Not excited about a long-term relationship with your partner? Up your breakup game.

Some people love falling in love and being with just one person.

Then, there are the people who love to “hit it and quit it.”

We don’t think much about another category. This third category of dating is evident when you’re just not as excited about the person you’re with. You’ve been clear about it and they just don’t seem to be getting the message.

You’re just not that into them.

And you certainly don’t want a long-term relationship.

The fun beginning.

In the beginning, it was great to have someone to do something with.

After all, normally you’re at home with the cat or the dog. On the one time you ventured outside of your home, you ended up meeting someone.

They seemed really nice until you went out to eat dinner and you were appalled by their table manners and how they treated the wait staff. At this point, you’re kind of turned off. But, you continue to hang out anyway, even though you’re just not that into them.

Trust me, this is a recipe for disaster.

If you’re not sure about how all of this will play out check out the following movie: He’s Just Not That Into You. It’s basically the Cliff Notes of what to look out for when you’re confused by what your boo is doing.

You’re a pretty nice person (you think) so you decide to cool it off because they aren’t the one for you. But, they just don’t seem to be getting the message.

What to do?

Be honest.

There’s nothing worse than being strung along in a one-sided relationship.

As kindly as possible tell them the truth. It’s not you, it’s me.

List all of the reason why you’re just not the right person for them or why you’re just not in the place to date them. Maybe you’re just not ready for a long-term relationship.

When you have this conversation, don’t leave the door open for confusion. Be clear that there is no possibility for you to be together in the future. Ever.

The real story.

We’re all adults here.

So the next one is all about asserting your awesome sexual self.

Maybe it has been a long time since you had sex. Your temporary partner fits your booty call requirements but not your long-term bae needs. Be clear that you just wanted to “hit it and quit it” and that nothing was going to happen beyond that.

Don’t be cruel, though. You may be the best that they’ve ever had, so understand why your persistent lover may be unwilling to get the hint, especially if they have been hoping for a long-term relationship.

Don’t be mean about saying you’re not the one for them, but do be firm about the fact that you are moving on and that you won’t be moving on with them.

Don’t be stupid.

It’s at this point when the dumper sometimes makes some ill-thought out mistakes.

One of the worst mistakes is taking back the annoying previous lover because you just got tired of them bugging you (which was probably what they were hoping for).

Don’t do this. It just creates an endless cycle of crazy that you are a willing participant in. You said you don’t want a long-term relationship with this person, so don’t encourage them.

Don’t accept any gifts your old bae wants to give you. It’s confusing to them and inconsistent with the message that you’re moving on.

Things to keep in mind as you press forward.

When it’s time to communicate with the persistent person who just doesn’t want to let you go, take a look at the entire situation.

Are they acting crazy? If that’s the case you need to keep your safety in mind and let your friends and family know that you’re becoming concerned about the situation.

Trust your gut. Do you feel like your safety is threatened because they just can’t let you go or they don’t seem to be responding to the message that you’re communicating? Get law enforcement involved if you feel like your safety is at risk.

Finally, if you’re not dealing with someone who is crazy but just not picking up on your message, don’t be mean. Ghosting? Not cool. The slow-fade? Not so cool either.

Just balls it up, meet for coffee, and get it done.

Move on.

Finally, don’t feel guilty about moving on.

We have all been on both sides of the dating coin. It’s a natural part of the dating process. Sometimes the person is just not right for you and that’s ok. Like the Bachelor, there is always another person out there waiting in the wings to find you.

Create that space by letting go of relationships that just aren’t working. That way you will be able to welcome the amazing new person in your life.

That might be the right person for you.

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You either gave your child some genetic material or chose to adopt. That means you’re a parent. Time to act like it.

Parenting is difficult.

It’s rarely fun.

And it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be the “cool” parent or even of wanting your child to think of you as a “best friend.”

However, the reality is that your kid doesn’t need another friend. What s/he needs is a parent. Technically, that’s what you are. After all, you either gave some of your genetic material, or you chose to adopt. When that happened, you agreed to be a parent.

Now you need to act like one.

Stability is important for children.

One of the most important things you can do as a parent is provide a stable environment for your child.

Some research indicates that stability is more important than family structure. This is a huge relief to me since my son is now in a single-parent home.

In order to be a parent and provide stability, you need to have a schedule and rules. Children sometimes whine about rules and structure, but the reality is that they need it.

