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How to Keep Motivation High in the Era of Office Shutdowns

As people are preparing for their third month of work-from-home, the office is beginning to seem like a more attractive place. Struggling to balance work with the other priorities like the virtual education of children, staying healthy, and other personal commitments has left many employees feeling burnt out and drained.

Few thought it would come to this, but a growing number of people are missing their physical place of work. The office, a subject of countless TV shows, movies, and other media depicting it as a mundane necessity in modern life, is increasingly missed by workers. The disconnect between colleagues, the lack of a clear boundary between work and home, and the feeling of isolation are challenging individual motivation and team spirit.

For those who are experienced in remote work, these aren’t necessarily new difficulties. However, in the novel reality brought on by the pandemic, the challenges of remote work are amplified. So what can be done to raise motivation levels and team spirit in these days of the home office? Read on to find out.

Eliminate the technical glitches

As a first priority, it’s important to eliminate the challenges that are in your direct control, namely your technical set up. Whether it’s your internet crashing, being forced to use an inconvenient teamwork app, or issues with hardware, technical issues can make an already challenging situation all the more difficult.

Investing time, and potentially money, in making sure that you have the right set up will save you countless future frustrations. This could mean a number of fixes and improvements to your remote office, including:

While you may be telling yourself that you can just push through technical difficulties for a couple more weeks until your office reopens, that quick return might not be in the cards. It’s difficult to tell what will happen in the coming months. However, it’s best to be prepared for an extended shutdown or even a second shutdown at some point in the future.

Connect with your team

stay motivated while working from home

Months ago you may not have looked at your office relationships in the same way you do now. Before the shutdown, many people dreaded going to the office and having the same boilerplate conversations. Many of these same people are now craving any type of social interaction.

The desire to connect with colleagues isn’t a surprise. In fact, there’s a strong link between having friendships at work and the level of employee engagement. So recreating social interactions while working remotely is crucial.

Working remotely doesn’t mean that you can’t create opportunities to catch up and spend time with colleagues. Many businesses are turning to virtual happy hours in order to create space for social interactions.

One good practice is to schedule a recurring happy hour a couple times a week at the end of the work day. Each team member can take a turn leading the team in an activity – cooking, exercise, drawing, or anything else that comes to mind. In this way you’ll be able to spend time together doing something outside of the normal work routine.

Set clear boundaries

One of the most challenging things about the remote home office is the lack of clear boundaries between your work and your personal life. Whereas, previously, you needed to get in your car or hop on public transport to travel to a completely separate work environment, now you’re living in it.

This can easily lead to overdoing it- rolling out of bed and jumping on the computer to start work. Then working throughout your waking hours without a clear endpoint. This situation can easily demotivate you and lead to a feeling of burnout.

In order to maintain the right balance, it’s important to set clear boundaries. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should be available 24/7. Try the following approaches in order to clearly divide your personal life from your work:

  • Share your working times with your colleagues, and ask that they do the same with you. In this way, you’ll hold each other accountable.
  • Start your day as you would if you were going to the office. Wake up, stretch, exercise, read the news, have breakfast, or whatever other routine you’d normally have.
  • Get dressed for work, and change clothes for your downtime. It may not seem like much, but these small external changes can set the right tone for your day.
  • Don’t try to work 8 hours straight and take breaks when necessary. In the office you’d likely have normal interruptions in your day – chatting with a colleague, going out for lunch, buying a coffee, etc. Try to replicate some of these by setting standard break times.
  • If possible, separate your working space from the space you normally spend your time. In this way, you’ll be able to more easily transition from work to downtime.

Creating the right balance takes some trial and error, so give yourself time to experiment.

Take care of your health

working from home motivation

It’s no news for anyone that mental health and physical health are directly related. Despite this fact, many people are still deprioritizing their physical well-being. This is particularly easy to do during the present crisis when social distancing measures have you locked up at home.

Taking care of your health through proper diet and exercise is more important than ever. While you may have had some physical activity each day in your daily routine (for example, walking to the office), working from home eliminates much of this.

Be realistic and try to create a routine that you’ll enjoy and follow. When it comes to healthy living, you’re more likely to fail if you set goals that are too ambitious. Start off with something small, like a daily walk and one more piece of fruit a day, and build from there.

Building healthy habits is difficult to do on your own. Try to form a workplace support group with your colleagues. In this way, you’ll be able to motivate each other and create a feeling of accountability.

Final thoughts

As with any larger transition, the current switch to remote work has left many people feeling lost. At a time when so many things are out of our control, it’s important to take proactive action where we can.

By taking steps to create a comfortable remote work set up, connect with your colleagues, set clear boundaries, and maintain your health, you’ll be well on your way to transitioning from ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving.’

The post How to Keep Motivation High in the Era of Office Shutdowns appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Stop Being Offended by Everyone (in just 13 steps)

It seems like you can’t do or say anything nowadays without someone being offended by it. It’s gotten out of hand, and I want to help.

Are you sick of getting your “feathers ruffled” every time you go on social media, talk to a certain relative, or hear some BS on Zoom? Do you want to maximize the amount of time in your life that you’re filled with joy rather than rage? Then this article is for you.

I’ve found that the easiest way to stop doing something, is to start doing something else. So bookmark this page and begin reading it the minute you feel yourself getting “offended.”

These insights take less than 3 minutes to digest, and will help you transmute the emotional energy of offense, to attract more positivity into your life and radiate it in the world around you.

So, someone said or did something that “offended” you…

1. First, recognize that your being offended is your choice. And just because you are offended, does not mean you are right.

2. Take several deep breaths, and allow yourself to feel any emotion that arises, processing it internally without reacting just yet. Every emotion is a valid one, if you are feeling it. Then choose to be “the boss” of your emotions by silently repeating this mantra: “I am calm when wronged.”

avoiding taking things personally

3. Stop and consider the source. Is this coming from a human being with whom you are generally aligned or not?

4. Discern, as best you can, whether what was said or done was on purpose (with malice or ill intent) or unintentional (accidental or as a result of lack of knowledge).

5. Hover above the situation, see yourself getting triggered and ask yourself, “Why am I offended?” Is it because I’m “supposed to be”, or because I actually am?”

6. Locate the part of you that feels victimized. Recognize that this is where a wound exists, and this is why you’re more vulnerable there.

7. Instead of “going off” on someone, send loving energy to where you are broken. Be compassionate with yourself that there is obviously more healing to do on that subject.

8. Listen to the opposing perspective; you will either learn something new that enlightens you to take a step in the direction of their view, or the contrast may further deepen your commitment to your own belief. Both have a great outcome.

9. Drop your ego or desire to direct, control, or change other’s beliefs. Release the need to gain a specific outcome. Then, laugh at how ridiculous it is to waste another precious moment of your life policing someone else’s thoughts.

10. If you can, wait at least 24 hours before responding. And when you do, use “I feel” statements like, “I feel hurt that you said…” as opposed to “You hurt me when you said…” with your focus being peace and understanding. If peace and understanding is not being reached, and the other person challenges back demanding more explanation, you are not required to further defend or explain. You are allowed to say, “It’s just how I feel,” and leave it at that.

avoid taking things personally

11. Remind yourself that we are a collective, and that the person that “wronged” you is from the same Source as you. We all have the same “cosmic DNA”. So hating them is hating you.

12. See the lesson brought to you from this resistance as a gift, and be grateful that it came to you, because it revealed a deeper truth within you. Vow to move towards love and acceptance on this and all future “offenses.”

13. Remember that sitting in the energy of offense does not feel good, and you love yourself enough to choose to feel good as much as possible in your life. You get to decide.

