“We’re paying for a building no one’s using!”

“Our managers don’t trust us to work at home!”

We can argue forever about why it’s happening, but the fact is, a number of companies are moving from a remote work model to a hybrid model. If you’ve been told the switch to hybrid is coming, don’t panic; there are ways to make the transition work for you.

three building blocks with the words hybrid working culture printed on them with a dark blue background

Tips for keeping your balance

Hybrid schedules do have their advantages—according to Gallup, six out of 10 employees with remote capability in their jobs actually prefer a hybrid work option. That’s not surprising with hybrid’s “best of both worlds” benefits, such as:

  • Enjoying the productivity and flexibility of remote days, giving you more time for your personal life.
  • Collaborating and connecting in person with coworkers and managers, plus having access to technology or facilities it’s not possible to have offsite.
  • Allowing newer employees to work on their skills remotely as well as benefit from the networking and mentorship available in the office.

However, from commuting to childcare to a work wardrobe, a hybrid schedule does require some lifestyle adjustments—especially if you’ve been working fully remote. Here are a few tips to help make a hybrid schedule more manageable:

  • Plan ahead to maximize your time. Consider creating a checklist, so you have everything you need to take with you to the office or back home again. Give yourself enough time to pack your tech, prepare lunch and make your commute. Is there an errand you can run at lunch that could free you up after work? During a break, could you make a couple of non-work-related calls?
  • Coordinate your schedule and projects. Sync up your in-office days with the schedules of team members with whom you collaborate, brainstorm and work directly. Then, work on independent tasks that require concentration or more privacy (e.g., drafting letters, phone meetings with clients) on your remote days.
  • Make the office a more comfortable place. Think about what makes your remote workspace comfortable and talk to your employer about duplicating your home setup at the office, so you don’t have to haul equipment back and forth. If possible, set up your desk similarly (drawers on the same side, monitors in the same configuration, comparable lighting) so you don’t lose your focus.
  • Temper your expectations. On office days, expect more time to be spent in face-to-face meetings and conversations, coffee breaks or lunches, or random trips to other parts of the building. Remember to account for those experiences as you plan your in-office days.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Take advantage of shared office tools—messaging apps, project management software, calendars—to be sure all the information everyone needs is available when you’re not. Keep in touch with your manager to establish and maintain realistic goals for your projects.
  • Minimize distractions. When you’re remote, set a status on your messaging app to let your coworkers know whether you’re busy or free, and use the “Do not disturb” option when you have to be heads-down. At the office, if you can’t work someplace other than your desk when you need to concentrate, headphones can signal that you’re involved in a project and prefer not to be disturbed.
  • Get involved. Company culture is one of the most important factors in employee job satisfaction, and your days in the office are your opportunity to be involved. Lunches with your coworkers and participation in company activities are easy ways to connect and build strong relationships.
  • Reinforce your work and home boundaries. Include time in your week for personal activities. One idea: When you create your schedule each week, include the time you spend commuting back and forth to the office on your calendar even on remote days. Don’t use that extra time to shovel in more work—use it without guilt for workouts, time with your kids or anything else that’s just for you.
  • Be patient. Everyone else is trying to figure out how to make this work, too. No one will get it right on the first try, so there will be some experimentation as you and your colleagues try new things to see what sticks. Be patient, with yourself and others, and remain open to change.

There’s no doubt that you’ll need to work a little harder—especially at first—on the balancing act required with a hybrid schedule. But for a lot of employees, the ability to enjoy the best of both worlds has turned out to be worth the effort, and we hope you’ll feel the same.

We all need time to relax, recharge and renew. That’s why we take vacations. However, if your budget is tight this year, you can still get those three Rs without a flight to Bora Bora, thanks to a type of vacation you may not have tried yet: the staycation.

Before you say, “Staying home? That’s not what I’d call a vacation,” we’ve got some tips that can help make your staycation just as much fun as a traveling vacation—not to mention more affordable and hassle-free.