Structure, and a supportive environment that helps maintain that structure, are necessary for children to thrive.

Your child doesn’t understand why bedtime is important, or why you need to limit their screentime. You might feel mean for sending them to bed or making them eat dinner with you at the table, but the reality is that’s what it takes to be a parent.

My son chafes at the idea of going to bed between 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. But if he doesn’t get to bed during those times, he turns into a monster when it’s time to get up between 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

The structure and stability in my son’s life means he knows when it’s time to do homework, when he can hang out with his actual friends, and when it’s time to go to bed. He feels safe, and he has a sense of what’s next.

These are important things for children, and the research bears it out. That’s why, when I travel for business, I rely on my parents to keep some amount of structure in my son’s life.

The stability he experiences, whether I’m here or not (I’m mostly here, though), is good for him.

Your child isn’t your confidante.

When I took a court-mandated parenting class as part of the conditions of my divorce, one of the concepts they pressed home was this: your child isn’t your confidante.

We like to think that by telling our children how we really feel, we’re being honest and straightforward.

The reality, though, is that your kid isn’t emotionally prepared for you to hear about your problems with your parents. They aren’t ready to hear your deepest, darkest secrets.

If you’re looking for a buddy, look for an adult.

I have friends my own age that I can talk to about relationships issues, how much I dislike one of my son’s teachers, and the challenges associated living where I live. My son doesn’t need to be burdened with that shit.

The good news is that you can be open and invite your child’s confidence without trying to be their friend.

Establish a pattern early on of listening and engaging with your child. Be open and honest in an age-appropriate manner when they ask tough questions.

When my son complains about our least-favorite teacher, I empathize with him, but I don’t bad-mouth the teacher. “I know it’s hard sometimes. I had teachers that I didn’t get along with, too. But you still need to do your work and do a good job. You’re smart enough to get through this.”

What I’d really like to say is, “I know your teacher is being an asshat and that’s a dumb assignment. Let’s skip it and go do something fun instead.”

My son and I have talked about thorny issues, from politics to his friends to *gulp* sex. He knows I don’t shy away from the tough subjects, and I take him seriously. He knows I’ll be honest and straightforward, even if I won’t give him details I don’t think he’s ready for.

Invite your child’s confidence, but do it from a place of teaching and guidance, not from a place of peer-like friendship.

Your child needs you to be a parent. You can help and guide them in a way that is more likely to result in long-term success for life. But not if you’re more concerned about being your child’s best buddy.

You can still be “cool” and be a parent.

While your goal shouldn’t focus on being cool, you can still be an awesome person, and be a parent.

My son and I love a lot of the same geeky things. His friends know that when they come over here, I’ll make popcorn and play Rock Band with them if they invite. They also know that if they have a Batman question, I’ll have the answer.

While I still make them go to bed when they sleep over, and I won’t let them just roam the mall aimlessly for hours upon hours, they do think I’m cool — at least for now.

If you can provide a safe and comfortable environment for your children and their friends, and you make a little effort to get to know them, you’ll be considered cool, even during times you have to be a parent and say no.

Walking that line can be challenging, and you might have to experiment a bit to find it. But the important thing is that you be a parent by setting expectations for your child, teaching life lessons, and enforcing consequences.

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One of the most important relationships in your life is the one you have with money. Make sure you build a lasting connection to your finances.

Do you feel connected to your money?

One of my biggest fears is that apps will get in the way of my relationship to my money.

While apps like Mint make it easy to see where your money is going and get a handle on your finances, these apps aren’t everything.

In fact, they can get in the way of your relationship to your money. And that’s a problem. If you want to have the best results with your finances, you need to feel connected to your money.

Personal finance is hands-on.

One of the biggest problems I have with apps is the fact that you don’t really have to think about what you’re doing with your money.

Just sync up your account and check every now and again to see if you have the money available to make a purchase.

This approach doesn’t encourage you to think about what you’re spending your money on — or why you’re spending it. One of the biggest mistakes I made with money was spending without know my priorities.

When you’re connected to your money, you pay attention to the reasons behind your spending. If you step away from the app and track your spending manually, you develop a more intimate relationship with your finances.

And you know exactly what’s going on.

Even though I use personal finance software (Moneydance), I refuse to sync up it up with my accounts. Instead, I update everything manually. I go in there, receipts in hand, and log every purchase.

This forces me to confront the reality that sometimes the things I spend on don’t match my priorities or help me reach my goals. I spot problems faster — and can work to solve problems faster as a result.

