead up to New Year’s Eve where no one really knows what day it is. So January is a shock to the system as you try and get back to normal. So when you look back at the month, if all you have achieved is getting your sleep pattern right and are eating at the proper times, then consider it an accomplishment.

Set Up

For many people, that first week of January is a ‘set up’ week. Where you call al the places, sign up to all the things, and buy in all the stuff you need to do the things. You come up with ideas and plan how to get them off the ground – if you want to read more on that, you can click here. And then it gets to the end of the month, and you realize you haven’t done much of anything. And that is because you are living through point number two with a budget of number one. Again, see this month as a stepping stone; you have accomplished part of what you have set out to do while getting back into a normal routine and trying not to overspend. That’s an accomplishment.

Why College Students Don’t Get Enough Sleep + Ways To Improve Sleep Habits

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that college-aged students get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Yet, one in three college students report having trouble sleeping as well as not getting the recommended amount of sleep each night. Although it may be stressful balancing schoolwork, social lives and jobs, the amount of sleep we get each night should not suffer because of this.

Below are some common issues that many college students face that can disrupt our sleep patterns, along with ways to improve these conditions.

Anxiety

Mental health has become a critical issue on college campuses. In fact, a study revealed that anxiety is the leading mental health issue college students face. The National College Health Assessment Survey reported that 15.8 percent of college students have been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety. The same survey found that 21.9 percent of students claimed that anxiety had negatively affected their academic performance whether it was through getting a lower grade on an exam or project, receiving an incomplete, or dropping a course. A college student must balance many things all at once including midterms, friendships, relationships, and careers. For many young adults, this is the first time dealing with significant levels of stress and can be extremely overwhelming, bringing on anxiety.

Anxiety can cause sleep problems or make existing sleep problems worse. However, getting a good night’s rest, especially as a college student, needs to be a priority. In order to reduce your anxiety and get the sleep your body needs try meditating. Focus on your breathing and visualize a serene environment.

Busy Mind

Mental over activity is becoming a major issue for people, especially college students. We’ve all had those nights where it’s impossible to get our brains to slow down long enough for us to fall asleep. For busy college students these nights can happen more frequently. When you’re juggling so many different things at once, it can often feel like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. This leads to many students working on schoolwork or participating in extracurricular activities up until bedtime. While this may not seem like a big deal, it’s actually a huge issue because sleep isn’t as simple as turning a switch off/on. Our bodies need time to unwind and dim our minds in order to prepare for sleep.

If you’re having trouble slowing your mind down at night, allow at least one hour before bed to wind down. This will not only help create closure for the day, but it also allows your brain to begin the process of shutting off. Developing a pre-bedtime ritual is a great way to help you and your mind wind down. Try reading, journaling, or even sketching and don’t forget to avoid electronics during your wind-down time.

Discomfort

College dorm rooms come with their own set of sleep destroyers. One of the many reasons that college students have trouble sleeping in their dorm rooms is that their beds often have many other uses besides sleeping — including studying, doing school assignments, watching TV, and even hanging out with friends. Remember that although dorm rooms may be small, your bed is not your living room. You want to associate your bed with sleep so that when you see it your body craves sleep. Try to study at your desk or in the library and hang out with your friends in common areas. Another issue in your dorm room that may be causing problems with your sleep patterns is your university-issued mattress. Most of these mattresses have been used for years and may be too hard or lumpy. A poor quality mattress can cause discomfort and even body pains that can be distracting and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

While you may not be able to go out and buy a new mattress for your dorm room, a mattress pad, comfortable bedding, and good sleepwear may help make it more comfortable. A soft and supportive pillow will also help add some much needed comfort to your bed.

Noise

Living in close quarters can make for a lot of noise. Whether it’s your roommate watching their favorite TV show at a high volume or your neighbors talking loudly in the hallway, noise can be extremely distracting when it comes time for bed. Unfortunately, while most resident halls have designated “quiet hours”, not all residents respect them. If your roommate and neighbors are continuously loud, especially during quiet hours, ask them to quiet down. It may even be helpful to discuss each other’s schedules and set guidelines to make sure everyone can sleep, study, and enjoy their time in the dorms peacefully. If that doesn’t work, try earplugs or white noise to help cover-up noises. Fans and sleep sounds are both great ways to cancel out noise.

The New Years Resolution Alternative

January is the perfect time to set New Year’s Resolutions only to see them fail by February.