7 steps to a successful staycation

  1. Have a budget. The average American goes nearly $400 over budget on vacation. But you can still have a fun time with a smaller budget. There are plenty of fun things to do for little to no cost, like visiting local parks or participating in community events. Check sites like Groupon and Living Social to find coupons and deals for local activities and dining.
  2. Make a plan. A few weeks in advance, get the gang together and list everything you’d like to do. Museum visits, sporting events, day trips, the zoo…create a plan, so everyone has something to enjoy.
  3. Make mealtimes easy. Take a vacation from the kitchen. Visit your favorite restaurants or order carryout. If you’d rather not eat out every day, make a few meals ahead of time and freeze them for easy heat and serve, or make simple meals like sandwiches. When the weather is nice, grill outside or pick up goodies from the grocery store for a picnic.
  4. Ditch the chores. Just as you would before any vacation, get your house in good order before your staycation starts…and don’t worry about laundry or vacuuming until your staycation is over.
  5. Take photos. You’ll make just as many memories close to home as you would on a traveling vacation, so take photos and videos of all the fun.
  6. Unplug. This is a time to experience, enjoy and just be together. Let everyone at work know (firmly) that you’ll be incommunicado, and don’t check work emails or handle any work tasks while you’re off.
  7. Schedule some down time. Don’t exhaust yourselves with a constant, “Go, go, go!” mindset. That can tend to make everyone of any age cranky. Sleep in a couple of mornings or spend an afternoon or an evening relaxing in the backyard.

Some staycation ideas

Here are a few suggestions for things to do on your staycation. While your hometown might not have every activity available, this list may spark other ideas in your own area.

  • Take advantage of low weekday crowds. Are there places you haven’t been able to visit because they’re too crowded on the weekends? This is your chance! Go mini-golfing, visit a popular museum exhibit or see a matinee movie. (Hint: Weekday prices can be lower, too.)
  • Have foodie fun or a tasting tour. Visit local restaurants you’ve always wanted to try. Visit nearby towns with a fun dining scene or ethnic foods you’d like to experience. If you’re not staycationing with little ones, check out local wineries or breweries—but make sure you have a plan for a designated driver or be ready to request an Uber.
  • Plan a game or movie day at home. Stock up on snacks and get the video or board games ready for a super gaming extravaganza. Or, if your family is more into movies, rent or stream your favorite movies for an all-day marathon.
  • Vacation at a nearby rental. If you’d like to splurge a bit, reserve an Airbnb-type rental, a B&B or a budget hotel room in your area for a couple of nights. Try switching up the location from your usual; exchange the suburbs for the city or the city for the country.
  • Take in a concert or festival. Especially in the summer, you can find low-cost or free local festivals and concerts to enjoy. Check your county and community websites for schedules—and don’t forget to check local universities, museums and other community venues to see what’s available.
  • Camp out in the backyard. Set up a tent, get out the sleeping bags, and spend a night outdoors. Grill dinner, roast marshmallows and tell scary stories by firelight.
  • Take a hike or a bike. Find new hiking trails to explore and spend time in nature. Don’t forget to equip yourself with safety gear (i.e., mosquito and tick repellent), water bottles and transportable snacks.
  • Go canoeing or kayaking. If you can borrow the equipment rather than rent or buy it, so much the better. But if it’s in the budget, a day on a river or lake is a wonderful way to get some exercise and enjoy the peace and quiet of being on the water.

Whether you take a long weekend or a full week, some advance planning can make your staycation as memorable as a “regular” vacation trip. Not to mention a lot more relaxing, since you don’t have to worry about crowded airport security lines, missed flights or off-schedule itineraries. We hope we’ve inspired you to consider your own staycation this year—and that you have a wonderful time!

Let’s face it: Navigating through multiple responsibilities at home and work leaves us with a miles-long to-do list and not enough time to get through it. Whether it’s a barrage of notifications from our devices or endless scrolling through social media, something almost always distracts us.

