7 Free Apps to Make Your Life Easier: Commute, Inspiration, Social Life, News and Job Search

If you’re constantly on the go, the right apps can make your life much easier. Below are some of the most innovative free apps I’ve uncovered so far for managing your daily commute, tough moments, social life, news and job search.

Keep an eye out for my next post on March 27 for app suggestions for productivity, travel and notes!

Do you use any apps that have changed your life? Share your favorites in the comments!

Commute:

Waze is a navigation app that includes real-time information about your route submitted by other users. Waze will alert you of slow traffic, accidents, police and gas prices along your route. If a Waze user makes it through a road that is marked as blocked, the app automatically updates the route to show the issue has been cleared.

Availability:  iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry (Beta)

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10 Tips to Increase Your Productivity: Working at Home

Technological advancements have led to an increasing number of employees working from home: according to Fast Company, 1 in 10 employees now works from home; and although the workforce in the US grew only 3% from 2005 – 2012, the number of telecommuters increased 66%!

Working from home offers several advantages:

  1. Commute: Eliminating a commute allows more time to be spent on work tasks, reduces stress, and decreases fuel expenses and parking fees. Working from home full time even just 50% of the time could save 109 hours per year and $750 in fuel costs!
  2. Flexibility: A more flexible schedule allows employees to work when they are most productive.
  3. Productivity: A home office is free of distractions caused by needy co-workers, long lunches, unproductive meetings or loud office environments.
  4. Family: In some cases, working parents can stay at home with children or pick them up from school, reducing day care or after school program expenses.
  5. Comfort: Casual dress is more comfortable and less expensive in comparison to business attire.

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3 Numbers to Know and 3 Things to Keep In Mind: Salary Negotiations

A recent post on the “desired salary” interview question by HRNasty got me thinking about this question myself.

When it comes to salary, there are three numbers you should be able to share with a recruiter:

1. What you make in your current role.

2. What you would like to make, based on current market rates or advancement in skills and education since you started your current role.

3. The bare minimum you’d be willing to accept to consider making a change (sometimes, less than your current salary depending on your circumstances).

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How the Fiscal Cliff Agreement Affects You

A fiscal cliff agreement was finally approved late on New Year’s Day. Wealthy Americans will be hit hardest by the deal, due to a 4.6% increase on income taxes for those with incomes over $400,000 (single) or $450,000 (married). A new investment income tax of 3.8% will be levied to help fund Obama’s health care initiative, affecting those with income over $200,000 (single) or $250,000 (married).

While these high income workers represent the minority, all workers will face higher payroll taxes in 2013. The deal did not renew the 2012 payroll tax holiday. As a result, worker’s will pay a 6.2% Social Security tax, an increase of 2% over 2012 tax rates.

How many of you are familiar with the fiscal cliff deal?

 


5 LinkedIn Tips for Job Seekers

LinkedIn can be a valuable tool in your job search – if you use it correctly.

Below are some tips to help you use LinkedIn effectively:

1. Complete your profile. Too often, people are in a rush to create their LinkedIn profile and fail to include adequate details in the job description section.

  • The more technical details you use, the more likely you are to come up in a recruiter’s candidate search, which is based on key words.
  • A well-written summary will make it easy for a recruiter to identify your area of expertise.
  • Make sure to update your profile when moving to a new position or company.
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Why No Work Gets Done at The Office

Lately I hear a common theme from everyone I talk to; the standard response to the greeting “How are you?” has evolved from “Fine, thanks!” to “Busy!”

Everyone is constantly talking about how busy they are; yet very few of these people seem to be actually getting anything done. The “busy” mentality often means someone is caught up in a barrage of back-and-forth e-mails, conference calls and meetings; with little time left to attend to their true priorities. I’ll be the first to admit, it takes a conscious effort to not fall into the “busy trap.”
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