The motivation to accomplish lofty goals at the start of the year disappears quickly.

It’s almost as if setting New Year’s Resolutions is a recipe for disaster.

Why is that?

The feeling you have after hearing a motivational speaker is the same as the beginning of a New Year. Inspiration is fickle.

Instead of setting New Year’s Resolutions, try creating new habits.

Habits are to goals as your journey is to the destination.

As an instant gratification-based society goals are sexier because you either achieve them or you don’t. But the downside of that is you’ll eventually fail. Once that happens the chances of you setting another goal decreases.

Habits are actually more controllable. They are based on effort, not results.

While goals depend on some variables you can’t control, habits are completely in your hands (take note Type A people!)

For example weight loss is a popular New Year’s Resolution (goal), but the equivalent habit is working out 3 – 5 times per week. People lose weight at different paces, but going to the gym multiple times a week is something you can track.

Most goal tracking apps for your smart phone are actually disguised as habit trackers. It makes complete sense because habits are much more manageable.

So this year instead of having New Year’s Resolutions figure out what habits will get your desired goals and set those instead!

Top Tips For Investing In Your 20’s

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

Everybody knows that investing your money is sensible if you want to have a healthy retirement pot. But you don’t need to worry about that until you’re getting close to retiring, surely? You could wait, but if you think about it, what real reason do you have to delay? The earlier you get started, the more money you can save up. Starting in your 20’s also means that you don’t have to put as much money into investments each month. When you’re young you probably don’t have much experience with investments so it can be a little daunting. Don’t worry though, just follow these simple steps and you’ll realize that investing doesn’t have to be that hard.

Get Some Help

This is the number one most important thing to remember. You can do all the research you want but you still won’t be an expert. If you make poor investment choices you’ll lose everything so it’s always sensible to get help from a professional. Hire a good broker that can give you advice on the markets and tell you where your money is safest. Check out this tastyworks review to get a better idea of what help they can offer you. It is possible to make investments on your own without the help of a professional but it’s not worth the risk.

Understand The Power Of Compound Interest

When you put money away and it earns interest, the rate at which that money grows will get faster and faster as the interest compounds on itself. If you started investing in your 30’s, you’ll make significantly less money than you would have in your 20’s because of that interest. The earlier you get started, the more money you stand to make and even a few years can make such a huge difference.

Clear Debts First

Thinking that investing is the solution to all of your problems is naive. It can help you to build wealth from a young age but you need to think about your overall financial health as well. If you’ve got a load of student loan debts or credit card debts, all of that money you build up is just going to go into clearing them when you’re older. Before you start thinking about putting money into an investment pot, get all of your other financial business in order as well.

It’s also important that you get a handle on your spending habits as well. If you’re reckless with your money then you won’t have enough spare cash to put aside each month.

Increase The Amount Gradually

When you’re younger, you’re likely to be earning a fairly low wage. If you put too much away for investment you won’t be able to save for a car or a house or anything like that. When you first get going, start off with a small amount. Then you can increase the amount gradually, in line with your income as you start to earn more. That way, investing isn’t going to make life difficult for you.

Investing isn’t just for people in their 40’s that are earning a good wage. The earlier you start, the better.

Stop Waiting Until You’re Ready

If you’re waiting until you’re ready to start a project, stop.

Technically you’re never “ready.”

There’s always more research to do…

There’s always more testing to do…

There’s always more planning to do…

Problem is, that’s what’s stopping you…the failure to act.

Take advice from someone whose started a number of projects that haven’t turned out successful: you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Just like hurt is inevitable in relationships, failure is bound to happen at some point in business/your career. Deal with it.

What’s helpful to know is by NOT doing anything you’re making a choice:

Every action or inaction you take has a cost. Most of the time the cost of doing NOTHING is more painful.

Use the analogy of going to the gym. The hardest part is getting there, but once you arrive rarely do you regret it. The feeling of accomplishment after completing a workout should overpower not feeling like going.

Today monetizing a passion doesn’t mean quitting your job to start a business. It includes creating a side hustle. If you think of your career as a financial investment, doesn’t it make more sense to diversify than go all-in on one role?

Freelancing will soon pass up full-time employment in the job market. That means multiple streams of income is the future of survival. If you currently don’t love selling, get used to it.

You and I value mentors because of their experience. Without starting something you lack it. Trial and error is still the best teacher, so in order to grow stop thinking and start doing.