Money is a tool.

Being connected to your money allows you to see it as a tool, rather than an end itself.

How many times have you lamented your lack of cash? I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to think that money is going to solve your problems.

The fact of the matter is that more money won’t change your habits. If you’re just looking at your app in despair, you’re not going to really get in there and tackle the underlying problems.

Look at money as a tool. It can help you do what you want.

With money, you can save for that vacation, plan for a truly golden retirement, and even provide for the security of your family.

Building that connection takes more than just looking at the cool graphs some app provides you. Instead, it’s about planning. You need to check in with your finances. Is your money plan working? Is it helping you reach your lifestyle goals?

Being connected to your money is about knowing what you have coming in, and being aware of how you direct those resources so that you are building something of value in your life.

What about automation?

Even though I’m not a fan of using apps to sync up my bank accounts, I am a fan of automated finances.

Rather than write check after check, I like setting my accounts up for automatic payments. My insurance, internet, and other bills are automatically taken care of. Hell, I even donate to charity using my credit card to make automatic payments.

When I first started automating everything, I wanted to make sure I didn’t end up becoming disconnected from my money. So I make it a point to manually enter purchases into my personal finance software. I also reconcile my accounts every month.

Many people think that they don’t need to reconcile their accounts each month. After all, thanks to online banking, it’s possible to look at all of your account each day if you want. You can look at what’s cleared and catch fraudulent charges quickly.

However, I like reconciling my accounts. It forces me to review all of my spending again and look at patterns. When I reconcile an account, it means that I have to stay connected — even though I automate my finances for the most part.

You don’t have to give up your apps.

Of course, you don’t have to give up your apps to remain connected to your money.

There are plenty of ways to stay connected to your finances, no matter how you choose to manage your money. Here are some things you should do on a regular basis to ensure that you and your money maintain a strong relationship:

  • Review your spending regularly. Don’t just glance at a graph or get your information from an app. At least once a month really dig in there. Look at some of the individual purchases you make. Do those things match your priorities? Are you starting to drift into “wasting money” territory?
  • Review your investments. From your retirement account to any sort of taxable investment account, you should regularly check in with your returns. Does what you’re setting aside still make sense for your goals? Have you seen an increase in income that means you should be investing more?
  • Create a long-term financial plan. Put together a long-term financial plan that looks at your finances holistically. Pay attention to where you are now, and use your life map to hone in on your priorities. Create a long-term financial plan that takes into account your goals and lifestyle requirements.
  • Make adjustments as needed. It’s not just about making a plan and then forgetting about it. You should revisit your long-term plan at least once a year and make adjustments as needed. Life changes you. Your goals change. You need to change things up.

Remember: your money works for you. However, if you aren’t paying attention and if you aren’t connected to your money, it won’t do you any good. Pretty soon, you’ll find you’re a slave to your finances.

There are plenty of great financial tools that can help you move forward in life. From apps to automatic payments, you can use these tools to streamline your finances.

But you can’t let them come between you and your money.

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You don’t want your work performance to suffer because of SAD. If you experience a seasonal problem, take steps to reduce the impact.

It’s been pretty dreary around here lately.

It’s been cold and cloudy. We went a whole week without seeing the sun.

Maybe you’re in the same boat. Maybe you feel stressed, anxious, and down for no reason that you can put your finger on. Or perhaps you think it might be because of gloomy weather and the fact that it’s so dark for so much of the day still.

Those feelings you feel are real. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Yep. It’s a Thing. And it could be dragging you down at work and in other areas of your life.

Here’s what you need to know with SAD affecting your work:

What is SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that comes out as the seasons change. It can result in feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression during fall and winter.

The days are shorter, and the weather often means that the sun is hidden behind clouds.

You might feel better when spring pushes the winter away and you start seeing the sun again.

However, just because you know this seasonal depression will go away, it doesn’t mean you should just try to power through all winter.

SAD affecting your work can have consequences that go beyond just the weather and the time of year. You want to address the issue in a way that makes sense so that you maintain your job performance (and your job).

Plus there’s no reason to feel crummy four to six months of the year just because seasons.

SAD affecting your work.

Do you feel like SAD is dragging you down at work? You’re not alone.

According to Purdue, SAD costs the United States about $44 billion a year in lost productivity, sick days, and other illnesses.