And while there may not be one single magic answer to help us use our time wisely, there are numerous productivity hacks we can apply each day to help us accomplish more…in less time. But first, let’s talk about why productivity is important.

The importance of productivity

When people are more productive, it can lead to additional benefits, such as less stress and burnout, a healthier work-life balance, and a boost in mood and self-esteem. However, with many distractions throughout the day, 70% of employees admit to feeling distracted on the job, according to research on productivity by Zippia.

Zippia’s research also shows that distractions such as checking social media, reading news websites and chatting with coworkers lead the average employee to be productive for only 2 hours and 53 minutes a day. (Hint: That’s 31% of the average eight-hour workday.)

You may find this surprising, but being productive also includes making time for self-care, breaks and relaxation because it helps boost creativity and the ability to focus. Make more of the limited time in your day and beat the clock with these productivity hacks.

Plan your day ahead of time

To prevent the 5:00 p.m., “Where did the day go?” question, take time at the end of each day to plan your schedule for the next day. Divide tasks into 30-60 minute intervals and ensure breaks of 5-15 minutes. This will help you stay on task and have a plan for exactly what you need to accomplish during the day.

Define your top three tasks

Looking at your to-do list, choose the top three tasks you need to accomplish that day and make those a priority. List them on a sticky note or a notes app to keep track of your progress. Anything else you can get done outside of those three is the cherry on top.

Focus with time management

If you struggle with staying on task or even getting started, it may be time to start using a time management technique. The Pomodoro technique breaks a task down into time intervals of 25 minutes to focus with a five-minute break. Another method to try is the 52-17 technique, where you focus on one task for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

Tackle your Everest

For some, even getting started with the simplest task can be problematic; for others, it’s difficult to start large tasks. Whether your “Everest” is tackling the smallest or biggest task first, just rip off the bandage and start. Either way, once the task is completed, you can check something off your list…and chances are, you’ll find more motivation to continue working through your to-do list.

Don’t multitask

As productive as multitasking sounds, some studies show that only 2.5% of people can multitask effectively. That means the remaining 97.5% of the population isn’t actually multitasking. Attempting to multitask can decrease productivity. To be more productive, focus on one task at a time.

Mute notifications

Research by Zippia shows that refocusing after a distraction takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds. To prevent wasting time, turn off distractions, such as email or text notifications, while working. Set your status on messaging apps to “do not disturb,” so you can focus on the task at hand.

Hack your productivity

Taking the time to plan your day, choosing your most important tasks and muting outside distractions will help you focus and give you much-needed time back each day. Use the hacks we’ve outlined to make the most of your days. The clock is ticking.


It’s not an exaggeration to say that as a small business owner, you’re one of the busiest people on earth. After all, it’s up to you to do everything—and that includes educating yourself on new ways of doing things, keeping up on trends and industry changes, and…well, a whole lot more. But how can you stay up to date when there’s so much else to do?

With podcasts! You can listen to them in the car, when you’re exercising or even when you’re cleaning bathrooms. As a start, here are 14 excellent podcasts that can serve as teachers, mentors and leaders for the overworked small business owner—aka you.

General business

How I Built This—This NPR podcast, hosted by Guy Raz, appears consistently on lists of the top business podcasts. Guy interviews innovators and entrepreneurs from today’s biggest companies (Whole Foods and Airbnb, to name two) about their journeys to success. While not technically about small business, you’ll find a wealth of inspiration in each episode as you hear about the triumphs and struggles of these entrepreneurs.

The GaryVee Audio Experience—Well-known author, speaker, entrepreneur and CEO Gary Vaynerchuk offers listeners tips and insights on a range of business, marketing and technology topics. Through a combination of interviews, keynote speeches, chats and other content, he offers blunt and honest advice, information and inspiration.