Notice how none of these steps involve you making the other person change?

Why?

Because we can only control the space within us and 3 feet around us – how we react, how we accept, and how we choose to deal with perceived adversity.

I’m not saying that the other person isn’t wrong as hell. They probably are in your humble opinion, but it’s not your job to change someone else. It’s your job to be the happiest, most loving version of you possible, for as much time as possible. And walking around with disdain for everyone that is not in agreement with you has gotta be getting old by now, hasn’t it?

…There, I said it. I hope this was helpful, and I hope you’re not offended.

But then again, if you are? Remember, that’s on you.

The post How to Stop Being Offended by Everyone (in just 13 steps) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Successfully Pay Back Your Online Installment Loan

In these uncertain times, sudden unavoidable expense or financial emergencies are the stuff of nightmares. Instead of having zero options, installment loans help tide you over and allow you to make payments over time.

According to Leap Credit, online installment loans are, ‘a specific amount of money you borrow and then pay back within a certain time frame with a fixed payment every week, two weeks, or month.’

Now, while receiving a lump sum is always relieving and gratifying, some borrowers struggle to finish payments on their installment loans. To help you get set up for success, we are sharing these effective tips on how to successfully pay back your online installment loan. After all, the faster you are out of debt, the better.

Double Your Payments

The longer you have your loan, the more you’ll pay in interest fees. You want to minimize this, and doubling up on payments can help. Pay more than your lender requires you to. For example, say your loan terms require you make a single monthly payment. Instead, you could give them a payment every two weeks. If your loan requires two payments a month, pay them every week. Contact your lender and confirm that they’ll apply the payments to your loan without penalizing you before you do this. This is very important because some lenders don’t allow you to make extra payments without penalties.

Make Extra Money

online installment loan payment make extra money

If you’re worried about having enough money to pay back your loan, start trying to make extra cash. You can put any extra money you make toward this loan. Start by seeing if there is anything you can sell online, or you could take a jump into the gig economy. Services like Uber, DoorDash, and Lyft are thriving. What’s even better, you can work at your own pace on your own time without any pressure to meet a set amount of hours. As your money starts to stack up, send it straight to your loan company to pay down your balance quicker.

Ask About Discounts

Did you know that some lenders will give you discounts on your interest rate for different reasons? If this isn’t the first loan you’ve taken out with a company, you could get a discount for being a repeat customer. Automatic debit signup is another way to get a discount, or you could go paperless. Although this discount most likely won’t be huge, anything can help. You may have to contact customer service to get these discounts, but they can add up over the life of the loan.

Create a Payoff Plan

When you first get the loan, you should create a realistic payoff plan. Write it down or put it in a digital format. Write in when you have to start repaying your loan and when the payment is due. Set reminders in your digital calendars. This will help ensure that you don’t miss a payment, and it’ll also ensure that you don’t overdraw your account because you forgot about it. Stick as close to this payout plan as possible. This could mean you cut out a few frivolous expenses until you pay it off. However, it’ll be worth it.

Know Your Loan Terms

You should have absolutely no doubts when it comes to your loan’s terms. You have to have a good understanding of what the lender expects in terms of payments. Know when you have to pay back the loan by, how much interest the loan carries, and whether or not the lender will let you extend a payment deadline if something comes up. If there’s a grace period, you want to know what it is. These loan terms shouldn’t change throughout the life of your loan.

Round Up Your Payments

online installment loan payment

If you can’t afford to double your payments every month, make a point to round up your payments. For example, say your loan has a payment of $275 per month. You could pay $300 instead. This isn’t a lot of extra money, but it’ll add up over the life of your loan. If you have a year loan period, that extra $25 can shave a month off your loan term with $25 leftover. This will be really helpful if you make two payments a month because you’ll pay it off much quicker.

Set up Automatic Withdrawals

The last thing you want to do is forget your payments. Even one missed payment can have a negative impact on your credit score. You can avoid this by setting up automatic withdrawals from your checking account. You do want to make sure you have enough money in there to cover the cost of the loan payment, so you don’t overdraw yourself and incur more fees.

Cut Back on Luxuries

Most people have subscription services that they can pause or cancel for a few months. If you can, you can take the money you’d normally spend on these services and use it to pay off your loan quicker. Even a few dollars will really help you chip away at the balance until you pay it off. Once you pay it off, you can easily resume your services without an issue.

Go With a Reputable Company

You want to get your installment loan through a reputable company that has no hidden fees and straightforward terms. This can help ensure that you pay off your debt with as minimal fuss as possible, and it also improves your chances of having a responsive customer service team in place if anything should come up. Do your research when you start shopping around for companies and comparing reviews. You can use the Better Business Bureau to check a company’s reputation. This will help you find companies that offer competitive rates.

Bottom Line

Now you know several tricks how to pay installment loans. You can use this information to decide whether or not this type of loan is right for you or not. These tips will help you maximize your savings while getting your finances on track while paying back your loan. Pay it off as soon as you can to help offset the higher interest rates. Save up for an emergency fund, and improve your financial health with smart money decisions.

The post How To Successfully Pay Back Your Online Installment Loan appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Calculate and Reduce Your Customer Churn Rate

Regardless of what business you are in and by whatever name you call it – attrition, defection, or anything – customer churn is real. Every business has to deal with loss of customers and lose some revenue. Understanding what causes this customer churn is important. When a client or customer chooses to stop doing business with your company or stop using your brand products or services, it is called customer churn.

Customer churn depends on the type and nature of business or company. Some of the various ways it can be called in parlance include:

  • Cancellation of product or service subscription
  • Closure of customer account
  • Non-renewal of service agreement or contract
  • Cancellation of user agreement
  • Switching to a competitor program or offering

How to Measure Customer Churn Rate

Customer churn rate can be measured in these following ways.

  • Total number of customers lost in a specific period of time
  • Total percentage of customers lost in a specific period
  • Percentage of recurring business value lost
  • Business value lost

It is also necessary to note here that churn is inevitable. No matter how amazing your service is or useful your products or how great your marketing strategy is, you will have to face customers who want to leave. But this doesn’t mean you can’t prevent churn. Maintaining a good churn rate is possible and that is what is recommended.

Customer Churn Rates as per Industry basis

  • American card companies churn around 20 percent per annum
  • 5-7 percent customer churn rates are reported for software-as-a-service companies

While some customer churn rates are great for one business, they are terrible for another.

3 Ways to Reduce Customer Churn

Customer Onboarding

how to reduce customer churn rate thru customer onboarding

Customers will look for better options if they do not understand the product too well. Any questions in the initial introduction can blow them away. The most important being the customer’s first experience and when that is good, they will want to continue with the business. A clear onboarding process is necessary to better a customer experience and reduce customer churn. The onboarding is the most important step in the process. Customers think of leaving only when they are unsatisfied from the beginning.

Meet Customers’ Expectations

Promising a lot of things to a customer and failing to deliver is one of the quickest ways to lose one. Close to 35 percent of customers stop doing businesses after a single negative experience. Unmet expectations and dissatisfaction are big reasons for customer churn. Consistently meeting customer expectations is important. Being honest to your customer about what they can expect is necessary.

Listening to what customers have to say about the product is also crucial. If they have any suggestions or improvements, finding out the same from customers is just as essential. 16 percent of customers post on social media when they face a negative interaction with a brand. And close to 60 percent of customers are heavily influenced by social media comments on brands and companies.

Provide Awesome Customer Service

how to reduce customer churn rate thru customer service

A survey by Zendesk revealed that 42 percent of respondents found that they had a major frustration with customer service departments. Customer service is one of the major reasons why customer churn happens. Listening carefully to customers’ feedback is one of the best ways to retain customers.