Some of the ways SAD could be impacting the way you do your work include:

  • Difficulty concentrating on the task at hand.
  • Drop in your energy level.
  • Feelings of fatigue.
  • Irritability (including with your coworkers).
  • Hard time motivating yourself to do your work.

This goes beyond a need to just suck it up and do the thing.

SAD can really cause problems for your productivity, and keep you from accomplishing everything you’d like to do.

Plus, when your work performance suffers and you start missing deadlines, that could mean a real problem at work.

While it would be nice if all employers were understanding and willing to help mitigate the impacts of SAD in the workplace, the fact is many of them are just going to look at your performance.

If your work performance is dropping off, if you’re missing deadlines and making a lot of unacceptable mistakes, that could be grounds for firing.

When you find SAD affecting your work, it’s time to get help.

On your own: attempts to ward off SAD yourself.

If you’re like me, you don’t want to get professional help until you’ve tried to take care of the issue on your own.

The good news is that there are some things you can do to boost your mood and chase the SAD blues away. According to WebMD, some of the things you can try on your own include:

  • Regular exercise. Regular exercise is a mood-booster. You can help your energy level, help your brain, and fight against SAD with regular exercise. Bonus points if you can do at least some of your exercise outside (take a brisk walk) or near a window so you get that natural light.
  • Open a window. I find myself less inclined to open windows during the winter. I’ve been fighting that, and it helps my mood. Even if the day is cloudy, that extra natural light can help.
  • Melatonin. WebMD points out that some people find results from melatonin, which can help you regulate your biological clock. You do need to be careful, though, since this (and other complementary methods) can interact with current medications and have other issues.
  • Pay attention to your diet. When you’re feeling SAD, it’s common to crave junk food and eat foods that aren’t the best for you. If possible, eat healthy. Plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help your body function better.
  • Take time for yourself. Don’t forget to relax. Take time for yourself. Meditate. You might be surprised at how good sleep, time for relaxation, and enforced meditation can help your mood.

Sometimes, though, the SAD is too strong to keep away yourself. You might actually need to seek professional help.

Common treatments for SAD.

With SAD affecting your work, it’s vital that you get professional help if attempts to fight the feeling on your own are failing.

There’s nothing wrong with getting help.

Light therapy.

One of the most common treatments for SAD is light therapy. With light therapy, you use a special bulb to provide you with more light in your day. The idea is to provide you with more exposure to light, either in the morning or in the evening (or both).

Many people with SAD improve with the help of light therapy and little else is needed beyond that.

Counseling.

Another way to get help with SAD is to get counseling. In general, I support the idea that everyone should get therapy at some point. It can be really helpful.

Counseling can help you by giving you someone to talk to. Additionally, a therapist that is well-versed in SAD and how to use cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat patients can be especially helpful.

Medication.

Finally, many people need to resort to medication to help them with SAD. For many of us, medication is an absolute last resort. However, if you need it, there’s no shame in getting a little pharmacological help.

As long as you use your antidepressants as prescribed and you remain in contact with your health care professional about your progress, it can be one way to beat SAD, especially when used in conjunction with other treatments.

Get your work back on track.

Once you understand the problem and how it impacts you, you can get your work back on track. You can keep SAD from being a detriment to your work.

It’s still a struggle some of the time, and you might fight to stay focused and motivated at work, but with the right help, it should be possible.

Do you get SAD? How does it affect your work and other areas of your life? Share your story with us in the #Adulting community on Facebook.

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Parenting is one of the hardest jobs around. It’s not any easier with your ex. But your kids will be better off if you can suck it up and coparent effectively.

Parenting is a hard gig.

It’s even harder when you do it with your ex.

Even when you get along with your ex, it can be challenging to coparent successfully.

No matter how you feel, though, it’s vital that you work on your coparenting game so your children are better equipped to deal with the divorce and with life going forward.

1. Commit to coparenting.

The very first thing you both need to do is commit to coparenting. Coparenting successfully requires solid commitment from everyone involved.

Talk about how you plan to coparent in the best interest of your child. Then both of you commit to the process. Even if you need a mediator to help you hammer out a plan, the important thing is that you are both committed to making this work.

2. Create consistent rules.

One of the most important things for children is consistency. It’s true when kids live with both parents, and it’s especially true when children split their time between households.

Come up with rules that kids follow, regardless of where they are. This might include homework time, music practice, rules for electronics use, and bed time.