That’s how every successful company got to where they are now: they started.

Dreaming is overrated.

Execution is what counts.

3 Reasons Why Millennials Invented Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving officially became a “thing” on November 26, 2009 (according to the Urban Dictionary).

Scoffed at by older generations, the origins behind this growing annual event make sense. Here’s 3 to start:

1. Extra Feast 

Any reason to gather around food is a good one. Traditionally celebrated on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, it means at least back-to-back feasts before the weekend’s leftovers binge. Food is a trend that isn’t going anywhere. Potlucks means more people, more choices and more food. We live in a society that lauds gluttons and this just adds to the once a year madness. On top of that Instagram worthy shots are taken and shared with friends alike. Hard to not support it.

2. The New Definition Of Family

Thanksgiving does include foods we love, but it can also invite relatives we don’t. Besides some people who are forced to work on Thanksgiving, holidays can bring family conflict and uncomfortable encounters to a home. Friendsgiving is the alternative to extended family gathering by replacing it with people you actually want to be around. In defense, Friendsgiving isn’t meant to take the place of Thanksgiving, rather add a new event for those who may not have family close by, can’t make it home in time or just plain love events. The reality is nuclear families are disappearing so Friendsgiving is an adaptation to the changing times.

3. Lifestyle Fit

Millennials are getting married and having kids later in life. That means Friendsgiving is a more “adult” gathering than most. Insert alcohol and rowdiness to enhance pleasure, not numb it and problem solved. Millennials do live at home longer, so it’s not an escape from family rather a social feasting of sorts. Young professionals can and should take credit for creating this festivity. Plus since it appears on social media clearly it exists.

All jokes aside there’s definitely a method to the madness. Friendsgiving is about friends and food. Two of anyone’s favorite past times rolled into one annual event. Let’s give thanks.

Business Overseas Relocation: Where In The World Should You Go?

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

The idea of moving your business can be a daunting one, but there are numerous upsides to consider. There are many countries dotted around the world with lower levels of corporation tax, meaning that you could save a substantial amount of money on your operating costs– even when you factor in the potential expense of such a move.

According to the Tax Foundation, the US has the third-highest corporation tax rates in the world, so it’s easy to contemplate the savings you could make. If you decide to make a move, where in the world should you aim to go?

Macau

With a top rate of corporation tax of just 12.0% — which is less than half the US rate — it’s easy to see why Macau has become such a business center in recent years. A former Portuguese colony, Macau has been under Chinese sovereignty for nearly 20 years, and has flourished in this time.

Singapore

A corporation tax rate of 17.0% and a low-regulation style system has meant Singapore has created a powerful reputation as a business haven. The top rate corporate tax is still nearly half of what it is in the US, and an established foreign infrastructure can help you make the transition with ease.

While there will be new laws to adapt to, the general low levels of regulation mean that there are fewer bureaucratic hoops to jump through, which is well worth taking into account.

The UK

The UK’s top rate of corporation tax of 20.0% is not the lowest in the world (though still lower than the US), but is noticeably low for a developed country. What makes the UK such an intriguing investment is the uncertainty created by the Brexit vote. The right wing of the (minority) governing Tory party have made it clear they believe the UK’s future involves styling itself as a “Singapore-style low tax, low regulation economy”. The center wing of the party disagrees, but it’s fair to say current Brexit negotiations are not going well, meaning that a “Singapore-style” economy could ultimately be born from the chaos.

There will be new-to-you laws and legislation to adapt to, meaning you may need help with key legislation, but there’s plenty of help around. If you need to figure out IR35 then expert advice and resources from Qdos Contractor will get you up to speed, while PAYE advice can be found from most accounts. Ultimately, if you prefer the idea of moving to an Anglophone country with a potentially lucrative future, then the UK might be a good bet.

Ireland

Ireland has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world, at 12.5%. The downside is the country has a history of economic instability — the so-called “Celtic Tiger” that ultimately proved unsustainable — which may give you pause. The economy is relatively stable at the present time and notably business-friendly, so if you don’t mind the potential for future unrest, then Ireland could be a viable option.

If you want to cut your operating costs — and particularly your corporate tax rate — then any of the countries above are well worth considering.