When customers voice their complaints, listen to their exact problems, and find solutions. Even loyal customers can defect if the service is bad and they are being taken for granted. No one likes it when we must wait on a customer desk call for more than 20 minutes to clarify a simple doubt. Sometimes, customers face technical issues which can be sorted through an awesome customer service.

Bottom Line: Maximise Profits by Reducing Churn

A lot of businesses fail because customers are not happy with the customer service. If a customer threatens to close business, then it means the product needs to be explored to the full potential. A call with the customer success manager can make it simpler to resolve issues. Great customer success education should be the beginning of the customer journey.

From customer onboarding, it is important to maintain a great rapport with them. Through the right customer engagement tactics, customers can understand how the product fits into their success strategy.

The post How to Calculate and Reduce Your Customer Churn Rate appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Real Estate SEO Tips: How to Maximize Your Google Visibility

Like other sectors, real estate is increasingly grabbing customers’ attention by coming up with ideal websites that run with proper SEO strategies. SEO has emerged as a successful way to boost your site’s ranking on Google and earn more leads and conversions in your online real estate business.

Today, the majority of buyers rely on Google searches to buy properties. If you want your CRE website to reach the top on the searches, you should leverage the effective marketing strategies. SEO is one of the best digital marketing concepts that can assist your real estate business to gain more benefits and lead online competition ahead. Because SEO matters a lot in hitting your business goals, you must try it in your real estate business.

Best Ways to Optimize Your CRE Website to Boost Google Visibility

Nowadays, the business has the boast of achieving the top position in the search results, which led them to develop an effective SEO strategy to earn the best results. But the question arises from where you should start? How to come up with the best SEO strategy? Here we have come up with a few tips that will assist you in optimizing your site and maximizing its visibility on Google.

#1: Kick-Off the Keyword Strategy

real estate seo keyword tips

Let’s start with the basics. The keyword strategy is the first step for effective SEO. There are a few things that you should consider while strategizing your move. Here, we have mentioned a few essential points of any keyword research and strategy.

Head keywords: When it comes to keywords strategy, the head keywords should be a priority. Generic competitive terms push your website on the Google search and help it to rank high for a specific keyword. For instance, you can consider the “1031 exchange” to “Miami office” and other possible variations that a user usually searches for.

Higher Valuable Terms: Such keywords include your company or brand name. These keywords also play a significant role in helping your site to rank higher.

Long-Tail Keywords: It includes the keywords that relate to a particular category of CRE company. Long-tail keywords include more characters than other keywords—for example, Washington DC Office space for rent, etc.

#2: High-Quality Content

There is no doubt that high-quality content is the core part of SEO, without which you can’t fulfill your dream to rank your site high on Google or other search engines. Therefore, we would highly recommend you to check out the health and wealth of your web content; after all, they are essential for the implementation of SEO strategies that are considered as the smart move towards the success of your real-estate business.

Content is not only limited to text. It also includes images, videos, and graphics. So, it would be best if you prioritize them. If we say clearly, the thing you should focus on for your CRE website is mentioned below. Check it out.

  • Proper company overview
  • Full-fledged property descriptions
  • Only add the original content to your site
  • Content should be relevant to your industry
  • Original news articles
  • Company’s latest updates and news

#3: Optimization of On-Page Elements

CRE website involves several SEO elements that one should always consider. If we say clearly, then on-page elements like the meta titles and meta descriptions of CRE websites are essential to be optimized so that Google can easily understand the page’s content. SEO optimization of on-page elements is necessary as it helps Google to place your site on the relevant searches and further improves the ranking.

Meta Title: In this field, you can describe your company and what you do. The thing which you need to remember is that the meta titles should be around 50-60 characters. Google displays the meta title of up to a maximum of 65 characters. Meta title example: Commercial Real Estate | Company Name | State or City

Meta Description: It allows you to elaborate on the description of your page and the company. The maximum meta description length is 50-160 characters. Along with this, another thing which you should focus on is the geographical area from where your real estate business operates and serves that rendered as target keywords.

Optimized Images: When it comes to SEO optimization, then it is essential to optimize your images correctly using correct file names and ALT tags. But why is it necessary? According to a study, it is mentioned that 63 percent of the people who look at Google images visit the host website, whereas 17 percent of that traffic belongs to the first image. Because website images have a higher CTR, they are also optimized correctly to earn more points in SEO rankings and Google visibility.

#4: Focus on Quality Backlinks

Another CRE SEO tip on our list is to focus on quality backlinks. It is the best way to boost the site ranking on search engines. In this method, you can get other websites to link back to you. Backlinking is considered a part of traditional SEO, but it still works great with today’s websites. But when it comes to quality backlinks, there is a need to develop engaging content that should include something relevant. If your content is not attractive, then people will not provide a link to your site, and your chances for improving ranking will decline.

Why SEO?

real estate seo google tips

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a popular and widely used practice of improving your site’s ranking in Google search results and other search engines. If we say in simple words, then SEO maximizes your business’ visibility on Google and other search engines.

SEO involves several strategies that digital marketers or business owners implement to gain the best results. But at the same time, the process can take months or over a year to offer the desired results. Although it takes a couple of months, if the strategy is implemented properly, it can bring you powerful results, including increased website traffic and Google visibility.

Significance of SEO in Real Estate

“Is SEO important for your real estate business?” Let’s take a look.

  • Google statistics clearly show that around 63K searches are performed on Google every year
  • 33 percent of people click on the first results, and hence businesses always strive to reach on top of the Google search results
  • 75 percent of people never scroll past the first page of search engines

With the above statistics, one can easily conclude how essential SEO is in maximizing business visibility on Google. All these data show that if your business website ranks on top position, then you can easily earn more points in conversions, leads, and sales.

In simple words, you have to focus on several ranking factors that include choosing the right keywords for the meaningful impact and bringing more traffic of property buyers to your platforms. It can make you a better competitor in the online world.

Final Thoughts

The blog has covered everything you need to know about maximizing the Google visibility of your website. So, what are you waiting for? If you are also on the way to boost the ranking of your CRE (Commercial Real Estate) website, then this blog is for you. We hope that you find this helpful enough to learn more about SEO.

The post Real Estate SEO Tips: How to Maximize Your Google Visibility appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Launch And Optimize A Corporate Blog Generating Leads

Blogging became one of the most powerful tools for leads generation. Today, content plays a big part not only in entertaining but also in making sales. Though, there is a long way between just a reader, aka follower, and a qualified lead. How to make that way shorter? Read on to find out more about optimizing corporate blogs for generating inbound leads.

Keep Readers Interested

lead generation blogging

Modern readers are demanding and unforgiving of lapses. Your texts have to be informative, provide value, and be catchy at the same time. No matter what you need to tell your potential customers about, make it interesting. Think on how to present information in an easy and captivating way.

It can be a good idea to lead the narration by using a specially created character or even just one of the members of your team. It all depends on the field of your business, a platform you use for blogging, and purposes you want to reach.

Veterinarian communities can speak through a cat or a dog character who knows about pets’ needs and speak to people in order to explain the animals’ needs. Use your imagination and try to create a friendly atmosphere inside your blog.

Make A Content Strategy

To keep followers active and convert them into customers, you need a content strategy. It should include different types of posts including entertaining, advertising, and informative ones. The blog becomes popular when followers associate themselves with themes you explore. Try to understand what worries your customer and answer those requests in your blog.

If you can’t do it on your own, organize a poll and ask people what kind of content they would like to see in your blog. This way you would kill two birds with one stone. The polls not only push you in the right direction but also increase activity, and show readers you care about their opinion.

