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How to Get Out of Work For An Interview [10+ Fireproof Excuses]

So, you just found a stellar opportunity that might launch your career into the stratosphere. You submitted a well-crafted application and a few days later, you get the callback. The company wants to invite you for an in-person interview.

Woohoo!!

Problem?

You don’t want your boss to know you’ve been going to interviews on company time.

Now, don’t stress as you’re about to learn how to get out of work for an interview.

Get All the Info First

job interview

When a recruiter says he’d like you to come in and do the interview, you’ll want to slap an S on your chest and jump right on it.

But before you throw your entire schedule atop a blazing fire, ask the recruiter these questions:

  • How long will the interview take?
  • How many interview rounds will I have to go through?
  • Any chance you could meet off the clock?

The answers to these questions will help you do better in working the interview into your schedule.

Pro tip: Right from the get-go, tell the recruiter you want to keep things on the down-low. Otherwise, the company might call for a reference and you will find yourself in hot water.

Don’t Over-Complicate It

Here’s the thing:

If you’d like to do an interview, it’s best to take a day off or at least a half-day off.

Why?

First, you won’t have to sneak away from the office and worry you’ll get found out. Second, you’ll have a boatload of time to prep for the interview (e.g., do company culture research.)

So, here’s what you can tell your boss:

Hey John, I’d like to take a day off/half-day off on Friday to take care of some personal matters. Is that OK?

Now, in some companies, you’ll need to submit time-off requests one or two weeks in advance. If that’s the case, tell the recruiter you’ll need to push the interview by some time.

The recruitment process usually takes more than two weeks. So, it won’t do much harm to schedule the meeting for later.

Can’t take a day off or a half-day off? Keep scrolling.

Map out an escape plan

If it’s not an option to take time off, don’t stress.

There are ways to wangle time off work for your interview without sounding the alarms with your boss.

Decide on the best day of the week

First, have a bird’s eye view on your work schedule.

Are there slow times (e.g., fewer meetings) vs. busy times?

You know your job best, so pick a day when you could spin a tale and sneak away without trouble.

Take time off out of your work day

Now, it’s time to figure out when you’ll do the interview.

Below are possible options:

In the morning. Have an interview early in the day, especially if you don’t have to show up at a specific time (e.g., 9 AM). This way, you could stay late to finish work and fly under the radar.

During lunch. It’s a good option if the drive time is short and if your company culture is OK with extended lunches. If not, consider asking for a longer lunch (stick around to see viable excuses.)

At the end of the day. If you can finish work and leave early, it’s your best bet. You won’t have to worry about the length of the interview or that you still have work to do.

Fireproof Excuses for Asking for Time off of Work

calling out of work for an interview

If you need time off, a good manager won’t ask you for details.

Problem?

If your manager was good, chances are, you wouldn’t be jumping ship.

Below are ten battle-tested excuses for why you need time off:

  • I need time off for a personal matter.
  • I need time off to take care of a time-sensitive issue.
  • I need time off to deal with a sensitive situation.
  • I need to go to the bank.
  • I need to pick a friend from the airport.
  • I have a medical appointment.
  • I have a meeting with my child’s school.
  • I have a house issue (e.g., plumbing, AC).
  • I have a financial planning appointment.
  • I have a major purchase delivery.

What Do You Think?

There you have it.

These are the best tips on how to get out of work for an interview.

Now, how do you go to interviews without raising a red flag? Do you feel guilty for leaving work to do an interview?

Let me know in the comments. I’d love to chat!

See Also: 5 Interview Mistakes That Can Get In The Way of Your Dream Job

The post How to Get Out of Work For An Interview [10+ Fireproof Excuses] appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

6 Perils of Moving In With A Partner (and How to Avoid Them)

Moving in with a partner is a big step for any couple. And for some couples, it can actually spell the end of the relationship as each party finds out things about the other that they’d rather not.

Before you move in together, it’s easy to maintain a bit of illusion — you’re not thrown together all the time, you can keep your finances separate, and you don’t have to deal with arguments over whose turn it is to do the dishes. But once you’re living together, little things can take on huge significance.

Here we explore some common problems faced by couples moving in together and how you can get around them.

Fighting over Finances

moving in with partner

This is probably the single biggest danger to be aware of when you move in with a partner. Ideally, you should probably have a conversation about finances before you move in together.

If one of you has been saving for years, pays all the bills on time and has a clear financial plan, while the other lives from paycheck to paycheck and has thousands in credit card debt, it’s a bit of a recipe for a disaster.

This can lead to arguments and even more pervasive problems such as an overall lack of trust.

So, if you’re about to take the plunge and move in together, it’s time to sit down and have a very serious chat about how you’re going to manage your finances. Whether it’s opening a joint bank account, setting up payment plans and direct debits or simply setting up a household budget, make sure you’re on the same page.

And if you’ve already moved in together and find yourselves fighting over finances, don’t despair. You can still have that conversation and put plans in place to make sure you get things straight. The important thing is to find an arrangement you’re both comfortable with and that is manageable for both of you.

Not Aligning Life Goals

Another big issue that cohabiting couples can face is finding out that they aren’t on the same page when it comes to long-term life plans. One of you wants marriage and kids, the other’s not sure. One of you would like to work abroad, the other can’t bear to be away from family.

The thing is that moving in together is often seen as a step towards marriage and kids. So, even if those things aren’t on the table yet, if you’re thinking about making the commitment, you need to be sure that you both want the same long-term goals.

Losing Your Own Identities

You’ve moved in together because you love each other and want to spend more time together. But let’s face it, even the closest of couples can get frustrated if they’re together all the time. And going from seeing each other maybe a few times a week to seeing each other every single day can be a bit… well, much.

That’s why it’s vital to still have a bit of alone time now and again. If you’ve lived independently for any length of time, you’ll still have your own friends, so keep up with these as much as you can. Make sure you still both do things for yourselves as well as a couple.

You should also recognize when the other needs a bit of space and respect that. You’ll likely find that you naturally end up spending more and more time together.

However, keeping separate lives to a certain extent will allow you to build your own new routine without forcing things. You should also make time together to go on dates and spend time doing things you both love. Don’t lose your identities as individuals or as a couple!

Always Merging Your Interests

Just because one of you loves nothing more than a ten-mile run on a Saturday morning, it doesn’t mean you both need to get those sneakers on. Likewise, if you enjoy a good Peaky Blinders binge session but your partner’s more of a Game of Thrones fan, you don’t have to suddenly know everything there is to know about the politics of Westeros.

If you had a particular set of interests before you moved in, you should try and maintain at least some of these. On the other hand, you may find new hobbies and interests to pursue as a couple through living together! Tuscan cookery class for two, anyone?

See Also: 6 Hobbies For Couples That Can Strengthen Your Relationship

Not Accentuating the Positive

When you’re suddenly thrown together all the time, those little quirks that you once found endearing in your partner can suddenly become infuriating. Maybe they never put their socks in the laundry basket. Maybe they insist on loudly singing show tunes when they’re doing housework. Or maybe they’re just so incredibly stubborn that they’ll happily argue chalk is cheese until the end of time.

Whatever annoys you about your other half, you can guarantee they’ll have a list just as long about you. So, pick your battles. Figure out what you can live with and what really drives you both nuts.

Then, talk about it to find a way that you can manage each other’s little foibles. Also, try and focus more on the things you love about each other. It could be how your partner always leaves little notes for you or how he or she will give you a back rub after a tough day without being asked. You’ll find that this makes the annoyances a little bit easier to cope with.

Arguing Over Chores

moving in

If there’s one thing my husband and I argue about more than any other, it’s housework. It’s not the most fun thing in the world, but it needs to be done. And if you’re cohabiting, then you both need to accept your fair share of the burden.

Talk to your partner about what you each expect and what each of you really loathes doing. Maybe you hate doing the dishes but your partner is fine with it. In which case, you can do the cooking or the vacuuming. Alternatively, take turns in doing different chores.

A major cause of arguments can be if one partner is tidier than the other. If that’s the case, you need to come to some sort of arrangement where the tidy partner is not constantly picking up after the untidy one. Try and do a bit of tidying every day to keep things at a manageable level or have a blitz every weekend. Do whatever works for you. Alternatively, if all else fails and you’ve got the budget for it, hire a cleaner!

Final Thoughts

The underlying theme behind all of these issues is communication. It’s vital to communicate with your other half to make sure that you’re both happy with any arrangements, bank accounts, chore rotas or long-term relationship goals.

Remember to keep talking. Make time for each other and always remember why you love each other in the first place. Happy cohabiting!

The post 6 Perils of Moving In With A Partner (and How to Avoid Them) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Ace Your College Exams: Tips On How to Study for A Test In College

You’ve worked hard to get into college and now, you’re faced with a heavier workload than you did in high school. Class participation, assignments, quizzes, presentations, group projects, mid-term exams, and final exams are all challenges you must overcome to finally pass the course.

However, simply passing the course to earn credit hours just enough to get the degree shouldn’t be your goal. You may have observed many college students wondering whether GPA matters. To a great extent, it does matter.

Recruiters often look for people with a degree, but imagine how much of a boost your job application could get if you finished college with an above average GPA. To do that, you need to ace your exams.

Let’s take a look at these tips on how to study for a test in college.

Clear eyes and full hearts can’t lose

That’s Coach Taylor’s catchphrase from the iconic show Friday Night Lights. He led his team of high school football players through inspiration.

Without having a clear picture of why you’re pursuing a college degree and what finishing with a good GPA will get you, you’ll find it hard to do your best. Think of your motivations and imagine yourself as the successful professional or businessperson you will be after you’re done studying.

Know that even if you are doing everything right, success is not guaranteed. But, without doing everything right, success is definitely elusive.

Clear eyes (always stay away from drugs and alcohol under 21), full hearts (be sincere to yourself and others) and you can’t lose!

Focus

study for a test in college

When you’re in class and when you’re studying, resist the temptation to look at irrelevant stuff on your phone and laptop. Snapchat, IG, and Facebook can wait. Funny dog videos on YouTube will still be there when you’re free. Your friends will understand that you are busy when your textbooks are open in front of you.

Carefully listen to the professor in class and get through your academic tasks when in your own space. Just like how a physically fit person never compromises their time in the gym, you can’t let anything else interfere with your studying!

Take notes

It may be obvious, but relying on the professor’s PowerPoint slides isn’t enough. You have to take meticulous notes and place a special mark on points you feel like exploring further later in your own time.

Pay special attention to the unique aspects of the lecture which you won’t find in your textbook or online. The class instructor may also be dropping hints about the exam, so keep your ears open!

Take small breaks

It’s important to give yourself a rest after a while.

For example, if you’ve studied for an hour non-stop, it’s time to take a 15-minute break. Call a friend, talk to your family, play with your pet or check your social media. You deserve it!

Refreshing your mind is important to avoid burnout.

See Also: What Is The Best Time To Study According To Your Peak Mental Productivity?

Participate in group studies

Some people study better on their own while others study better with their classmates.

Participating in a group study is helpful if there are too many lectures to cover for the exam. Each member of the study group may impart value to the group by sharing their knowledge, skills, and their unique perspective.

Academic researchers have found study groups to be an effective method of preparing for exams. Group dynamics affect the learning curve, making it less steep. It allows students to question each other and have concepts explained in easy-to-understand language.

Besides the academic help you can get and give, the group can be a source of emotional support, particularly in dealing with the pressures of college life.

Use online resources

No matter which field of knowledge you’re pursuing, the internet is a treasure chest of useful information for you. Find credible websites through Google to delve deeper into topics. Usually, for any specific keywords, the websites near the top are authoritative resources on the subject.

Many printed textbooks have case studies or information boxes urging students to read more online. Check out those resources as they are directly relevant to your subject.
Your university may have also provided you access to academic journal search engines such as JSTOR.

Make the best use of them by checking out what academic researchers had to say on the subject. You can impress your professor by referencing these published researches in your papers and exams.

Have a good internet connection

studying for a test in college

You have to submit assignments online and you have to check your student email. You have to write your papers after extensive research. For all those tasks, you need a reliable and fast internet connection.

Students today are usually drowning in debt, making it hard for them to secure a decent a internet connection. That’s why it’s imperative to find the best internet deals in your zip code.

Know the syllabus

Remember that sheet of paper you got in the first class you attended which had the course information and syllabus on it? If you didn’t keep it or even refer to it once since the course started, that’s a sign you’re not giving it your all.

Why? Because you can’t revise the entire syllabus without having it in front of you!

When you’re preparing for an exam, you should have the syllabus in front of you to make sure you’ve covered every topic.

Talk to last semester’s students

Do you know anyone who took the same course with the same professor last semester?

Seek them out and ask them what was on the exam. Often times, they will tell you in detail what the questions on the exam were. Many of the same concepts will appear on the tests when it’s your turn to do the exam.

Don’t take just one student’s word for it though. Each may have a personal positive or negative bias about the instructor. Try to talk to multiple people who were in the same class last semester and prepare extra hard for concepts they all said were on the exam.

Consult with the professor

The professors have office hours dedicated to meeting with students. It could be through appointment or a walk-in session.

When speaking with your professor, simply talk about the course and clear any confusions regarding the academic material.

Try to see the course instructor in the office at least 2 to 3 times per semester. If they can put a face to the name and they know you’re trying, they’re likely to give you a better grade.

Good Luck With Your Exams!

Just give it your best shot. Follow these tips on how to study for a test in college and you will most likely end up with a decent grade.

See Also: Ultimate Success Tips For College Students

The post Ace Your College Exams: Tips On How to Study for A Test In College appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Deal With Pests: A Quick Guide

Las Vegas is known as the Sin City. It’s a home for gamblers and showgirls and a place where you can find a variety of Elvis’ lookalike.

However, it’s not all fun in this part of the globe since there are pests that can ruin the fun. We’re talking of desert creatures that will interact unexpectedly and inflict potential harmful and annoying bites and stings to its victim.

With increases in rainfall in Las Vegas at the start of the year, pest activity is likely to thrive. Find out which creepy crawlers call Las Vegas valley their home and how to deal with pests.

Deadly Scorpions

how to cope with different types of pest

Las Vegas summer is the birthing season of scorpions. These creatures just love the desert heat.

A scorpion sting is painful and itchy. You’ll need to put an ice pack on the affected area for relief.

Go directly to the ER if a victim experiences the following:

  • Puffiness
  • Soreness
  • Fever
  • Extreme pain
  • Increased heartbeat rate or blood pressure
  • Struggles in breathing
  • Muscle weakness and twitching
  • Numbness

Bring the body of the scorpion with you so that the staff will know what anti-venom to apply. As a protective measure, sweep the areas in your home or trap the scorpions.

Infesting Cockroaches

During cold months, cockroaches hibernate and adults emerge at the slightest heat source. Cracks and crevices in the house serve as breeding grounds as well as entry points.

They scavenge for food, mostly spoiled and discards, and water and trip to places that you can’t imagine. All the germs, bacteria, and grime are brought to your place when they visit.

They bite with a stinging pain. Although it’s not alarming, swelling, unbearable pain or puffiness should encourage you to see your doctor.

So, how to deal with pests like them?

Improve sanitation, declutter, and eliminate sources of food and water. The application of cockroach killers can help eliminate a roach infestation, too.

Pesky Ants

During summer months, ant colonies grow and their numbers multiply.

The presence of an ant trail is a nuisance. When they are hunting for food and water, their trail will most likely end in your things.

Although they are small, some ants pack a mean and destructive punch. They can inject venom with their bites, producing a burning sensation and blisters.

There are ways to stop ants from coming in like sprinkling boric acid or flour at entry points. You can use vinegar, pepper or the juice from citrus fruits.

Dangerous Spiders

how to cope with different pests

Male spiders trek buildings and homes for food and insects. They do it to find female partners, too.

Las Vegas is home to the Black Widow whose bite is potentially harmful. You won’t notice the bite until you see it, and it’s not painful at first. However, the venom can cause pain, cramping, and spasms within the hour.

Wash the area with soap and water, apply a cold compress to reduce puffiness, and take a sedative if needed. If pains or cramping are serious, go the ER.

There are natural ways to get rid of spiders like using eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemon peel, and vinegar. They don’t like the smell of these.

These summer, fun-ruining pests may have you scratching some imaginary itch, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what nature has to offer in sunny Las Vegas. You just have to know how to deal with pests.

See Also: Top 5 Things To Do In Las Vegas

The post How To Deal With Pests: A Quick Guide appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Contain An Oozing Toxic Situation In Your Life

Imagine a container of toxic waste that is oozing out at the top. It is almost boiling over and the lid is barely hanging on.

Wouldn’t you do anything to stop it? Even from a distance?

Once we recognize that a situation is out of control, we should step back, reexamine, and reassess the situation. As much as possible, we shouldn’t start lying to avoid conflict.

Call It Ground Hog Lie Day with A Sprinkle Of Deja Vu

Here is a simple example:

Have you ever told a lie to your friends and it got worse? Suddenly, you have to tell another lie to cover that one up.

I had a friend who told a lie. She made up a story to her boss and said she couldn’t go to work because she was sick. She spent the next few days telling them the same story. After awhile, they told her she might be too contagious and couldn’t come back without a doctor’s note.

The lie she told had spilled in so many directions. She had to cover one lie with another lie. It started to affect her income because she was out for more than a week and her future employment at the job hanged in the balance.

avoiding conflict

It got so bad that she had to fake a doctor’s note. Eventually, she decided to go to a doctor and see if she could get a note explaining her “illness”.

The point is this could have been prevented at the beginning. It could have been more contained. Instead, it got out of control.

Some situations get worse and worse if we let them go. It can be too late!

The same thing happened to me. I got a DUI, went through two trials, and was convicted. It took three years of court cases and appeals to end the case. And that equals three years of anxieties.

Then, during a court appearance, I didn’t go. Instead, I ran away.

A warrant was issued for me. I told my roommates and they told me I couldn’t stay there. I lost my fingerprint card for my job as well.

It became hard to find a job. I ran from place to place and I lost my car for an extremely long time.

This could have all been handled better. What could have been a six-month problem became a 3-year issue. It would have been simple for me if I just took the classes and paid what fees I could. Not trying to whine or make you feel sorry for me, I’m just illustrating how everybody goes through difficult moments.

How we handle adversity in our lives becomes our defining moments.

Toxic Begins To Spread Fast

The toxic situation had spilled into every area of my life and eventually, I had to stop it.

So, my suggestion to anyone else is minimize the damage before it spreads to every area of your life.

Ask yourself:

How can I stop this virus from spreading?

What is your containment plan? Do you just put on a detox suit and walk away? Where will it spill if you just ignore it?

Stop It Before You Become A Zombie, Too

lie to avoid conflict

Where did the spillage begin and what stage is it in? Is it just beginning to spread or has it been contaminating for awhile?

Get help from others. Tell someone when things start to get out of control.

Stop the lies if you did it and come clean. Do it before it affects everyone around you.

There was this horror movie several years ago called Cabin Fever. In the movie, everyone in the town drank and bathed in polluted water until their bodies disintegrated.

They did not contain the situation or realize how bad it was until their limbs literally came off.

Time For That Painful Road of Self Admission

Save yourself and those around you from melting away because of your mistakes and lies. That is a little dramatic but the point needs to be reiterated.

Instead of lying to avoid conflict, save yourself by dealing with the issue. It gives you a better chance of keeping the rest of yourself and those around you intact.

The post How To Contain An Oozing Toxic Situation In Your Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Improve Your Academic Essay Writing Skills

For many students, the thought of writing essays brings along the unique challenge of making sure that it’s better than the last one (or at least just as good as that last A+ essay). But, writing essays regularly can cause you to fall into a rut and use the same formula over and over.

How do you improve your essay writing skills? You can work to hone your skills on your own, or you can use the services of an excellent essay writer to help. If you’re strapped for cash, honing your services can be a more cost-effective option, and we’ll outline steps you can take below.

Make an Outline

how to improve your academic essay writing skill

One of the best things you can do to improve your writing is create an outline. This is important because it helps you organize your thoughts on what you want to say in your essay. A basic outline will help you narrow down your paper’s thesis and create an argument with strong points. Your outline will include an introduction with the thesis, the body with separate paragraphs that support the thesis, and a conclusion that connects all of your points. Ideally, you want at least three solid points to support your thesis.

Use the Correct Vocabulary

How you use your language skills is very important, especially when you’re writing academic papers. The entire goal of an academic essay is to persuade people that you are an expert on your paper’s topic. If you use big words just to sound smart without understanding what the words mean, you can misuse them. Also, people know when you use big words to compensate for a weak argument. Lastly, using obscure wording can cloud the clarity level of your argument. Keep this in mind when you pull out your thesaurus to change a word into something more grand.

Get a Great Understanding of Punctuation, Grammar, and Style

Punctuation, grammar, and style are all very important components in your essay if you want your audience to understand your essay and take it seriously. You want to make sure you have a good understanding of pronoun usage, verb and subject agreement, and sentence structure. You also want a very good grasp on the common punctuation forms like commas and periods. Active voice is better than passive voice because it makes you essay stronger. Also, use concise language if it’s possible.

Understand Your Essay’s Argument

When you write your academic essay, make sure that you keep your main argument in mind at all times. It may tempt you to go off on an interesting tangent for your topic, and this can make your writing more convoluted. Before you put any evidence into your essay, ask if it supports your main thesis. If it doesn’t, you should consider excluding it from the essay. You want to source the strongest evidence possible to support your essay’s thesis.

Use the Elevator Pitch Writing Method

An elevator pitch is very popular with salespeople. You want to imagine yourself in an elevator. In the time it takes your elevator to reach your floor, you should have a compelling argument in place to entice a person to read your entire essay. You want to sell your essay’s idea to your reader in a concise summary that leaves them wanting more. It’s difficult because it forces you to be extremely concise in your writing and thinking to hook your audience.

Don’t Forget Your Conclusion

to improve your academic essay writing skills

Your essay should be strong from beginning to end, and a lot of people forget their conclusion. Your conclusion is extremely important because it’s where you tie all of your points together and prove your thesis to your audience. You don’t want to illustrate your introduction again, and you don’t want to copy and paste your thesis. Instead, your conclusion will quickly outline your points and show how they support your thesis. Don’t let your essay get derailed by a weak conclusion.

Vary Your Sentence Structure

You want to have a variety of sentence lengths in your paper to help it flow from one point to another. If you use a lot of short and choppy sentences, it can make your essay seem disjointed. Mix it up and use both short and long sentences throughout your entire essay. Also, keep an eye out for repetitive sentences. They can make it awkward to read your entire essay, as well.

Avoid Slang and Informal Expressions

Your essay should sound polished and academic. It can’t do this if you pack it with informal expressions and slang. This means avoiding everyday vocabulary like “pretty” or “cool.” You want to write in the third person throughout your paper as well. This can help your audience connect to your paper on a greater level, and they’re more likely to read it through from start to finish.