Act Like A Boss, Not A Friend

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

If you have never been a manager before, you may feel as if you’ve been thrown into the deep end without a paddle. Becoming a manager for a group of people who you once worked alongside can be very stressful, it can feel incredibly awkward and first and you may feel guilty giving orders. The important thing to remember is that this is your career and you have been given a wonderful opportunity to spread your wings and prove what you are capable of as an individual and to grow your professional skills even further. If you don’t know where to start and how you are supposed to act as a manager, here are some tips:

Don’t become smug

The worst thing that people can do when they earn a position of slight power is to let it go their head and play it off as if they are better than everyone else. You are not better than everyone else, you have simply proven qualified and experienced enough to handle the responsibility of looking after a group of employees.

Act like a boss, not a friend

The important thing to keep in mind when you move up in the workplace is to balance your behaviour in a professional way. While you don’t want to buy yourself a crown and walk around the office calling everyone peasants, you also can’t have that same friend-to-friend relationship as you did when you were a lower member of the team. Now that you have found yourself responsible for the running of an office and you have to delegate tasks, you need to learn to distance yourself from the rest of the team in a way where they respect your authority without thinking of you as a dictator.

Discuss your new role

When you get promoted to the position of manager, make sure that you take some time to sit down with your boss and talk through the duties, responsibilities and actions you should be taking as a people manager. If you are worries about how to treat your staff and what to do in terms of talking to them and holding team meetings of your own- voice these concerns with your boss and they will be able to give you some advice on how you need to act in your new role. Take the time to also discuss what your goals are in terms of sales or KPIs within the office, and how best to delegate tasks amongst your team.

Learn the culture

Every company has a different way of working and different views. In order for you to find your place within the organisation and allow it to function well, you will need to take the time to work out how the body of the business works. Where is the brain, the blood and the heart of the business? What makes it tick and who are the key players?

Think back to your old managers

You may have had several managers in your time in the working world, and hopefully there will be at least one of those managers who you looked up to and saw as a good role model. Take on their ways and incorporate them with your own as you find your flow and get used to the role. Over the years you will develop your own way of running things- but when you start out it is helpful to have a role model to look up to.

Get to know your employees

If you have simply been promoted to the role of manager within the same team, then you will already know your colleagues pretty well; however, if you are moving to a new company to be a manager, you will need to take some time to get to know your employees. Make sure that you hold regular staff meetings when you first join and let each of your team members explain a little bit about the role they take on in the office and any projects they are currently working on. Continue to hold meetings each week or month to catch up and make sure everyone is happy with what they are doing and they aren’t struggling with anything. It may also be a great idea to take out some time to go on team-building exercises or even take the team out for dinner at the end of the month to get to know everyone on a more personal level. Although you do want boundaries, it is much easier working with people you know trust and respect.

Understand individual needs

You will be managing a group of people who are all unique in the way they think, work and who have individual personalities. You may find that you end up working with someone who suffers from dyslexia and struggles to read, or suffers with anxiety and struggles to talk. Making arrangements to accommodate and help these individuals will be what sets you apart as a good manager. Certain members of the team such as accounting may require a private office to work with sensitive information, so make sure that you cater to everyone’s needs.

Discuss your role with your team

When you are promoted to a level which is higher than your peers, it can be awkward and a little bit uncomfortable for everyone to get used to. Instead of staying quiet and beginning to act like a manager straight away, take an hour or so to sit down with your new team and talk to them about the new role you’ll be playing. They will understand that you have new duties and will be able to help you adjust to your new role with encouragement. Working with your friends is helping in this way because they can help you to air your concerns and feeling and reassure you that it won’t change anything with your friendship. You will then be able to transition to the role of manager with the full support of those you once worked alongside.

3 Requests From Millennials To Managers

Millennials get a bad rap.

Sure, some of the stereotypes are true, but what about taking an empathetic viewpoint?

Technology has changed the game forever, therefore management needs to step up accordingly.

Here are 3 ways managers can maximize Millennials:

1. Show me, don’t tell me

Coaching works. Micromanaging doesn’t.

According to research, auditory learning is the least effective yet traditional education teaches us otherwise.

Modeling correct behavior is more efficient than any handbook, Powerpoint presentation or lecture can ever be.

Millennials need mentors, not bosses. The difference between a leader and a manager is how they deal with people. The one size fits all approach is dead.

Managers need to approach supervision like a tutor. How to show the content is more important than knowing it. Customizing a message to fit the receiver is more work, but it also gets better results.

2. Learning is more valuable than perks

Free food, remote work and ping-pong tables are nice amenities, but they don’t increase retention.