The Tim Ferriss Show—Tim Ferriss interviews fascinating guests from many walks of life—Malcolm Gladwell, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, LeBron James, Margaret Atwood, Brené Brown, Hugh Jackman and more to pass on the secrets of their success. This podcast regularly ranks near the top of the Apple Podcasts business category despite the wide-ranging array of guests; that’s how interesting and inspiring it is.

The Goal Digger Podcast—Minnesota business owner Jenna Kutcher offers productivity tips, social media strategies and inspirational interviews to help you “dig in, do the work and tackle your biggest goals along the way.” While she’s at it, she also covers topics like branding and marketing, being a working mother, dealing with difficult customers and much more as you build your business.


Small Business Tax Savings Podcast—Explicitly geared for small business owners, this podcast, hosted by Mike Jesowshek, CPA, focuses on tax savings and building a sound financial foundation for your small business. As you’d expect from a CPA, you’ll get a lot of important information—without the fluff—designed specifically to help you minimize your taxes and maximize your profits.


Duct Tape Marketing—John Jantsch is the founder of Duct Tape Marketing, a digital marketing agency and consulting firm. In this podcast, he helps small business owners with small budgets gear up their marketing efforts. Branding, content, website design, SEO, strategy, new trends, how to stand out from the competition…he covers it all with his knowledge and informative interviews.

Marketing Over Coffee—Seth Godin. Simon Sinek. Ann Handley. If marketing and motivational superstars like these make you swoon, this is your podcast. Each week, John J. Wall and Christopher S. Penn bring you a 20-minute episode with tips, tactics, inspiration and interviews on topics that include email marketing, SEO and even the occasional foray into non-digital marketing.

Social Media Marketing—Whether you like social media or hate it, there’s no way around the fact that it’s nearly impossible today to market a small business without it. From content to platforms, Michael Stelzner explores social media strategies and tools and interviews social media experts on how business owners can find success with their social media marketing.

Marketing School—In this podcast, marketing guru Neil Patel and business advisor Eric Siu share lessons in digital marketing to help those who want to grow their businesses. These five-minute informational bites are released daily, covering topics like online marketing, social media, content creation, email marketing, conversion optimization, trends, insights and more.

Especially for female business owners

BizChix—Business strategist and coach Natalie Eckdahl brings you inspiring stories of female entrepreneurs and business owners who worked their way to success. Natalie’s diverse range of interviews cover everything from experiences, obstacles, insights, strategies and achievements as she helps women channel their natural strengths to get their businesses into top shape.

Go-to Gal—Jacelyn Mellone, a business strategist and marketing expert, focuses on helping female entrepreneurs find their footing in the business world. In each episode, she interviews successful female entrepreneurs who share their experiences in growing their businesses. Jacelyn also shares insights on the productivity, mindset and personal growth needed to succeed as an entrepreneur.

This list is just a starting point; there are dozens (if not hundreds) of other great podcasts out there. We hope they’ll help you overcome any challenges, stay inspired, and build your business to reflect your vision and dreams. Happy listening!


Diversity—of customers, employees and vendors—isn’t just a consideration for large corporations. It’s an essential part of the future of small businesses, too.

By 2050, it’s projected that the Black population of the United States will grow by approximately 30%, the Hispanic population by 60% and the Asian American population by more than 50%, while the aged population will grow by another 6%. That’s a lot of change on the horizon, which is why the number of resources available for helping small business owners embrace diversity, equity and inclusion (known as DEI) initiatives in their businesses is growing.

The makeup—and advantages—of a diverse workplace

Are there advantages for businesses that embrace diversity? First, let’s consider what makes for a diverse workplace: a range of races, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, backgrounds, physical and mental skills and abilities (including disabilities), personality types, spoken languages, nationalities, education, and income.

And when you consider that diversity applies to not only the business’s employees or vendors, but your customer base, too, the benefits become clear:

  • You’ll gain more thorough knowledge and insight into the cultures of your local market.
  • You can better target your marketing and incorporate cultural sensitivity.
  • A more diverse set of perspectives and a wider range of knowledge can lead to more out-of-the-box thinking and innovation.
  • A culturally diverse workforce can give you an edge in a competitive job market—especially with Gen Y and Gen Z workers, who highly regard employers committed to DEI.
  • You’ll earn a reputation as a socially responsible and inclusive business.