Research Your Subject

No matter if you choose your essay subject or your professor assigns it to you, research is key. Your research will be a foundation for the rest of your essay, and you should be able to find more than enough research to support your topic as a whole. When you lay out your points, make sure there’s research to support them too.

Writing an essay doesn’t have to be a huge issue, and we’ve given you several ways how to improve your essay writing skills. You can take them and incorporate them all into your papers, and this can help you get your points across and create concise, clear, and professional papers.

See Also: 12 Essay-Writing Hacks That Really Work

The post How To Improve Your Academic Essay Writing Skills appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

A Simple Guide to Selling A House in New York State

Are you planning on selling a house in New York state?

Mounting up a “FOR SALE” board or doing online listing is not enough.

If you somehow get buyers with that, you’ll never know if they will agree on the price or if the condition of your property will turn them off.

Poor marketing can slow down the sale of your home. The last thing to worry about is your real estate agent. Selling a house is a stressful process, if not complicated like buying a house.

Adding to your worries, New York’s house market has been sluggish over the years.

From pricing, real estate agents to home improvements, there are many things you need to work over. And these steps will help you out.

Set the Right Price

The common way to price your home is by taking the sale price of similar units in your neighborhood. Then, divide it by the square footage of that property. Once you get the price per square footage, apply it to the dimensions of your property to figure out the market price.

However, it doesn’t mean your home will be sold for the same price as the one in your neighborhood. Other factors also come into play, such as the floor level. Keep in mind that a higher floor apartment is more expensive. Moreover, buyers may consider the new homes in your area that just hit the market.

The optimal solution is that you should assess the market prices of the recently sold homes in your area. Don’t price it way higher as it can repel the budget buyers. Pricing it too low will be a loss, too

Make Improvements for Home Staging

selling a house in new york

Chapped plaster, grimy shower door, dripping faucets, stained toilet seat and broken tiles—these things will turn you off, let alone the home buyers. Therefore, assess your house for remodeling.

Here’s how:

  • Get the imperfections like cracks, leaks and other faults fixed.
  • De-clutter and depersonalize the home by removing old rugs, old furniture, bedding, shoes, trophies, and family photos.
  • Place your furniture rightly to make your home look spacious.
  • Apply some fresh coatings of paint to make your home look new and spacious.
  • Improve the curb appeal by mowing and edging the lawn, trimming the shrubs, replacing old bulbs, painting, and getting replaced posts fixed.

See Also: 5 Practical Home Improvements To Sell A House

Market It Over Social Media

You must have put your home on sale on various listing sites. However, this doesn’t mean that you get buyers’ calls as soon as your post is published. For getting quick results, why not take it to your social media?

This technique can work. Posting it over social media outlets, like Facebook, can give you an instant response as you have hundreds of friends who stay online. Drop the posting of your home a few times a week. Make sure to mention your property. Join the local real estate groups to create a buzz about your home.

Choose the Right Season to Sell Home

Timing also does matter in the sale of your home.

According to several studies and data, the right time to sell a home in New York is around September and November. Spring and summer are usually considered the best season for sellers due to parents waiting until summer to move school-aged kids.

However, nearly half of the New York population has never been married, so their decisions aren’t based on the kid’s schedule. Besides, buyers also purchase a home late in the year to deduct home purchase costs on their taxes.

Work with the Right Realtor

selling house in new york state

Realtors are professionals who know the market better and can help you get the correct price for your property. It is important to choose the right one. Make sure the agent has a wealth of experience in the industry and a proven track record as well.

Here’s how:

  • Interview them to know their experience, marketing techniques, and strategies.
  • Contact their past clients.
  • Talk about their commissions.

These tips will help you start selling a house in New York state fast and at the right price.

To conclude, price your home right, market it right, make some improvements, and team up with an efficient real estate agent. What do you think?

Let us know by commenting below.

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Sleep Hacking: How to Optimize Your Sleep for Success

We spend a significant portion of our lives sleeping. Recharging, dreaming, and restoring are parts of everyone’s life no matter where you live or who you are. So, why do so many of us struggle with our sleep? And how can we change the way we think about sleep for success?

‘Sleep hacking’ has become a buzzword in the world of startups and entrepreneurship.

Essentially, sleep hacking is where you try to streamline your sleeping pattern. By reducing the time spent falling asleep and reducing the amount of sleep in general, you can free up some crucial hours in the day… well, crucial for those that run multiple businesses or have demanding careers.

But there is consternation when it comes to sleep hacking.

Is it advisable? Is it good for you?

We’re going to explore this subject a bit more and see if we can answer some of those questions.

Famous Sleep Hackers

Some of the most famous people in the world have had unusual and demanding sleep patterns.

Is this really feeding into their success? Or is it an unnecessary measure against a busy schedule?

After all, sleeping well is incredibly important for performance and even dreaming can be extremely illuminating. Some of the world’s greatest creators, inventors, and innovators have had world-changing ideas in their sleep.

So, who among us is able to get by on very little sleep? Some famous ‘sleep hackers’ include:

  • Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO. Jack splits his time between two of his startups, Twitter and Square. This means he can spend up to 20 hours a day at work. Jack gets by on four to six hours of sleep a night.
  • Marissa Meyer, Yahoo CEO. Marissa can often work up to 130 hours a week, leaving just 5 hours a night to sleep.
  • Barack Obama, Former US President. Obama’s presidential schedule only allowed for six hours of sleep a night. And when you’re running the largest economy in the world, that sleep is very liable to be interrupted by a myriad of crises.
  • Martha Stewart, President of Martha Stewart Omnimedia. As the president of a media company that’s responsible for four major publications and more, Martha was often reduced to just four hours of sleep a night.
  • Nikola Tesla, Famous Inventor. A man who truly changed the world, Nikola Tesla’s diary suggests that he would sleep as little as two hours a night.
nikola tesla sleep hacking
Via interestingengineering.com

Sleep Hacking and Your Health

While it’s ideal to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, the idea of sleeping just half of that seems preposterous. The reality is we’re all wired up differently when it comes to sleep.

Some of us will really feel sleeping less than 8 hours of sleep the next day. Some of us can probably get by on around 6 hours without any noticeable difference.

And it is true that 8 hours of sleep is optimum but not essential to everyone. And it’s up to you to figure out if you’re able to cope. Trying to jump in at the deep end and sleeping only 2 hours like Nikola Tesla is very likely to backfire and is not recommended in any way. But you can start phasing down your sleep if sleep hacking is something you think you can do and would benefit from.

The actual benefit of sleep hacking is also key here. For these famous sleep hackers, it’s quite a stretch to say that by having a few extra hours in the day (in some cases just two or three), it’s enabled them to reach the lofty heights they have. And we’re not saying for one second that if you start sleep hacking, you’ll become a famous CEO. There are also plenty of ways to perform better in life while still enjoying 8 hours of good sleep every night.

If you are time-poor, then sleep hacking can create a few extra hours of crucial time for you. But you have to be willing to use that time effectively.

If you know that you really can’t handle that amount of sleep, then you can look at other tactics and changes you can make in your life. Think about your time management and your lifestyle. Maybe a reduction in sleeping hours isn’t what you need, but rather a change in sleeping times.

Are you more productive in the morning? Get up earlier and ride the crest of your productive morning waves.

Are you more of a night owl? See how you can use that to your advantage.

How Can You Start Improving Your Sleep Today?

sleep hacking tip

There are a number of steps you can take to start improving your sleep before you venture into the world of sleep hacking:

Supplements – Supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals is one step on the way to better sleep. Vitamin D, Magnesium, and oils with Omega 3 are your friend here.

Diet – What you eat also ties in to how you sleep. Your brain is the organ with the highest fat content in your body. So, high-quality fats will feed your brain the right way and can help improve your sleep.

Sleeping Position – The way you sleep can make a big difference. For instance, sleeping on your back can create tension on your hips and lower back. It’s also linked to higher instances of sleep paralysis. Sleeping on your side is better and even sleeping at a slight incline can help improve quality, too.

Invest in it – Invest in your sleep with things like a weighted blanket or sleep trackers. There are high-spec apps that can tell you more about your sleep and sleep quality. You spend roughly a third of your life asleep, investing in it is welcome!

Reduce Your Exposure to Light – In a world of screens, the light emanating from them can later affect our sleep, especially when you’re scrolling your timeline in bed waiting to fall asleep. A good rule of thumb is to try and not look at any kind of screen for at least 20 minutes before going to sleep. Another good tip is to go for a walk when you’re done with your phone. Avoid interacting with any kind of screen when you’re back.

Meditation – Mindfulness meditation techniques have been shown to improve sleep. If you can create the right conditions of your sleep and then engage in some mental exercises that allow you to let go of your day and focus on your breath, this can naturally lead to a good, deep sleep.

See Also: Questions and Answers: A Beginners Guide to Meditation

Sleep Cold – Heat wakes up at night and humidity interferes with your sleep. Although a cold shower generally wakes you up, having one before bed isn’t a bad idea to reduce your body temperature. Alternatively, lower the temperature in a room if you can.

While sleep hacking isn’t for everyone, there are definitely some concrete and simple measures you can start enacting today that can help. Another thing to consider is whether your sleep is what you should be focusing on.

Would you be better off streamlining other parts of your life? We would say that looking to reduce your sleep should be one of your final resorts. What good is sleep hacking if you’re going to be tired and well below your full performance capacity all day?

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5 Essential Tips on How to Overcome Burnout in the Workplace

The modern working life is a complicated entity, with as many people thriving as there are those who struggle to get through their daily routine. Whether you’re the former or the latter, the fact is that everyone is susceptible to falling victim to workplace burnout. Learning how to overcome burnout is what sets people apart and falling victim to burnout can easily cause someone to leave a job in some cases.

As such, understanding the root cause and the ways in which to battle workplace burnout are two things which go hand in hand.

How to Tell You’re Suffering

The first step to recovering from burnout is to understand and recognize that you are suffering from it. Although you can’t technically diagnose it, knowing yourself and how you function in the work environment can help you.

Sometimes, burnout can be very subtle, even subtle enough to fool yourself into thinking you’re fine. Ultimately, the biggest indicator of workplace burnout is the consistent dread that comes from being at work. It’s usually paired with apathy as to whether or not you achieve anything in the process of working.

Dread and apathy are the biggest clues that burnout is occurring, so don’t simply ignore them.

Understand Why

The source of burnout can vary massively from person to person. The fact is that one person could experience burnout from too much pressure while another may experience it due to lack of important things to do.

Either type of burnout is valid and the more important part is learning to recognize how the burnout happened in the first place. Once you diagnose its cause, you can start to treat the symptoms and hopefully lead yourself to the cure.

If you can’t find the source of your burnout, then recovering from it can be almost impossible. As with anything, treating the disease at the source is the most effective road to recovery.

Organize Your Time

to overcome burnout

Do you dread going to work every day? Is the idea of getting up in the morning tiring? Is there just too much work to do and not enough time to do it?

Chances are you’re suffering from an organizational problem. After all, the more organized your day becomes, the better you will start to feel about the work ahead of you. You will be able to manage each day a little bit easier.

Learn to Say No

“No” is a powerful word. It can be seen as a negative factor but overall, it can actually be a positive force in your daily working life. After all, too much work and stress can fall on your shoulders, thanks to saying yes far too much.

Saying no can help alleviate the pressure ever so slightly or completely, depending on your current coping methods. For example, if you’re not coping, then saying no can be a massive help to your everyday life.

Having no time for yourself and feeling worn down by both work and your personal life can be overwhelming. This is where learning to say no can become so important. Say no to the extra work, the after-work activity, and giving up your all-important ‘me time’.

Invest in it and you’ll be surprised by how much better you start to feel over a short period of time.

See Also: The Courage To Say No

Sleep More, Work Less

Sleep isn’t a cure-all, but you might be surprised as to the number of ways sleep can work to improve your life or conditions you may be suffering from. One of the easiest ways to exasperate your feeling of burnout is to add a constant sense of fatigue to your daily life.

Tiredness can make work harder to cope with, which leaves you feeling sluggish and makes everything you do in a day harder to achieve. Practicing a good sleep routine is important to alleviate burnout and improve your general health.

And if you have a habit of taking your work home with you, just stop. The fastest way to exhaust yourself is to work throughout the day and then continue when you get home. You need to give yourself a time of day to switch off and relax.

Eat Well and Exercise

overcome burnout

Eating well and exercising should be a simple part of everyday life, but it can also help you recover from everyday burnout and weariness. It gives you something to do every day, which isn’t thinking about your work-related concerns and complications.

Ultimately, a healthy lifestyle can help spill over a new level of positivity into your work life as well. So ensuring that this is the case can be vitally important, especially when you want to try and help yourself recover from burnout. Take healthy lunches to work, exercise before you get into the office everyday, and make sure that you are working toward more positivity in your everyday life.

As a whole, working to recover from burnout can be just as tough as all the things that got you into a burned-out stage in the first place. But, you can’t live your life falling into the same routine that’s causing you a tremendous amount of stress.

Work at giving yourself time and take back control over the factors that caused the burnout. Those are the first things you need to do if you want to know how to overcome burnout.

See Also: How To Avoid Burnout At Your Job

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A Safety Guide For Dental Implants

Every person wants to look competent and confident. The shape of a face mainly depends on the structure and form of the teeth. People have various perceptions about the beauty of a face. Earlier, when medical sciences were not so technologically sound, people used to live with the set of teeth from the time they were born.

Gradually, various inventions took place in the medical sciences. The advanced treatments now help to change the face of a person according to their desires. Various treatments like the use of dentures, braces, and dental implants, among others have been developed over time.

These treatments have helped to fix a lot of problems apart from the usual dental pains. Dental implants, in particular, is one of the most well-established therapies. Nonetheless, it requires regular maintenance and proper care from time to time. So, the patients need to see a doctor after a certain period to keep a healthy dental condition after the dental implants.

What Is A Dental Implant?

dental implants

Dental implants provide support to the teeth. They are surgical components that go deep inside the jaw and supports the dental prosthesis.

The implants help in reconstructing the entire set of teeth very efficiently. They are titanium screws that are inserted in the place of a tooth as it falls from the jaw in a natural process through decay. The screw is placed very carefully in the jawbone for such reason.

Advantages of Dental Implants

There are a lot of benefits to having dental implants. Some of them are:

  • Enhances looks: Dental implants help to improve the facial structure of a person since this is a permanent solution.
  • Better speech: Poor dental sittings often cause mumbling of words. The dental implants help in improving one’s vocal expressions as words spoken are easier to understand.
  • Improve set of teeth: The setting of the teeth gets disturbed if teeth start falling. The dental implants help to improve the context of the teeth and make it as the patients want.
  • Enhances confidence: These implants help to increase one’s self-confidence.
  • Beautiful smile: Dental implants not only help to gain confidence but also possess a charming smile. A great smile helps a person bring out themselves in front of the world.

Safety Rules To Follow

Safety measures are necessary to avoid any problems after dental implants. Some safety rules are as follows:

  • Before the implant, proper dental care is necessary so that the gum is not damaged.
  • One should take care and have healthy food that is good for one’s gums and teeth.
  • Immediately after the surgery, one should be extra careful and take medicine as prescribed by the doctors.
  • Taking good care of the gums after the dental implantation should be the priority.
  • After the dental implantation, one needs to follow the diet as given by the doctor. One should only have that food suggested by the doctor, or else one may suffer from more significant problems.
  • Even after the surgery, one should take proper maintenance of the affected area, if not taken proper care, pain and swelling may occur.
  • One should go for routine checkups from time to time for a long-lasting effect of the dental implantation.
  • After the surgery is over, one should take proper care of their teeth by regular brushing, regular dental checkups, and having fewer sweets.

dental implant advantage

See Also: 9 Dental Health Myths That You Should Stop Believing Now

Dental implantation helps a person have a beautiful smile and gives them the confidence to face the world. It can also make you feel more confident about yourself.

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The Most Devastating Cyber Attack: How to Prevent Ransomware

Large corporations, governments, and even small businesses are always at a high risk of being attacked. Hackers and cybercriminals aim to steal your money no matter who or what you are.  Cyber-attacks have an increase of 235%, according to a report issued by Malware Labs in 2019.

Malware, Man-In-The-Middle, and phishing are some of the most common types of cyber attacks, but which could be more destructive? The answer is ransomware.

Ransomware is on the rise in the cyber world. It is a type of malware attack that will steal your data. Criminals will demand ransom to return your data.

In the U.S., Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Baltimore City faced ransomware attacks. These drove smaller businesses, thinking that large corporations and governments are the only targets of a ransomware attack.

The truth, however, is that every business should prepare itself to prevent this attack. Every business needs to know how to prevent ransomware.

Difference between ransomware and other cyber attacks

ransomware

Ransomware doesn’t lack confidential information or personal data to be effective. This distinct behavior makes it different from other cyber attacks. It surfs for data in an organization that is valuable enough for the victim to pay the ransom just to get them back.

Ransomware is a very effective approach of hackers to paralyze an organization. It restricts their access to their information, deliver services, and accept payments. All these obstacles will turn customers of an organization away.

How to Prevent Ransomware

Ransomware can cost a lot to a business so it must prepare itself to combat not only ransomware but all kinds of cyber attacks.

Several best practices businesses should implement to protect themselves from cyber attacks include:

Security Software

Security software is crucial for an organization to detect and deter fraudulent activity. This software should be strong enough to verify activities and detect potential harm to the organization.

If your business is online, then your organization must use an identity verification service. It is an anti-fraud technology for online businesses that can verify your customer and even employees online. It is capable of detecting if someone is pretending to be someone.

Firewall & Intrusion Detection/Protection

Installing a firewall is a crucial security measure and any business should not neglect it. It can deny and allow access to a company network or a part of the network. By restricting access with the help of a firewall, an organization can prevent scammers.

Web & Email Filtering

cyber attack

All efforts of preventing ransomware from getting in the network become useless when an end-user inadvertently opens a malicious email and click a malicious link. For end-users, it is becoming increasingly complex to detect all malicious emails as phishing attempts are becoming more sophisticated.

By email safety awareness training and email filtering for employees, an organization can mitigate the risk. It’s one of the best ways on how to prevent ransomware.

User Education

Users/clients are the most valuable asset of a company. Their protection should be the priority of any organization. An organization should arrange regular awareness programs for users to educate them about malicious links and persons.

See Also: 5 Top Cyber Security Training Tips For Employees

Backup offers the best protection

Taking backup on regular basis can secure you from ransomware. In case you become a victim of ransomware, you can use your previous backup to keep going. Usually, taking backup costs you little to nothing but restoring backup could take days or weeks. It will cost you in labor and downtime to restore and recover your systems to make them fully functional.

Various types of backup, disaster, and threat prevention strategies are circulating in the market and every solution is valuable according to its use. You can protect your business by implementing a solution that mitigates risks attached to your business.

Your IT team or technical department should understand and analyze business deeply to provide and implement the best solution for unique problems. An IT team must identify which type of backups are beneficial for specific organizations and how to restore them more efficiently in less time in case of any critical situation.

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13 Things You Can Do With Your Old Phone

Smartphones are a necessity nowadays but one big setback in using them is that we need to upgrade on a regular basis. The newest technology today can be obsolete in a short year or two. This leads most people to discard their phones, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are still many surprising and creative things you can do with that old phone.

Backup eReaders

eReaders took the world by storm a few years ago, and they’re still immensely popular today. Nooks and Kindles were originally eReaders, and they gave people the ability to carry an entire library around in their bags. You can download an eReader app to your old cell phone. This way, you can travel light and use it as a handy backup.

Sell It

As long as your phone is in good condition and unlocked, you can sell your old phone and turn a profit. Some sites will even buy your old cell phone off you and cut out all of the headaches that come with trying to sell it to another person. They might even give you a shipping label to send it to them for free.

Alarm or Sleep Tracker

Even if you don’t pay for service for your old device anymore, you can still get plenty of use out of it. For starters, it works well as an additional alarm in the mornings. You can also download sleep tracker apps and let it run while you sleep. It’ll give you data when you wake up after it analyzes how you slept.

VR Headset

You’ve most likely watched commercials where people strap their iPhones to a VR headset and have fun playing games in virtual reality. You can turn your old phone into your very own VR headset!

If you don’t want to go all out and purchase an expensive setup, there are alternatives. You can download a series of apps to get started with your VR session.

Camera for Your Kids

Good smartphones typically have close to the same resolution as you get on most ordinary point and shoot cameras. You can also edit whatever photos you take and upload them to your computer. You can give this camera phone to your kids to hone their skills on and play with. It’s an excellent introductory tool to get your kids into photography and editing.

Home Security

It’s relatively easy to turn your own cellphone into a home security system. Start by downloading the Skype app on your old phone and setting it to accept video calls. Next, find an area in your home that has a good view of the entire room. Turn it on and leave it when you go. You can video call it while you’re out and check up on everything.

Donate It

There are several fantastic programs out there that accept used cellphones and tablets. You can donate it, and the company will send it to places like emergency shelters and deployed soldiers. They even help with emergency talk time each month so the recipients can get the most out of them.

Keep it for Emergencies

Even if you canceled your old plan but kept your phone, you can use it in emergencies. By law, every cellphone has to have the ability to call emergency services regardless of whether or not it is active or not. You can toss it in your car in case you have an accident, or put it in your purse. Just make sure that it’s always charged.

Entertainment

Even your older cellphones have a lot of storage space. You can easily turn this phone into a miniature entertainment center. Download eBooks, audiobooks, mp3s, relaxation apps, or anything else you can think of. Since it’s not technically on, it won’t compete with phone calls or texts for storage space or interruptions.

Baby Monitor

Baby monitors are expensive, and they can be complicated to set up. However, downloading a simple app can turn your old cellphone into a wireless baby monitor. When it connects to your Wi-Fi, it’ll send an alert to your current cellphone and alert you when your baby starts to wake up. The app will even let you talk through it and soothe your baby back to sleep.

DIY GoPro

These cameras retail for hundreds of dollars each, but you can make your own using your old cellphone. To start, it has to be able to record video. You also have to find something to strap it onto. But, there are a lot of phone mounting systems you can use. Simply mount it, switch it on, and you have a first-person point of view camera that’ll record whatever you want.

Create a Digital Photo Frame

Just because your phone isn’t working anymore doesn’t mean that it has to sit and collect dust. You can use apps to live stream your favorite selection of photos. Just prop your cellphone up somewhere where everyone can see it, start your photos, and enjoy the show.

Turn it Into an Apple TV Remote

If you have an iPhone and an Apple TV, you can turn your old iPhone into a remote for your Apple TV. All you have to do is pull up the Apple TV remote, download it, and connect it to your television over the internet. Just make sure you charge it because it will die after a few days.

