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12 Magazines You Should Read In Your 20s That Will Inspire And Empower You

12 Magazines You Should Read In Your 20s That Will Inspire And Empower You

Books are the therapist of the past. Self-help books were often the way to go for individuals looking to find their direction in life, or to get tips to lives simplest questions. However, in this day and age, individuals don’t always have time to sit down to read a book. They are usually reserved for the few times a year we are lounging on the beach in the summer. However, there are ways in which individuals can get daily lessons. That is through magazines. From financial help to health advice, we will take a look at twelve magazines that will be your life’s guide as you go well into your 20s.

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    Current Affairs: Newsweek – Newsweek is a great source for individuals looking for news, opinion pieces, and interviews on subjects from around the world with a liberal perspective. This has been a magazine that has been around for over 81 years and was recently acquired by IBT Media. From Michele Bachmann’s eyes to the 2004 Steve Jobs and the iPod cover, the covers of Newsweek certainly are an interesting part of their publication as well.

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      Current Affairs: National Review – If you are looking for current affairs, but with a more conservative take, National Review is the choice magazine you are looking for. Unlike Newsweek, which features a ton of op-eds and pop-culture aspects, National Review is more focused on political stories and a conservative point-of-view on current events.

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        Financial Tips: Kiplinger’s – At Lifehack, we are all about looking for practical, step-by-step improvements to life challenges, questions, and issues. Kiplinger’s does that with personal finance. The magazine focuses on providing tips and tools on how to ensure you are out of financial despair, how to maintain financial choices, and how to build wealth for the future. The magazine is separated based on subject, which allows you to learn the material you need to know.

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          Financial Tips: Money Magazine – What Kiplinger’s gives in practical advice, Money Magazine gives in real life lessons. Money Magazine allows you to not only get tips and tricks on how to save the most money, it shows the success stories of individuals who made certain financial choices and even some risks. In my opinion, go to Kiplinger’s for hard advice and Money Magazine to found off your financial knowledge.

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            Travel: Conde Nast Traveler – Conde Nast Traveler is the magazine for individuals who want to travel the world but want to get a deeper look at the places they are visiting, not simply the tourist tracks. While this isn’t the magazine i recommend for getting day-to-day tips on life, it certainly is a great place to start for your vow to travel more in your 20s. You can get inspired on what places to visit, get behind-the-scenes advice on how to make the most of your time there, and more.

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              Travel: Travel + Leisure – Travel + Leisure is the magazine of choice for those who are looking for hard advice on not simply extravagant, few-in-a-lifetime getaways, but also for short weekend or weeklong vacations in the United States. You’ll always find great hotel recommendations, as well as recommended places to eat and visit.

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                Health: Men’s Fitness – This is the magazine that not only gets you off the couch and into the gym, it gives you the confidence you need for everyday life. From leaving the house to get the paper or going out on the town with friends on a Friday night, Men’s Fitness improves every aspect of a man’s lifestyle. What I enjoy about this magazine is that it truly is accessible for every male out there, not simply the physically active or fit.

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                  Health: Shape – This is truly a magazine that is the female equivalent of Men’s Health. With a woman’s perspective, you are able to get tips on fashion, eating right, and staying on the move. The featured celebrities each issue also share their tips on having a great lifestyle. Some readers may find that their advice isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but their words of knowledge can give some the added push to change one aspect or another of their lifestyle.

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                    Men’s Fashion: GQ – There is a specific set of men who will get a lot out of GQ. However, this doesn’t mean that it is a magazine that you won’t get anything out of. Every man will learn a thing or two from it. However, if you are in your 20s, in the work field, possibly even the dating field, GQ will give you some amazing pointers on not only dressing etiquette, but also social etiquette too in this modern world.

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                      Women’s Fashion: Vogue – Vogue certainly isn’t the teen-poppy fashion magazines of your past, that includes interviews with Justin Bieber along with tips on how to look good for back to school, this is truly a woman’s magazine. Vogue, by no means, is as pretentious as some may claim. It is a magazine that offers fashion tips, overcame mistakes, and personal narratives for women of all backgrounds; from Yuppies to grand-mothers alike.

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                        Homemaking: Fine Homebuilding – This is the magazine that you’ll collect and refer back to from time to time. Fine Homebuilding not only offers tips on how to keep your house from falling apart, it also offers small tips to make large projects more approachable. This is the magazine for those looking to become the next amateur Bob Vila.

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                          Homemaking: Cook’s Illustrated – I am all about recommending life inspiring magazines that you will not put in the recycling bin the next month, and Cook’s Illustrated is certainly a magazine that you will refer back to for years to come. The recipes included are unique, mouth-watering, all while being useful for the kitchen veteran and novice alike. Issues come out every two months, proving once more than this isn’t your typical magazine. Cook’s Illustrated is as much of a keeper as you will be, once your significant other gets a smell of what you’re whipping up in the kitchen.

                          Featured photo credit: The NY Post via thenypost.files.wordpress.com

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                          Last Updated on January 6, 2021

                          14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                          14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                          Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

                          In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

                          For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

                          For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

                          Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

                          Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

                          Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

                          How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

                          Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

                          1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

                          Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

                          For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

                          2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

                          Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

                          Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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                          Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

                          3. Create a System

                          Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

                          This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

                          You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

                          Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

                          Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

                          4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

                          We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

                          If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

                          Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

                          Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

                          5. Use a Ratings Scale

                          Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

                          Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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                          It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

                          6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

                          This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

                          You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

                          You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

                          7. Offer Feedback Forms

                          Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

                          First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

                          Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

                          You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                          8. Track Cost Effectiveness

                          This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

                          Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

                          Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

                          9. Use Self-Evaluations

                          Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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                          Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

                          10. Monitor Time Management

                          This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

                          Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                            The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                            While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                            11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                            We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                            Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                            For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                            Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                            Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                            From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                            12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                            This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                            Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                            Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                            It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                            13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                            When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                            Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                            Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                            14. Use an External Evaluator

                            Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                            They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                            While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                            Final Thoughts

                            These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                            The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                            The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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                            Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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