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Blog Roundup (6-7-13)

I always love sharing my favorite blogs with people, so each week I’ll be giving you guys a roundup of the posts I’ve really enjoyed reading.

If you like them, make sure to subscribe and follow these great bloggers on Twitter and Facebook to share the love!

~Heart,

Em

  • Cool free stuff: a secret safe that looks like a book is pretty cool by itself, but Take Our Stuff is giving away a secret book safe full of cash and jewelry! (How much? I guess you’ll have to win to find out.) :)

Are there any great posts you came across recently? Share them with us in the comments!

How to be happier at work

Friendly ServiceTo follow up on Monday’s post about jobs, I thought I’d do one on some simple tricks for being happier at work.

Now, I’m not a happiness guru by any means (I think people like Gretchen Rubin fall into that category), but I am that annoyingly optimistic and perky person that everyone probably secretly hates on Monday mornings. :) So I think I know a thing or two about taking your “just a job” and making the best of it.

Here are some of my big work rules:

Don’t let the little things get to you.

I’ve seen coworkers have serious meltdowns because the copier jammed, the stapler jammed, or the coffee pot is empty. I’m sure these were the straws that broke the camel’s back when they were already having a bad day, but you can’t let tiny, stupid little things like this get to you. Because if you do, even if you’re not having a bad day, eventually the frustrations will build up and you’ll have a meltdown anyway.

Work is a great place to find Murphy’s Law, so I just approach every day expecting it. When I have a huge copying project, the copier probably will jam. When I’m running late for a meeting, I probably will get stuck in the restroom stall that doesn’t have any TP in it. (TMI?) All you can do in these situations is laugh and shrug your shoulders. (Pretending you’re in a sitcom like Seinfeld or The Office helps too, at least for me.)

Because the other choice is to let these things ruin your day, and they’re totally not worth it.

Be patient with people.

Whether it’s customers/clients, coworkers, or bosses, being at work means dealing with people we don’t necessarily get along with or have anything in common with. You don’t have to love them or be BFFs with them, but if you’re going to spend 8 hours a day with them, you might as well try to be friendly, right?

Sure, I’ve got that one coworker who absolutely refuses to be happy about anything…I’ve learned to smile politely at her and go on my merry way. I’ve got that one boss whose gut instinct when things go wrong is to scream at everyone, no matter who is actually responsible…I’ve learned to breathe, wait for the storm to pass, and keep doing my work until he realizes he’s been a doofus and comes back around to apologize.

People will be people, and they won’t necessarily be people you’ll like. But you may as well make sure that you’re a person you like when you’re dealing with them. At the end of the day, you can’t change people, you can only change yourself.

Treat each day like a new start.

I’ve seen coworkers come into work on Monday morning still stewing over whatever went wrong on Friday. That means they spent their entire weekend stewing (ruining a perfectly good weekend), and that they’re going into the day already in a bad mood. No matter what actually happens that day, they’re probably going to be miserable, because they’re going into it miserable.

If you look for problems and things to annoy you, you will find them. If you take your work home with you, it will make your work life and your home life bad. So let things go once 5:00 hits, enjoy your “me” time like crazy, and come back to work the next day ready for a blank slate. Why invite more trouble than you need?

How do you find happiness at work (even when things get crazy)?

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit:  Lilly Tran

It’s just a job

StudyingI’ve had this post on my “topics” list for a while, and it seems fitting to post it on a Monday morning as we all go back to our jobs. I was inspired to write it by Live Love Work’s post a while back called Stop taking work so seriously!

Being a blogger who writes about happiness, some of my blogger friends are passionate members of the lifestyle design movement…particularly, the people who believe that traditional jobs are evil and the only way to be happy is to strike out on your own.

