June 1, 2015
It’s no secret that the majority of Americans are spending a lot of time online. While some of the time we spend on the Internet is productive, there’s a lot of it that’s not—and it’s crowding out some of our higher value offline activities, according to research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
In a recent NBER study, each minute of online leisure time is correlated with 0.29 fewer minutes on all other types of leisure—with about half of that coming from time spent watching TV and video, 0.05 minutes from (offline) socializing, 0.04 minutes from relaxing and thinking, and the balance from time spent at parties, attending cultural events, and listening to the radio. While these may seem like really small increments of time, they do add up over the course of weeks and months. As such, you may want to consider replacing some of your offline time to do the things that really make life worth living. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
There’s no doubt that the Internet has transformed our lives and, for the most part, it’s been for the better. However, like most things, balance is the key. Take time daily—or at least weekly—to do some of the activities suggested above or to incorporate some of your own favorite offline pursuits. Chances are, you’ll find that doing so will improve the overall quality of your life.
If you’re claiming deductions for business meals or auto expenses, expect the IRS to closely review them. In some cases, taxpayers have incomplete documentation or try to create records months (or years) later. In doing so, they fail to meet the strict substantiation requirements set forth under tax law. Tax auditors are adept at rooting out inconsistencies, omissions and errors in taxpayers’ records, as illustrated by one recent U.S. Tax Court case.
If you’ve ever yawned your way through a wordy, boring document, you might have wondered if your own writing was as hard to understand. Luckily, there’s a great tool to measure the readability of your writing, and it’s as close as your word processor. (Note: For this article, we use Microsoft Word as our example. Details will vary if you use another application.)
Over the past year, we’ve all spent more time than usual at home—which may mean you’ve paid more attention to your utility bills than in previous years. If you’ve noticed a creep upward, here are some easy ways to help keep your energy costs down.