Resources to help you build a diverse workplace

All right, so you’re ready to improve your hiring process to be more inclusive. But you’re not a large enough business to have a human resources team…yet, anyway. But how do you begin? Where do you find the information you need to be sure you’re doing it right? A good place to start is with this list of resources for an employer who would like to make their business more inclusive.




Women in the workplace 

Abilities and accessibility (physical and mental) 


When DEI is a top priority in the workplace, it not only gives all employees the same fair chance at success, but it elevates the business as an employer of choice. According to ZipRecruiter, 48% of job seekers are more likely to apply for jobs when employers state their commitment to DEI, which mirrors the growth in trends showing that consumers prefer brands that closely align with their values.

That’s almost half of the respondents…and it’s a mighty testament to the power of diversity, equity and inclusion. And when you take that first step toward becoming an inclusive workplace, you’ll not only change your business—you’ll change your horizons and your outlook…and you might even help change the world.

We’ll just say this up front: If you’re in business today, you need to be on social media.

However…that doesn’t mean you need to be on every platform. That’s the social equivalent of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, and it can make for not only a messy wall, but an overwhelmed business owner as you try to keep up. To help you decide which social media platforms make the most sense for your business, let’s take a look at some platforms to consider.

The platforms

Unless you have someone who can operate as a dedicated social media specialist, we suggest keeping your focus manageable by using one to three social platforms. The idea is quality, not quantity.

So, which channels? That depends on your customers. Often, you can make a reasonable guess as to where they are on social media based on their age group and what you know about their interests (you could also send out a survey to ask about their social media habits).

Here’s an overview of the most popular platforms as a starting point:

(1) 31 powerful Pinterest statistics (2023),

As you can see, if your customers tend to be older, the odds are good that you’ll find them on Facebook rather than TikTok. And as an example, if you own a home décor business, your audience’s favorite online activity might be collecting aspirational home design ideas on Instagram or Pinterest.

If you’d like to take a deeper dive into how you can use the most popular platforms for your business, both Zoho Social and Sprout Social offer detailed explorations.

Narrowing it down

All right, so now you have a better idea of the available platforms. Now, how do you decide where to focus your energy? This is where you’ll need to ask yourself some questions—and give yourself some honest answers—about your business:

  1. Who is our ideal customer or client? This is the single most important factor in determining your use of social media, so if you don’t know the answer to this question, it’s time to figure out who you’re selling to.
  2. Are we business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) based? Marketing a product or service to consumers is entirely different than marketing to another business. Learn more about the difference between B2C and B2B.
  3. What are our goals for social media? Do you want to build an email list, increase recognition of your brand, reach a larger audience or introduce a new product/service? It’s time to define what success looks like to you.
  4. What kind of content should we post? Your content can be as simple as a typed update or as elaborate as a video demonstration of your new product. The key is understanding which content performs well on each platform and scaling the content to your abilities. Check out these ideas for social media content.
  5. Where are our competitors? Do a competitive analysis on your competitors’ use of social media. See what they do well, analyze what they don’t do so well and learn from your observations.

Summing it all up

When 72% of the public uses some type of social media, it’s time to connect with your current and prospective customers where they are. And the most important thing we can tell you is that if you’re not out there, it’s well past time to grab the opportunities that social media offers the small business owner. From brand awareness to more responsive customer service, social media can be the next best thing to a face-to-face conversation with your customers (and you won’t have to keep cleaning those walls!).

With the move to remote and hybrid work, our business devices are frequently at our fingertips 24/7. That means it’s all too easy to finish one more task…make one more phone call…send one more email…only to find we’ve added even more hours to our workday.

