Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Buried in Email

Remember the good old days when receiving an email message was new and exciting? It was an exhilarating experience to send and receive those instantaneous messages and we started referring insultingly to regular U.S. Post Office mail as “snail mail.” Oh, for the good ole days. The business and technology research firm Basex recently reported (in "Information Overload: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us") that the average employee in the United States receives 200 email messages a day. Here’s a case where you may want to strive to be “below average.”

A recent article in eschoolnews listed six techniques for handling the volume of email messages. Let me share just one: when you first arrive at work, avoid the temptation to immediately check email. Instead identify the top priority that you need to accomplish for the day and tackle it. Check email later, so you avoid using email as an excuse for postponing more pressing issues. Are you curious about the remaining suggestions? Check out: http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=55435.

Monday, October 20, 2008

In these Financial Times--Check Your Credit (Online)

You’ve probably heard numerous times that you have access to free annual credit reports from the three big credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). What you may not know is that you can access (that is request) your credit reports from a single site: http://annualcreditreport.com. In fact, it’s better to request from the http://annualcreditreport.com site, because it’s a bit easier to get the “free” report as opposed to going down the wrong path and subscribing to credit reporting services that you may not need. The centralized site enables you to transfer seamlessly between each of the three credit reporting sites (and you do want to check all three reports) and then bounce back to the central location after requesting, viewing or ordering your reports. As you go through the process you can spend money (to get your credit score, to get credit alerts, and so on) but it’s not really necessary unless your circumstances (or curiosity) dictate the need.

When I originally requested these reports a couple years ago, I found major errors on two of the three reports. If you have grownup children and have ever cosigned a lease or loan or guaranteed a phone bill, you may find their finances still intertwined on the credit report with yours; even though they’re married and over a decade has passed. Sadly based on the changes I reported, I no longer have residences in three cities in two states; but I’m also free of multiple rent and mortgage responsibilities.

In a time when credit is tight, identify theft is a reality, and safeguarding your credit rating is crucial, it may be worth the time to request your current credit report.

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