While there is wiggle room for special circumstances, it’s important to be consistent. My son knows that when he goes to stay with dad, he’s going to do schoolwork and go to bed at the same time. I know he might actually get a little more time to play video games when he’s with his dad, but that’s something we’ve agreed on.

3. Don’t trash talk your ex.

Avoid putting your issues with your ex on your child. It’s not fair to use your child as a pawn in games with your ex. You don’t want to be the toxic person in this scenario.

If your child complains about your ex, don’t immediately jump in and agree. Remain as neutral as possible. Unless there is actual abuse involved, most kids just need to let off steam. You can say, “I’m sorry you’re frustrated with the situation, but they are trying their best.”

I’m pretty sure my son sometimes complains about me to my ex. When he does, my ex moves on quickly, and then lets me know about potential issues. I don’t confront my son when he’s complained about me. Honestly, I want him to share these things. Then I know what I might need to improve on.

I do the same for my ex.

Kids complain about their parents. Don’t egg them on when it involves the ex. Not only do you risk a deterioration in that relationship, but you might be surprised to realize that trash talking your ex can encourage your child to resent you as well.

4. Maintain communication.

One of the reasons my ex and I coparent successfully is that we communicate regularly. We exchange texts several times a week. We talk at least twice a month. In fact, we sometimes just talk as friends and don’t talk about our son.

You might not have that level of friendship with your ex.

Even if all you do is communicate about the kids, that’s important. Be sure to immediately share when things change that will impact the plan. Whether it’s a trip to the emergency room or a problem at school, or just an update on positive progress, it’s important to communicate.

Don’t rely on your child to carry messages. You need keep the lines open so you don’t get garbled messages. When my son wants to make a major purchase (more than $50), or if he wants to change up his after-school schedule, I text my ex and we schedule a time to discuss the merits.

This way, our son can’t play us off each other. We present a united front because we communicate. My son is used to hearing, “Just wait. I need to talk to your dad about that.”

5. Confirm what your child says with the ex.

Yeah, this goes with regular communication. But it bears repeating. Get the story from your ex. If your child says your ex said they could do something, double check.

It’s a normal part of growing up for children to press boundaries and try to get away with stuff. You did it with your parents, and your kids will try it with you. Even if you aren’t divorced, there’s a good chance you’ll hear “But mom said I could…” or “Dad lets me…”

Before you say yes to something your child claims your ex is on board with, connect directly with your ex to verify.

6. Make time to keep it simple and boring.

Don’t always be trying to have fun — especially if you’re the less-seen parent. My ex is pretty good about stuff. When my son stays with him, they do “regular” things and not just fun stuff.

Try to avoid being the “fun” parent all the time. Both parents need to be a mixture of fun and “boring.”

Sometimes what your kids need is an ordinary day in with you. There’s nothing wrong with that. You need to be balanced in your approach to parenting.

Because my ex lives on the other side of the country, my son talks to him frequently using Facetime and he stays for between one week and three weeks at a time. I often stay part of that time, too (at my ex’s invitation), and that means there is a sense of normalcy and family, even if it’s not what we consider a “traditional” family.

7. Recognize your ex’s good qualities.

Don’t forget to talk about your ex’s good qualities with your child. It’s about more than just refraining from complaining about your ex. You should also point out the good things s/he does.

I regularly direct my son to my ex if he has a question about something that my ex is good at. I also make it a point to say nice things about him when I can, and get excited when it’s time for them to talk.

I think it makes sense to encourage my son to maintain a good relationship with his dad. If you want to coparent successfully, you need to make sure that you aren’t putting wedges between your children and your ex.

8. Don’t get upset if your child requests your ex.

Sometimes my son specifically asks if he can talk through an issue with his dad, rather than talk about it with me. I know that my ex is better equipped to handle some situations than I am. I don’t get upset about it.

It’s true that sometimes we feel hurt if a child wants to talk to someone else or prefers someone else’s help on a project. However, the reality is that we all have strengths and weaknesses. There are some things that my son prefers to do with me, and some he prefers to do with his dad. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Realize that your child has needs that your ex might be better at fulfilling. That in no way reduces your importance to your child. To coparent successfully, you need to bury jealousy and work together to ensure your child has the best possible outcome.

9. Know that it will be difficult.

Buckle up. It’s not easy to coparent successfully. It’s a little easier for me because my ex and I are on good terms and genuinely care about each other still.