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How To Change A Flat Tire And Other Important Car Tips

Driving and owning your own car means that there is one skill you totally should have up your sleeve, and that’s how to change a flat tire. Purchasing a quality tire brand like Cooper Tires helps to ensure better safety on the road for you and your loved ones, but knowing the steps in changing a flat tire will also equip you to handle emergencies and keep you out of potentially unsafe situations.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to help you through the process of changing a flat tire.

Step One: Find a Safe Location

If you’re driving and realize you have a flat, slowly reduce your speed and scan the area for a level and straight stretch of road. Never pull over on a narrow shoulder, and make sure to get a safe distance off the road.

Step Two: Turn on Your Hazards

Switch on your hazard lights as soon as you realize you have a flat. Turning on these lights will let drivers around you know that something is wrong. Pull over to your safe stretch of road and put on your parking brake. Turn your car off.

Step Three: Apply Wheel Wedges

Wheel wedges are bricks, pieces of wood, or stone that go behind your tires to ensure your vehicle doesn’t move. If it’s a flat front tire, put these wedges behind your rear tires. Place them behind your front tires if it’s a flat back tire.

Step Four: Remove the Wheel Cover or Hubcap

Most vehicles come with a wheel cover or hubcap covering the lug nuts. It’s easier to take it off before you jack up your car. If you don’t have any, you can skip to the next step. The flat edge of your lug wrench can usually slip between your tire and hubcap to pop it off.

Step Five: Loosen the Lug Nuts

Get your lug wrench and use it to turn your lug nuts counterclockwise. You may have to use force to break the resistance and get them turning. You may have to use all your body weight or your foot to get them to loosen. Next, turn each lug nut between a quarter and a half of a turn. Don’t remove them until you’re ready to remove the tire.

Step Six: Put the Jack Under Your Vehicle

Your jack should go under your vehicle’s frame next to the flat tire. A lot of vehicle frames have a cleared area of exposed metal and a molded plastic area specifically for the jack to help avoid damaging the car when you lift it up. Maneuver your jack until it’s under this area.

Step Seven: Raise Your Vehicle

Ideally, you should place a small two by six piece of wood beneath the jack before you raise your vehicle. This helps to prevent the vehicle from coming off the jack when the jack settles until the weight of the car. Slowly raise your car until the flat tire is around six inches above the ground.

Step Eight: Unscrew the Lug Nuts

You want to take time and remove all of the lug nuts. You should be able to unscrew them by hand and take them completely off. Don’t lose any!

Step Nine: Remove the Flat Tire

Get a good grip on your tire by holding on to the treads. Gently pull it toward you until you feel it come off of the hub. Set it on its side, so it doesn’t roll into traffic. If you have trouble, the below method can help you loosen it.

Step Ten: Mount the Spare Tire

Get your replacement tire and line it up with the lug bolts and the rim. Gently push it onto the rim until you can see the lug blots through the tire’s rim.

Step Eleven: Tighten the Lug Nuts with Your Hand

Put all of your lug nuts back onto the lug bolts before you tighten them as much as you can by hand. When you get them all on, double check and tighten them again if you find that they’re still loose.

Step Twelve: Lower the Car

Lower the vehicle all the way, and get your lug wrench and tighten all of the lug nuts by turning clockwise.

Step Thirteen: Replace the Hubcap and Pack Up

If your hubcap fits with your spare, put it back on. If it doesn’t, store it with your tire. Put everything in your car before you leave. , You should take your car to a technician to ensure the lug nuts are fully tightened and while there, have the flat tire inspected to see if it can be fixed.

Four Tips on How to Keep Tires in Safe and Good Condition

There are simple things you can do to keep your tires in tip top shape. Check out these 4 simple car care tips.

Tip One: Check Your Tire Pressure Each Month

Tires can lose about one pound of air per square inch each month. In colder weather, it’s even more. Make a point to know the optimal amount of air your tires should hold, and check them each month.

Tip Two: Rotate

You want to maintain your tread on your tires and get the maximum life out of them. To do this, have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Tip Three: Replace Your Tires Regularly

Don’t wait until the steel radials are poking through your tires to replace them. Turn a penny upside down and stick it between your tire’s tread. If you can’t see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head, you’re okay. If you can see it, it’s time to replace.

Tip Four: Don’t Buy Mismatched Tires

Mismatched tires can cause your vehicle to handle incorrectly. It can also cause odd wear on the other three tires, so they wear out faster. Instead, buy the same type of tires that match the tires you currently have.

If you have to replace a tire, experts say you should replace all 4 at once. However, if you can only purchase two new tires at a time, be sure to have the two new tires installed on the back—for both front and rear-wheel drive vehicles.

Cooper® provides tips and maintenance information on their website as well, along with information on the right tire for your car.

Original research for article conducted by author. Thanks to Cooper Tires for providing additional resources.

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The Most Common Fears in America and How You Can Overcome Them

The word “fear” often bears a very negative connotation. It’s seen as an emotional response that holds us back, puts us on edge, and breeds discomfort. At its core, though, fear is actually a force of good. It’s a biological response that keeps us safe whenever we perceive danger.

So, while fear gets a bad wrap, it’s more of a misnomer than anything. A true frivolous fright is called a “phobia”.

A recent survey conducted by Sofary revealed the most common phobias and anxieties that plague American minds. Since the first step towards getting over your fears is understanding where they come from, we’re going to break down a few of Sofary’s findings. Then, we’ll explore the thought processes behind frequent phobias to debunk their spookiness.

Fear of the dark

fear of the dark

As children, 50% of people said were afraid of the dark and many more feared being home alone or seeing ghosts and a terrifying monster lurking under the bed. For the majority of Americans, these scary thoughts led to recurring nightmares or dependence on a parent or guardian to soothe their worries.

Did you know that being afraid of the dark, or nyctophobia, is actually thought to be an evolutionary phobia?

In the wild, predators typically hunt at night. This caused experts to believe that the human brain has come to perceive darkness as inherently dangerous.

Since this phobia can sometimes lead to impaired sleep, there are a number of known treatments therapists use to improve the lives of people struggling with it.

The most common one is exposure therapy, proving through experience that there is nothing worrisome lurking in the dark. Relaxation techniques, like deep breathing and exercise, can also ease the transition into sleep.

Fear of clowns

fear of clowns

On a scale from 1 to 10, certain childhood phobias ranked consistently high for both genders. While female respondents were much more scared of dogs than males and the inverse applied to a phobia of kidnapping, both sexes listed clowns (and ghosts) as a highly disturbing fear.

Coulrophobia stems from the fact that clowns’ faces are always made to look
cheerful. On top of that, according to Freud, things that are familiar but slightly distorted (or “uncanny”) can come across as fearsome, which toys with our minds.

To effectively face this fear, try attending a circus or show and sitting at a safe distance from the stage. This way, you can get comfortable with the fact that the object of your fear can’t harm you. You can also watch an online video of a professional clown applying their makeup to better understand the process.

It’s a good reminder that the art of clowning is simply entertainment!

Fear of spiders

fear of spiders

As adults, the most common fear among Sofary’s surveyed population was spiders or bugs. It accounted for 33% of women and 31.3% of men.

A nearly identical number of people said they were afraid of natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. And just about twice the number of women find the idea of being home alone or kidnapped compared to men spooky.

The feeling of wanting to jump out of your skin at the sight of eight-legged creepy crawlies is called arachnophobia. Like nyctophobia, scientists believe that a fear of spiders is an evolutionary response for humans since some species are poisonous and can make you very ill.

Overcoming arachnophobia can start with something as simple as a Google search. Do a little reading and you’ll find that it’s rare for spiders to bite at all!

Plus, out of the 63,000 spider species in the world, just 2% are actually dangerous, making it highly unlikely that you’ll run into one that can cause you harm.

When it comes to facing your irrational fears, knowledge is power. Push past your worries with research and familiarization. More often than not, you’ll quickly begin to realize that danger is not always lurking around the corner.

The post The Most Common Fears in America and How You Can Overcome Them appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Incredible Little-Known Canva Hacks That Will Surely Surprise You

If you are a startup struggling to establish your brand’s identity, visual communication skills might just be your greatest asset for success. But for the person not necessarily seeking the services of a professional graphic designer, we always prepare pro design tips to set you off just like an expert.

Secret Canva Pro Hacks

In this digital age, there is no denying the importance of well-structured, thoughtful designs.

That’s probably the reason why you often find yourself staring at a blank Canva platform, waiting for inspiration to strike. Some of the questions running through your head being, where to start and whether or not your visual content will be relevant to your target audience.

While we know that kicking off with the design project is the hardest part, it is always important to remember that all of us are capable of creating breathtaking designs, especially with a little help from the experts.

Buckle up buttercup. We have deconstructed Canva to prepare these super incredible hacks that are sure to help up your Canva game.

Unlimited free stuff

canva hack

If you have been using Canva, you probably know that searching for something using the search button loads out both free items and those limited by the in-app purchases feature.
And let’s face it, no one wants to go faffing around with the $ items before getting a feel of the free stuff first.

Ohhh, here comes a goody.

You can get the premium stuff out of your way by just pasting these secret codes on the search button (indicated by the mouse pointer).

>>>Secret code 1: brand:BAAAAP7rQ8M
>>>Secret code 2: brand:BAAMOuJH0Ec

All the pre-set templates can be altered to meet the exact needs of your brand

canva pro

If you are a little edgy when it comes to getting things done with your computer, you could find yourself scrolling and scrolling for hours looking for a template or image directly matched with your campaign. Well, if you have been using Canva and going through the same fate, it comes to an end now!

Every single element of a template or image on Canva can be altered. So, if you like the layout but don’t like the general appearance in terms of the text or colors, you can edit all these elements to your liking.

If you see a plain tea party invite but would like to add a lively vibe to it or probably had a professional coffee talk in mind, you can totally change that as illustrated above.

Get some inspiration from completed designs

canva inspiration

To give their designs a contemporary feel, professional graphic designers are not always seeking to start from scratch. They often seek inspiration from what’s already there.

Whether it’s an image or just a simple font style you stumble upon, consider using it as a base.

Having your inspiration right there when you need it is the best feeling ever. You can always use it as a springboard for an even better result.

Canva is one of those tools with a dedicated inspiration section but undiscovered by many. Right there on the homepage, you will find inspiration-rich photo collages to help set off your imagination.

A text box in a fraction of a second

canva text box

Another goody that we use frequently — perhaps our favorite. Now, it’s pretty absurd to go the long route to get the Canva Text Box.

What you folks need to do is just hit T on your keyboard and voila, a Text Box in less than a second!

Move elements freely with secret keyboard shortcuts

canva shortcuts

It can be really frustrating when you just want to shift the position of an element either up or down but end up expanding it in a different direction (as illustrated in the image below).

Well, here are some keyboard shortcuts that will make you squeal with excitement.

You can lift an element to the front or push it back by using the CTRL+ Up/Down Keys or the CMD (Command) + Up/Down Keys. Alternatively, you can hold down the shift button as you try to move the element with your mouse. This will instantly make the held image free, enabling you to move it up and down as you like.

Grids for neat and orderly designs

canva designs

If you like flawless, neat, and orderly visuals, guiding grid lines are just the way to go. Just hit CTRL + or CMD +, and reference grid lines will be brought up across your design.

So, there you have it. These secret hacks will have you design better visuals and infographics faster and more accurately — just like a pro.

The post Incredible Little-Known Canva Hacks That Will Surely Surprise You appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Learning How To Cook Again

More than a quarter of Americans don’t know how to cook, but why?

Today, our lives are busier than they have been since the industrial revolution and convenience trumps health and budget every day of the week. As a result, people spend more on restaurants than at grocery stores and have for several years now.

Kids are learning how to order takeout instead of how to cook and teenagers are opting to become YouTube stars rather than flipping burgers. It’s no wonder so many people just don’t know how to cook. Fortunately, there are apps and gadgets for cooking that can help you in making meals at home.

Food Safety Often Isn’t Taught At Home

food safety

If you ask the average home cook what internal temperature you should cook various meats on, chances are they would not even know that’s an issue.

Today, there are instructions for safe cooking right there on the packages of chicken meat in the grocery store. But who reads instructions anymore?

Working in a fast food restaurant as a teenager has long been the only introduction to proper food handling procedures many people get, but most people are skipping that life experience altogether these days. Some cookbooks cover this, but most people skip right to the recipe they want to cook and skip learning the basic techniques.

Gadgets Can Help Keep You Safe

We all have that one bottle of ketchup in the back of the fridge that has been there since the Regan administration, but we don’t throw it out because does ketchup even go bad? Fortunately, there are gadgets like the Days Ago Tracker that help you know just how long ago you opened it so you know when it’s time to throw it out.

Do you cook chicken to 160 and beef to 140 or is it the other way around? Knowing internal cooking temperatures for a variety of foods isn’t always at the top of the list for home cooks. The Range Dial Grill Pro can help you figure out the safe cooking temperatures of a variety of meats, helping you to avoid food-borne illnesses.

Apps Can Help You Learn New Techniques

Learning to cook is mostly about learning to follow a process rather than learning individual recipes. Once you learn certain techniques, you can apply them to other recipes. Before you know it, you’re already a great cook.

There are some great apps out there that can help you learn these techniques and build on the skills you have already learned.

Project Foodie is probably one of the best examples of this. Celebrity Chef Daniel Holzman walks you through step-by-step instructions on video so you can see, hear, and follow along. That’s something cookbooks won’t give you.

The app can also help you build a shopping list and adjust the recipe for different serving sizes and number of servings.

project foodie
Via itunes.apple.com

Once you have some basic techniques down, you can start using Chef Tap to collect recipes. That way, when you see something you want to try, you can organize it in one place. Then, when you’re ready to try a new recipe, Chef Tap can help you build a shopping list which you can access from anywhere.

Learning The Basics of Cooking Can Be Fun

Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore. Learning the basics from video tutorials of celebrity chefs can actually be a lot of fun. Once you have the basics down, you can build upon them, opening up new culinary possibilities.

If you don’t know how to cook, now’s the time to get started. You can always use a refresher on the basics, especially when it comes to safety.

We all know we are supposed to wash our hands before cooking, but what about after handling raw food, including vegetables? And is it safe to use a marinade after you’ve taken the meat out of it?

Many of us knew the answer at one time but we may not remember until someone gets sick.

Learn more about tech and gadgets to help you cook from the infographic below.

This infographic brought to you by KitchenByte

The post Learning How To Cook Again appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Fund Your Holiday of A Lifetime

We all have a place in the world that we want to visit more than anywhere else. Usually, it’s a far-flung place, steeped in history and a culture that is the complete opposite to our own.

The one problem though is funding it. Holidays of a lifetime don’t come cheap and if you want to enjoy the most memorable of experiences, you’re not going to be able to scrimp.

There are many ways in which you can fund the ultimate getaway- from innovative ways to make money to playing the lottery and crossing your fingers.

Here’s our guide on how to save money for dream vacation.

Find The Best Value Credit Card

how to choose the best credit card

Credit cards are the most common way of funding a huge trip. Booking flights and accommodation by credit card is not only sensible in terms of finance but will also cover you more should anything happen to your booking.

Many of us just use the credit card we’ve got and don’t make the most of 0% interest offers or cards that offer travel rewards.

There are tons of great cards out there that’ll help to cut the cost of your travels. And paying on a 0% card makes good sense if you plan on paying the card off within the period the card is offering it.

You’ll find some great no interest credit cards on the market, perfect for high-value payments.

It’s well worth exploring if you’re planning on paying with a credit card. After all, nobody wants to be paying huge amounts of interest.

Secure a Loan

Another option is to secure a loan. If you can similarly get one with low-interest rates, it really can be a worthwhile move.

At various stages in our life, there are things we need to do. If it’s before you settle down with children, for example, a loan can give you that opportunity. It gives you the chance to pay your holiday back at a reasonable rate.

It’s an option many take but it can be difficult to acquire if you have bad credit. You also must be sure you can afford the monthly payments. Otherwise, you could end up in trouble.

Review Your Finances

start business budget

It’s likely we’re all paying more than we should be in one way or another, whether that be on our utility bills or the gym membership we haven’t used in over six months.

There are dozens of ways in which you can cut your daily running costs, and you really can save hundreds of dollars in the process.

One of the best ways to do this is by looking at utility bills and deciding whether you could save by switching provider. In some cases, you could cut costs by £300 which is a significant chunk in flight or accommodation costs.

Other methods include changing the way you travel to work, cutting branded products in your weekly shop, and selling anything you have wasted capital in.

Create a Plan

First and foremost, you should create a plan and map out your finances.

You’ll find this more helpful than anything else as it’ll allow you to break down your income and expenses and realistically budget and forecast how long it will take you to save.

This will then give you a clear idea of when you can take your holiday. It will give you clear dates of when you’re going and even the right time to book the trip.

It’ll help bring you a firmer purpose for saving and all in all, make it much more effective. Within the plan, if you can set up a direct debit plan for saving, this will also hold you in great stead and help avoid spending what you should be saving.

The post How To Fund Your Holiday of A Lifetime appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Convince Your Boss To Let You Work Remotely

You’re a 9-to-5 desk jockey chained to your cube.

The ambient chatter of your co-workers has burned into your earholes.

The worst part?

You can do your job from anywhere and be more productive.

Instead, you have to wake up at 6 am. It feels akin to crossing the Sahara desert with no camel.

Take heart and put your party pants on because you’re about to start working from a hammock and enjoy the blue sky.

Here’s what you can do when asking your boss to work from home.

Make Sure You’re a Top Performer

top performer

A whopping 56% of jobs in the US are compatible with remote work.

Yours might be one of them. But before you ask your boss to work remotely, your performance needs to be topnotch.

Chances are, your boss’ management style—we’ll call her Nicole—is based on Andrew Grove’s Task Relevant Maturity (TRM) concept.

I know, the name does not roll off the tongue but the idea behind it makes perfect sense.

Nicole is either hands-off or on depending on your performance:

If you do the job like Elon Musk, you can gallivant all around the globe. But if you’re more like Frodo with his arm broken, you’d better stick to the office like glue.

How do you know if you’re a top performer?

Your recent performance reviews shine green and your boss regularly takes his hat off to your achievements. Your work is in concert with peers.

All boxes ticked?

Crack on.

Decide What You Bring To The Table

You want to work from home in your pajamas but you need a better excuse. Your boss needs to know what’s in it for her.

So, come up with a list of perks Nicole will get when you’re away.

Here are a few examples if you’re a writer:

  • I’ll be able to output more articles a week for the company blog because of fewer distractions.
  • I will be able to start work earlier because I can avoid the commute.
  • I’ll be fully available in Slack and Skype whenever the team needs me and I can come to the office anytime.

Once you can show Nicole you’re better off working remotely, you’ll enter the digital nomad lifestyle with no hassle.

Have the Conversation

convince the boss

You’re killing it in your job and you can take your efficiency to the next level if you work remotely.

Now, it’s game time.

Shoot an email to Nicole. It’ll give her time to reflect on your request.

Here’s what you can write:

Spotlight your successes

Example: My last performance reviews were positive and I feel I’m doing a pretty good job. Two of my latest articles are ranking number one in SERP and they both have been shared by 100+ users.

Emphasize the benefit for the company

Example: If I could work from home, I’d be able to produce more articles because I’ll have far fewer distractions than I do in the office. On top of that, I could start my day at 8 AM because I won’t have to commute.

Address potential concerns

Example: Even though I won’t be physically present in the office, I’ll be available via Slack and Skype. If you want me to attend a meeting, I can come to the office anytime during the day.

Pro tip: If a home office is uncommon in your company/team, ask for small trial runs. If things work out, you’ll be able to up your remote days.

Once you prove you’d better off working from home, consider your request approved.

See Also: 8 Ways To Set Up An Awesome Home Office

What Do You Think?

How would you approach the talk with the boss?

Let me know in the comments. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

The post How To Convince Your Boss To Let You Work Remotely appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Internet Access While Traveling: Tips for Keeping Your Data Safe

Are you tired of unreliable and painfully slow internet when traveling? Do you worry about your security?

It does feel like an endless battle waiting for apps to respond and pages to load. Imagine spending your precious traveling time looking at a blank screen instead of enjoying the beautiful environment.

To ensure you enjoy your internet access without worrying about your security while traveling, we have put together some really helpful tips.

Ensure you stick to secure sites

First, check the website if it’s secure. You can check if a site is secure by going through the security information using a trusted browser like Firefox or Chrome. You’ll know a site’s connection is safe when there’s a green lock on the left side of the URL.

It is important that you try avoiding entering sensitive information on non-secured sites, especially when using a public network. This includes entering credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal details.

See Also: 8 Easy Steps To Your Browser Security And Privacy

Avoid using apps

internet connection while tracvelling

App security is less stringent when compared to browser security. In case you are using apps from popular brands like Paypal, you will definitely be okay.

However, it is important that you try avoiding entering sensitive information into apps from not so popular companies. This is crucial, especially when using a similar password for various websites.

Switch off file sharing

Ensure that your files are secure.

In most cases, when you are using your laptop on the home network, you normally share folders with your parents, siblings or friends. This is okay as long as you remember to turn it off when connecting to a public Wi-Fi.

If you forget to turn off file sharing, every person who connects to the same Wi-Fi can view your files.

The most recent computers are smart and capable of automatically turning off file sharing when you connect to public Wi-Fi. However, it is advisable that you always double check.

Update your anti-virus

It is important that you never connect your devices to any free Wi-Fi network without an updated antivirus. Most smartphones and laptops these days come with built-in software like the Windows Defender. However, you are still advised to step up and download software like Avast, which is capable of giving you an extra layer of protection.

Use VPN

traveling with internet access

You can consider using a VPN, which will act as your private internet bodyguard. VPN will hide your IP address and encrypt your connection to ensure everything you send over the internet is hidden.

VPN is cheap and accessible. You should never have an excuse for failing to use one.

See Also: How to Set Up a VPN

Conclusion

The above measures will not make you bulletproof. However, they will help in reducing your chance of being targeted and improve your internet access while traveling.

The post Internet Access While Traveling: Tips for Keeping Your Data Safe appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

11 Tips On How To Write A Good College Paper

An essay is an excellent way to showcase what standardized test scores and grades can’t, your personality. Along with giving your admissions counselors and professors a glimpse of who you are, they’re excellent chances to showcase your writing ability. We’re going to outline several great tips on how to write a college paper below.

Open Your Essay with an Anecdote or a Mini Story

Instead of focusing your attention with trying to come up with gimmicky lines to grab and hold your reader’s attention, start with a small anecdote or mini story. The story you choose should give your readers a small hint of your personality, and this is what will grab and engage them from the start. They’ll want to learn more, so they’ll keep reading.