Also, content has to be added in your blog on a regular basis. Make a schedule and stick to it because regularity keeps readers involved and interested. What about style? You can tell stories and communicate in any manner you like, but most readers usually like a soft and unostentatious style of narration.

Encourage people to communicate and share opinions more, ask what they think about your latest article, and that will bring results. Communication is key to generating leads.

Let People Communicate

blogging lead generation

How to make followers communicate more? It depends on the services or products you offer to the clients. The following techniques are universal and work well for any area. We talk about useful advices, discussions, and answers to frequently asked customers’ questions.

If people see feedback and feel like their needs are important to blog creators they may become your inbound leads. Make sure your blog has all options for active readers to communicate with you. There have to be options for leaving contact details, which you can use for marketing goals. To generate leads, ascertain that your site makes it possible to:

  • order a call;
  • register a trial account;
  • sign up for updates or webinars;
  • join live chats service;
  • download interesting and useful materials in exchange for contact details.

You can also organize contests with valuable prizes and use chatbots to get more leads. Read on to know more about this method of leads generation.

Contests

Contests are maybe one of the best methods to turn readers into customers and get new leads. If you sell goods, make your followers vote for one of three products, and then offer a discount on “a winner”. Do you want to invite more potential clients into messengers?

You can use chat bots for that purpose. In order to participate in such contests and win the prize, users have to answer a few questions and click the messenger button. The type of contest has to match your platform, goals, and interests of the audience. Photo caption, giveaways, and “comment to win” contests are multi-purpose solutions.

Analyze Leads Behavior

Even if you are satisfied with the number of qualified leads and the followers’ activity, it’s important to analyze users’ behavior. View stats, analyze it, and change a strategy according to that data. It’s the only way you will be able to improve the results of leads generation and achieve greater success.

Author’s Bio

Karl Murphy is a professional journalist from Des Moines, Iowa. After obtaining his Master’s degree, he’s launched his career and over its course, Karl was contributing to the popular publications for men. He’s passionate about eSports, so now he develops his blog, csgo-bettingsites.com.

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How to Fall in Love the Second (or Fifth) Time Around

We were two mature adults in our mid-60’s, both grandparents, both with divorces behind us. We’d met through a dating website, and this was just our third date, each an innocent daytime picnic or lunch. I saw a spark dance in her eyes and asked, “What are you thinking?” And she startled me with this: “I’m thinking … this is what love feels like.” Huh? How does that happen? And how can you experience that yourself?

It’s Never Too Late

My experience doesn’t just pertain to Baby Boomers. The lessons I painfully learned can be embraced by anybody at any age. I’m sharing my revelations in hopes that you might avoid the kind of heart-breaking mistakes I made throughout my life.

And here is the bottom line, right near the top: Keep an open mind!

I know! That’s so easy, right? Everybody knows that. Sorry, but no, they don’t. Especially males, although females aren’t immune to shallow thinking, either. Here’s what happened to me.

The Problem

to love again

I grew up in Southern California in the Sixties, land of the Beach Boys, sunshine, and millions of blue-eyed blonde girls with beautiful tans and tiny bikinis. Yes, please, I’ll take one of those, and could you throw in pink lips and long eyelashes? What’s not to love?

The problem is, when it came to love, all my choices were based on these parameters, in exactly this order:

  1. Hair color (blonde)
  2. Eye color (blue)
  3. Body shape (voluptuous)
  4. Face shape (roundish)
  5. Content of her character (she likes me)

I was not unusual in this approach, given that it was Southern California and I was young. And I think I can safely say that women at that time and place weren’t all that different, although their desired qualities in a potential mate might vary slightly.

The bottom line (we might have several bottom lines in this story) is that our priorities were all wrong, and it took me 65 years to figure that out. What really matters is the person on the inside … their brain, heart, emotions, likes, dislikes, personality and, most important of all, at least from my point of view, their integrity.

That woman in the first paragraph of this story turned out to be the finest human being I have ever met. And how lucky am I that she loves me?

How the Problem Wreaks Havoc

I’m not happy to be disclosing some of the following, because it doesn’t reflect well on my decision-making, or intelligence, for that matter. But for the reader’s sake, I will admit that I made the same mistake over and over and over again. I added various twists to my mistakes, but they were all basically the same mistake. I chose romantic partners for all the wrong reasons.

My first choice was a woman who loved physical intimacy all the time, anytime, anywhere. Unfortunately, I later learned she also loved it with anybody. My second choice was based on my desire to have a family, so I chose a woman for whom that also was a priority. It seemed like a sound decision, but I realized much later that a healthy couple needs something much stronger to bind them together than just the children.

Rebounding from that divorce, I foolishly went back to my primitive urges and chose a younger, beautiful, and intelligent woman. That blinded me to the obvious fact that she was a diseased alcoholic. And my fourth choice was even more “retro” – a blue-eyed blonde with money. To my great surprise, that didn’t work out either.

The Solution

I would love to tell you that after a series of heartbreaking experiences in romance, I suddenly came to my senses and had an epiphany that led me to finally get it right. I’d also like to say that it’s possible for anyone to find the perfect romantic partner who’s capable of changing your life forever. But those would be lies.

The bottom line (that’s three so far) is that I got lucky. I stumbled upon a perfect woman who doesn’t even know that she is perfect. But I will take credit for one tiny little moment that led me to what now feels like eternal happiness.

This woman and I were exchanging messages on a dating website, and we still hadn’t met. She eventually sent me a photo, and that’s where my lifelong mindsets surfaced once again. After looking at her photo, I responded honestly that she really wasn’t “my type.” I then proceeded to foolishly explain my type as blonde, blue-eyed, and a moon-shaped face (none of which described her).

how to love again online dating

She should have dropped me right there and then. In point of fact, she did write, “I think you’re dumb,” but we continued to write to each other anyway. She later shared that she simply enjoyed writing to me, although she felt (correctly) that I had a lot to learn about women.

Here’s the tiny part I take credit for: When I sensed she was about to permanently sign off, I wrote to tell her that I would like to meet her. I didn’t realize until later that I was at a turning point in my life. My priorities were beginning to shift.

And that led to what has become, truly, the love of my life.

It can happen to you, no matter your age or gender.

The bottom line (yes, that’s number four) is that you need to get out of your own way. Don’t be stuck in a mindset that probably hasn’t changed much since your high school days. Getting to know someone involves far more than swiping right or left or quickly looking at a photo. You might be surprised by what you learn about yourself and the person you are getting to know.

What does love feel like? I just used a bunch of words to scrape away at these amazing feelings deep inside of me, hoping the collective sentences would offer a glimpse, a taste of this epiphany.

But maybe my Lady Love said it best when she told me simply: “Love feels like a warm blanket wrapped all around you.”

The post How to Fall in Love the Second (or Fifth) Time Around appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Keep Your Office Polite Even When Your Opinions are Radically Different

These are tough times. A pandemic is upon us; social issues are dividing us; and partisan politics is inescapable. Chances are that opinions on some of these problems may differ, extensively, within your workplace. Does that mean you can never have a casual lunch with colleagues in the break room again? Must we always avoid those who don’t share our perspectives to keep the peace?

Fortunately, the answer is no. If you’re willing to take the lead and model some patience, tolerance, and empathy, you could broker a successful and lasting truce among the people at your job. Here are a few suggestions to maintain a happier and more harmonious atmosphere when you’re on the clock.