Even then, it’s still challenging sometimes. There are times I don’t want to discuss things with him. It would be easier for me to just make all the decisions about our son without input from my ex.

However, that’s not fair to him or to our son.

It can be hard to bury feelings and put on a civil facade, especially if you had a hard breakup. However, it needs to be done. Think about the welfare of your child.

If you need to get mediation and/or counseling, do it. In some cases, you can benefit from family therapy, even if you aren’t a “traditional” family anymore.

Parenting is rarely easy, and doing it with your ex adds another layer of complexity. However, if you are both committed, you should be able to make it work.

Do you have to coparent with your ex? What challenges do you face? Even if you have a partner, do you run into parenting problems? How do you resolve them. Join us on the #Adulting community on Facebook and share your stories.

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We hear horror stories about taxes, but for most people, it’s not so bad. Here’s what you need to know as a tax filing virgin.

Ugh. Taxes.

Preparing your taxes for the first time isn’t exactly fun.

The good news, though, is that it doesn’t have be scary. We hear horror stories, but it’s not as bad as all that.

A little knowledge goes a long way. Before you get caught up in a worry spiral, here are a few things to know about preparing your taxes for the first time:

There’s plenty of free tax help available.

First of all, realize that there is plenty of free tax help available to you.

If you live in a college town, there’s a good chance that you can get help from students in the accounting program. Many business departments encourage students to prepare tax returns, and their instructors double-check their work.

Also, see if your local area has a VITA program. These sites help you prepare your taxes if you make $54,000 or less. It’s a good way to get another pair of eyes and some solid support for your tax prep needs.

You can even file your taxes for free.

If you’re doing your taxes for the first time, there’s a good chance you qualify to file for free. Assuming your household income is less than $64,000, you can take advantage of Free File.

Well-known companies like TurboTax and H&R Block participate in Free File options. Plus, depending on your state, you might even get free help filing your state taxes.

You don’t have to itemize for good tax deductions.

When you hear words like “itemize,” you probably zone out. The good news is that you probably don’t have to worry about itemizing when preparing your taxes for the first time. You won’t even miss out on some pretty sweet deductions, either.

Some of the deductions you’re most likely to take this go are on the first page of your Form 1040. These include:

  • Moving expenses (if you move for work)
  • Student loan interest
  • Tuition and fees
  • Portion of your self-employment tax (if you have a side gig)

There are other deductions you can take without itemizing, such as contributions to your Health Savings Account and to your Traditional IRA.

You can keep digital records.

It’s possible to prepare your taxes with the help of your phone. On top of that, you can keep digital records of your receipts and other records you might need. An app like Shoeboxed can help you manage everything digitally, so there’s no need to mess with paper.

Just scan everything or snap a picture and manage it digitally so you can streamline the process. It makes things easier, whether you’re filing taxes for the first time or the tenth.

File an extension if you need to.

Stressed about getting everything done by April 15?

Slow down, take a deep breath. Then file an extension. The last thing you want to do is rush through the process and make unnecessary mistakes.

While filing an extension doesn’t protect you from paying if you owe (but, really, if this is your first time with taxes, you probably don’t), but it can give you time to get your shit together.

It’s much less stressful to file an extension than try to get everything done on time if you’ve fallen behind. And you don’t even need any special reason to file for an extension.

You’ll feel better in the future if you plan ahead and manage your taxes as you go through the year, but for now, file that extension if you feel the pressure to get done on time.

Stay away from scams and refund anticipation loans.

Even seasoned tax filers sometimes make poor decisions — and that includes getting scammed.

Watch out for tax preparers that are willing to fudge the numbers a bit or claim that you are “guaranteed” something before they even know your situation.

Stick with the old standbys when you first file your taxes. Reputable and well-known tax prep software, or those retail tax prep places are usually good bets for tax filing virgins. As your situation becomes more complicated, you can start looking for more tailored advice.

While you’re at it, watch out for people who will “accelerate” your refund. In most cases, those are costly loans that come with huge fees.

The truth is that, even if you are doing your taxes for the first time, you can get your refund fast by filing electronically and choosing the direct deposit option. You don’t need an expensive loan to get your refund quickly.

Double-check everything before you send it in.

Before you send in your return, make sure that you check everything.

Even if you trust your tax preparer, look over everything. If you find a mistake after hit send, you have to file an amended return, and that is a real pain in the ass. You can only file an amended return in hardcopy.