Get Help From a Writing Service

The use of writing services is on the rise, and it’s not because of lazy students. You might be surprised to know that even students with good grades are hiring these services. Apparently, some students’ load are too much too handle that extra help is needed.

If you’re an extremely busy student who needs that helping hand, you can try reputable writing services like Papersowl. They guarantee papers that are 100-percent free of plagiarism. You can also choose your style and subject before the site matches you with a writer.

Just make sure to do the final touches on your paper so that it still has part of your effort in it.

See Also: How to Find The Best Essay Writing Service for Students

Organize Your Writing

essay outline

Many people skip the organization step and dive straight into their writing. While this may seem like a good idea, it’s a fast way to get off track and lost. Create a rough outline that includes as many even paragraphs as you need to complete the essay while staying within the word count. Put an idea per paragraph, and structure your writing around them.

Combine Like Ideas into Sophisticated Sentences

Short sentences are one way to avoid punctuation mistakes. However, they can also make your paper seem choppy and disjointed. You should take your like ideas and combine them into more complex sentences. You should save your simple sentences for when you want to create a lasting impact that goes directly to the point.

Use Essay Hell for Inspiration

Essay Hell is not a writing service. It’s a site that helps students who are struggling with their essay-writing skills. Founded by a journalist and high school English teacher, the site offers tools like brainstorming sessions, writing tips, topic ideas, sample essays, and much more. It’s a place to find inspiration and conquer your essay writing block or fears.

Know Your Formatting Requirements

Formatting is huge, no matter which level you’re writing your essay for. Find out which formatting requirements your essay requires, and do a quick once-over to re-familiarize yourself with the guidelines. MLA and AP styles are both extremely popular, but there are more available. Most professors or teachers pick one and stick to it throughout the year, but it may not be the same from class to class.

Write Boldly and Vividly

Almost all essays follow a five paragraph format with generalized wording and observations. Imagine trying to grade them all. You want your essay to stand out. One way to accomplish this is to write very vividly and make pinpoint observations with sharp wording. Avoid generalized statements, and pack your essay with details.

Get Feedback

No one likes to hear that their writing or essay needs work. However, it’s vital that you get good and bad feedback on every essay you write. Pull a friend, college, or family member and ask them to review your essay and give their honest opinion. Just make sure that you keep the tone of the essay in your voice from beginning to end.

Proofread and Proofread Again

When you finish writing your paper, don’t just hand it in with a quick glance through for spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Instead, put the essay away for a few hours and revisit it with a fresh set of eyes. You can also put it into a program that reads it back to you because it’s easier to catch auditory mistakes than it is to read them. You could also ask a friend to look it over.

See Also: How to Start a Proofreading Business At Home

Consider Keeping Your Essays Short

writing college paper

Unless you have a hard word count requirement, consider cutting your essay down. Shorter essays usually have less “fluff” or filler language because you have less space to fill in your ideas. Shorter essays are also usually more powerful. Cut out sentences that don’t add value to the point or points you’re trying to get across to your audience.

Cut Your Essay Into Three Parts

First starting out can be extremely intimidating when you think about an essay. But, you can cut it into more manageable parts to help create a clear outline. The three parts include:

  • Introduction – The first paragraph will introduce your essay idea to your audience. This is where you grab your audience’s attention and get them interested in your topic.
  • Body – Split the body of your essay into at least five paragraphs. Each paragraph should have one point or example you flesh out when you start to write that supports your introduction’s point.
  • Conclusion – The final paragraph will summarize your essay’s main point, examples, and the supporting points you highlighted in the body. Make sure that you tie up any open ends and reiterate your essay’s main point.

These 11 points on how to write a college paper can help you create a strong and compelling paper from start to finish. You’ll be able to use them to wow your professors or admissions clerks and make a memorable impression that carries through your college years.

The post 11 Tips On How To Write A Good College Paper appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Make Your Website More Mobile-Friendly

I could start by bombarding you with statistics on how many people now use smartphones vs. desktops, but you’ve probably heard them. I could talk about the importance of making your website usable and readable on mobile, but you’re doubtless already aware of that.

At this point, there’s really only one thing left to say.

Why isn’t your site already mobile-friendly?

If you’re on WordPress, translating your site to the smaller screen is actually quite simple. I can even walk you through it.

First, either make sure you’re using a theme that’s compatible with mobile devices or a mobile optimization plugin. Second, write and design your content considering how users browse on mobile. That’s pretty much all there is to it.

Finding A Mobile-Optimized WordPress Theme

mobile friendly website

By far, Uncode is one of the best WordPress themes on the market. Not only is it flexible, dynamic, and attractive, it’s designed to have as small a resource footprint as possible.

It’s the perfect choice for a portfolio website or blog. Plus, its high degree of customizability means that no two sites running it will look exactly the same.

If you’re running a storefront through WordPress, you’ll want to go with Hudson. It’s reasonably priced, with a decent update schedule and a ton of advanced features that allow you to create a picture-perfect digital storefront.

Of course, these are just recommendations. You can check out theme directories like Tesla Themes, Theme Forest or Template Monster to see if you find one you like better than the above.

Installing A Mobile Optimization Plugin

If you’d rather not spend time trawling theme libraries or you have a theme of your own you want to use, you can instead choose to install an optimization tool like WPTouch, Touchy, Superfly or AMP. Depending on how heavily your site relies on elements like menus and media, you may want to do both.

Generally speaking, all four of the above plugins have the same feature-set with only minor differences between them. Which one you choose is really up to personal preference. I’d recommend trying out each one to see which is the best fit for your needs.

Tweaking Your Content

Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about content.

Most people who are on their smartphones aren’t going to want to spend twenty minutes or more scrolling through a long-form article. They wouldn’t want to watch an hour-long webinar, either.

When someone arrives at your site via their smartphone, they’re probably not interested in staying for any longer than is strictly necessary.

What that means is they want content that’s streamlined, concise, and easy to digest. If you must include longer-form content, make sure it’s broken up into easily-digestible chunks through headlines or subheads.

And for the love of all that’s holy, never paginate your articles. A user on mobile probably isn’t going to wait for a new page to load just so they can keep reading a piece you’ve published.

Take A Mobile First Approach

website more mobile friendly

Smartphones are the future. Of that, there can be no doubt. If you haven’t already optimized your WordPress site to be both usable and readable on them, you need to do so now.

Otherwise, you’re going to be left in the past.

See Also: The Hidden Costs of Developing A Mobile App You Should Be Aware of

The post How To Make Your Website More Mobile-Friendly appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Increase Your Productivity By Harnessing Dead Time

Although the title suggests this post will be a world-changing experiment, dear reader, I have to let you down — it won’t. Stop reading if you expect a new promising model as to how to become a super-productive human being.

However, keep reading if you want to read the narrative of your average workday. It’s a good way to determine how you could build on your dead time to get more out of your day.

Growing as a person and becoming better is what we constantly dream about, but when it comes to taking action, we always have an excuse.

If that’s your case, consider the following strategies in managing time wisely:

Your Average Workday

6:00 a.m. You’re sleeping and experiencing the best dream on your bed. The alarm clock just goes off and it’s time you get to work. Don’t hit the snooze button. Instead, try to get up just 10 minutes earlier than you would and make a commitment to use that time to meditate, journal or read every single workday. Yes, you could skip the weekend.

7:00 a.m. You’re on your commute and watching fellow passengers’ sleepy faces. It’s the best time to consume some inspiring literature. Pull out your Kindle and read something that grows you in mind and spirit. You soon will notice that travel time shrinks to its third.

8:00 a.m. You get to your table at the office. If you’re not in a very busy season or simply can’t begin to work right upon arrival―I see a lot of colleagues fall under this category, but not you of course―please don’t check Facebook, don’t check the news, and don’t socialize with colleagues. You have a lot of other options to consider: read a blog post on productivity, learn two new English phrases, search for potential workshops, etc.

Pro tip: It’s best to start with your most demanding and important task just to gain momentum.

9:00 a.m. You start writing an email to a client. The text is in your head since you’ve already drafted such emails a lot of times. This time, you’ve had a bad night sleep and words are coming slowly.

Wait a minute! Get a text expansion app that enables you to use “snippets” or chunks of words that will unfold into a complex text like email, phone number, link, or whatever you want.

Here is how it works. You save your emails, frequently used email addresses, and links to your text expansion app and label each with a snippet that hopefully, you can memorize. Next time, when you compose a report in MS Word, write an email or perform any text-oriented action in any of your apps. All you have to do is enter the associated snippet and the text will unfold itself. The nice thing is that it works in all your apps. Some good text expansion apps include PhraseExpress, TextExpander, and Breevy.

10:00 a.m. You wonder how much time it consumes to draft your report. Why not learn some keyboard shortcuts to increase your productivity? You can print a list of shortcuts and hang it next to your screen. Over time, you’ll feel comfortable with using the keyboard.

productivity in the office

1:00 p.m. You’ve just arrived from lunch with a full stomach. Colleagues invite you for a cup of coffee and, you know, for some 10 minutes of chit-chatting. Why not go for a short walk instead? Walking can help to gather your thoughts, gain focus, and refresh your mind.

5:00 p.m. You’re on the train and you’re heading home. You feel worn out because you really have had a busy day. Pull out your Kindle and just pick up reading where you left off in the morning. By doing so, together with your morning reading, you can implement a full hour of reading into your day.

Pro tip: If you’re driving to your office, you could listen to an audiobook.

6:00 p.m. You’re about to do the laundry, take out the trash, and the list goes on. (If you have a spouse, you know what I mean.) Just put on your wireless headphones and listen to life-changing podcasts to charge your mental batteries. From here, you would never ever do household chores without putting on your headphones.

That’s amazing. There’s not a single minute wasted anymore! You can’t wait to wash the dishes, do the laundry, and ironing your shirts because you know that you’re strengthening your mental muscles.

See Also: How Music Affects Your Productivity

7:00 p.m. You’re blaming yourself because you’ve skipped your exercise this day. You planned to do it but your day unfolded in a way as it always would: With lots of to-dos and seemingly no margins to counterbalance.

Although you clearly missed your full-hour workout, you can take your dumbbells and exercise for 15 minutes while watching your favorite TV show or movie. This time, again, you don’t have to sacrifice your “me-time” while enjoying the benefit of a workout.

Pro tip: Make sure that you don’t exercise too late in the evening because it can delay sleep onset.

Let’s Do the Math

Let’s look back and sum up how much you’ve done over the day without investing a single minute:

  • Meditation- 10 minutes
  • Reading- 30 minutes
  • Learning English- 10 minutes
  • Harnessing technology (text expansion and keyboard shortcuts―well, it’s harder to measure, I leave it up to you)
  • Walking- 10 minutes
  • Reading- 30 minutes
  • Listening to inspiring podcasts- 30 minutes
  • Exercising- 15 minutes

Those things equate to a total of 135 minutes (more than two hours!) of meaningful activities without claiming a single minute from your agenda. Wow!

On top of that, these activities will strengthen your mental as well as your physical muscles. They’ll contribute to your productivity and overall well-being.

See Also: The Profound Effects Of Meditation On The Mind

Identify Your Gaps

I hope you happened to notice that not a single minute was consumed by your new habits. We just harnessed your dead time to get the most out of your day. Now, it’s your turn to recognize your dead times and build the necessary habits to draw upon.

Experiment with your cues and rewards to find out what works for you to establish the desired habit.

I suggest that you fill in―as productivity experts would call it―an ideal day template to identify your gap. Then, fill those gaps with true content. This template is nothing more than a hard landscape of your day, showing your schedule in half-hour blocks. Take an hour to fill in your template to prevent mind leakage.

Begin the Journey

work productivity

This post doesn’t claim that you not socialize with colleagues or not read the news. It doesn’t cover in details morning or evening routines, essentialism, goal setting or other productivity methods. It does nothing more than shed light to those little things that can make a change in how you perceive your world.

Finally, be willing to change and you’re likely to experience a paradigm shift in your everyday life.

Your one takeaway: Take a deep breath and figure out three things that you can draw upon to harness your dead time.

The post How To Increase Your Productivity By Harnessing Dead Time appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

8 Smart And Easy Tips To Make Moving A Breeze

Regardless of whether you have few or more items, moving is one of the biggest household tasks there is. It consumes both time and effort for both first-time movers and people who frequently move. From preparations to the moving day itself, it can be a tiring job.

In this article, we will tackle some of the best moving tips and hacks I’ve gathered.

Plan

Before you decide on relocating, you should have a plan first. This will help you achieve an efficient moving experience.

Plan about how the moving should be, your new destination, and what to pack. Know where you are relocating and how you are going to move from your house to your new home.

Are you going to hire some help or can you get some help from your friends?

Make a clear and concrete plan.

Research

Assuming that you’ve already had a destination, the next step is to research about it. Regardless of whether it’s a small move or an interstate move, getting information is always a good idea. Check for schools, hospitals, markets, and other things that can help you describe what and how the area is like.

It’s also advisable to check the area’s employment rate. This is crucial for people who are looking for opportunities in other areas. This is also the right time to choose the right home for you, the right town or suburb, and city. You might also want to check the area’s road policies and other community regulations, especially if you’re moving with a pet.

After doing so, you can hire and schedule a moving service from recommended companies. Make sure to choose a removalist with cheap yet outstanding services.

Organize

Let’s say that you’re done with the research and you’re getting excited with relocating. Now, it’s time to organize. If you’re moving to another city, try to visit your new home weeks before the moving day. This is a perfect time for you to allocate and indicate the number of items you’ll need.

Remember that the fewer the boxes, the better. This is because extra moving boxes require additional payment. There are some moving services that provide a set of moving boxes but in a limited number only. Exceeding boxes require additional costs.

Make An Inventory

Make a list of everything you’ll need in your new home. This depends on how big or small your new home is.

It’s always advisable to leave items that can be bought in your new area. These items include a toothbrush, toothpaste, and other toiletries. You can also leave electrical items such as electric razor and blow-dryer.

An inventory can also help you with determining whether you’ve lost an item along the moving process. Make sure to keep your inventory list before and after moving. If you’re taking your furniture, it’s best to ask for professional help. Hire a removalist.

Pack, pack, pack

Packing also means decluttering. Using your inventory list, pack your things in their designated moving boxes. You should have several types of moving boxes designed for specific items.

See Also: The Super Easy Approach to Decluttering your Home

Here’s a list of the types of moving boxes:

Small Moving Box – This type of box is designed for small but heavy items. The idea here is to help an individual carry heavy items in a faster and more efficient method. It’s best for carrying books and small but heavy appliances.

Medium Moving Box – The most versatile type of moving box. This type of box can carry both small and medium size items. It can withstand a weight of over 60 kilograms. It’s the perfect box for clothes, towels, and other small appliances.

Large Moving Box – Don’t be fooled by its name. It might be the largest moving box but you can’t use it to pack heavy items. Large moving boxes are made to carry small and lightweight items.

Specialty Boxes – These moving boxes are designed for specialty items such as furniture, piano, pool table, antique valuables, and jewelry.

It’s advisable to pack your items weeks prior to the moving schedule. This is to prevent last-minute preparations which always lead to stress and delay.

Label Your Boxes

Although it’s not actually necessary, it’s always wise to label your boxes. Labeling your boxes can help your removalist indicate boxes with fragile items and heavy items. This could also help you indicate which box goes to a specific room for a faster unpacking process.

Move

At last, the big day has arrived and it’s time to move!

If you did not hire a removalist but had your items packed well and secured, it’s better to know the simplest way of loading your things in a van. Removalists always say that what comes in first must go out last. This is where box labels come in handy.

Most of the time, it’s the heaviest box that goes in first and goes out last. There are some circumstances where large boxes go in first.

In accordance with this, it’s also recommended to tell your removalist about the details of your area before you move. Tell them the easiest route for their van to park and the most efficient route to carry your valuables. This is to make an organized moving process and to keep it at a smooth yet fast way.

Unpack and You’re Done

 

packing boxes efficientlyEvery moving company offers a pack and unpack service that makes it beneficial for customers. However, if you did not avail this service, chances are you’re going to spend a whole day unpacking and arranging your items.

There’s no problem with unpacking your items by yourself. However, if some of your valuables got damaged in the journey, you’ll have no one to turn to.

Hiring a removalist and availing some of their services promotes a better moving experience. Insurances are present which gives you peace of mind while your items are being transported.

Whether your items got lost or damaged, the removalist will be liable to replace them or give you a refund. This will depend on the item and the type of insurance you’ve purchased.

Overview

An effective moving process starts with a concrete plan. So, it’s wise to plan ahead.

Prepare and organize your things before you start packing. Updating your removalist for assistance or certain changes can also help promote an efficient moving experience.

The post 8 Smart And Easy Tips To Make Moving A Breeze appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Meal Prep

While many people can access helpful information on choosing a healthy diet, just a few implement the tips. You should realize that acquiring healthy eating tips is futile if your execution is wanting.

We are not here to accuse you; in fact, we understand the difficulties that you undergo to choose a healthy diet for your family amid your busy schedules. For this reason, this article will give excellent meal prepping tips.

Meal Prepping: What Is It?

Meal prepping is the act of preparing all your meals in advance. You’ll have the opportunity to prepare the meals during your free time. Most importantly, you will have all the time to shop for healthy and unprocessed ingredients.

This exercise will save your time. It’ll also ensure that your family feeds on healthy meals, as opposed to the processed and prepackaged foods which could have undesired health effects.

How Do I Start?

While you may be enthusiastic about this exercise, you should be careful not to be overwhelmed. You shouldn’t start by trying all the new healthy recipes you’ve read about recently. Instead, use the recipes that you’re conversant with and you’ll progressively move to the newer and more complicated ones.

Follow the tips below for successful meal prepping:

Pick your Day

You need to determine the specific day that you’ll prepare your meals. We recommend that you pick a day when you don’t have work!

Most people prefer Sunday and Wednesday to prepare healthy meals for the entire week. You should take charge and independently choose a day that you’re comfortable with.

We recommend that you begin by preparing meals for a few days before you can expand the meal prepping to an entire week.

Pick the Meals

You need to select the meal that you’ll prepare first depending on your needs. A person with a family would give preference to dinner, while a single person may choose breakfast. When choosing, you need to ensure that you prepare meals that are easy to prepare in bulk but slow to prepare a day at a time.

After picking the meals, you need to choose the recipe. While you can cook using a similar recipe, we recommend that you use different recipes for each day.

You should never forget to consider the nutrients composition of each recipe. You’re obliged to ensure that your family gets a balanced diet.

Use Good Containers

This is the foundation of a successful meal prepping plan. Ensure you have separate containers for each type of meal to avoid a mixture that may scare your children.

What is a good container?

Make sure that the container is segmented to allow you to place different meals in different sections. This can help prevent cross-contamination. You can save by buying these in bulk around November, when they often go on sale for Thanksgiving.

Below is a checklist for a food container you should have:

  • Divided and air-tight sections.
  • BPA-free. Never compromise on this requirement! Check the bottom of each container. If it has a triangle with number 7 written in it, then you should avoid it. When it’s BPA-free, you can safely microwave your food.
  • Clear containers. This will enable you to identify the contents easily.
  • Reliable and safe. Your container must be stackable, microwavable, freezer safe, and reusable.

In the Kitchen

Before you become an expert in meal prepping, you should start with a few meals. These tips are helpful in achieving success quickly:

Begin with simple meals. Use meals that are easy to prepare, easy to store, and are freezable. Many starters prefer chicken!

Be ready to multitask. Remember that you’re cooking meals for several days. You will have to launch your multitasking skills to achieve this in a single day. You can use multiple ovens. If you do not have enough utensils and ovens to accommodate multitasking, you may need to shop for the items.

Fruits. Including fruits in your recipe is an excellent way of achieving a balanced diet. You will need to wash different types of fruits, cut them up, and store them just like any other meal.

While this is a great idea, you need to research the effect of certain activities on the fruits’ nutritional value. Cutting some fruits can deplete some nutritional components. Some will be oxidized which will cause undesirable color on the fruit’s surface! As such, you should only implement the ideas that will not affect the nutritional value of the fruit.

The Crockpot. While this may appear obvious, many people ignore it. You can use the appliance to prepare some meals for storage. You can use it for cooking as well as for storing the food.

Bottom Line

This guide offers excellent tips on how to start meal prepping. It’s your duty to research the best recipes to try out in your kitchen. However, you should always ensure that what you feed on is nutritionally balanced and healthy.

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How to Remove Skin Tags with Duct Tape

Skin tags can be quite embarrassing.

Also known as acrochordons, they are the small flaps of skin that appear on the body. People who are very young, very old, pregnant, and diabetic are more prone to developing them. While they are typically harmless, they aren’t that pleasant to look at.

If you have a few skin tags and you’re thinking of removing them, you can get them surgically removed. There are also a couple of home remedies you can try. Among those remedies, the use of duct tape for skin tag removal is probably the most popular one. After all, it’s cheap and it just works!

Below is a step-by-step guide you’ll find handy in removing those stubborn skin tags

Gather your supplies

In this case, they are simple. All you need is a skin tag, or more than one, and a roll of duct tape.

Wash and dry your skin completely before covering the area around it with a piece of duct tape.

Smooth it completely to ensure that there are no bubbles or wrinkles that will let air into the area. The theory behind duct tape removal is that it suffocates the skin underneath, causing the skin tag to die. Because of this, it’s a good idea to not make the tape around the tag too big, so that the skin you want to keep isn’t damaged in the process.

Wait until the tape begins to loosen, then check the skin tag

If it is still alive, it will remain attached. If it is not, it will fall off. If one round of duct tape doesn’t work, replace it with a fresh piece after washing and drying the area again. Do this until the skin tag finally does fall off.

If you want to speed the process, try a second method to help move things along

Some popular choices include painting the skin tag with nail polish to suffocate it and tying a string around the base of the skin tag as tight as you can. Do this before placing the duct tape to the skin tag. Repeat it each time that you replace your piece of tape.

A Word of Caution

Though this may work the first time, sometimes it takes multiple times to work. If your skin tags grew while you were pregnant or ill and you are now healthy, they are unlikely to return. If you are in the same health as you were when they grew, they may return.

See Also: How to Get Flawless Skin: The Best Tips You Should Know By Now

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5 Simple Tweaks to Make Your Home More Attractive

Designing or furnishing a home is never an easy task. In fact, it can get taxing most of the time, particularly for people who have no idea how to make a house beautiful and attractive.

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to give your home the look you desire. You don’t need to break the bank right away to get that dream aesthetics for your home. There are free and practical resources offline and online that you can use as references for your home improvement project.

That said, here’s a list of top 5 doable and easy tweaks you can do to make your home look more attractive.