Employ the “tell me more” technique

In Kelly Corrigan’s memoir, Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say, she suggests those three words to not only encourage the people in your life to open up, but to also give yourself the opportunity to listen. If someone brings up an upcoming election or a controversial article she read at the lunch table, instead of automatically shutting it down to prevent conflict or biting our tongues to avoid disagreement, we could just say “tell me more”.

It may be hard at first, especially if the person who is speaking is negative or irritable, but those simple words can really soften people up. Everyone likes to be heard; everyone appreciates respect. Prompting others to “tell me more” doesn’t mean you have to listen to a three-hour soliloquy; it just means that you’re willing to hear them out and that you’re interested.

When discussing differing opinions, find at least one thing to agree with

what do you do if you have a disagreement with someone at work

One of my pals at work is the polar opposite of me politically. The two of us have no problem discussing any topics, however, because we both know that nothing is all black or all white. We respect each other as intelligent, well informed people and often find ourselves saying things like, “well I’ll grant you that” or “that’s certainly true.” When practicing the “tell me more” technique, you can probably find at least one tiny thing your speaker says on which you could comment positively.

Is the topic climate change? Perhaps you could offer something as simple as, “Well the weather has been crazy this year.” Arguing about an election? Try offering, “It just seems like everyone running has something wrong with them.” Such statements, though not exactly worthy of a Nobel peace prize, are nonetheless bridges to those around us. Keep them generic, simple, and true and they’ll have remarkable results.

Model how to communicate and disagree professionally

People who work together usually mind their manners quite well when they are involved in their everyday tasks or teams. They are busy; there may be quotas; time is money. If you want to have friendly conversations with your coworkers at break or over lunch, you need to interact with consistent professionalism throughout the day. Show them how you can communicate a difference of opinion without judgment or rancor. Be aware of your tone. Assume the best about someone who might be making a mistake.

Instead of, “You’re doing that wrong,” try “We’ve found it usually works better like this.” Know that most people are just like you: doing their best and, sometimes, having a bad day or experiencing personal distractions that make their work a little less than optimal. When people know you are sensible and even-keeled they frequently offer you the same treatment. Such behavior is much more likely to extend to down time when it’s practiced all the time

Have a go-to phrase that changes the subject

Even when polarizing events aren’t in the news, conversations among coworkers can sometimes get heated. It may be a project that’s not going well or someone who is not pulling his weight. Whatever it is, however, people get ticked off about it. This is when investing in getting to know your colleagues pays off. In my work place we have numerous older employees who have grandchildren. Whenever words get raw in the break room, I just throw in something like, “So, Chris, how are those grandkids!” or “John, isn’t your daughter-in-law pregnant again?”

If you don’t know your coworkers very well, you could use another statement that is suitably neutral like, “Thank God the weekend’s coming up!” (even if it’s only Monday.) Or tap into everyone’s love of sports, “How ‘bout them Knicks?” The idea is to have some kind of bait ready; anything that will turn the conversation in a better direction. Others will almost always appreciate it and follow your lead.

Don’t be afraid to close down a conversation or excuse yourself assertively

disagree with someone at work

This goes along with (4) above. I’ve used my safe phrases (yes, I have several) numerous times early in conversations just to avoid the possibility that things might go south. There are certain people among my colleagues who just can’t resist the opportunity to bust one another’s chops and I refuse to be in the middle of that. Sometimes, however, the best played safe phrases fail.

When that happens I have literally said to people, “Hey, guys, it’s time to get back to work.” Or “Let’s not do this.” Pair those remarks with getting up to leave and throw in something like, “Hey, Bill, can you help me with something in my office?” Those tactics always work for me. If you’re not confident enough to execute them, however, simply excuse yourself. Don’t run away, but make sure people know you’re leaving. A simple and straightforward “I’m going to go” is enough. No one is allowed to intimidate or frighten you.

Over my numerous careers I have always found that everyone appreciates good manners, even the most curmudgeonly. You don’t have to be fake or a doormat to get along with your colleagues. You do, however, need to be aware that you’re not the only one on the job. That means you need to offer some consideration for others and not just vent about everything or everyone who irritates you. Practicing some patience and being polite is guaranteed to improve your productivity and work experience, whether in the break room or the board room. You will almost certainly find it does the same thing for everyone else.

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How To Have A Growth Mindset About Money

More than 75% of Americans have at least one financial regret, and is it any wonder? We’re taught from a young age that talking about money is taboo, and the result is that throughout most of adulthood we have no actual idea how to deal with our finances. People are stuck living paycheck to paycheck, not saving enough for retirement and emergencies, and the result is always catastrophic. Debt continues to grow, and we rely on credit cards to get us through the tough times. But what if there were a better way to handle our finances and make small changes that will add up in the long run? If you can apply a growth mindset to your finances, you might find yourself in a better financial situation sooner than you think.

Money Troubles Abound

having growth mindset to your finances

With our economy in a free fall, there has never been a more relevant time to talk about money troubles. Whether you’ve lost a job or you’re just unsure of the future, the way you spend and save now could impact your life for years to come.

As of this year, American consumers owed more than $14.15 trillion in household debt. This is everything from mortgages to credit card balances to student loan balances, and it adds up quickly. In student loan debt alone, Americans owe more than $1.64 trillion. Credit card debt has skyrocketed to an all-time high of $1 trillion. Americans just aren’t prepared for everyday life.

Part of the problem is that wages have stagnated while the cost of living has ballooned out of control. For decades raises have barely kept up with inflation, while the cost of living has overshot normal wages by a significant amount.

Most Americans have decided that college is the only way to beat the system, but that often leaves them with a crippling debt load they later find they can’t afford as they try to juggle paying rising rents, minimum student loan payments, and healthcare premiums. This, in turn, has sent an entire generation back to their parents’ basements to try to regroup, which further exacerbates the economic situation. For those who are unfortunate enough to have any sort of medical needs, making ends meet is just not a financial possibility in many cases.

Currently, a third of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, while even three in every ten low-wage earners are able to save at least some of their money but don’t. Student loan borrowers often find themselves regretting choosing a more expensive college than they needed, and 42% make at least one late payment a year. 35% of credit card users only pay the minimum amount instead of paying the full balance every cycle.

Applying A Growth Mindset To Your Finances

how to have growth mindset to your finances

Most people apply a fixed mindset to their financial situation – they feel they are helpless to change it, that they know all there is to know about their finances, and that challenges can only lead to failure or financial ruin. When you instead start to apply a growth mindset to your financial situation you realize there’s a lot you don’t know about finances and that you have plenty of room to learn and grow. Setbacks become opportunities for growth.

Financial mistakes and problems happen, and it’s your responsibility to learn from them and do better next time. Start by listing all your debts and their corresponding interest rates. There are a couple of things you can do here. The snowball method is probably the easiest – start by concentrating on paying off the smallest debt first. Keep paying minimum payments on all your debts so you don’t go into default, but find extra money each month to go toward your smallest debt. Once that one is out of the way, apply all that money to your next smallest debt until it is paid off, and keep going from there. Before long you will be debt-free and have the ability to focus your attention on other aspects of your financial life.

There are tons of apps out there that can help you keep track of your finances and expenses and make cuts wherever you can. Saving is also going to be a major component of your financial strategy, as emergency savings prevent you from having to go into debt in the first place.

Learn more about having a financial growth mindset from the infographic below.

Growth Mindset
Source: Money Hacker

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How To Become An Inspiration To Others: 4 Essential Qualities

If I were to ask you to name the person who has inspired you the most, your first choice might be a celebrity. It also might be a professional public speaker, a successful business person, a spiritual guru, or some other public figure.

But in reality, the people who make the biggest, and most lasting impact on our lives are probably ordinary folks. They might not even consider themselves to be inspirational.