If you’re wondering where your work-life balance went, here are a baker’s dozen of actions you might want to consider taking to improve it. While they’re not detailed tips, they link to more detailed information and are a good launching pad for living the life you want.

  1. Set your priorities. Make a list of the things that are important to you: family time, hobbies, meditation, exercise, mental health, your career. Then rearrange them in order of priority. And never apologize for what’s important to you.
  2. Say goodbye to fear. Has this thought ever crossed your mind? “If I’m not here working, they’ll replace me.” Don’t let fear take away your right to live your personal life. Fight your irrational fears and reclaim your life.
  3. Be realistic about your to-do list. Do you feel like everything on your list MUST be done before you sign off for the day? It’s not always possible. So take a few minutes each day to prioritize critical tasks…and leave the rest for tomorrow.
  4. Just say no. Is it hard for you to say no to “Just one more thing…”? Time to set your boundaries. Your world won’t crumble, and neither will the asker’s. But you’ll be more focused and less stressed…and present for what matters most.
  5. Unplug during personal time. When the workday is done, or it’s vacation time, disconnect from the work world. Don’t answer calls. Stop checking emails and texts. Just enjoy time with your favorite people, doing your favorite things.
  6. Take your breaks. No one can—or should—run at full speed all day. Everyone needs breaks. Even a few-minutes break can reset us and keep us going. So take your lunch hours and get up now and then throughout the day. You’ll thank yourself.
  7. Ask about flexibility. Are life’s demands overwhelming you? Ask your employer about implementing a more flexible schedule. Don’t wait until you’re so stressed you can’t think straight; give yourself a chance to think through a proposal now.
  8. Don’t neglect your health. Whether you work in the office or at home, it can be tough to stay fit when you sit at a desk all day. But it’s possible to work fitness into your daily routine. And P.S. Don’t forget to schedule your regular checkups.
  9. Schedule the good stuff. Just as you schedule work-related appointments, block off time for anything that helps your physical, emotional and mental wellness—exercise, meditation, lunch with friends or after-work family events.
  10. Take your days off. If you’re sick, call in sick. If you have vacation days available, take them. Not taking time off is a sure recipe for mental and physical burnout, and even short breaks of a day or two can help.
  11. Do nothing. Have a free evening? Try the blissful art of doing nothing. We’re such a go-go-go society that we tend to feel guilty if we’re not taking advantage of every moment. But doing nothing is doing something—just more quietly.
  12. Remember: nobody’s perfekt perfect. Practice compassion for yourself as you learn how to balance your work and personal lives. It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t always go smoothly. But you’ll learn with every twist and turn.
  13. Ask for help. You don’t have to do it all yourself; if you’re struggling with balance in your life, ask for help—from family, from a friend, from your employer or from a professional. Don’t let yourself get to the point of burnout. 

Giving more time to the work side of the work-life balance can take a toll; a long-running UK study of more than 10,000 civil servants showed that people who worked three or more hours longer than a normal workday had a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems than those who worked no overtime.

While you can’t change the equation overnight, hopefully, the actions above will give you a start toward managing your time and energy in a way that will help you find a true balance—one where you’re able to feel engaged and fulfilled whether you’re on the clock or off.

Organizing a system for keeping your tax records doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It just has to be…well, organized. But considering that the IRS can audit your tax returns for up to three years (and even further if they find something beyond that time that requires an audit), it’s something that should be done. Even if you’re never audited, without the right documentation, you could miss out on deductions and tax credits that can improve your tax situation.

So, if you spend the days before your yearly tax appointment scrabbling through stacks of unfiled forms and receipts—wishing you’d spent just a little more time on keeping your tax records in order—we’re here to help.

What kinds of records should you keep?