Be Creative

If you want to add details in your home but can’t afford to buy expensive materials, you can create your own decors to make your home look more presentable. If you’re into paintings but has no budget, you can try doing some art on your own. All you need is a big canvas and some paint to make beautiful paintings.

DIY decors can lessen expenses and it allows you to discover new things that could upgrade the look of your home.

Elegant Look

Some people want to have that glamorous look in their home that they willingly buy expensive things. If you have the budget for it, then you should consider adding furniture to give more life to your home.

One good example is a coffee table. It gives out that elegant vibe because of its structure. It’s also handy, especially if you have a lot of visitors coming to your house every day.

Nature’s Essence

Natural things are always health-friendly.

If you’re a nature lover by heart, then you should try putting up plants. They can give your home that natural and warm vibe.

Besides, having plants inside your home has a lot of benefits. For one, they can clean the air inside by removing toxic vapors.

Keep It Simple

Some people who live in apartments have trouble when it comes to spaces. Most apartments are designed with a limited floor area. Hence, it’s challenging to store and sort your belongings, particularly the bulky ones. Adding wall shelving can be a big help.

It doesn’t have to be expensive. You just need the right materials for you to make one. You can also ask local carpenters for tips.

Make It Look Big

If you have a small room and you want to make it look bigger, then you should try adding a big mirror inside your room. It’s recommended that you buy floor length mirrors to incorporate a spacious, open atmosphere.

Adding dimension to the room can also be done by positioning a mirror near the window where it can catch some light. By doing it, you would be able to make your room look bigger and broader.

Thinking of getting one? You can try searching for sites such as Craigslist and other online stores.

Takeaway

Buying new things or just repainting your home to make it look more attractive can be a great deal of fun. But, if you want to stick to what the experts have to say and you have the budget, consult your local contractor or someone with interior design expertise.

See Also: Top 11 Ways On How to Increase Your Home Value

The post 5 Simple Tweaks to Make Your Home More Attractive appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Take Care of Your Garden in Winter

Don’t let the winter ruin the beauty of your garden. Take care of it using the tips you can read in the following section. Maintaining your garden in this cold season, after all, can also prepare it for when spring and summer come.

So, if you’re ready, let’s begin highlighting the things you can do to maintain your winter garden.

Removing spent plants

Cleaning up finished and rotting plants is one of the best ways to keep your garden healthy in the winter. Removing old plants will not only tidy it up but also prevent the spread of fungi, pests, and diseases.

Getting rid of spent plants and then burying those disease-free finished plants can prevent most garden pests from spreading when the spring comes. In addition, burying them will also improve soil health as they can add organic matter to it.

Pruning in winter

Pruning helps remove dead plant in order to promote the growth of larger shoots for the coming growth season.

When pruning shrubs and flowering trees, you must prune the autumn and summer flowering shrubs and trees in the early spring and late winter. You must also prune those when their flowers started fading.

Also, you should be pruning deciduous plants for their spring re-growth because many of them are inactive or dormant in the winter. And as the foliage of the plants is gone, it is easier and faster to see their shape.

For best results, keep the following in mind:

  • You should first prune out diseased or dead branches.
  • You must also consider pruning on a dry day.
  • In order to increase both the air and the light at a tree’s crown, you should remove smaller and overgrown branches.
  • Also, don’t remove the branches that keep the tree’s structure and that are developing.
  • You should also cut branches at the part wherein a twig or branch is attaching to another.

Planting bulbs

This winter, you should also learn how to divide and plant bulbs.

Bulbs, including daffodils and tulips, should be planted early in the winter because they require much time before blooming in the spring. These bulbs also need cool temperatures which can speed up their flowering.

For fall-planted bulbs, you should soak them in warm water for 12 hours before planting them, especially for tunicate-type bulbs that have teardrop-shaped or enclosed, round bulbs. However, this method is not suitable for lilies and other bulbs with fleshy scales.

By soaking them, the bulbs will absorb enough water to grow fast, saving you three weeks of time, especially if you’re in a northern climate location. Divide and then fertilize the bulbs to promote their blooming.

For bulbs that have few or no flowers, you might want to divide or fertilize them first. You can also consider using slow-release bulb fertilizers to keep its effectiveness in the early spring.

Planning Ahead

Use these tips to prepare your garden for the next gardening season. These tips will improve your yields in the end aside from helping you keep a lovely garden in the spring and the summer.

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How to Effectively Remove Mold From Your House

Molds aren’t just eyesores; they’re a threat to your health and property. Molds can cause allergic reactions which can be dangerous in rare cases. They can also cause damage to your property, including your clothes, furniture, wood, floors, and just about anything else they come in contact with. If left unattended, the damage can be so great that you’ll have to spend a huge amount of money.

Mold Truths: The Real Reasons For Mold Growth

clean dishwasher

Moisture is the main culprit in mold growth and development, this much we know. But what we probably don’t realize is that the very things we do every day can put us at risk for mold infestation. This includes washing, bathing, and cooking.

Even the very act of breathing gets some moisture in the air. The same thing happens with humidity because it allows moisture to form when the air is trapped and unable to circulate well.

Where Molds Lurk: Places and Things In Your Home To Check For Molds

When considering the possibility of mold infestation, the first things you’ll probably be looking out for are leaks. But remember, moisture can develop in any place where there’s a water source. It can happen even if there are no leaks and where there’s too much humidity.

Your kitchen is at risk and so are your bathrooms and your bedrooms. Molds can easily find their way on kitchen counters, chopping boards, shower mats, and even your children’s toys. Attics, cabinets, basements, and other enclosed spaces in your home are likely to become breeding grounds for molds as well.

Large-Scale Mold Infestation: When Professional Help Is Necessary

Mold infestation comes in all sizes and shapes and how you must deal with it depends on how big or small the area infested is. For example, if the area infested is less than 10 square feet, the size is considered small enough that you can do the cleanup yourself.

But if the infested area is bigger than that, it’s a lot wiser to get a professional mold remediation team to do the job. Why?

It’s because a large-scale infestation means a much bigger damage than your eyes can see. Mold specialists can spot problems our untrained eyes can’t. Moreover, they have the right equipment and the right techniques not only to remove all traces of molds but to keep them from coming back. They can repair the damage, too.

Moisture Control: A Key To Preventing Mold Infestation

Since moisture is the reason for mold growth, controlling moisture, therefore, is the most obvious key to keeping mold infestation at bay.

Begin by identifying risk areas in your home. As mentioned previously, these typically include your kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, attic, closets, basement, and so on. Keep these areas dry at all times.

If flood is the cause for waters having gotten into your basement, dry your floors and walls as soon as the waters have subsided. If your carpet is soaked in water, hang it out to dry.

After you’re done showering or bathing, make it a habit to wipe the floors dry. In enclosed spaces where ventilation is poor, running a humidifier can help control the humidity and keep the molds out of the way.

Home Products For Molds: Get Rid Of Molds With Stuff You Have At Home

If attempts to control moisture are not enough and molds manage to get their way into your home, don’t fret. If it’s a fairly new infestation involving a small area, a basic cleanup with products you already have at home is usually all it takes to remove the molds.

You can use bleach, vinegar, tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda to get the molds out and disinfect the area. If you have disinfecting wipes, you can also use them to clean your mold-infested counters.

All these work so well to remove the molds while they’re still small. Remember, molds multiply very quickly. If you take action at the first signs of mold infestation, they’re less likely to cause a bigger problem.

Removing Molds Off Painted Walls: Tips and Tricks

Molds on painted walls are visually annoying. To remove them effectively without damaging your paint in the process, try using the milder forms of cleaning solutions. Rubbing a mixture of vinegar, borax, and water on the walls usually gets the job done.

white-vinegar

Still, you need to exercise caution when doing this trick. Protect yourself by wearing old clothes and using gloves to wipe the molds off. Remember to dispose of them properly once you’re done with them so as to prevent the molds from spreading.

Conclusion

It always pays to keep your home mold-free as much as possible. Be mindful of the early warning signs of mold infestation and take the necessary actions at once to remove them. If doing it yourself is not recommended considering the size, nature, and extent of the damage, don’t hesitate to hire the services of professional mold mediators to handle the job.

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How To Modernize Your Business By Ditching The RFP

In our modern, fast-paced world, there is hardly any time to spare. Businesses need results and they need them quickly, encouraging the development of new technologies that can keep up. Yet 95% of companies still use RFPs when they need to get the job done – why is this outdated practice still treated like a business staple?

It’s Time To Move On From The RFP

request for proposal

Smart businesses today understand the value of diversifying away from the risk of relying on single one-stop-shop vendors. If the massive change in Forbes Global 2000 companies that outsource IT projects to single vendors is any indication, this shift is a massive trend. In 2008, 42% of these businesses worked with a single vendor for their IT or application needs; in 2018 that number is just 15%.

And yet, for lack of a better method, many businesses find themselves at a loss for reaching new vendors. Whether their project scope is too wide for in-house work, or they just need some extra guidance from creative professionals, it’s easy to turn to Requests for Proposals to scout out the talent. But there’s a glaring problem with using RFPs to do this – the results very rarely elicit the most innovative solution. Companies that use RFPs may ignore innovative startups in favor of “established” vendors, rewarding longevity over skill and flexibility.

How Do Startups Compete With Established Relationships?

When we look at startup funding trends, we are met with stats of explosive growth. In 2017 alone, the global venture capital investments for startups hit over $140 billion, and in the years between 2015 and 2017, the total global startup economy value creation was $2.3 trillion. Any way you spin it, there is some serious firepower behind startups and for good reason. Unfortunately, these talents can go ignored and even outright rejected when forced to participate in requests for proposals.

  • Bidders must specify how long they have been in business to even qualify
  • Not useful and counterproductive in the age of startup innovation

As a result, RFPs are actually a roadblock to reaching effective new vendors, placing incumbent vendors ahead of other bidders. For new vendors participating in RFPs, they may only have a week to respond, yet incumbent vendors are notified several weeks beforehand. Even then, many startup level vendors find it challenging to work within the confines of typical RFP guidelines and are unable to let their talents show.

  • Discourages considerations of more innovative proposals
  • Rewards easy solutions over flexibility and talent
  • Low value and low innovation
  • Long-term costs are higher than originally projected

There’s A New And Better Way

It’ll take more than a simple update to overhaul this antiquated process. Real solutions will come from a total mindset change, improved flexibility, and real ROI projection. The best way to try out a new vendor is by using Proof of Value, or PoV. This process ensures the best value projects are done for the right price and by the right people. Based on information measurement theory, Proof of Value considers the predictability of success or error using measurable, factual information. This replaces the RFP with scalable options using information and performance-based solutions as a new standard.

  • Create a full working cloud-based model app
  • Share the real app with business users to get an idea of what the full solution will look like
  • Use PoV as a first iteration jumping off point to fast-track the project

Accounting for lost time, wasted money, and piles of busy work, RFPs, or requests for proposals just don’t work anymore. A LexisNexis survey revealed nearly 17% of businesses deal with up to 10 RFPs per month, and 15% of businesses have a load of 21 or more. Organizations are relying more on RFPs, but it doesn’t necessarily benefit their firm. Smart businesses can use more nimble vendors and methods to outperform instead.

  • Intuitive user experiences
  • Clean interfaces
  • Deliver against tighter project deadlines
  • Reliable, measurable ROI
  • Diversify risks away from conventional mega-vendors

It’s Time To Ditch The Outdated RFP

Though many organizations are still using RFPs for solutions, when has following the status quo ever done business any favors? Is your company still using RFPs? Take a look at this infographic for more on how RFPs hurt innovation, stunt professional growth, and ignore real talent, and what you can do to break this cycle by developing better solutions that fit with your business’ needs.
RFPs: Dinosaurs of the business world?
Source: Semarchy.com

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How To Choose the Best TENS Unit for Home Use

TENS machines come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and features. As a first time buyer, the long list of choices can frustrate, overwhelm and confuse you all at the same time.

Since TENS units for home use promise pain relief without the nasty side effects you can get from pain medications, you’d want to make sure you get one that’s effective and convenient to use.

In choosing the best TENS unit for home use, here are the 5 most important factors you need to consider.

Modes

Different types of pain respond to different electronic pulses or modes. With that, you need to make sure that your unit can be set in various modes. With most high-quality TENS unit, that won’t be a problem. However, in some low-end models, your options may be limited as they generally work with one or two models.

Choosing a TENS unit with multiple options can make the experience more enjoyable. It’s what will make the unit more effective in providing pain relief.

Battery Life

choosing best tens unit
Via thewirecutter.com

There are units that can work well on a 9-volt battery or 3 AAA batteries. While they look like a convenient and practical choice, they can increase the annual cost of using a TENS unit on a daily basis.

A high-quality device that works on a lithium battery is actually a better choice. It can take you weeks or even a full month of using the unit before you need to recharge it.

Additionally, a TENS unit working on a lithium battery can save you from the hassle and stress of constantly changing dead batteries.

Power Level

You need one that feels intense but won’t hurt. Now, this is tricky since people don’t have the same pain tolerance.

With most low priced TENS machines, their highest level may still not be enough to provide their promised benefits. So, what customers eventually do is upgrade their units to something better. This is simply a waste of money.

To avoid that mistake, get a TENS unit with a wide range of power. That way, you’ll be able to set your unit to your preferred intensity.

Number of Electronic Pads

The more electronic pads you have, the wider area of your body you’ll be able to cover. If you have multiple areas of pain or you’re suffering from multiple injuries, try to get a unit with multi-channel outputs.

Budget

You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot on a TENS unit for home use. However, you need to understand that a unit’s price will affect the features you’ll get. As mentioned, low-priced models may fall short when it comes to modes, battery life and even power level.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy a TENS machine at home just because you are on a tight budget. The trick here is to know exactly what you need. Don’t spend a lot of money on a unit with features you don’t really want or need.

Ease of Use

For someone who’s new to using a TENS machine at home, the idea of operating it on your own can be nerve-wracking. With that, find a unit that’s easy to use. You should also consider getting a unit with a user-friendly interface and buttons with clear and easy-to-read labels.

There are machines that are compatible with smartphones. Some of them even come with their own dedicated apps and downloading them on your phone can make it possible for you to control your session with just your handset.

There are units that allow users to pre-set programs, making them easy to use. Others feature options to customize intensity and frequency to give you maximum control.

Life of the TENS pads

Quality electrode pads should last for months even with daily use. Low priced replacements pads, on the other hand, wear out easily and quickly which means that you will have to purchase new ones more frequently. This can skyrocket the cost of using a TENS unit over time.

In addition to inquiring about the life of the TENS pads, you should also ask about their price. Those pads, in general, don’t come cheap but they don’t have to burn holes in your wallet. Choosing an expensive set of TENS pads that will last long is better than buying low priced TENS pads that wear out in just a few weeks.

Customer Service

great customer service

Believe it or not, this is one of the most important factors you need to consider when buying a TENS unit. Should something go wrong with your machine, there should be someone to assist you and answer your questions concerning the unit. A reputable company can easily address that.

Apart from the quality of customer service a brand has, you should also ask about its return policy. If you notice that your unit isn’t working as it should or you’re just generally unhappy with it, you should be able to return the machine without encountering a lot of issues.

Portability

Since you are looking for a unit you can use at home, it’s a good idea to consider its size. A small and compact TENS unit will make it easy for you to use the machine anywhere in the house. A small size also means better portability. You’ll be able to take it with you when you travel or work.

Treatment Timer

Most TENS machines have treatment timers as an added feature. A timer allows you to set your desired time for the treatment and automatically shuts off the unit when that time runs out. While it’s not that necessary, a timer makes your TENS unit more convenient.

Conclusion

Choosing the best TENS unit for home use isn’t easy. You have to be thoroughly informed if you want to find a unit that will fit your needs. With this list, you should be able to have a clearer idea about what you want and don’t want in a quality TENS machine.

The post How To Choose the Best TENS Unit for Home Use appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How Do I Get My Dishwasher To Stop Leaving White Powdery Film On My Glasses?

Do you get that white powdery film on your glasses after you clean them in the dishwasher? Isn’t that annoying?

Well, the good news is that removing white residue on glasses is actually easy. Here are a few things you can do make your glasses spotless after wash:

Dishwasher Cleaning and Maintenance

cleaning dishwasher
Via howtocleanthings.com

The first thing you want to do is to ensure that your dishwasher parts are clean and in good working order. After that, you can proceed with the following steps:

  1. Clean out the dishwasher garbage trap of any old food, hair or dirt particles. There might be clumps of dishwasher soap in there also. Remove the trap screen and wash with vinegar to make for a more thorough cleaning process.
  2. Then, get a towel or brush and manually scrub the interior part of the dishwasher. Remove the parts and clean them thoroughly. Check underneath them for caked soap.
  3. Use the same vinegar solution with plenty of hot water to clean the interior part of the dishwasher. When the powdery soap cakes up, it leaves that powdery film. You want to make sure that all of the soap is liquefied when you wash your dishes.
  4. Wash a small container full of white vinegar by itself in the dishwasher. This will also remove any microscopic particles that you missed. Vinegar is the nemesis of powdery soap. Wipe down all the surfaces once again.
  5. If you want to remove any lingering smells, you can place some baking soda in a container in your dishwasher and wash another load. This will soak up any foul odors.

Clean This Way Every Three Months

clean dishwasher

Now, your dishwasher should be sparkling clean and ready to go. When you do the next dishwasher load, you might want to pre-dissolve the powdery soap to ensure that it is properly liquefied.

You can also shake and bust up any cakes that may form in the soap container when it is not being used. Any humidity could lead to the soap turning into clumps. A higher quality soap might help also.

Regularly clean your dishwasher every three months using this process to remove all of the powdery soap. Do your best to look for caked soap that is not dissolved properly. With regular cleaning and maintenance, you can stop the dishwasher from leaving white powdery film on your glasses.

The post How Do I Get My Dishwasher To Stop Leaving White Powdery Film On My Glasses? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Take Up Your Business: How To Pitch A Business Idea

Presenting is probably one of the most common things people are afraid of. Anxiety, headache, high heart rate… All these symptoms are familiar to unexperienced presenters and professional speakers.

You might have an excellent idea which will take your business to a higher level, but if your presentation skills are not developed enough, you are likely to fail. Low self-esteem and anxiety are frequent enemies of young and ambitious professionals.

So, what can you do to pitch your ideas successfully? How can you stand out from the crowd and make people listen to you? What qualities or skills will assist you in this task?

Below are six ways on how to pitch a business idea successfully and draw the attention of your audience.

Face the Fear

business presentation

If you feel nervous while making a presentation, psychologists suggest you look straight in the eyes of your fear. Gain more experience telling jokes to friends, presenting ideas to your colleagues or just speaking to a crowd in the street. But don’t attack people straight away as you might have troubles with the police.

Try to capture the audience’s attention with funny stories or interesting facts. If you can pitch to a stranger, you can conquer the world with your ideas! All these exercises will help you reduce stress and feel calmer while presenting to a bigger audience.

See Also: Overcome Your Fear of Making a Presentation

Assertiveness

“Assertiveness” is a “buzzword” in the world of business. Assertive employees do not hesitate to respond to colleagues’ negative comments or ask for a pay rise. They state their position clearly so that no one can question their authority.

So, next time someone tries to kill your idea with negativity, feel free to fight back with arguments. If you’re assertive enough, others will treat your suggestions seriously and take your opinion into account.

Know Your Audience

There is a substantial difference when you present to a group of colleagues or you try to pitch your idea to a “big cheese”. The structure of your presentation, the choice of vocabulary, and even your look will be different.

It would seem weird if you organize a meeting with a board of directors and start your presentation with the phrase: “Hey, men! What’s up?” or show up dressed in a swimsuit.

Of course, you will bump into your audience’s memory, but your idea will unlikely gain the necessary support it needs. Surely, it would be better to prepare beforehand. Ask your colleagues for advice and get some information about your manager’s opinion. These steps will help you customize your ideas so they will be more appealing to your audience.

Predict Questions

It would be a fairy tale if your bosses accept all your suggestions without a question. Most likely, they’ll be interested in details or ask you to present a business plan. However, you have to stay realistic.

Your boss will not request your marital status or talk about space projects (unless you work for NASA). Financial statements, implementation plan, and profitability are what will make your bosses interested.

Try to get into your manager’s shoes and anticipate potential objections. Perhaps, your idea is not profitable enough or it is too risky for the company. Get prepared to defend your point of view with convincing arguments.

Use Visuals

visual presentation

Did you know that the human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than a speech or a text? You can be as eloquent as Kennedy or change your communication styles as a chameleon changes its colors, but you will not succeed if you don’t provide any pictures or charts.

The best solution here is to use infographics to briefly present the data. They are entertaining and will likely grasp the audience’s attention.

See Also: 7 Ways To Create a Presentation that Captures Attention

Show Your Personality

You can learn all the rules and still talk like a textbook. The best speakers, such as Margaret Thatcher or Martin Luther King, had a set of distinctive features which set them apart from other public figures.

If you are average, nobody will remember you!

It’s better to show something weird and become a star in the office rather than ramble, making people not want to pay attention to your ideas.

Are you a great joker or an interactive lecturer? Engage your audience in some activity or just tell a fascinating story. Define your peculiarity and show it up!

To wrap it up, you don’t need to spend long hours studying the habits of famous speakers. Just allocate some time, get prepared, remain assertive, and show your personality. Just follow these tips and you won’t have problems mastering how to pitch a business idea to anyone.

The post Take Up Your Business: How To Pitch A Business Idea appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Get Rid of Relationship Insecurities

The best relationship advice for a happy marriage is never to compare yourself or your spouse to someone else. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, especially if you are insecure by nature. Getting over relationship insecurities can be hard for you.

Insecurity often boils down to a deep feeling of inadequacy in a relationship. You may feel like you aren’t smart, pretty, funny or interesting enough to keep your partner’s attention. Insecurity may also stem from a distrust from your partner due to a past indiscretion on their behalf.

Feeling insecure about yourself or your spouse can do some serious damage to an otherwise healthy relationship. Here are 6 tips on how you can start getting over relationship insecurities.

Consider Your Baggage

Some of the best relationship advice you can follow for handling insecurities in your marriage is to pinpoint the source of the problem. Some examples of what led you to this emotional point may be that:

  • You have been cheated on in the past
  • You watched your parents go through a messy divorce
  • Your current spouse has been unfaithful in the past
  • You have experienced a drastic change in appearance (weight gain/loss/pregnancy)
  • Your emotional connection to your spouse feels lacking

The list can go on and on, but it is important to learn where your insecurities are stemming from. Once you know what led to your romantic insecurities, you will be better equipped to handle them.

Stop Comparing Yourself

Always remember that comparison is the thief of joy. The more you compare yourself to someone else, the less happy you will be in your marriage.

It is common for someone who is feeling insecure to begin comparing themselves to their spouse’s former lovers. This can lead to boiling jealousy, hurtful fights, and much irritation for both you and your partner.