Whether your doing taxes for the first time, or you’re an old pro, take a few minutes to review your return, and see if it makes sense. You’ll be happy you did.

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No matter what job you do, soft skills can help you do it better. Make it a point to develop the skills that translate to any job.

Are you already looking for your next job?

If you’re under the age of 32, there’s a good chance you are. After all, according to a recent survey from LinkedIn, the new normal is four jobs by the time you’re 32.

That’s almost double the rate of job change for Gen X.

I have a number of friends who are open to the next opportunity and looking to move beyond the job they’ve taken out of desperation.

When you’re ready to make a career change, there are skills you can’t take with you. Hard skills might not translate from one job or career to the next.

But you can develop soft skills that can help you almost anywhere you go, and no matter what you do.

Problem-solving.

One of the most translatable soft skills is problem-solving.

No matter where you work, or what your position is, problem-solving is always in demand. The ability to identify issues and find solutions is one that helps in work and life.

Creativity in problem-solving will get you even further in whatever work you do. Someone with the ability to see things from a different angle, or find a solution that others couldn’t see, has the potential to go a long way in any profession.

Organization.

We don’t often think of organization as a skill. However, it’s on of the soft skills that can set you apart from others.

It’s not just about keeping a neat and orderly desk, either. Being organized is about seeing connections and being able to manage logistics.

Can you keep track of different moving parts and put them in an order that makes sense? Do you know which team members are best suited for different tasks?

If you have good organizational skills, you are more likely to to be of value as a manager, or fulfill other important responsibilities where such talents are needed.

Adaptability.

We live in a world that changes quickly. Technology advances at an increasingly rapid rate. Social conditions change. Work conditions change. Everyone is scrambling to keep up.

One of the most valuable soft skills today is an ability to adapt. Adaptability allows you to quickly conform to a new situation. It also means you can take on different responsibilities and manage different personalities.

Adaptability, and its related skill, resiliency, can help you approach any situation and turn it to good account. Think fast on your feet, make the most of anything, and your co-workers and bosses will notice.

Writing.

Thanks to the Internet, writing skills are increasingly important. The ability to craft a well-written tweet or Facebook post can help you get ahead.

Not only that, but writing is one of those soft skills that can be used in almost any profession. If you can write white papers, put together an internal memo, or create easy-to-understand emails, you can make yourself useful.

Consider taking a basic writing course. You don’t need a degree in writing. A little reminder of the fundamentals and some practice can take your writing to the next level and set you apart from others.

Presentation skills.

Don’t forget about your ability to present. Your comfort level in front of others can make a difference.

Do you want to be the go-to person for presentations to clients and potential partners? Brush up the way you make presentations.

Your presentation skills can also influence your ability to be more effective in your job. Good presentation skills include the ability to communicate your ideas. When you can effectively share your vision, you’re more likely to be applauded and taken seriously.

You can put your presentation skills to good use on behalf of your bosses, or as a way to be more effective in general. No matter how you do it, presentation means a lot.

Good work ethic.

Talent isn’t everything. Sure it can open some doors and give you a good start.

However, hard work can often make up for a lack of talent.

A good work ethic is one of the soft skills that just about everyone admires. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, working hard enhances your reputation.

Hard work gets you through even when other soft skills aren’t enough. Hard work added to just about everything leads to a greater chance of success.

Plus, when you show you can work hard, people see that you are willing to do what it takes to succeed.

While you eventually want to shift to working smarter and taking advantage of your talents, hard work can get your foot in the door and help you establish a good relationship with those around you.

Interpersonal skills.

There are no soft skills softer than interpersonal skills. The way you interact with people can make a huge difference in your success at work — and in life.

Sometimes it’s difficult to deal with other people, but developing that skill can take you a long way. As an introvert with ADD, I’ve worked hard to develop some people skills.

I still struggle, and it’s really hard work for me to filter and be sociable sometimes. But I do my best, and I find that these interpersonal skills have opened more doors for me than almost anything else.

Some of the best interpersonal skills to work on include:

  • Listening
  • Managing your body language
  • Learning to read others’ body language
  • Assertiveness
  • Speaking with clarity

You might be surprised at far you can get with good interpersonal skills. You’ll get along with co-workers and bosses better, you’ll be seen as a positive influence, and you might even be pegged as a leader.

Don’t neglect your soft skills as you prepare for a career. No matter your job, or your future plans, work on the skills that can help you where you go.

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