Broadly, you’ll need income and expense records (if you claim expenses). As an individual or joint filer, here are some of the most common items you’ll need at tax time:

  • W-2 statements
  • 1099 forms
  • Bank/credit union statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Brokerage/mutual fund statements
  • Canceled checks
  • Payment receipts
  • Expense receipts
  • Home purchase/sales agreements and closing statements
  • Documentation for itemized deductions (e.g., mortgage interest, charitable contributions, real estate taxes)

If you’re self-employed or own a small business, there are other types of records you should keep, and the IRS has a good overview of those items here.

Where should you keep your tax records?

Some people prefer to keep hard copies of everything, organized in folders labeled by category and stored in a file cabinet, a fire- and water-proof safe, or a portable accordion folder. Then, at tax time, they meet with their tax preparer, or they drop off their documents to the firm.

However, a growing number of people prefer to keep and organize their tax records digitally (which now can include scans or photos of hard-copy records). That way, it’s easy to work virtually with their accountant and they don’t have to collate and store paper records. Important: If you use digital files, make sure that a) your system is protected with good cybersecurity practices, and b) you keep an updated backup copy—whether it’s in the cloud or on a removable drive stored in a safe place.

Whichever method you choose, make sure it’s practical and easy for you to use. If it’s too complicated, you’ll get frustrated and end up back in the same disorganized situation that got you looking for an organizational system in the first place.

How long should you keep tax records?

Generally, you should keep tax records for at least three years from the date your original return was filed. However, as we mentioned above, if you were audited, you might want to hang on to your records for a bit longer. Especially if you’re self-employed or a small business owner.

How often should you file items in your tax records?

Ideally, immediately upon receipt. While it can seem like a no-brainer to pop a receipt into a file folder or do a quick scan for upload into your digital files, it’s easy to get distracted. And then you have a pile of paper that needs an hour of work instead of the minute or two it would have taken to do it right away.

At the very least, file tax-related items whenever you sit down to pay your bills each month, so you’re not overwhelmed with things to file and/or scan at the end of the year. (Hint: Get in the habit of jotting down important details right on your receipts  —amounts, dates, type of expense, the reason it’s deductible. This will help you remember why you kept it when tax time rolls around.)

Summing it all up

Tax time shouldn’t be a trying time. If you spend a little time now creating a filing system that works for you—or tweaking your current system to make sure it’s effective—your days of scrabbling through piles of paper at the last minute can be a distant memory. Not to mention, you’ll be at the top of your tax preparer’s “Favorite Clients” list!

Each year brings in new tax changes for small businesses. It can be difficult to stay on top of what’s changed or what’s going to change again next year, so we’ve done a roundup of new tax changes for 2023 and how they could impact your business.

But first, a quick review

In its simplest form, a tax deduction is an expense you can subtract from your taxable income to lower the amount of taxes you owe. Before you start deducting expenses left and right, you have to remember that expenses must fit the IRS criteria of a tax deduction.

Common small business tax deductions, depending upon your business type, could include advertising, business insurance, contract labor, depreciation, benefits, rent or personal expenses—such as charitable donations or child and dependent care expenses.

Employee salary reductions

For the 2022 tax year (i.e., the tax return you’ll file in 2023), the dollar limitation for employee salary reductions for contributions to health flexible spending arrangements increases to $2,850.

Medical savings accounts

Participants who have self-only coverage in a medical savings account must have an annual deductible that is not less than $2,450, but not more than $3,700, and the maximum out-of-pocket expense amount is $4,950.

For family coverage, the annual deductible must not be less than $4,950 or more than $7,400. The out-of-pocket expense limit for family coverage is $9,050.

Research and development (R&D)

For the 2022 tax year, businesses that invest in research and development are required to deduct investment costs over five years. Further documentation about each planned research activity is also required.

Looking ahead: 100% bonus depreciation

Beginning in tax year 2023, the 100% bonus depreciation deduction (the purchase of business assets or property with a useful life of 20 years or more) will begin to phase out 20% each year until it completely phases out in 2027. It will follow this schedule: 80% in 2023, 60% in 2024, 40% in 2025, 20% in 2026 and 0% in 2027.