If your spouse wanted to be with someone else, they wouldn’t be with you. Your partner is not with their ex-flame, they are with you. They love you, are charmed by you, and choose to spend their time with you because they enjoy doing so. Remember that the next time you are feeling insecure about your partner’s past.

Get It Out of Your System

talking about insecurities

If you’re feeling insecure or jealous and it is bubbling to the surface, don’t wait for it to explode. Let it out!

The longer you hold back your insecurities, the more time they have to build and fester. Instead of letting things spiral out of control, talk to your partner about it. Do that before you start snooping on your partner’s phone, following them around, and having friends check up on them.

Communication is the key to a healthy relationship, especially when you are feeling insecure or jealous.

When you sit down to talk to your partner, don’t snap at them or turn your insecurities into an argument. And trust us, that can be very easy to do.

Instead, speak calmly and reasonably about how you’re feeling. Explain to your partner why you might be feeling this way. You will likely find them to be understanding and eager to help in this matter.

Practice Self-Care

The best relationship advice for building confidence is by practicing self-love. Take care of yourself. Dress up, take a bubble bath or play guitar. Whatever makes you feel great, do more of it!

Exercising is a great way to build confidence. Learn to appreciate the unique qualities that make you a lovable and valuable partner to your spouse.

When you exercise, you are feeding your self-confidence.

Exercising triggers your body to release a compound neurotransmitter called dopamine. It’s the body’s natural reward system that causes euphoric feelings of happiness. This mood-elevator can do wonders for your confidence and overall outlook on yourself and your marriage.

Getting fit and stronger is another benefit of working out. You’ll find that the healthier your body feels, the better your mental state will be in. Doctors recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day for the best results both mentally and physically.

Have a Regular Date Night

Emotional and physical intimacy are both integral to a happy marriage. Scheduling time each week to spend a romantic, fun or exciting evening together as a couple is a great way to strengthen these aspects of your relationship.

Studies show that building emotional intimacy and boosting oxytocin is actually proven to boost trust in humans. Having more trust in your spouse will put you at ease about your insecurities. It’ll give you more time to spend enjoying each other’s company.

When sitting down for date night, make sure to put your phones away. Having an electronic-free date night will prevent you and your spouse from feeling snubbed or unappreciated.

Write It Down

writing down insecurities

It’s healthy and wise to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling, but you can’t do that 24/7. Not only is it unhealthy for you to make them the source of your constant reassurance, but it is exhausting for your partner.

Make it a goal to talk about your insecurities for no more than 20 to 30 minutes a week. If you still feel the need to talk about it after this time frame, why not create a journal?

In a study done by the BMJ Journal, patients undergoing stressful situations were encouraged to write about their plans for the day for three 20-minute periods over the course of several days. The results showed a reduction in emotional stress. Just from writing!

Writing down your feelings is an excellent way to get them out of your system without starting a fight or getting upset with your partner.

See Also: 3 Writing Techniques to Increase your Self-Esteem  

It’s normal to have insecurities, even in healthy relationships. Focus on the good in yourself and in your spouse. Learn a healthy way to communicate with your partner about your insecurities and always work to build up your relationship. Following these best relationship advice tips will help you maintain a happy marriage.

The post How to Get Rid of Relationship Insecurities appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Stop Unhappiness Rituals in Your Relationships

I once had a patient, we’ll call her Betty, tell me that every night she would cook her spouse a gourmet dinner. At first, it didn’t look like she was unhappy in a relationship. After dinner, she would ask, “How was your dinner?”

The response was always the same: “So, so.”

Every night, she would find herself angry, unhappy, and resentful. She would focus on how hopeless her situation was. After all, she told herself that all she wanted was to please her partner and to get a little appreciation for her efforts. This woman was definitely unhappy in a relationship.

What is an Unhappiness Ritual?

unhappiness ritual

An unhappiness ritual is a repeated, unsatisfying, cyclical behavior that leads us to unhappiness. There is always a beginning to our unhappiness rituals. Entrance to them is usually initiated by the person who maintains the ritual. As long as we keep our unhappiness rituals going, there is no end to the hopelessness, disappointment, resentment, guilt, and anger that comes as a result.

Over time, unhappiness rituals become automatic. They become habits. We unconsciously include them. The unhappy feelings, which is the outcome of our unhappiness rituals can evolve into a state of chronic discontent and bitterness. Depression often awaits us as we endure with predictable outcomes.

How do unhappiness rituals begin?

Let’s review the patient above.

Her unhappiness ritual with cooking dinner began because she unknowingly needed some kindness, appreciation, and validation from her husband. She didn’t put those needs into words. It was rather a wordless longing inside her.

Then, the idea came to her that cooking nightly gourmet dinners would certainly invite conversation and expressed appreciation from her husband. When her solution didn’t give her the outcome she wanted, she kept on cooking, hoping things would change. She initially became disappointed.

Then, she became sad. Anger and resentment took over. She became stuck in a repetitive unhappiness cycle.

Here is the equation for the inception of unhappiness rituals:

  1. We have an unarticulated, unmet want that is surrounded by a discontent about our need not being met.
  2. We try to get our needs met by creating a solution.
  3. The solution doesn’t work. Our needs are not met. We get stuck in the solution, hoping that one day our needs will be met.

Why do we stay stuck?

Think back to when you learned to drive a car. If you were like most, you paid attention to how you pulled away from the curb. You always put on your turn signal and you checked the speedometer to make sure you were not going too fast. You were aware of what you were doing and what other drivers were doing.

Compare that to how you drive a car now.

After years of driving, isn’t all that you do on the highways and byways automatic? Do you consciously think about how you drive? Probably not, because your driving is now habituated. You do it without even thinking about what you are doing.

We get stuck in unhappiness rituals the exact same way.

We practice them over and over and without knowing, they become automatic. Like Betty, she no longer was aware that every evening around 4:00 she would begin thinking about what she would cook for her husband.

She would comb Gourmet magazine or her recipe books for new and delicious-sounding recipes. Around 5:00, Betty would have selected a meal and she would begin preparing it. Her mantra was, “maybe this time my husband will love the dinner.”

She reported that she was “always hurt when I got the same “so-so” response, night after night.

We become unconsciously and habitually stuck in our unhappiness rituals. Inexplicably, in our stuckness, we expect others to change their responses. It is our fervent hope that others will “get it” and we will be acknowledged, appreciated or feel loved because someone else changed their behaviors.

How to stop being unhappy in a relationship

unhappy relationship

After some therapy and planning, here’s what Betty did:

She stopped putting so much energy into meal preparation and she stopped asking her husband how he liked his dinner! Does that sound too simple?

It took Betty some time to gather the courage to sort out the needs and feelings that were related to her unhappiness ritual. She took quite some time for her to embrace the idea of stepping out of her automatic behaviors. It took creating new ways of interacting and connecting.

How to get out of your unhappiness rituals:

  1. Identify what is causing unhappiness for you. What is it that you repeatedly do that leads to your unhappy feelings?
  2. Name your feelings. Instead of just saying you feel unhappy, name exactly what the feelings are. Are you resentful or in an unhappiness ritual because of guilt? Are you accustomed to being a victim in your life and therefore being in an unhappiness ritual feels comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time? Exploration of your feelings is more easily done with a neutral third party involved.
  3. Learn what you are needing. We enter unhappiness rituals through a desire to get some response usually from another person.
  4. Dissect your ritual. When does it begin? What thoughts go through your mind? What do you tell yourself? Is guilt, retribution, anger, revenge, manipulation or setting yourself up for victimization a driving force? Write it down. Look at it.
  5. Clearly state what it is about your unhappiness ritual that you want to stop.

Action exiting

Change is very difficult as our automatic behaviors are hardwired into our brains. It takes consciousness and perseverance to depart from our unhappiness rituals, especially when they have become entrenched through years of practice.

Betty made a step-by-step plan. She took action!

She identified that around 4:00 pm, she would start planning the evening meal. Her first exodus step was to create activities for herself at that hour.

After some time, Betty decided that she and her neighbor would either play tennis at the local community center or hike with their dogs. In inclement weather, Betty worked out at the gym.

Unhappiness rituals usually fall apart after we intervene on our first step into the ritual.

Next, Betty stopped her subscription to Gourmet Magazine and she boxed up her cookbooks and the recipes that she had collected from newspapers over the years. She put them in the guest room closet.

Then, she considered what types of meals she would make for dinner. Betty decided on some frozen, pre-prepared meals and fresh salads. She had advised her husband.

It went like this:

Honey, I have changed my schedule so I won’t be dedicating so much time to preparing dinner. Just wanted you to know. I’ve got to go right now. I’m going to the gym. If you have any questions, we can discuss it later.

Notice that Betty was brief and respectful. She simply told her husband that she was making a change and then, she exited. No justifications and no explanations. No processing of feelings and no making her husband wrong for not fulfilling her unspoken needs.

To exit an unhappiness ritual:

  1. Write down a plan. Get feedback from an impartial party.
  2. Tell the person/people involved what the change is going to be. Discussing the reason for the change is not necessary and usually leads to a diatribe about our unhappiness because someone else is not meeting our needs (which usually translates into blaming them for our feelings and for making a change necessary).
  3. Plan activities you can do before you enter your unhappiness ritual.
  4. Stick to your change. Practice the change you have selected. Do the change.
  5. Remember, the more you practice your new behavior, the more quickly it becomes automatic.

Finally, get yourself out of your unhappiness rituals. If you follow the steps, you will alleviate emotional pain and find yourself happier and more satisfied with your life.

The post How To Stop Unhappiness Rituals in Your Relationships appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Tell If You Or Someone You Love Is A Narcissist

We have all known that person, the one who monopolizes the conversations or seems to always have a flattering story to tell – always about themselves. Maybe, we listen politely for a bit and make a break for it as soon as we possibly can. Perhaps, we suffer silently while inwardly rolling our eyes.

But what if that person is you? Would you even know it?

Identifying narcissism in others is one thing. There are some glaring signs that we can all agree upon. However, identifying it in yourself can be more difficult.

Most narcissists have no idea that they fall into this category. They often view themselves as unique, special, outgoing or justifiably confident. What they don’t realize is that those views taken to the extreme can cause many problems in their relationships, work or even their family.

Why Narcissism Is Dangerous

narcissistic person

Although narcissism can be a dangerous trait, it exists in all of us to some degree. In its most mild and most common form, it can be looked at as a desire to feel special. We can all relate to that on some level. Wanting to feel like there is something that makes us unique, interesting or desirable is completely normal.

For some, however, this goes far beyond the general desire to stand out. For certain people, narcissism can become so extreme that they can no longer relate to anyone around them. They feel they are in a category of greatness no one can understand. They may also assume that they are so unique that rules don’t apply to them or that they are more interesting and have far more to offer than anyone else.

The narcissist may become so intent on proving their superiority that they lie, manipulate or hurt those around them. They do these things in order to maintain the feeling that they are better and more worthy of admiration than anyone else. While these behaviors are destructive in and of themselves, they also have an impact that goes far beyond the day-to-day.

Relationships for someone with extreme narcissistic behavior are often either short-lived or unhealthy. A healthy relationship balances the needs of both partners with each respecting and appreciating the other. When your focus is completely on yourself, this isn’t possible. People in relationships with narcissists will often be used as a prop for the narcissist’s ego. This should prompt a swift end to a relationship because it often results in emotional and mental abuse.

Recognizing Narcissism

narcissist

This isn’t really a fair question because almost everyone will answer no. None of us wants to feel like our behavior rises to that level. It is possible, however, that you are or someone you love is exhibiting narcissistic tendencies.

Consider the following questions when recognizing narcissism:

  • Do you often feel like your decision-making skills are better than others?
  • Do you override what others want because you are sure your desires/interests/plans are better?
  • Are your achievements over-embellished?
  • Do you often think, “they will thank me for this later” when you are doing things?
  • Do you feel like you have an undiscovered talent and you are just biding your time until people see it?
  • Are you a good listener or are you just waiting for someone to stop talking so that you can talk?
  • Do you feel like you have a way to get around things you don’t like and that the rules don’t really apply to you?
  • Do you expect to receive special treatment above others in the same situation?
  • Are you looking forward to talking about your achievements?
  • Do you always have an “I can do you one better” kind of story when others have talked about something?
  • Do you reject criticism and feedback as being stupid or a product of other people’s jealousy of you?

If the answer to more than a couple of these questions is yes, you or the person you answered for could likely be classified as a narcissist.

Narcissism can be a disabling trait. It destroys friendships, romantic relationships, careers, and causes a great deal of personal pain and conflict. When a person finally comes to terms with the truth, it can be a difficult road to recovery.

If you recognize these behaviors in yourself or someone else, it is time to initiate change. For a narcissist, change is a big step in the right direction.

That change is possible but it won’t happen overnight. So, if you or someone you love is trying to make positive alterations, be patient. With time, effort, and a good support system it can be done.

The post How To Tell If You Or Someone You Love Is A Narcissist appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Crush Uncertainty And Realize Your Dreams

You know the feeling.

You have a dream or maybe a plan. You’ve been at it for quite some time now. Weeks, months or maybe years.

And yet, the dream hasn’t come true yet. In fact, you feel farther from your goal than ever before.

Doubtful thoughts mess with your head in an infinite loop.

What is it that you’re missing?

Are you not smart enough? Is it about luck? Are you too young/old for this?

You feel you know what it takes to make your dream come true, but what if you’re wrong?

Maybe you’re wrong in thinking that you know how to do this.

And that’s exactly what is holding you back.

The Hidden Failure Of Conventional Wisdom

You’ve heard the advice.

Believe in yourself.

Focus.

Keep a positive attitude.

Never give up.

Whatever your goal is, if you follow all of those, you should be able to achieve your goals, right?

Wrong.

Here’s why.

Imagine you’ve come to a new city. You do not know what places to explore. So, you use a map to guide yourself.

Except, it’s the wrong map.

No matter how much you search for a place, the map will always mislead you. You can keep a positive attitude, reaffirm your self-belief, and try as hard as you can. It wouldn’t get you any closer to your destination.

Unless you realize you have the wrong map, the only place you’ll reach is frustration.

Why Most People Fail To Achieve Their Goals

achieving goals

You learn from life experiences. Take a moment and think about all the things you know today.

If your father is a software engineer, you probably started to code at a very young age. If your uncle is a professional painter, you would know the different color combinations and brush strokes.

In short, your life experiences have been a source of knowledge.

But here’s the problem.

Your life experiences are limited. So, the things you learn are also limited.

What happens when your goal lies outside your life experience?

What if you want to build a business when everyone in your family has had traditional jobs? How to be a creative writer when the only people around you are corporate buddies?

How to make up for what you do not know?

You do the obvious.

You guess what will work and hope that you’re right.

Usually, you’re wrong.

See Also: Your Ability To Fail Without Fear Is A Requirement To Reach Your Goals

What Does It Really Take To Succeed?

Two reasons why the successful achieve their goals:

  • They know things that you don’t know.
  • They do things that you don’t do.

If you study the methods of successful people, it becomes obvious that their approach is unique and counter-intuitive.

More specifically, it’s counter-intuitive to your guesses, because you don’t understand things the way they do.

Here’s a personal example.

Years ago, I started a blog without knowing much about it.

I guessed that I should start a WordPress website and write as well as I can. The readers will happily show up on their own.

What I just described is the fantasy of every blogger on this planet.

Unfortunately, it’s merely a fantasy. It never happens this way.

Today, we have hundreds of thousands of blogs. With so many options for a reader, I’ll probably get lost in the crowd of average bloggers, even if I was really good.

It wasn’t just about writing good content and hoping people to show up. I needed to find my readers and bring them to my blog. I have to learn about them and produce my best work that actually helps them. Apart from that, I should do this consistently and exactly in this order.

See Also: 5 Habits Of Successful People You Should Be Following Today

How To Not Waste Years In Making Silly Mistakes

The real reason you fail at goals is that you have no idea of what it takes- at least initially.

And if you rely on personal experiences, you’ll have to make tons of mistakes and take years to learn what works.

How to learn about things that you’ve not experienced?

“Proactive Learning”.

You learn how to “avoid” making mistakes. You realize the common pitfalls ahead and prepare in advance.

Why wait to learn from mistakes when you can find and avoid them in advance?

You may feel that avoiding all mistakes is not possible. We all falter and that is true.

However, do you really have to make all the mistakes that most people make all the time?

Instead of making 100 common mistakes, would it not make sense to avoid 90 by being proactive? Just because a person walking ahead of you fell into a hole doesn’t mean that you should, too.

Simply walk around it.

Go Back To First Grade

I know what you’re thinking.

“All this sounds great. Sure, it would be great to avoid mistakes instead of making them. But we realize our mistakes after we’ve made them. How to predict mistakes before making them?”

To answer the above question, you need to answer this first:

Who knows more about building a profitable business?

A businessman earning huge profits or an employee of an organization?

It’s obvious.

It’s the businessman.

He knows how to build a business. He’s done this for years now. He made some mistakes along the way but finally, he is successful.

He knows this game.

If you seek his help, he will show you the right way. He’ll tell you what steps to take. He’ll explain what mistakes most beginners make and how you can avoid them.

His lessons can be the difference between your business thriving or turning to dust.

This question points to an important truth.

99% of people never do much in life. So, when they hear about your dream, the best they can do is discourage you. They’ll call you mad for believing in something big.

But there’s also the 1% that actually make progress, achieve dreams, and realize their aspirations.

These people want you to trust in your dream just like they did. These people don’t want you to give up just like how they didn’t. They want you to succeed just like they did because they know it’s possible.

Your job is to become deaf to the 99% and learn from the 1%.

Not everyone’s opinion matters.

Become A Zen Student Of Success

By now you must have realized:

  1. If you chase your dreams on your own, it’ll take you years before you make it (you can still do it though).
  2. You can save years of effort and time if you learn from successful people.

But, you may still be wondering.

How to learn from the successful?

These people are extremely busy. Bill Gates isn’t sitting close to his phone, waiting excitedly for your call so that he can teach you his Microsoft secret.

The answer.

You live in the Information Age.

There are books, interviews, audio podcasts, and so much more out there. You can sign up for premium courses. A little research can find you plenty of resources to help you understand their methods and philosophies.

You want to understand what they know and how they act based on that knowledge. You’re looking to avoid the mistakes which they’ve made when they started out. You’re looking to succeed without falling into the traps that kept them stuck.

As you pursue proactive learning, you’ll begin to see the following benefits:

  1. Stronger self-belief – Learning from the successful will give you success stories affirming that you’re not crazy in chasing your dreams. Their stories prove it’s possible.
  2. Better Focus – When you’re unsure of your plan, you keep wondering if you’ve made the wrong plan. Proactive learning gives you better focus because you know it will work.
  3. Better Planning – You know you’re learning from the best, so your plan is bulletproof. It has worked earlier and will probably work for you, too.

Rise Of The Superhero In You

rise of the superhero

So, now you know.

You know exactly how to find what it takes to succeed.

Like Luke Skywalker, you will blast the Death Star of self-doubtful thoughts. There is “A New Hope”.

You’re free.

It’s not about being smart, lucky or having the right age. It’s about finding what actually works in real life and then doing it.

You no longer have to guess. By learning from the successful, you will know exactly what to do and what mistakes to avoid. No way are you falling for those traps again.

Like an expert driver avoiding most bumps on the road, the way to your dreams will be one pleasant ride.

Buy that book on business principles. Sign up for that writing course. Book that coaching session with your ideal teacher.

Your goal is no longer lost in some distant future. It’s coming true right now. Every action you take is in the right direction.

You’ve found the right map.

Now, your beliefs, attitudes, and focus will skyrocket your growth.

Go live your dream.

The post How To Crush Uncertainty And Realize Your Dreams appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Take The Perfect Selfie (With Or Without AR)

For millennia, people have sought after the perfect method of capturing one’s likeness. From cave drawings to royal commissioned portraits to tintype photography, our perceptions of self are constantly changing. And now, a lot of people are focused on how to perfect selfie.

The Evolution of Selfies

As photography quality grew over the 19th and 20th century, so did people’s fascination with human faces. Photography quality improved so much in fact, that artistic trends began shifting in the opposite direction. Surrealism and expressionism boomed in popularity and inspired some of the most famous pieces of artwork known today.

The imaginative likeness of humanity through artwork, juxtaposed against the solemn nature of black and white photography captured the imagination of people everywhere. It ushered in a new era of not only how we see the world around us, but how we see ourselves. The idea that a self-portrait could be anything we wanted it to be. It was not just an expression of physicality, but of our very essence.

Today, we are expected to take over 25,000 selfies during our lifetime. By 2015, 95% of millennial had taken at least one selfie. With an average posting rate of 9 selfies a week, it’s not a surprise we see them as often as we do. Social media is the hub of selfies, but not all platforms are equal.

The Start of AR Selfies

Snapchat pioneered the world of AR selfies when the quintessential Rainbow Barfing filter rolled out in 2015. Users were blown away by the detail, tech, and the sheer absurdity of these augmented reality gems.

Using facial tracking technology, users were able to filter over their own features in real time. Adapting to movements and even more than one face in the frame, this feature boomed. It made Snapchat the selfie hub. More than one in three people who use Snapchat do so primarily to take, send, and save selfies. In comparison, only 4% of posts are solo selfies in Instagram.

In a way, these creative filters harken back to the days of when the extremes of human imagination were made real through art and early photography. Long gone are the days when selfies were considered a vain and attention-seeking practice.

Today, they are vital pieces of self-expressionism, especially among social media users. No matter how far we edit our selfies, we know it still remains an image of ourselves.

While there is no formula to the “perfect” selfie, there are general guidelines, tips, and tricks that many veteran selfie-takers can agree on.

Popular opinion consensus has decided that selfies are a good thing now, and the more creative and personality-filled, the better. After all, what’s more unique than a photo of one’s own face?

It’s only fair to take advantage of the seemingly endless online resources for selfie augmenting, whether it be in real-time like Snapchat or in post-production, so to speak.

How to Perfect Selfie

perfect selfie

When starting your selfie session:

  • Be aware of lighting, shade, and shadows. Many selfie “experts” may suggest avoiding shadows if possible. The good news is that there are many techniques that make shadow work to your strengths.
  • Don’t be afraid of the flash. In darker environments, getting your front-facing phone camera to focus can feel like an endless uphill battle. The flash may be scary at first, but at the right angles it can light up the high points of the face.
  • Everyone has a “good side”. Just because you play to your angles doesn’t make a selfie disingenuous. Often times front-facing cameras on phones are compressed in order to fit as much in the frame as possible. On some users this can make the nose appear larger, the forehead appear longer, and other distorting results.