And that’s good, because it means that each of us could potentially impact other people’s lives for the better. There are people around us whose lives are falling apart, people who are looking to someone like you and me for help and inspiration.

So, what does it take to inspire others?

Here are the four characteristics which I believe to be the most important. These are qualities that have nothing to do with social status, education, cultural background or financial standing; just our humanity.

Authenticity: The Secret of Lasting Inspiration

Although these four qualities overlap, for me, authenticity has to take the first spot, because more often than not, inauthentic people let us down, badly.

Imagine you are listening to a well-known motivational speaker. You are captivated by his story, awe-struck by his charisma. It feels good to be in his presence. You wish you were like him. You follow him on social media. He becomes your idol and your role model.

Until it comes to light that such stories of courage and fortitude, which you found so inspiring, were all made up. Your idol’s reputation is in tatters, and followers like you are left distraught and disillusioned. How do you feel now? Not good, hey?

Thankfully that sort of thing doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

The thing is, we can feel equally let down by lesser-known people if what they’ve told us about themselves turns out to be untrue, so it’s best not to fall into that trap ourselves.

You might think your life story lacks excitement and drama, but that’s not a problem. To be truly inspirational, we don’t have to make up a story; we just have to be ourselves, warts and all.

Your life story is unique, with episodes of pain and happiness, failure and success: you don’t need to embellish, or belittle it. You just need to tell it as it is ­- others going through a similar experience need to hear it.

Empathy: showing genuine interest inspires trust

empathy qualities of an inspirational person

It is not your story per se that inspires, but the emotional connection it creates. Because, as John Maxwell points out, “you develop credibility with people when you connect with them and show that you genuinely want to help them”.

There are times when it’s right to share your own story with others, though they are more likely to be inspired if they can see how it relates to their experience and aspirations.

When people’s experience is the same as, or similar to our own, they feel we understand what they’re going through. Showing empathy could mean having to disclose something about ourselves. However, just being in touch with, and owning the feelings associated with our memories, can often speak louder than words.

To be inspired, your audience (be it just one person, or a crowd) need to feel that they matter and that you are genuinely interested in them as individuals. The best way to convey this is by actively listening to them. And I don’t mean just listening to what they say. If you’re connected emotionally, you’ll get insight into what they truly want to tell you.

So, be fully present – listen and be attentive.

Vulnerability: It Can Be Painful, But Inspiring

To inspire others, we need to come across as human, regardless of whether the conversation we’re having is on a personal level or in a professional capacity.

As mentioned above, if we want to connect with others on an emotional level, we might need to reveal a little of our true self. I realize this goes against the grain for those of us whose natural inclination is to put barriers around our emotions. However, (as a metaphor) safety barriers are usually stiff and unyielding, behaviours that are not particularly attractive or inspiring in us; so it pays to loosen up.

Now I’m not saying that we should make our mistakes or indiscretions public. Nor am I suggesting that we wear our hearts on our sleeves, or give vent to emotional outbursts. What I am saying is that it is okay to show emotion when relating our own story, or when we’re feeling the pain in other people’s stories.

A word of caution: pretense is off-putting and potentially offensive. Fake emotions have no place here, nor do crocodile tears. Genuine vulnerability, on the other hand, can be a powerful inspiration.

Being vulnerable means that we expose ourselves to the possibility of being hurt: this takes personal courage. Some see it as a weakness, but if tears come, let them. Don’t be embarrassed: “What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful” (Brene Brown).

Boldness: Ordinary But Inspirational Acts of Courage

qualities of an inspirational person boldness

Some of the most inspiring people I’ve known are those who have shown courage and integrity. And I’m not thinking about heroic acts that get splashed across the media. Instead, I’m thinking about ordinary people who dare to face life when everything around them is crumbling. Such as:

  • People who persevere through multiple failures;
  • People who survive abusive and toxic relationships;
  • People with reason to seek revenge, but choose to forgive;
  • People who stand firm in the face of persecution or injustice;
  • People who stand up for others when they can’t do it for themselves.

Is this courage? Yes, both physical and moral.

It was Mark Twain who said: “It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare”. But I think if we look into the lives of ordinary people, we’ll find that moral courage isn’t as rare as he imagined. Courage is not the absence of fear, but doing what we have to despite being afraid.

So, what’s the source of such courage?

For some, it’s an inner compulsion; perhaps driven by love, a sense of fairness, philosophy, or religious belief. What’s yours?

My courage comes from believing that I am never alone, because God is in me, and with me, at all times.

Inspired? Now It’s Your Turn

That’s it – the four essential qualities that could help you inspire other people. How many of these do you possess?

  • Authenticity
  • Empathy
  • Vulnerability
  • Boldness

You certainly know your life story; you just need to have confidence that relating relevant parts of it can help others get through similar experiences. Being empathetic might require practice, but you can start by being genuinely interested in people, even if that entails making yourself vulnerable.

So be bold. Go for it. At least make a start. Who knows, you might find that you enjoy it so much you will want to make a career of it. If you do, then possessing these four qualities would be an excellent foundation that will put you ahead of the pack.

Finally, a word from Mother Teresa, one of the most ‘ordinary’ inspirational people of all time: “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” That’s inspiration at its best.

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How To Let Go Of Things That Cause You Stress

One of the few things you will experience in life is emotional stress. Inevitable as it is, the question is how to get through heartaches and let go of the things that cause us stress. While we try to move on and forget everything that reminds us of the past, the process has never been easy. After all, the art of letting go is not without challenges.

There’s nothing wrong with being hurt when people do things that are, well, hurtful. However, it doesn’t mean that we should just sit idly and suffer. It is also an undisputed fact that we feel greater distress when the offense comes from the people we trust. If you want to move forward and reclaim your sense of peace, this article offers some tips.

Distancing

It is good to distance yourself from people or things that cause us pain. If you’re in a relationship with someone and they do things that hurt your feelings, walking away from the toxic relationship is the best step. The mistake most people make is that they get blinded with love, and they find it difficult to let go. However, the more we see them, the more we want them back in our life. This is why distancing ourselves from whatever causes us pain is a great way of letting go of things that hurts us. Always remember that in most cases, out of sight is out of mind.

Be thankful

Be thankful for what happened and don’t get stuck with the question of why it is happening to you. Talk to yourself whenever you get hurt and find out why it’s good for you to be apart from that thing. Whether it’s heartbreaks from your partner, see the good reason why you had to leave and don’t keep on reminiscing on why it must happen.

Focus more on yourself

focus on yourself

Focus more on yourself rather than thinking about the past. Find something you love doing and get attached to it, find your purpose, and don’t worry about the stressor. When you’re addicted to what you love doing, you spend time doing it and you forget whatever might be hurting you.

Focus on the present

Practice focusing on the present and not the past. The more you learn to live in the present and not the past, the more you’d be stronger in life. Accept the fact that whatever had happened in the past can’t be changed, but the present can be worked on just to get a brighter future. Holding onto the past will do nothing but steal your present and shatter the future.

Understand the situation

Understanding that the person or thing causing stress was never meant to be yours (maybe you just lost something precious, or someone you ever loved so dearly just broke up with you). Believe that the very best will come your way with ease; if it were ever meant for you, it wouldn’t cause you pain and stress.

Don’t complicate issues

Be gentle with yourself in the process of letting go if you haven’t been through it before. You need to understand that it takes time to heal from your pain. Don’t rush it because it’s a step by step process. If you go hard on yourself, you’ll only get hurt even more.

Eliminate the stress indicator

Eliminate whatever reminds you of the bad experience or stress you are going through—eliminating works when the stress indicator is something materialistic, human or emotional. Take out whatever reminds you of bad moments that cause stress pending the time you get over the stress.

