December 11, 2018

distractions

Your Open Office May Be Making You a Crappy Worker

Take your earbuds out for a minute and pay attention, kids. Show of hands, how many of you work in an open office environment? Now, how many of you are distracted by your coworkers' conversations, phone calls, loud typing, and exaggerated chewing? It turns out that obnoxiousness could actually affect the quality of your work. […]

Top Six Time Wasters When You’re Studying For the CPA Exam

Allow me to blast right by the fluff and get straight to the meat: you know who you are and you know exactly what you’re doing so put down the apps and get back to the books, this is the CPA exam you’re studying for!

I humbly present, in no particular order of distractionness, the six biggest time wasters for CPA exam candidates.


Twitter This one is huge and I was reminded of this yesterday when I got an email from someone I know exclusively through Twitter who has been studying (on and off, I presume) for the CPA exam for almost as long as I’ve known him. He made the decision to cut his account with a promise of “I’ll be back”, something you may want to consider if you’re blowing up Twitter with status updates when you shoulong>Facebook True story: I once got a call from a CPA exam student who gave me a huge sob story about not having enough time to study begging me to give him more time on his course as he promised up and down that he would not let unforeseen events (death in the family, car accident, job loss; you name the excuse) interfere in his studying going forward. That might have worked (oh, who are we kidding, it wouldn’t have worked on me) except for one small problem: he’d forgotten we were also Facebook friends. So while he was updating with pictures of his drunken nights out and “Which Serial Killer Are You?” quizzes, I was watching an entire year of studying (and a few thousand bucks) swirl down the drain. Stay away from Facebook and please, for the love of all that is sacred and holy, enough with the FarmVille when you should be studying.

Email Emails are great. They make us feel loved and needed and important and sometimes contain all kinds of useful information that we can even apply to studying (like a subscription to our newsletter *ahem*) but they can also be a massive time-waster. You aren’t that important and neither is your email, so shut down Outlook when you’re studying if you’re in front of your computer and even go so far as to set an out of office on weekends if you’re in the last couple weeks before exam day.

Instant messenger Oh IM, how we love thee. Gchat is great for catching up and sharing news but it can be a huge time suck if you get stuck chatting with a friend (especially when you’re dying for a distraction). Don’t cheat and change your status to “Studying for the CPA exam REALLY BUSY”, just log off and hide out for awhile. Trust me, you aren’t going to miss anything that you can’t catch up on next time you log in.

Your phone From texts to apps to mobile Twitter, your phone can be the biggest distraction in your house if you don’t count your TV on Sunday. With so many different ways to keep yourself from studying, sometimes it’s best to simply unplug or, rather, plug your device in to charge somewhere out of your reach while you are studying. Turn your phone to silent and hide it under your pillow if you have to. Checking your phone might only take a second but several checks add up to minutes and next thing you know, you’re pounding out an email response with your thumbs and totally off track.

Your girlfriend (or boyfriend) Seriously. You swear (s)he didn’t need this much attention when you first started dating but now you’re a year in and since you started studying for the exam it seems like you can’t shake her (him) off your nuts long enough to do two homework modules. If a nice talking to won’t work, why don’t you try explaining to your sweetheart that this is a professional exam and, if (s)he’ll get off your jock long enough for you to study and pass, you’ll make a whole metric shit ton more money as a result. That should work. If it doesn’t, dump her (him).

Lastly, remember that our site can be a distraction too. Shock and awe, I know! It’s one thing to swing by for CPA exam tips or to get my email address so you can ask me a question (seriously, I’m nice and sort of know what I’m talking about, wtf) but if you end up here trolling comments and whining about the bonus you didn’t get, you can easily waste plenty of good study time that could have been better applied to, oh, actually studying. Subscribe by RSS so you don’t miss your favorite articles when you have some free time and ignore us until you pass.

How To Explain Why Fantasy Football Is Always on Your Computer

Back with another edition of “Accountants’ Questions: ANSWERED!” – a reader needs advice on the age-old question (for about a decade or so) of explaining why fantasy football is always on your laptop.

Caught in an accounting career conundrum? Looking for some atypical icebreakers for your next firm event? Want advice on how break free from the unwelcome massage that creepy co-worker always tries to give you? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll dish it out.

Back to our gridiron geek:

How do I explain why fantasy football is always up on my laptop?


Many cube dwellers have had the unenviable experience of explaining why an imaginary roster of players is constantly on their laptop screens. The temptation to always have it available at a moment’s notice is completely understandable since at the drop of a hat someone’s penis (allegedly!) can end up on the web and his backup is instantly becomes a hot commodity.

For many of you vets out there, years of experience has afforded you to develop your own techniques, so please share your best methods. As for some general advice, there are some key things to remember/consider:

1. Include a manager/partner in your league – That will allow you invoke “team building” and “rapport.”

2. Key Shortcuts are your friend – Two words: Alt-tab. You don’t have to explain anything if you’re fast enough.

3. Cite research – Studies show that time on the web boosts productivity. Explain to your taskmaster that you’re simply saving time by keeping the Fantasy screen available at all times. Further explain that the amount of time that you actually spend looking at it is miniscule compared to the spreadsheet for that analytic.

4. You’re human – If you find yourself schelping for a fantasy-hating superior, simply point to everything you’ve accomplished in the past hour/day/week and you’re simply taking a break. What are you, a robot?

The most important thing to remember is to have other tabs in your browser with things that are, at the very least semi-related to work. This way, you don’t have to explain yourself every time someone pops in. Keep a relevant section of the tax code open. Or a SFAS that is currently giving you fits (even if it isn’t). Or a substantive article from this fine publication.

Just because you have an imaginary football roster available at all times, doesn’t mean that you also aren’t struggling through a mind bending financial reporting issue or keeping abreast of the haps in the industry.

Oh, and for the love of God, keep your cool and play like it’s NBD. “Oh, that? Yeah. I’ve been sitting on this trade and this stupid person in my league was bothering me about it. Just trying to get them off my back.” There’s nothing worse than someone stammering for an awkward answer to an awkward question.

Again, we’re sure there are many advanced techniques out there, so we invite you to share yours below.