Don’t forget that there is very rarely a “bad” picture. We are our own worst critics, and for photos that come out not quite right, we can be quick to judge ourselves negatively. When a selfie isn’t working out the way we hoped it would, remember back to the last time you saw a bad photo of someone else; we bet you can’t really recall.

Even a photo that seems to highlight your “flaws” is still a photo of you. To friends and family, that is exactly what they see. They see a loved one, not a bad picture.

There’s a time and place for everything and while part of the appeal of selfies is that you can literally snap one anywhere, it should not be taken:

  • in a place of worship during services
  • whilst behind the wheel
  • during a movie, lecture, or live performance
  • in museums, or memorials, and of course funerals

How do you use augmented reality to up your selfie game? Take a look at this infographic for more on the art of selfies, the future of AR development, and the influence of self-expression on technology itself.

The post How To Take The Perfect Selfie (With Or Without AR) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Ways To Get Physically Fit Without Spending Too Much Money

According to research by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), more than 1 in 3 adults are overweight and 1 in 13 adults have extreme obesity.

The findings mentioned above are to be expected in today’s fast-paced environment. More and more people spend long hours at work to maintain their financial resources. Unfortunately, this 9-to-5 lifestyle often affects our food and lifestyle choices. Most adults on a tight budget avoid the gym because they don’t want to spend money on monthly membership fees.

It may seem like a wise investment to some, but let’s be honest. A gym or fitness center can be heavy on the pocket.

However, sticking to your budget doesn’t mean that you have to compromise your health. Getting fit on a budget is totally possible.

So, here are 5 of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to get physically fit without burning holes in your wallet.

Walk 10,000 steps a day

walk daily

Most of us take our phone everywhere. We use it to message friends, take photos, send emails, and much more. So, why not take advantage of this hand-held device and use it to track our fitness levels, too?

iPhones have an inbuilt step-tracker loaded as a standard feature. But the latest study suggests that using our smartphone to track the total steps taken in one day may not be accurate. Researchers found that the iPhone’s built-in pedometer missed about 1340 steps (almost half a mile) in a day.

This is why we recommend you to invest in a physical tracker or a pedometer as it can help you achieve your goal of walking 10,000 steps a day. Walking for 30 minutes a day has tons of health benefits and can help keep chronic illnesses at bay.

Watch what you eat

If you are looking to lose fat and build muscle, then you need to increase your intake of healthy food. Eat a balanced diet that contains protein to help build muscles, fruits and vegetables for mineral and fiber, wholesome carbs to keep those energy levels high, and healthy fats to boost fat loss. Don’t forget to drink ample amounts of water to stay hydrated.

Eating healthy doesn’t always have to be expensive. Whether you are a student or an adult living within a limited amount of money, here are 20 tips that will help you make better food choices on a budget.

Volunteer for a good cause

We are a firm believer in the idea that what goes around, comes around. Try giving a few hours in a week to your nearest nonprofit organization. Help them with physical work like garden digging, trail building or training your local sports team. You’ll experience double the satisfaction. Nothing beats the good feeling that arises after helping others and the soreness that comes from working hard for a good cause.

See Also: The Power of Volunteering

Clean up

clean up

Believe it or not, you can burn a lot of calories by cleaning, especially if it is the intense spring-cleaning sort. The exact number of calories spent during housework and cleaning varies from person to person and depends on the individual’s weight.

Stay away from toxic chemicals and don’t contaminate your environment by using them regularly. Use mild cleaners like soap, water, and vinegar which do an equally good job. Get moving by pushing the couch and cleaning underneath it. Wash the windows and get out all the extra stuff out from the garage.

Catch up with a friend

Catching up with a friend or colleague for a game of tennis, golf or swimming is a great way to combine socialization and exercise. You’ll feel motivated and refreshed after flexing those muscles and spending quality time with a cherished one. Remember, the key is to avoid picking up a pack of beer on your way back and passing out in front of the TV!

Conclusion

If you want to live a long and healthy life on a budget, think positively and work hard to achieve your goals. Visit your physician at least once a year to know more about the workout that best suits your body type. Use a waist trainer to maintain a correct posture during the workout session.

Eat home-cooked food at least five days a week. According to research, home-cooked meals are far more nutritious and healthier than convenience foods. Plus, apply the Japanese concept of living and eat till you are 80% full instead of wiping your plate clean every time. Give up smoking and drink occasionally.

Just make these small changes in your lifestyle and switch to these lifelong habits. You’ll notice a rise in your mental and physical health while staying well within your budget.

Do you have any tips or tricks that can help stay us fit without spending bucket loads of money? Share your best-kept fitness secrets with us in the comments below.

The post 5 Ways To Get Physically Fit Without Spending Too Much Money appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

12 Must-Know Things While Designing A Book Cover

Authors pour their heart and soul when they write a book. When the manuscript is finalized, the next critical task of designing a compelling and appealing book cover comes. Some authors outsource the designing of their book cover, while some take the DIY route.

If you wish to design your book cover on your own, you can use online graphic design tools such as Designhill. You can create an alluring book cover design with this AI-based tool within minutes.

Additionally, here are 12 book cover design tips you can try for your next project:

Who will be reading the book?

book reader

While creating a book cover design, keep in mind the intended audience. Who is likely to read the book? The age and gender of your readers are crucial in designing a book cover as well as brochure design.

Does the book’s genre have a traditional cover style?

Each industry and genre has their established design style. For instance, book covers for romance genre have couples while thrillers show the protagonists. The key is to create an alluring book cover while using the traditional style so that the audience can identify the genre with just one look at the cover.

Is the book a single or part of a more extended series?

Books that are part of a series often follow a certain style and theme. Make sure to confirm with the author if the book is intended as a single work or as part of a series. Consider the books for Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings. Since they all belong to a series, there is a similarity and consistency in their designs.

What will make the book stand out?

A book cover is the most influential marketing asset to sell the book. Although it is recommended to follow the genre’s established style, the book cover must have a surprising or eye-catching element that can sway the reader to consider buying the book.

What should be the focal point of the book cover?

Each book has a focal point around which the whole content or story revolves. Identify the focus of the book so that the cover showcases the central point aptly.

Which font is suitable for the genre of the book?

Using the correct font and typography is critical for creating a compelling book cover and brochure design. Cursive fonts may not be suitable for specific genres like teen fictions. They often have whimsical and comical fonts. Book cover designs for thrillers, meanwhile, have classic fonts.

In which format will the book be published?

Today, e-readers have gained popularity as readers can access a plethora of books anywhere and anytime. Check whether the book will be published in digital format or only as a printed book. This is because, in case of an e-Book, the cover must be appropriate for a small thumbnail.

Will be the book sold in paperback or hardcover?

When it comes to hardcovers, the designs can be printed on the jacket or the book itself. For a paperback book, the size can vary depending upon the trim size. A 500-page book, if designed too small, would appear too thick. If designed too big, it can give the appearance of a booklet or magazine.

Does the book cover design work in black and white?

Color is an essential element of a book cover design. Before you set out to create a design, ask if the book cover has to be printed in color or black and white. If the cover is intended to be printed in monochrome, the essential elements become contrast and shadows. For colored book covers, more attention has to be paid on using the correct color combinations which the users find appealing.

What is the author’s vision for the book cover design?

A book cover is the representation of the author and how he presents the book to the world. Make sure you consider how the author envisions the face of the book to create a true depiction of the content. This is the reason why many business owners create their own logo using an online logo maker. The business owners and authors can be the best guides when creating a design.

 What is the author’s budget?

There are many elements to a book cover which need licensing and registration. The list includes custom fonts, graphics, ISBN identifier, barcode, and more. The author and designer must keep in mind the overall budget associated with the design process right from the beginning and to optimize each aspect effectively.

What is the printer’s requirement?

Printers have their own set of requirements for printing a file. Typically, a flat file is required by the printer as all the parts of a book cover or jacket such as the spine, front, back covers, and flaps. The format is another key element to be kept in mind when you finalize the design. Some printers prefer a PDF format while some use .ai or .eps formats. In case the book cover or brochure design requires foil printing or embossed print, another set of files is needed as a guide.

The bottom line

designing book cover

Equipped with these book cover design tips, you are now ready to create a stunning book cover and see your vision come to life. Check a designer’s complete portfolio before hiring and discuss your requirements at length. The key to remember is that your book cover is the representation of your brand. It must be something you are proud of.

Author Bio

Anne Carton is a small business consultant, designer and an enthusiast blogger working with Designhill, one of the fastest-growing custom design marketplace. She has authored several blogs, articles and editorials on various topics related to book cover design, brochure design, interactive content, concerning design, social media strategies, growth hack strategies, digital marketing and e-commerce.

The post 12 Must-Know Things While Designing A Book Cover appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Find Happiness Within Yourself?

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your actions.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

Happiness is a state of mind. We can keep ourselves happy in every situation; we only need to make up our mind.

There are people who have a limited income and simple lifestyle and yet, they are happy. There are people who have big houses, expensive cars, loving families, stable jobs, and great health but they don’t feel happy at all.

Ever wonder how the principle of happiness works?

This article can give you a clearer idea on how to find happiness within yourself.

Root Cause

Most of the time, we want others for love and approval. We continuously feel that something is lacking within ourselves and that the outside world can complete us.

If we want to be and stay happy all the time, however, it is essential that we learn to value and love ourselves. Instead of finding happiness here and there, find your confidence. Happiness comes after such ‘self-care’ behaviors.

Start believing that your happiness is more connected to you and your behaviors more than any other circumstances. Follow these simple yet powerful tips and start learning how to find happiness within yourself.

Decide

decide happiness

This step is the very first thing in learning how to find happiness within yourself.

You have to decide and you have to choose to be happy. Change your state of mind and distract it from sadness.

Define the road to happiness. Write down your meaning of joy in a diary. Keep all your senses open and try to observe triggers which lead you to any positivity. Eliminate negative thoughts by imagining something useful and write it down. Choose to believe that you can be happy.

Visualize

You must show the world that you want to be happy and will never fail in that. Convince yourself that you are on the right track to finding happiness. Visualize the best version of yourself and work for it.

Set some goals for your life that can make a difference. Such goals can tremendously help you in reaching your fullest potential. Stop ruminating and thinking about the moments and things which other people have said to let you down.

Develop

Finding happiness within yourself is not rocket science but just like any other habits, we need to cultivate it, too.

Cultivate happiness by developing an optimistic outlook. Optimism brings positive change to our mind so that we can overcome issues. Also, show your compassion and develop the skill to deal with negativity. Challenge your negative thoughts and never allow them to control your mind.

See Also: Four Surprising Yet Effective Ways To Tune Into Your Soul

Forgive and Forget

Forgive yourself, no matter how bad your mistake was!

If you have realized it and now want to take a fresh start, forget it and forgive yourself. Don’t make your past ruin your present.

Try to forgive others, no matter what they did to you! To forgive someone is not for them; it is for you and your peace of mind. That can lead you to the happiness.

Practice active gratitude. Accept the good and imagine the best. Stop blaming others and be open to change. Forget any bad memories, listen to your heart, and find purpose again.

Appreciate

Frederick Keonig once said, ‘We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.’

It is essential to take a few minutes to consider where happiness comes from. Always focus on what you have in life and not on the things which you have lost in the past. Start appreciating all the positive things around you, including people who work hard to make you smile.

Meditate

meditate regularly

Meditation is powerful. It can heal a lot of things.

After closing your eyes and when you focus on the center of your forehead, you will feel that many problems and plenty of negative thoughts are trapping you. But after practicing for a few sessions, you will surely feel peace.

Meditation can calm your mind and may give you some direction. It helps you to listen to the inner voice and declutter the chaos. A few minutes of exercise are also helpful to stay positive and energized.

Choose Wisely

Be with others who make you smile and not the ones who have a hugely negative approach to life.

You can help them but when you are struggling with yourself, choose to stay away from any form of negativity. Hold on to your values and never compromise your self-esteem.

Remember that it’s hard for you to gain the confidence to find happiness within yourself. Treat yourself well and do things you love.

If you want someone, you can also take professional help. It is FINE.

See Also: 5 Signs You Need to Start Removing Toxic People

Go out and explore my friend. Take pictures of beautiful things and convince yourself that it is okay to BE YOU and it is okay to be alone than to be with someone who doesn’t treat you right.

It’s Not Complicated!

To find happiness is simple. Anything from the chirps of birds to a bandstand can make you happy. Even paper boats, snowfall or your childhood memories can do that.

There are 1000 reasons to be happy and only 10 reasons to be sad. But still, we focus on the ten and don’t see the brighter side.

Take a break from televisions or cellphones and write down all the things that can make you happy. Whether it is a meal, beach, mountain or some silly jokes, write it down.

Feel everything, whatever it may be – happiness, sorrows, laughs, tears, pain, heartbreaks, anything!

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Let it go and treasure yourself. The universe will help you find happiness within yourself. Just live with the flow and keep smiling.

The post How to Find Happiness Within Yourself? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Actually Start the Task You’ve Been Avoiding

Life would be great if we only did things that we wanted to do, each moment of the day. However, that sweet freedom also comes with a price. For example, many significant achievements of the humanity would never be realized if we could do only what our fleeting hearts wanted.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re having a problem with procrastination and trying to find out a way to beat it. For example, you may be facing a big ugly project or another task that you’ve been putting off for too long. Or you may be looking for some tips to increase your productivity and avoid procrastinating on something.

Whatever the reason is, you’re doing the right thing by trying to minimize the effect of procrastination on your life. It has been linked to some adverse health and social effects such as stress, fatigue, and poorer performance.

Read further if you want to know how you can get stuff done.

Stop Making a Huge Deal Out of Anything

A big reason why people procrastinate is that they make a huge deal out of the project they need to complete. Psychologists call this “catastrophizing.” For example, Psych Central defines this term as “an irrational thought a lot of us have in believing that something is far worse than it is.”

As you probably know, the most common reasons for such behavior are related to how painful, boring, or difficult it is to complete the task.

Well, some tasks may be boring and difficult, but boredom and hard work aren’t legit reasons to avoid doing something! In fact, they won’t even have any profound impact on you. Procrastination, on the other hand, causes stress, so it can have a long-term effect on your overall well-being.

So, try to keep things in perspective. Of course, a task you’re yet to accomplish may not be your favorite, but you can get through it, that’s for sure.

See Also: 4 Habits That Will Improve Your Focus And Destroy Procrastination

Try to Find Benefits of Completing the Task

What is the first reason for postponing the task? Avoiding all the distress and inconveniences associated with its completion. While they certainly sound good, they are only short-term gains that cannot even compare to long-term consequences such as the stress of not doing it and possible implications for failing to complete it.

So, by doing the task instead of putting it off, you avoid all those long-term consequences. Moreover, there must be some benefits that you’ll get as a result of completing the task, such as praise or financial rewards.

For example, if you’ve been putting off starting a daily exercise session, think of both short- and long-term benefits of completing this task. They could be an increased energy and a boost to your self-esteem.

Get a Motivation Buddy

motivation buddy

Having someone to hold you accountable for your projects could be a good way to get you back in the game even after you’ve slipped into procrastination. Don’t believe it? There are many examples of people assisting others in achieving their goals.

Perhaps one of the most interesting and extraordinary examples comes from the United Kingdom. Jamie Brooks was caught in an unhealthy lifestyle and weighed 504 pounds (228 kilograms) while being only 31. The things started to change when one of his friends, Neil, decided to be his motivation buddy. His plan, however, was rather original, because it was to serve Jamie some tough love.

Neil sent Jamie a text every day for six weeks where he called him things, including ‘fat f***.’ Other motivational texts included “You’ll be dead by the time you’re 40.” And guess what? It worked! Jamie lost 294 pounds (133 kilograms) and dramatically improved the quality of his life.

Read more about the story of Jamie at Metro.

Divide Work into Smaller Pieces

Catastrophizing often means intimidation by the size of the project. If this is the situation that you’re facing, try to deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed by breaking up the project into smaller, digestible parts that you can achieve much more quickly and easily.

For example, if you have a large research paper to write, you can begin by writing only one small part. Let it be the easiest one, too.

Get Rid of Distractions

task distractions

One popular reason why people postpone doing something for days, weeks and even months is a lack of a productive environment. Indeed, the environment can be a huge barrier to productivity; for example, social media, phone calls, TV, and other distractions are well-known reasons why so many people fail to complete their tasks.

See Also: One Simple Trick to Get Rid of the #1 Workplace Productivity Killer

Drop the Perfectionism

Being a perfectionist involves a lot of risks for productivity. For example, these people tend to wait until things are perfect to start working, so this mentality can hold you back from doing your tasks.

Moreover, unrealistic standards created by perfectionism could be a threat to health and professional experience, so it’s better to avoid falling into this trap and focus on being better rather than perfect.

The post How to Actually Start the Task You’ve Been Avoiding appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Don’t Make Them Wait: How to Improve Customer Response Time for Business

People do not like to wait. They don’t like being put on hold. They don’t like when a website takes forever to load. They don’t like waiting for a call or an email that they doubt will ever come at all. Generally, people don’t like being told to wait for anything. Anything at all. This is understandable because there’s really nothing more precious than time. In fact, there are so many distractions these days that people need to evaluate what they do with their time, which is the one single thing you can’t bring back. Once it is spent, it is gone forever.

This is also what businesses need to understand. If you want to keep your customers happy, get to their concerns as quickly as you can. A study on customer response time revealed that for 43.4% of customers, one business day is still an acceptable response time for emails. However, 43.9% want a response within four hours or less.

It’s a whole different story on social media. In a virtual world, more people want it extra fast. A related survey showed that a whopping 84 percent of customers prefer getting an instant response – that means within 24 hours after a post has been posted on social media.

Still, all these efforts and the hassles ultimately pay off in the end. A study from Autodeal about car dealership response time showed that dealers who respond to a customer in six hours or less have a better conversion rate. If the response time is reduced to under an hour, the conversion rate can increase by an additional 37%. People want it fast, and they associate good customer service with a quick response from the business’ end.

Now that we have pretty much settled on the importance of quick response times, let’s see how you can improve your brand’s quickness in customer response during a time where everyone seems to be impatient and easily-irked.

Sweeten your automated replies

improve customer response

A customer needs to know if his inquiry, feedback or complaint has reached the right people. This is important because only then will a customer know that he is valued and that his concerns matter.

A lot of companies now use automatic response emails to serve several purposes. Among them is to reach out to a customer, improve customer relationships, as well as give the company some time to sort things out, and craft an appropriate reply. You can have autoresponders via email or text.

But since everyone is doing it, you might want to make your messages more personal and less bland. For example, use their first names and not just the impersonal “sir/ma’am”. Draft your automatic responses in a way that sounds like it is coming from an actual human being — warm, sincere, and genuine. You might also want to consider adding a summary of their complaint, and a number of days when they could expect an action. Just be true to your word and stick to it.

Use a response software

It is not advisable to keep everything in your shared company email or to have someone manually print out everything and file them accordingly. It is best to invest in customer service software to improve your workflow and to make everyone’s life easier.

This type of software acts like your obsessive-compulsive secretary. It stores, sorts, tracks, and backs everything up. It can also be linked to your email to send those autoresponders and to your social media pages as well. A reference case number or a ticket can be issued for better tracking of concerns.

The good thing about this is it keeps everything centralized. Apart from that, the company can also keep messages and conversations that they might find helpful in the future. On the backend, you can store and sort messages, monitor response time of staff, and keep all the information and data that are very valuable these days. Through this, you will know what the top complaint about a product or a service is and work on it. You’ll also have a clearer picture as to the demographics of your market, which will allow you to target messages more effectively.

Direct them to FAQs

faqs

By this time, you probably already have an idea of what the frequently asked questions are. In your website, app or social media page, you may categorize these questions so that customers can be directed to your FAQ page. For all you know, customers don’t even need to contact you anymore. Just direct them to the said page. They most probably can solve whatever concerns they have on their own. This is called being proactive, something that customers always appreciate. In your automated emails or text messages, you may also add a link to your FAQs to let your customers know that this section exists.

Engage your employees

Improving customer response time can be a very mechanical thing, but since you are dealing with real people with real concerns, you need actual people responding to them. Companies need to engage their employees in the whole process — from setting an objective to the strategies. Remember that any software can only be as good as the people using them. You cannot set a 3-day response time if your company receives hundreds of inquiries and feedback a day and you only have five customer service officers.

Companies must also enhance employees’ soft skills such as communication techniques that involve listening, empathy, and exercising responsibility. At the same time, brush up on everyone’s technology skills to increase productivity and improve delivery.

See Also: Know Your Customers In The Digital Age

Speed is an essential component in improving customer relationships. However, it shouldn’t be achieved at the expense of quality. Any company must learn how to balance speed and quality of responses. While there are tools you can use such as automated emails and customer service apps and software, don’t underestimate soft skills that can only come from employees who have the heart for customer service.

The post Don’t Make Them Wait: How to Improve Customer Response Time for Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Write The Perfect Content for Each Stage of Your Sales Funnel

Bringing in new customers and converting them can sometimes be challenging. With so many brands and products on the market, differentiating from the competition is near impossible. However, the AIDA sales funnel methodology can contribute to the cause more than you think.

Implementing the time-old sales model into the content creation strategy set by the marketing team will ensure organic growth and sales outreach more than most methods would. With that said, let’s take a look at how we can use AIDA to separate our content marketing funnel strategy from the rest.

Basics of AIDA

In short, AIDA stands for “Attraction, Interest, Desire, and Action.” These are the cornerstones of your typical sales funnel in which certain content is distributed to the market at even intervals. As the name suggests, AIDA stages aim to gradually introduce a product or a brand to the market. It raises awareness of it before promoting a direct purchase.

This methodology alone is what separates AIDA from typical content strategies that rely on scheduling and audience profiling. AIDA can effectively lead individual users from a passerby to a loyal customer if the content reflects the aim to gradually convert someone into a recurring customer.

Now that we have a clearer understanding of what AIDA represents, let’s take a look at how we can implement it into our existing content creation strategies.

  • Brand Awareness

brand awareness

The first stage of content marketing through AIDA aims to collect customer information for future reference. This means that every marketing campaign should start with content designed to achieve outreach and interaction.

The more emails, phone numbers and contact information you collect, the more successful your first stage of AIDA will be. The content created for this purpose usually comes in the form of email marketing and calls to action. These factors ask the readers for some upfront trust and patience. Products and services should not be promoted in this stage but only hinted at. We are aiming to raise awareness of our presence on the market and not sell anything outright.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness

  • Product Interest

Creating interest in your products might just be the toughest stage of AIDA. You need to ensure that people are interested and curious about your products to a point where they will want to know more about it.

You can achieve this by creating demonstration video content, write testimonials or product reviews through influencers. Also, you can employ some of the largest translation companies on the market. They can translate your content into other languages for international marketing purposes.