Make friends

letting go of stress

Don’t be afraid to make new friends. Friends, especially the real ones, have a way of cheering us up whenever we’re down. Your friend can help you get over stress by taking you out for brunch or dinner: you laugh together and get a nice time out. It is an undisputed fact that stress and emotional breakdown always want to make one distant himself/ herself from the social world. However, the best you can do for yourself is to make new friends. The good times spent with friends have a way of relieving pains.

Move on

Don’t expect apologies if what is causing you stress is human. Sometimes we get to hurt ourselves more with expectations. When people hurt us, we wait for them to apologize. Expecting apologies and not getting it makes you feel worse.

The takeaway

Whenever you are stressed or troubled, don’t give in to the pain. Your peace of mind should be the priority. Always remember you need to be stronger than ever and never let anyone/anything be in control of your emotions and happiness. You are the perfect person to handle stress and emotional pains.

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How to Make Your Photos Look Retro

It’s interesting how with all the advancements we’ve made when it comes to photography, old school still has its appeal. We’ve moved from using film cameras to relying on the digital ones attached to our phones, and yet we find ourselves looking for that vintage charm.

And it honestly comes as no surprise. Through the years, trends have been regularly taking a cue from decades past; what used to be in fashion becomes passé, before it comes full circle and finds itself becoming hip again. The same holds true for photography styles and filters.

What’s great about giving your photos that retro look these days is that it’s now much easier than picking up an analog camera and reverting to film. All you have to do is snap the shot and edit — read on and we’ll show you how.

Use a Vintage Filter

make your photos look retro

The most obvious tip is definitely the easiest. The birth of Instagram as a social medium paved the way for filters — and we suggest that you take full advantage.

What’s great about going with filters is that it’s literally as easy uploading your image on an app, tapping on a few buttons on your screen, then sharing your photo wherever you please.

Using filters also gives you the benefit of consistency. If you’ve got multiple images you want to edit while maintaining the same vibe and look, all you have to do is run all of them through the same filter.

Getting your hands on great filters is just as easy, too. Aside from having a number available for use through Instagram’s own editing feature, your app store should be chock-full of free photo-editing software apps available for download.

One you can try is Instasize — aside from having over 80 filters you can choose from and play around with, the app also comes with editing tools you can use to further tweak and polish your images before uploading to your social media. (Click on through for some vintage filters worth trying out.)

See Also: How AI Makes You A Better Photographer

Give yourself some Light

Shooting in well-lit areas or making sure you have a strong light source won’t give your images a vintage look, but it will definitely make editing your visuals much easier.

Think of your images like a sheet of paper, and filters as light-colored markers. If the sheet of paper you choose to use is dark, chances are the colors of your markers won’t pop. The same goes for visuals — the lighter the photo, the more your filter will pop.

Play with Saturation and Contrast

making your photos look retro

One way to make sure your images look retro, no matter what year or decade you’re trying to encapsulate, is to edit your visuals to make them look like prints.

Unlike digital photos, prints tend to lose detail over time. Just look at some older photos or polaroids you might have lying around your house. Notice how the colors might have changed since the time you took them, with the edges possibly becoming faded. That’s because photo paper and chemicals age, leading to prints eventually losing structure and contrast.

Luckily, there’s no need to let time do all the work. You can cheat the look by adjusting the contrast and saturation of your shots. Reducing both can make your photo look hazy and washed out, both of which are perfect for that aged, vintage effect.

Go for Grain

Noise usually gets a bad rap, especially when you’re trying to get a decent shot with low lighting. The opposite is true when it comes to vintage photography, though.

Older photos naturally have some noise or grain because they were most likely shot using subpar cameras, in less than ideal settings. These days, grain is great — especially when you want your images to have that rugged, weathered feel. So bring on the noise! Go to your photo-editing app of choice, add some on, and see if it works with what you’re trying to achieve.

Frame your photo with a Vignette

Vignettes are commonly seen in prints when the camera lens doesn’t focus on the entire visual and causes the edges of the image to stay underexposed. Some photographers do this on purpose to dramatically focus on their subject. Others are like you — looking to embrace the retro look in the digital social media age.

Like every tip here, achieving the look is as easy as running your image through a photo-editing app and adjusting the settings accordingly. One warning when it comes to this tip, though: vignettes tend to make your images look dark… literally. So if you’re going to slap on a vignette, make sure it adds some flair to your photo without taking away from the vibe you’re trying to achieve.

CONCLUSION

One thing to keep in mind is that even if the goal is to look vintage, you have to do so in a way that still looks modern.

What we’re trying to say here is that as tempting as it is to take all the tips here and just apply them all in one image… remember to be mindful of your editing decisions. At the end of the day, you want visuals that are on-trend. Or better yet, stunning enough to set the trend.

So spend some time checking out what celebrities, influencers, and Instagram photographers are up to. See how you can copy their style, or better yet, learn from their visual tweaks to amp up your photos.

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How To Design An SEO Friendly Website That Ranks Well

In today’s world, having a website is essential for the success of your business. It used to be all about brick and mortar stores, but now it’s all about being present online and having a website your audience can visit whenever they want. It’s not as simple as it sounds, though. You have to focus on quality and SEO in order to attract more potential customers and increase your conversion rates. After all, Google has to choose how to rank websites somehow, which is why SEO is crucial.

Find the right keywords

to design seo friendly website

Finding the right keywords is the first step to success when creating a website that will crush SEO. Keywords help your website show up higher on the first page of Google when your audience types in something related to what you’re offering. The point is to think like your consumer. If you were looking for the kind of services your company offers, what would you google?

From here, you can use the help of advanced keyword software that will help you see how strong or weak certain keywords are. This will help you determine which ones would be the most effective to use on your website. The more general the keywords are, the harder it will be to rank high on Google.

At the same time, you don’t want to go with anything too specific, because it is not likely people will be googling that specific phrase daily. It’s best to find a middle ground because that is more likely to be something your audience is googling naturally.

You can also choose PPC to help your website rank higher. Even though you should reach the SEO stars with organic traffic, there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a boost. With paid advertising, you will have to bid on certain keywords relevant for your business so that you can use them to show up in the top Google results. The more you invest in PPC, the higher the return investment is likely to be. However, make sure you really know what you’re doing and that the risk will pay off. You don’t want to lose your money.

Maintain one voice

If you want to speak to your audience, you will need to maintain a uniform voice through your whole campaign, including your website. This means that you will need to figure out what kind of message you are sending to your audience. Are you a company with family values? Do you take on social responsibility? Or will your services and products just make your audience’s lives more fun?

Once you figure out what you want to say, use all available channels – including your website – to say it. This sends a message to people and to Google that you are a serious company who knows how things work. Being a professional in any field is likely to attract more website visitors and guarantees better ranking results. Make sure that high-quality content and services are offered along with your message and professionalism to increase your conversion rates and sales faster.

Trust a professional

design seo friendly website

Building, running, and maintaining a website takes up an enormous amount of time. For a beginner, things seem even more intimidating and complex because they’ve never done this before. If you want a peace of mind and more time to do other things in your business, turn to a professional who knows what they’re doing. In fact, this is a trend in many first-world countries like Australia, whose excellent tactics have made them world leaders in many fields.

What most small to mid-size companies in Australia do is hire the best SEO agency in Sydney. This way, they don’t have to worry about anything regarding the digital marketing campaign. All they have to do is tell the agency what their goals and target group are.

