BBC Capital

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The power of a ‘not-to-do’ list

Rather than setting goals you can achieve, look for mistakes you’d like to avoid.<p>Has your working day become one long battle to wade through a to-do list?<p>The multiple distractions of the modern workplace – digital overload, open offices and constant interruptions, to name a few – can make it near …

University of Pennsylvania

Why so many people overspend on their holidays

There are a host of subconscious reasons that make people spend more on their travels, and it’s difficult to keep them in check, writes Alina Dizik.<p>Esta Shah always plans a fun activity for the day following her holiday. It’s not a coping strategy to combat the back-to-work blues – rather, it’s a …

Personal Finance

How the gig economy creates job insecurity

Workers of the future need to be ultra-flexible and dance nimbly to the tune of the new labour market. But this prescribed wisdom is problematic for four reasons, writes Pete Robertson.<p>The claim that the Inuit have 50 words for snow may be apocryphal, but it neatly illustrates the truism that our …

China’s cliff-climbing ‘spiderwoman’

A traditional practice – where fearless climbers scale sheer cliff faces – reflects change in China.<p>Luo Dengping goes by another name: China’s spiderwoman.<p>She has earned the moniker by scaling the towering cliffs of Guizhou province – with no harness or ropes – a traditional practice of the Miao …

Climbing

Is it all downhill from 35?

At what age are you officially old and boring? A few recent surveys reckon it’s your mid-thirties.<p>What’s the perfect age? For some it’s the carefree teenage years or time at university. But 35 may in fact be the pivotal turning point, both personally and professionally.<p>Not only is 35 the age when …

University of California

How your commute could help to change your life

Could the time you spend travelling to and from work be a secret pocket of productivity?<p>Before setting up his new business, Peter Yang made a point of bothering everyone he sat next to on his 75-minute commute to work.<p>“I’d just ask whoever happened to be sitting next to me if they ever thought of …

Commuting

Are you a sleep procrastinator?

Sleep experts say our devices are keeping us awake for longer, which affects our sleep and health. So why on earth do we do it?<p>What was the last thing you did before drifting off last night? You were probably on a device: reading emails, surfing the web or checking social media.<p>You’re not alone. A …

University of California

How nuns changed the workforce

The importance of nuns' labour has been downplayed for centuries, exemplifying the misconception that women's work is less valuable than that of their male counterparts.<p>"The prioress of my needlework school called me and said, 'listen, I must return to Rome … but if you're thinking about taking …

War

Can ‘period leave’ ever work?

Moves to give women time off for periods have met mixed responses – so how can employers create policies that support female workers?<p>Bex Baxter was horrified to walk into her office one day and find her firm’s receptionist “bent double” at the front desk, “white as a sheet and clearly in pain” …

What you need to know about the latest Bitcoin boom

Crypto-currencies are soaring to market highs drawing in new investors – but some experts have concerns about the future.<p>You may have noticed reports about Bitcoin’s value recently – its price is headed into the stratosphere.<p>The crypto-currency’s recent meteoric price rise over the summer has seen …

Inside Beijing’s immense, fantastical wedding photo studio

An enormous warehouse attracts couples looking for the perfect shots of their upcoming nuptials. The rise of the photography industry shows a changing consumer class, reports Runze Yu.<p>Inside an enormous warehouse in Beijing, a thick mist billows over the moss-covered steps of an ancient temple. A …

Weddings

How to avoid writing irritating emails

After a conversation about subtly snarky emails went viral on twitter, it might be worth asking yourself: are you being accidentally rude?<p>A couple of weeks ago, Danielle René caused a stir when she tweeted her preferred method of subtly putting someone down in the workplace by email: using the …

Can cutting work hours solve Japan’s productivity puzzle?

Law makers and companies are aiming for shorter hours and a better work-life balance for Japanese people, in an attempt to solve a national productivity crisis<p>The Japanese government is hoping a single phrase can overhaul its economy and stop its salarymen and women from working themselves to …

The Workplace

How Hollywood earnings can help us understand pay disparity

An eye-opening list of the highest paid stars provides a vivid portrayal of a wider gender inequality issue.<p>Why should we care that, in Hollywood, female actors earn less than male ones? The latest tally of star pay, compiled by Forbes magazine, has men far outstripping women’s earnings. The …

The hidden private experiences of the travel elite

Today's mega-rich now crave unique and often unusual luxury experiences over expensive items. And these people are more than ready to cater to them – for a fee.<p>Everyone has limits. That includes Steve Sims, founder of Bluefish, an exclusive Los Angeles-based luxury concierge service catering to the …

Hospitality

Why do some companies ban certain words?