In other words, the Interest phase of your sales funnel focuses on building hype and anticipation for a product that the customers absolutely need to possess. This mindset is what you should aim for when creating content for the second stage of the sales funnel.

  • Purchase Desire

If you played your cards right, your future customers should be knocking at your door by now with questions about your products. However, there is one more stage of the sales funnels to focus on before creating direct sales marketing content.

Your customers’ desire to buy, use and promote your products and services is the true indicator of successful marketing. You should focus on creating a need and a desire to purchase your brand’s products through calls to action that offer discounts, loyalty benefits, extra goodies for early adopters, etc. Desire can also be raised by emphasizing the benefits of using your products in the household environment, during family activities, friendly hangouts, etc.

Add as much value, examples and advantages to your product as possible while still maintaining the aura of professionalism. The more value you add to your product, the better it will sell on the market once your launch window approaches.

See Also: 12 Tips That Build Customer Loyalty And Boost Sales

  • Customer Action

customer action

Your customers’ action or the purchase of your product should be the final stage of your sales funnel. If all previous stages were done correctly, Action bookends the campaign and brings a few final customers before the purchase window opens officially.

Content that focuses on action should include calls-to-action that emphasize direct purchase. You can include how-to guides, examples of use, tips for product enjoyment and other customer-centric content in your final sales funnel stage.

The interest and performance of your product peaks with Action and gradually drops over time. It’s important to monetize the buzz created around your brand before the customers’ interest shifts to some other marketing campaign.

A Step-by-Step Approach (Conclusion)

Implementing AIDA or any other sales funnel method might seem like an overcomplicated risk. Every stage of a sales funnel needs to be as effective and impactful as the one that came before. While that may be true, AIDA provides the perfect model for filtering and segmenting our customer base.

This is especially useful with expensive and niche products that simply don’t work for every customer. Use your best judgment when implementing AIDA into your content strategy. Don’t be afraid to segment your own marketing campaign into separate steps.

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How to Begin Celebrating Small Wins to Start A New Life

Starting a new life is not easy. You have to get rid of any bad, old habits. However, letting go of any habit or behavior is not easy, either. That’s why you have to set the goal you want to accomplish.

On this journey, you need to identify the small wins that indicate that you are accomplishing something. These accomplishments motivate you to keep moving in the right direction.

If we focused only on the big wins, we would never feel like we will ever get any achievements. A new behavior is not formed overnight. You have to work for it.

Here’s how you can start celebrating small wins every day.

Start small

start small habits

Many people make the mistake of doing too much at once while trying to achieve a given goal.

Maybe you want to start an exercise program or any other new habit. If that’s the case, you have to start small and progress gradually.

For instance, if you are used to waking up at 10 a.m and want to change to waking up at 6 a.m, then you need to make the transition slowly since this is a huge change. You could start by waking up at 9 a.m for a while, then 8 a.m, until you become comfortable waking up at 6 a.m.

Also, try to create a ritual by doing the same things at the same time each day. Doing this helps your body adjust and adapt to the new routine.

Change one habit at a time

You made a grand plan to start leading a healthy lifestyle when the year started and want to start working on it. You are filled with enthusiasm to get started. You want to start a new diet, exercise daily or any other new habit right away.

With such a huge goal, you feel tempted to do all of them at once. However, this is similar to multitasking and you will end up failing.

To avoid this, focus on working on one habit at a time and only move on to the next when you have gotten used to the previous one.

See Also: 4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity

Group your big habits into chunks

As you continue gradually adjusting to your new habits, you will find yourself swamped with things you need to do at some point. For instance, if you decide to start exercising and gradually increase its level of difficulty, a time will come when you can’t increase it any higher.

You should divide big habits into smaller sections and do them continuously throughout the day. For instance, if you need to do 60 squats a day, you can divide them into 3 sessions and do 20 squats in each.

Remove your barriers

When starting new habits, it is easy for you to change directions when the initial plan doesn’t go as expected. However, if you really want to achieve your goal, you need to keep them close for ease of access. You have no excuse for not doing it.

For instance, if you want to start reading a few pages of a book before going to sleep every day, you could keep your Kindle or hardcover book on your nightstand. Change is uncomfortable but it has to happen.

change habit

See Also: 5 Barriers That You Need To Cross To Achieve Success This Year

Get back on the horse

It is not easy to go through a change in behavior. There are times you will slip and go back to those practices that were not good for you. The problem is if and how you bounce back from it.

If you are set on changing, you should get back on track quickly whenever you trip to avoid dropping off altogether. You should never make the same mistake twice.

For instance, if you miss a workout once, don’t miss it the next day. The aim is not for you to be perfect but to be consistent.

Stack habits on existing ones

It is easy to stick to a habit if it is added onto one that already exists. Thus, doing one habit leads to you doing the other. For example, if you always brush your teeth after eating, it is easy for you to start a flossing routine. Whenever you are brushing your teeth, you will always remember to floss.

Conclusion

Developing a new habit is not easy. Start by making small changes and gradually progress to bigger ones. You can’t change your habits in one day. The time it takes to form a long-lasting one varies.

Accomplishing it and getting it to stick is a big win for you. Remember that just because you were able to form the habit does not mean it can’t fall apart. You need to be patient and consistent to achieve your goal. Keep in mind that new habits result in a new life.

So, start celebrating small wins and you’ll be starting on the right track.

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How to Prepare for the Hurricane Season: 5 Important Tips to Follow

Hurricane season officially started one month ago, but the peak has yet to come. Most severe hurricanes occur between mid-August and late September. This means you still have time to prepare your home and family by developing an effective hurricane plan.

Last year was a historically catastrophic year for hurricanes with Maria, Harvey, and Irma doing unthinkable damage to North and Central America. This is why it’s so important to start preparing for the hurricane season even before it starts. Don’t leave the survival of your home and your life up to chance.

Make sure you do these 5 things before the big storms make landfall over the next few months.

Have an Evacuation Plan

If your area is expected to be hit by a severe hurricane, you need to know where you can go, how you will get there, and what you will bring with you. When an evacuation is ordered for an area, people start to panic and don’t know what to do. If you have planned out exactly where you will evacuate to, there will be no reason for you to panic.

Start Gathering Supplies

gather supplies

One of the biggest issues people face when a hurricane is approaching is not being able to buy supplies such as basic food and water. Stores will quickly run out of water and non-perishable foods when a big storm is coming, so make sure you’re prepared by buying the supplies you need even before a warning is issued.

It’s better to be prepared for something that doesn’t happen, instead of not being prepared for something that is about to happen. You can store the supplies in a spare closet or your garage. If a storm doesn’t hit, you’ll just have a bunch of food and water for the rest of the year.

Have an Insurance Plan

If you live in a high-risk area such as a flood zone, it’s extremely important you have a good insurance plan in place. Don’t leave everything up to chance by skimping out on a flood or hurricane insurance policy for your home. Paying for this insurance is a small price to pay that will end up saving you in case of a major weather catastrophe.

Protect Important Documents and Other Belongings

protect documents

If you have documents such as a deed to your home or important family items that can’t be replaced, you need to protect them in case of a storm. Buy a hurricane-proof safe where you can put these things in so they are protected from any damage.

Protect Your Home

Make sure your home is as protected as possible before hurricane season. If possible, install storm windows so you don’t have to worry about putting up plywood when there’s a hurricane threat. Fix up any loose parts of your house because they can cause real damage in heavy winds.

Make sure your door has strong locks to keep them from blowing open during a hurricane. If a storm is about to hit, remove all loose items from around your home so they don’t fly around during the storm.

Conclusion

Taking these precautions is important, even if you think a hurricane is unlikely to hit this year. It never hurts to be prepared for the worst, but it can definitely hurt to not be prepared.

So, make sure you start preparing for the hurricane season before it hits. That way, you can feel confident in the safety of your home and your family.

See Also: Safety Tips for Natural Disasters: A Quick Guide On How To Secure Your Property

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The Little-Known Peer Feedback Strategies You Can Use in The Classroom

In every level of the education system, students are provided with assignments which help teachers to evaluate them. Now, for effective learning, it is necessary to give feedback to the students. It can help them understand the mistakes committed, which can then improve their knowledge and skills. It can also make a student more confident and enthusiastic when it comes to learning.

There’s a handful of benefits of peer feedback. However, even though this process is very effective, implementing it in the classroom is not that easy. There are many challenges that a teacher must face. The list includes reluctance from the students, non-specific feedback, and more.

In order to implement effective peer reviews, the following measures can be taken:

Make sure everybody takes part

peer feedback participation

It will not make any sense if only one or two students give feedback. You must encourage everyone to get involved. Tell the students to participate in the program.

Ask them to be specific

Students should be taught how to give constructive feedback. This is to help the students learn how to improve their work.

Giving a two-word review will not be enough. The feedback needs to be specific and it should focus exactly where a student needs to work on or in what area has one excelled in. This process requires the students to think critically, enabling them to hone this skill.

Provide a rubric

To help a student in providing constructive feedback, it is important to have a specific rubric or guideline. This way, they will know where they need to focus on while reflecting on their peer’s work. A rubric will also assist them to understand what can be considered as a good work, and they can create their own feedback based on that standard.

Use technology

peer feedback technology

Utilizing a user-friendly, engaging, and fun platform will make the process of peer review more enjoyable for the students. And as a result, student participation will also increase.

See Also: Technology in the Classroom — Should Technology Take Over The Education System?

Track results

Teachers should also keep track of the feedback and the students giving the reviews. This way, they have a way of checking if the system has been productive or not.

Peer feedback is very effective for teaching and learning. With proper implementation, students get the chance to think about their own learning and learn what they can do to improve themselves.

This process is also great for the teachers since they don’t usually have enough time to give a personal feedback to each student. By using these techniques, teachers can implement an effective peer feedback system and create a great classroom culture.

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Paperless Office: Myths, Benefits, and Tips for Going Paperless

Operating in an eco-friendly manner has been the new black for some time now. However, being trendy is not the main benefit of going paperless in the office. It actually offers tons of advantages.

Top myths about paperless office

Even though the term paperless was first used in 1978, the amount of misconceptions that still surround it is quite surprising. Let’s get to debunking:

  • Paper-free automatically means environmentally-friendly – It’s not that simple. If your go-to approach to becoming paperless is just to scan all documents and throw away the paper, you won’t do anything ecological. For starters, to be called eco-friendly, you’d have to at least recycle that paper.
  • Being paper-free requires complete rejection of the paper – Of course, in the perfect world, you would say no to all the papers. In reality, however, a paper-free office is actually a concept of an organization striving to minimize the use of paper. That’s why complete rejection is not really necessary.
  • Paperless office is less secure – That’s not true as well. Digital cloud services and paper-free tools protect your business data better than you might think. They usually utilize highly secure encryptions to protect your business data. Also, paper documents are not bulletproof, too. They can easily get spoiled or lost.

Why bother going paperless?

paperless office benefits

So, what are the benefits of the paper-free concept? Why did it become so popular? From our point of view, the advantages are clear and really impressive.

  1. It saves money. You won’t have to spend on printers, papers, toners, inks, shredders, and whatnot. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, going paperless can save a company about $80 for each of your staff members per year.
  2. It saves time. On average, it takes workers about 5 minutes to come to a filing cabinet, find the needed document, and then work on it. Multiply this by how often your workers need to find new docs and you’ll see how much of their time will be freed by going paperless.
  3. It improves business workflow. When all of your documents are in electronic form, collaboration with your partners becomes faster and easier. For instance, being able to sign papers digitally allows you to avoid the old-fashioned print-sign-scan-send routine. Instead, you can sign papers with a tap of a finger, speeding up your sales process. Also, the mere absence of paper and filing cabinets makes your workers more organized overall.

How to go paperless?

paperless office how to

You might think that you are ready to make the transition, but it is important to understand that you can’t go paperless overnight.

Here are the best tips for going paperless.

  1. Choose a cloud storage for your business data if you still don’t have one. There are plenty of popular services out there, like Google, Microsoft or Dropbox. They have different amounts of available space and privacy policy rules, so be careful. Choose the one that suits your business best.
  2. Scan all your documents and transfer them to the chosen cloud storage. Considering the amount of paper in use by an average company, you probably won’t make it in one day. That’s why we suggest you to make a daily transfer plan and then process at least one filing cabinet a day.
  3. This step is important eco-friendly-wise. Now that you have all your documents in electronic form, you should get rid of the unnecessary papers. It is important that you recycle them. Normally, you can find a couple of recycling companies in most large cities, so this shouldn’t be that much of a trouble.
  4. Implement paper-free tools. For example, your company should consider using tablets instead of laptops and desktop PCs when possible so that employees could work effectively on the go. Tablets are also indispensable when working with clients when you have to fill in profiles and questionnaires or close deals in a matter of minutes. Another great paperless tool that facilitates client work is electronic signature services. It is a technology for electronically signing documents. It also allows you to remotely collaborate with stakeholders and sign your documents even on-the-go. Some of these services also provide additional features, like templates, offline mode, and secure storages.
  5. Go for electronic invoicing and billing. This includes paying your bills with online banking, especially since there are no legitimate reasons not to. Once you’re geared up with paper-free tools, you are ready to practice e-Invoicing, too. FYI, your savings from turning to electronic invoicing can reach up to $8 per invoice.

In conclusion

Going paperless is a multi-step and time-consuming process. However, the benefits are worth it. Be patient with these tips for going paperless and you’ll soon see the improvements in your office.

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Squeaky Clean: How To Clean Up The Different Types of Carpet Stains

Every awesome house has a carpet inside it somewhere. Whether it’s in the living room or the bedroom, a rug is there to provide safety, beauty, and charm. A lot of times, a carpet faces a lot of roughing up as it puts up with a lot of factors that can gradually increase its deterioration.

One of the most dreaded things that can happen to your carpet is a horrible and stinky stain. You and your guests won’t see it immediately, but you will surely notice it eventually. And when you do, it’s important that you know how to approach it.

Below are the different types of carpet stains and how to effectively remove them.

Wine Stains

wine spill

Hosting a house party is a common event that a lot of us do. A party is fun especially when it has music, food, and drinks. However, all the fun goes away when it ends, especially for those who have to clean up after.

Imagine this: You wake up and walk around the house, seeing the aftermath of an epic party. You then look down at your carpet and see the biggest stain.

How to get rid of em’:

Most wines are red or purple and are hard to miss once it stains your carpet. Time is of the essence when dealing with wine stains.

It’s better to deal with them when they’re fresh by using a small rag wet with hydrogen peroxide. Rub it vigorously, being careful not to spread it even more. Afterward, use a spray bottle with warm water and some detergent to finish the job.

Writer’s Note: You can apply the same steps when cleaning up blood stains.

See Also: A Quick Guide on How to Clean Up Blood Spills Properly

Pee and Poop

pet pee and poop

The poop that our furry friends leave behind is always a huge and smelly mess. Sometimes, poop isn’t the only problem because our pets also pee on the carpet or any furniture. When their pee dries up, it forms yellow botches and is quite pungent.

And it doesn’t stop there. Pets can also throw up on your carpet leaving a similar stain and smell behind.

How to get rid of em’:

If the stain or mess is still wet, try blotting it with white paper towels until the stain and moisture are absorbed. Be careful not to rub it in as it can quickly spread if done the wrong way.

Keep blotting it carefully until the stain is gone and the area becomes dry. If the stain is all dried up, try moistening it so it’ll become softer and smoother to clean up. Whether it’s dry or wet, a stain will smell.

To eliminate the odor, try using vinegar mixed with warm water and spray it on the stain. You can also substitute vinegar with detergent, lemon juice, etc.

Bubblegum

bubblegum stain

Most kids and some adults love chewing gums which could mean a bad sign for your carpet. When bubblegum hits your carpet, be ready for a sticky situation. Gum sticks to the fibers of your carpet, which mean carelessly removing them can damage your rug permanently.

How to get rid of em’:

One of the most popular methods of removing gum on your carpet is to put a ziplock bag full of ice cubes over the gum. When it’s cold or frozen, use a sharp object such as a knife to scrape away the gum carefully.

Another method is to use cleaning solvents and applying it on a cloth. Rub the cloth on the gum and slowly remove it by rubbing vigorously. Be careful in using solvents as most solutions will stain certain fabrics.

Takeaway

No one wants a carpet that has a large, visible stain on it. And for sure, no one wants to notice a carpet that reeks of poop and pee. However, although it may sound horrible, staining your carpet is a reality that most of us face.

Don’t lose hope. Whether it’s poop, wine or an annoying piece of chewing gum, rest assured that there are methods that can quickly remove the stain and stench away from your carpet. You just have to know the different types of carpet stains so you can properly address them.

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How to Stop Being Lazy And Work Out

Are you too lazy to get your butt to the gym?

No matter how much time you have at hand and how much you intend to workout, you are simply unable to do it. Either it’s too hot outside, you have too much work, you can’t afford a gym membership or you have to meet someone – the list of excuses goes on.

But if you are worried about your current physique and want to get fit, being lazy isn’t going to help you.

When you feel lazy, you will always find an excuse not to exercise. However, the truth is that it’s not as straining as you imagine it to be. Manage your time well and you can get a load of benefits with the least effort.

All you need to do is devote at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, three times a week, for working out.

Here is a list of bare minimum workout guidelines and tips on how to stop being lazy and workout

Avoid The Elevator And Take The Stairs

Elevators have made all of us lazy. Do you remember the last time you took the stairs?

If strong, muscular legs are what you want, use the stairs. A simple staircase workout is an effective way to improve your fitness and overall health. It engages the muscles in your legs and with every step you take, your fitness levels are boosted.

It engages your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, depending on the pacing. From lunging through every step or taking skater steps, you can do a wide range of exercises with a staircase.

Walk At Least Once A Day for 15 to 20 Minutes

Whether it is to your friend’s place or to buy groceries, take a walk. You don’t always need a mode of transportation everywhere you go. Just use your legs. This will not only help you cut down on fuel or transport charges but also improve your health.

You can start by using every excuse to walk, like parking your vehicle far and walking the way back, taking your pet for a walk or walking around in a garden. If gasping for breath after a tiring gym session is not your cup of tea, a refreshing walk is what you need.

Become More Active In Sports

If you are someone who is lazy, you will always look for ways to avoid working out. But when it comes to sports, you tend to be enthusiastic, no matter how much physically exhausted you might be.

Enroll in a sports club or a local team of your favorite sport. It works better than spending hours at the gym. From getting your heart racing to boosting your stamina and making you fit, a good sport does it all.

If it is something you enjoy, you won’t even feel the strain while you are burning calories by the minute.

Don’t Sit At Your Desk All Day

Do you have a desk job? Then remember to stand up at least once every hour to walk around, get a snack, or say hello to a colleague.

Sitting all day while hunched over a keyboard is not good for your posture or health. Make a conscious effort to stand up every once in a while. You can use your breaks to get some basic workout done. For example, you can go up and down the stairs, go out for a walk or do some squats or lunges in the restroom.

Workout At Home – In Bed!

That’s right. Working out is not restricted to just going to the gym.

You can stay at home and still get some exercise done. All you need to know are a few basic exercises that you can do even if you are still in bed. You can try hip raises, push-ups, crunches, and pelvic twists.

Those few minutes of exercise will not only make you feel fresh but also boost and energize you for the rest of the day. And you will start seeing results within a few days, too.

These are a few alternatives if you are too lazy to hit the gym. Exercise is something you can do anywhere and everywhere. All you need to do is get your butt moving. So, start today and you will no longer repeat the excuse of being too lazy to be fit.

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How to Rewire Your Brain for Success

The brain is an incredible organ. It is constantly regenerating and renewing itself while absorbing the information being thrown at it. However, not every piece of information it absorbs is positive or even correct.

For example, if you fall down in public and feel embarrassed, the thought “I’m an idiot” pops into your head. Your brain will absorb it and form a neural pathway. This pathway is the connection through which neurons send their signals from one part of the brain to another.

And as more things cause embarrassment for you, the stronger that pathway becomes to the point that it affects how you live your life.

What if you utilize how your brain works naturally to promote productivity, happiness, a sense of self-worth, and success in your workplace? The results will amaze you.

What Am I Talking About?

importance of mindfulness

What I am really referring to is something called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a therapy used by mental health professionals all over the world. CBT is an evidenced-based therapy that assumes changing harmful thinking can lead to an ultimate change in behavior. Even further, more recent versions of CBT focus on changing a person’s relationship to harmful thinking. It rewires the brain and those aforementioned neural pathways to initiate a change in behavior.

This kind of practice can also be described as ‘mindfulness’. It involves focusing on the present moment and acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings while noticing one’s relationship to those feelings. It is much easier to change one’s relationship to feelings and circumstances when they are acknowledged.

Does This Even Work?

The Harvard Gazette recently published an article outlining a study done on the effectiveness of using the above techniques to change one’s brain with respect to depression. I believe this to be interchangeable with anxiety, stress, or even a lack of productivity in one’s life.

Dr. Gaelle Desbordes, an instructor in radiology at Harvard Medical school and a neuroscientist, began practicing mindfulness and experienced great benefits. As a scientist, she wondered how it could benefit others and how the process could be documented.

What is amazing about her study, outlined in this article, is that she could visually see a difference in scans of patients’ brains before and after they practiced mindfulness and the change seemed to be there to stay.

See Also: 7 Ways Mindfulness Can Unlock The Door To Your Authentic Life

What Does This Mean For You?

practice mindfulness

Even if you are not struggling with something as serious as depression or PTSD, utilizing a tool or practice like mindfulness or CBT could really make a difference to your success as a person. It’s possible that you have some thought patterns cycling on a daily basis that are hindering your success in work or your productivity on a project.

I truly believe that taking inventory of your daily thought patterns can tremendously help you. You can begin by pinpointing something in which you have a physical hiccup.

Do you struggle with deadlines and procrastinate until the last second? Do you eat healthy all day and binge on all the unhealthy foods right before bed?

Whatever your goals or scenarios are, write them all out as they pop into your head.

See Also: How to Deal With Depression: 22 Things You Need to Try Today

For example, if you struggle with procrastination, your thoughts surrounding this issue may be one or a few of the following:

  • I feel overwhelmed.
  • I want to do a perfect job so I fear to start the project.
  • I’m not good enough.
  • I dislike my work and do not want to begin the project.

You probably have a lot more thoughts or reasons for feeling such way. So, sit with yourself for a few minutes and really think about them before writing them out. Choose one that you deem is harmful to your productivity and write down why it shouldn’t be that way.

In Conclusion

Now, you know how to rewire your brain for success.

The next time you are procrastinating, revisit what you’ve written and it’ll create the positive changes you want in your brain. It will file this new information and override the old, ultimately changing your behavior.

I hope you find this information helpful in your quest for a more productive, happy, and successful life.

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