Don’t get me wrong, I love these people, and I am so inspired by the things they’re doing in their own lives. My friend “Cordelia” over at Cordelia Calls It Quits, for instance, just left the day job she’d been at for 12 years to be a writer and blogger full-time. I’ve been following her journey to do this for the past two and a half years, as she slowly built up her side business until it was big enough to do full-time. And I could not be more happy for her. (PS – stay tuned for an upcoming guest post from her, which I can’t wait to feature!)

But for me personally, I just don’t feel that way about work. For me, a job is just a job. Does that make me a bad happiness blogger, or just a different kind of happiness blogger?

To each his own

While I get where these bloggers are coming from, I don’t have any dreams of becoming an internet tycoon or a digital nomad or whatever. I’m perfectly happy doing my job from 9 to 5, then coming home and having my nights and weekends all to myself and my little family, no work involved. I like the structure. I like being able to leave my work behind when 5:00 comes.

I don’t “love” my job, but I don’t hate it, either. It’s got its ups and its downs, but I like my coworkers, I feel good at what I do, and I just don’t have that drive to stay up all night or work on the weekends to build some side business of my own. (I don’t even know what that side business would be.)

And I think a lot of people are like that.

Again, I don’t mean to criticize other bloggers at all. It’s more of a “to each his own” thing. The last thing I’d want to do is judge someone else’s lifestyle, because the whole point of B&B is to encourage living a balanced life…whatever that means for you. My balance just happens to include having a regular old job and then unplugging in my “me” time.

A job is what you make of it

I think what it ultimately comes down to is how you approach your work. If you’re the kind of person who hates the idea of a 9 to 5 job, no matter what it is, then you won’t be happy unless you are doing your own thing. You need to know yourself and go after what will make you happy.

But if you like the predictability and set hours of a regular job, that’s cool, too. Then it’s up to you to learn how to be happy at that job, even when things sometimes get crazy and stressful.

There is no right or wrong way…there’s just what’s right for you.

What is your job to you? Is it a passion, or just a paycheck?

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit:  Michael J Mandeville

Avoiding Incurring Debt When Purchasing Clothing

Luxury Shopping[This is a guest post by Colleen Moyer. Think you’ve got what it takes to be a guest poster? Contact Em at em [at] blondeandbalanced [dot] com to learn more about becoming a guest poster yourself!]

 

Good-looking clothing is needed for work, school, and other excursions, but purchasing new clothing can be very expensive. Many people make the mistake of incurring debt to purchase the clothing they desire, but this only makes the clothing more expensive through interest charges and financing fees.

Planning for your clothing purchases before you go out to shop can help ensure that you get the items that you need without having to incur debt to get them. Here are some good tips for how to avoid incurring debt when purchasing clothing.

Strategically Save Money For Clothing Purchases

Because you know that you will have to purchase clothing when your child gets bigger or when something you own wears out, plan to strategically save money for your clothing purchases.

Putting $20 into an envelope designated for clothing purchases each pay period will ensure that you always have money available to buy the clothing that you need. It also ensures that you won’t have to use your credit card to buy replacement clothing.

If you find that you aren’t spending the full amount you have saved, or there is a very large amount of money in your clothing envelope, take a portion of the cash and put it into your savings account to be saved for future needs.

Purchase Clothing Online

In many cases, the clothing items that can be found at online retailers like DAAN are less expensive than similar clothing purchased from retail stores. Retail stores have to mark up their products to cover the cost of the building and all of the employees that work there, while many online retailers have a minimal physical presence.

Shopping for clothing online also allows you to compare prices for similar items across a wide range of retailers so you can get the best deal on the items you need.

Shop Off-Season

Another good way to save money on your clothing purchases is to purchase the things that you need off-season. For example, long-sleeved shirts and long dresses are usually put on the clearance racks as soon as the weather begins to warm, and short-sleeved items are designated as clearance items once the summer is over. Purchasing your clothing off-season can lower the price of the clothing you want by 50% to 90%.

However, this may not be a good tactic for purchasing clothing for children because they grow so fast that they may not be able to fit into the items you purchased when the proper season for wearing them rolls back around.

Photo credit:  Ktoine