Can banning some corporate terms and replacing them with buzzier or more positive-sounding alternatives do any good?<p>Apply for a job at Davio’s, a small chain of Italian-style steakhouses in the US, and you’ll never hear one extremely common workplace term: employee. That’s because CEO Steve …

Customer Service

How to be truly inclusive of non-binary genders at work

Growing recognition of non-binary genders may require a change in the way we understand identity and the words we use, especially in the workplace<p>“I’m sure there were people who didn’t like it or get it,” says Quinn Nelson. “They were just weird and awkward.”<p>The 24-year-old sociology student at the …

How does a football transfer work?

Every summer, enormous amounts of money change hands as top football clubs vie for the best players. Here’s a rundown of how it all works.<p>Each summer, hundreds of millions of dollars change hands as the world’s top football clubs vie for the best players for the coming seasons. But what actually is …

Soccer

The mind games of online reviews

If you check your smartphone for your daily decisions, you’re not alone. But are you looking in the wrong place for answers?<p>Have you ever sought the advice of internet strangers?<p>Whether it’s buying a toothbrush or diagnosing a health issue, we often treat online reviews and ratings as informed …

Drawing

How to fight 'throwaway culture'

We need to move from a “take, make, use, throw” economic model towards one that encourages repair and reuse, write Christine Cole and Alex Gnanapragasam.<p>Until the advent of cheap credit and cheaper item costs, for many consumers in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s rental was the most accessible way of …

An easy way to read more each year

With the time you spend commuting every day, you could read dozens of books every year. Pádraig Belton asks, is there a perfect medium for the length of your ride to work?<p>Over the past few decades, commuting times have risen dramatically in most major cities. As inner-city property prices have …

How the busiest people plan their days

For people who manage hundreds of employees and dozens of projects, having a foolproof way to plan the day is crucial to performance.<p>If you want a job interview with Li Fan, head of engineering at Pinterest, you’ll need to wait until Friday.<p>Fan categorises the types of meetings she takes by days of …

Time Management

How a corporate mission can drive young workers away

Firms that don’t live up to their corporate values risk falling foul of their millennial workforce, writes Sydney Finkelstein.<p>A former student of mine called the other day. She’d worked at a major global company in the food industry, with primary responsibility for sourcing a key ingredient needed …

CSR

The sweet-maker teaching Google about creativity

Meet the woman providing a creative sugar rush to the world of tech<p>No fake stuff and “limitless potential” are some of the secrets behind Jami Curl’s unique approach to business and confectionery.<p>The Portland, Oregon-based sweet-maker is attracting attention from the tech and creative industries, …

Creativity

The new way your personality could be holding you back

Companies are turning to personality profiling to find the right candidates for roles and promotions. But the use of such tests raises some important questions.<p>Are you the sort of person that reads all of the instructions before beginning a task or do you prefer to jump right into things? Would you …

Human Resources

The ancient roots of the modern office

Working from home is not a new concept – it was common in medieval times. So how did the modern workplace become what it is today?<p>For centuries people have been getting up, joining a daily commute or retreating to a room, to work. The office has become inseparable from work.<p>Its history illustrates …

How can bosses put a stop to workers idly browsing online?

A spot of online shopping, checking out your holiday snaps on Facebook: if you break up your work day with non-work online activities you may be guilty of 'cyberloafing'.<p>Cyberloafing – engaging in non-work online activities while “on the clock” – is a modern form of counterproductive workplace …

How to identify, and handle, a demanding boss

Many people will work under a difficult manager at some point in their career. Identifying the type of boss they are can help you handle their challenging behaviour.<p>It’s no secret that as some people climb the ranks of their industry, the stress caused by increases in pressure and responsibility …

Why do workplace dress codes persist?

Arcane sartorial rules are problematic for both men and women. So, asks Sir Cary Cooper, why do they still exist?<p>If the volume of news about workplace dress codes is anything to go by, we’re getting less tolerant of being told what to wear.<p>Ever since Nicola Thorp was sent home from her job at PwC …

Why you should keep a connection with your expat country

Reverse culture shock can be the worst thing about returning from a stint abroad, but nurturing a continuing relationship with your expat country can help in surprising ways.<p>Zoey Ilouz, a native Californian, has been an expatriate in Israel twice.<p>Keen to experience her father’s country, she first …