Millennials care more about developing their careers by learning new skills than being enticed by external rewards. In fact, companies who base their culture around perks are promoting fool’s gold.

If you want to retain your best young talent, you need to invest in them. Similar to teenagers, if you want to teach independence you have to give them responsibility then respond accordingly.

The reason semi-annual and annual reviews don’t work is there’s too much time in-between feedback. Daily to weekly feedback may sound overwhelming as manager, but without it you risk quality control.

Leadership is about making those around you better, not priding yourself on being the best. Look no further than team sports to know your value increases as your team wins.

3. Listen, before judging

Entitled. Lazy. Narcissistic. Millennials have heard it all.

Before you judge a book by it’s cover, open it.

As a manager if you don’t get to know your workers, you default to believing stereotypes. That’s called ignorance.

Millennials may struggle with interpersonal skills, but peel back the skin and you’ll get down to the root of the issue.

People are people. Sometimes we over-trivialize that. The most effective thing any manager can do is listen.

If you don’t know the story, you’ll never be able to positively impact it.

In the end it’s the connection between the manager and Millennial that determines results.

People don’t leave companies they leave managers.

Sincerely,

Millennials

Millennials, Get Your Finances Under Wraps!

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

While most Millennials will have received a thorough education in various areas of knowledge, many will have complained about the same thing at some point or another: we aren’t taught enough practical things. Yes, we may well be able to do trigonometry, or analyze a short poem by Christina Rossetti. But when it comes to taking care of the must-do tasks that we face in adult life, many of us are left clueless. Finances and accounts tend to be a couple of these areas. Sadly, we are launched into the grown up world and expected to just know how to do these things. But not to worry. That’s where we can come to the rescue. Here are a few necessary pieces of information to help you get your personal accounts and business accounts under wraps in no time.

Business

Let’s start with business. Why? Well, because this area is generally where larger quantities of money tend to be involved, and you can consequently get into more serious trouble if things don’t add up properly. If possible, work hand in hand with a bookkeeping firm who will be able to keep on top of all of your internal and external reporting. This removes issues and ensures that someone who is fully qualified and competent is taking care of things. However, it’s always good to have a general idea of what’s going on. There are several types of accounts that you can have when it comes to business, so let’s quickly differentiate between the different types before we go any further.

Checking Account

A checking account will take centre stage when it comes to your business accounts. Profits from sales are deposited in here, wages are paid out of it, and expenses such as bills are taken out of it. You may have heard others talking about cash flow within their businesses and its importance. Well, this is where it all happens!

Merchant Account

If your company accepts payments by credit card, you’ll need to set up a merchant account.  This goes for those who deal with online payments and payments through third parties such as Paypal too! This is great for attracting more customers. After all, the more forms of payment you accept, the wider the audience you invite in!

Accounts Payable

Accounts payable are exactly what they sound like: a record of all of the money that your business owes out to others. This can include things like mortgages, company car payments and any other form of credit you may well have taken out. This is a purely informational account for the sake of keeping on top of your records.

Accounts Receivable

Accounts receivable are essentially the opposite of accounts payable: this is all of the money that others owe to your company. If you have extended credit or let out a loan to customers these amounts will be included in this category. Much like accounts payable, this is again a purely informational account for the sake of your records.

Payroll Accounts

If you have employees, you will need a payroll account. All worker’s wages are deposited into this account, ready to be distributed out to individual staff members’ bank accounts.

Personal

Your personal accounts solely deal with your own, personal income. Anything to do with business accounts or corporate accounts shouldn’t overlap here. This is your personal banking. Essentially, you will open up one of these accounts at a local bank branch. To work out which to choose, take a quick look here. Different banks and branches will have different strengths and benefits, so be sure to compare around the market before choosing one. They will have different interest rates on savings accounts, will offer you different overdrafts and some will have extra benefits if you take up their own branded credit cards. Your personal wages or salary will be deposited into it and you will use it to pay for personal expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, bills, food, and entertainment. Your personal tax will also be paid out of this account at the end of each tax year. Make sure not to go over your credit limits or agreed overdrafts, as this will result in you being given fines and receiving charges. Keep your statements too. Nowadays this is a little easier, as most banks encourage you to have online statements, which are cheaper for them and more environmentally friendly.

So, there you have it. The basics of business accounts and personal accounts. If you haven’t organized your own yet, it’s time to get on top of things. The sooner you take action, the better, as it helps you to get organized and avoid charges or further problems down the line.