Maximize tax savings

Be prepared for tax season by keeping accurate records of your business income and expenses. It’s also best practice to keep business and personal expenses separate come tax time. Remember that tax deductions can lead to significant tax savings, so consult with your tax expert to ensure you’re getting the most out of your return.

Are you one of the almost half of Americans who say that between three and seven days a week, they feel sleepy during the day? At the risk of sounding like your mother, sleep is one of the most important facets of our health. A good night of sleep enables your body to recover from the tensions of the day and your brain to rest up for the work it will do tomorrow.

If it’s been a challenge to get enough sleep each night, it’s possible that a few adjustments to your sleep routine can solve the issue. (Note: This article won’t address severe sleep problems like apnea or chronic insomnia. If you’re experiencing these issues, please contact your doctor right away.) We’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you get a more restful night of sleep.

12 tips to help you sleep

  1. Aim for the right amount of sleep. How much sleep do our bodies really need? Adults ages 18-64 need seven to nine hours of sleep per night, while adults over 65 need seven to eight hours.
  2. Watch your caffeine intake. In the body of a healthy adult, caffeine has a half-life of five hours. So, try not to drink anything with caffeine less than five hours before bedtime.
  3. Limit alcohol. It’s been found that more than two servings of alcohol per day for men and more than one serving per day for women decreases sleep quality by more than 39%.
  4. Get your body moving. Studies have associated even moderate levels of physical activity per week with reduced levels of daytime sleepiness (but don’t do vigorous exercise within two hours of bedtime; that can make it harder to fall asleep).
  5. Keep naps short. Daytime napping for more than 30 minutes can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night—when you need your sleep most.
  6. Put your devices to sleep, too. Using TVs, computers or mobile devices before bedtime can play havoc with your circadian rhythm and make it harder for you to fall asleep. Try making the last hour before bedtime a “no blue light” zone.
  7. Welcome the light. Speaking of circadian rhythm, reset your internal clock each morning by getting as much sunshine or bright light (as in an artificial bright light machine) as you can during the day. Not only will it give you more energy, but it will also make it easier to fall asleep at night.
  8. Ease into bedtime. Give yourself time to cycle down before you go to bed. Soothing music, low-impact stretches, reading quietly and relaxation exercises can help you transition into sleep mode.
  9. Establish a consistent sleep schedule. As much as possible, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends). This will help train your body and mind to know that it’s bedtime—time to fall asleep.
  10. Keep it dark, quiet and cool. A sleep mask or blackout curtains can keep the light out, while a sound machine or fan can block outside noise. And while “cool” can be a relative term, in general, a temperature below 70 degrees makes for more comfortable sleep.
  11. Help your stomach sleep, too. A heavy, rich or spicy evening meal can make for an uncomfortable night. If it’s possible, make your dinner the lightest meal of the day.
  12. Still can’t fall asleep? Don’t just stare at the ceiling and wait for sleep to come. Try some relaxation techniques, and if they don’t work after 20 minutes or so, get out of bed and do something relaxing, like reading, in low light. Or try these tips for what to do when you can’t sleep.

The high costs of sleep deprivation

To understand the toll that poor or less sleep can extract on us as a society, here are some factoids on the high costs of sleep deprivation from The Sleep Foundation:

  • The estimated economic impact of inadequate sleep is more than $411 billion per year.
  • Drowsy drivers are responsible for more than 6,000 fatal car crashes in the United States every year.
  • Severe insomnia sufferers are seven times more likely to experience work-related accidents than those who sleep well.
  • Nurses who work 12.5-hour shifts make more than three times as many medical errors than those who work 8.5-hour shifts.

We don’t cite these statistics to scare you into sleeping more. The fact is, getting good sleep is one of the most important steps you can take toward improving your physical and mental wellness. From increasing your resistance to illness to helping manage stress and anxiety; from improving cognitive performance to helping your body recover from injuries; sleep is an essential element of our continuing health and well-being. Give yourself the gift of better sleep, starting tonight!