Then, it’s up to the experienced professional to give them the SEO results they require. Because the agency has done this many times before, they’ll have no problems delivering the promised results. Meanwhile, the owner of the company – you – gets to manage and stay on top of all other areas of business. Use this time to really master your manufacturing process and prepare for more sales than ever before.

Use UX design

When it comes to SEO friendly websites, you have to keep in mind what the audience wants to see and how they’ll interact with your website. You may know what the website is all about and how to use it, but not everyone is so tech-savvy. Good SEO also means using UX practices. In other words, it means putting the experience of the user as your top priority.

To do this, you will have to put yourself in your user’s shoes. Make sure the website has fast loading speeds to avoid dissatisfaction and impatience. If your website doesn’t load completely in the first few seconds, the visitor will bounce and Google will rank you lower.

As well as that, make sure it’s easy to navigate. Don’t overstuff it with text and put everything on the main page. This will just make it confusing and most people will simply leave.

One of the most important rules to remember is to optimize your website for mobile phones. Most people today use their phones instead of their computers for browsing. This means that your pictures, videos, and text will need to load nicely on the small screen. In fact, mobile optimization is a very important ranking factor, so you can’t neglect it under any circumstances.

See Also: UI/UX Design for Users with Dyslexia

Conclusion

As you can see, developing an SEO and user-friendly website doesn’t have to be impossible. There will be a lot of planning involved, but if you stick to it, your efforts will surely be rewarded. Interacting with your audience will be easier than ever and you’ll surely manage to reach all of your goals. We’re confident your website will be amazing and that your audience will be eating out of your hands soon enough.

The post How To Design An SEO Friendly Website That Ranks Well appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Become Great by Managing Procrastination

One day, a teacher entered her classroom and placed a glass jar on the table. She put two large rocks into the jar until no more could fit. She asked the class if the jar was full and they all said, “Yes.” She responded, “Really?”

She pulled out a pile of small pebbles, added them to the jar, and shook it slightly until they filled the spaces between the rocks. Then she asked again, “Is the jar full?” The students agreed that it was. Next, she added a scoop of sand to the jar. She filled the space between the pebbles and asked the question again.

This time, the class was divided: some felt the jar was obviously full, while others were wary of another trick. Seeing this, she snatched a pitcher of water, filled the jar up and said, “If this jar is your life, what does this experiement show you?”

She continued, “The rocks represent the BIG things in your life – what you will value at the end of your life. The pebbles are the other things in your life that give it meaning. The sand and water represent the “small stuff” that fills our time. Now think about this: what would happen if I started with the sand or the pebbles?

I don’t know who first told this story, but it’s been bouncing around the internet for awhile. It’s a great representation of the problem so many people face in their lives. How do I stop wasting my time and energy on relatively unimportant activities and focus on what really matters? How do I become great?

Don’t Balance, Curate

achieving greatness

People have been talking about work/life balance for a long time. There are two problems with that concept. First, balance doesn’t lead to greatness – it leads to trying to juggle too many things and ending up feeling overwhelmed and inadequate.

And second, in my decades of work as a therapist and then as an executive coach, I have never met a single person who had a truly balanced life. It’s a myth, and an unhelpful one at that.

So I’ve stopped talking about balance and focused instead on helping people to curate their lives. Just like a museum curator, you have to figure out what your life’s “exhibit” is about. Then you have to work at three tasks:

  • Eliminate the activities that don’t belong in your exhibit.
  • Learn to be “just good enough” at the activities that are necessary but relatively unimportant.
  • Focus your energy on your greatness.

None of these tasks is easy. Many people have difficulty saying no. More people have difficulty accepting mediocrity in some things they do. But without developing those skills, you’ll never have the energy to achieve your greatness.

Becoming Great

Greatness requires three ingredients: talent, opportunity, and fierce dedication. You don’t have much control over your talents – those are gifts. You have limited control over your opportunities, based on the circumstances of when and where you were born, what your family was like, etc. But you do have control over how you dedicate yourself to what really matters.

There are one, two, or maybe even three areas where you have the potential to be great. First, figure out what those are. Do experiments – try stuff out and see whether you’re any good at it and whether you love it. Sometimes it helps to think about the legacy you want to leave. When you figure it out, then dedicate yourself to your greatness goal.

See Also: 50 Ways to Strive for Excellence in Life

Resilience

Greatness requires resilience – the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failure. Here’s an example: April was in college when she started her first business providing IT consultation, and she poured her heart into the business. In fact, she dropped out after two years so she could work full-time on the business and she gave it everything she had. She ate ramen, lived in a basement, and worked like a fiend.

The business failed. April barely skipped a beat. Within a few months she had decided to go back to college – and start another business. She took the lessons she had learned from her first failure, did it better the second time around, and created a business that is still thriving. That’s resilience.

Managing Procrastination

Greatness also requires the ability to manage procrastination. Even when you’re committed to a big greatness goal, there may be times when you just don’t feel like doing what you have to do. Sometimes you need to cut yourself some slack and take a little break. But other times you have to give yourself a kick in the pants to get back on track.

Fortunately, psychologists have done a lot of research on how to motivate yourself. Here are two techniques that have proven effective. The first is giving yourself rewards.

In the hundred-plus years that psychologists have been studying human behavior, one finding is by far the most consistent. If you want someone to do more of something, reward them when they do it.

There are all kinds of complexities about what constitutes a reward for whom, how big the reward should be, what reward schedule works best, intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards, and so on. But we know for a fact that reward is the most powerful tool for modifying human behavior – our own and others.

So one way to get yourself to do what you need to do is to create a reward for yourself. If I work on this difficult task for the next ninety minutes without fooling around, I get to have a cookie, or take a walk, or listen to a podcast, or whatever. If I get this big project finished by Friday, I get to go out for a drink and a good dinner on Friday night. You get the idea.

achieve greatness

Punishments also affect behavior, but they are much weaker tools than rewards. For example, some people set a goal for themselves, with the threat that if they don’t reach it they have to send a substantial financial donation to an organization they loathe.

Maybe this has worked for them, but frankly, I cannot imagine myself doing it. In my opinion, based on both professional expertise and personal experience, rewards are the way to go.

Another effective tactic is breaking down the task. Sometimes, a challenge just seems too daunting. The goal is too far off and the path seems impossible. It becomes increasingly difficult to keep putting one foot in front of the other even though you really want to achieve the goal.

The trick here is to break the task down into small, manageable chunks. All you have to do right now is complete the first chunk – don’t worry about the rest of it. That way you get to feel as if you are making progress. You may even want to create a visual graphic for yourself, like the image of a track on the treadmill screen that shows how far you have gone.

The good news is that curating your life is its own reward, because achieving greatness feels amazing. And although curating is not easy, it is doable.

Author Bio:

GAIL GOLDEN MBA, Ph.D. is the author of CURATING YOUR LIFE: Ending the Struggle for Work-Life Balance (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, April 8, 2020). She is the Founder and Principal of Gail Golden Consulting, LLC, an international management psychology consulting firm, helping business leaders and organizations hit peak performance by drawing on her unique cross-background perspective as a licensed psychologist and an MBA-holding entrepreneur.

The post How to Become Great by Managing Procrastination appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Earn Extra Income from Real Estate Without Buying Property

Making money in real estate doesn’t necessarily equate to buying and owning a second home. There are many ways in which you can start earning additional income with a very small initial capital. Here are the 5 best strategies to make money from real estate without buying a property.

Rent Out Your Home During the Holidays

One of the easiest and most straightforward ways to make money with real estate is to become a short-term rental host. The establishment of Airbnb.com in 2008 turned homesharing into an entire industry. Nowadays, there are dozens of homesharing platforms which allow regular people to list rooms or entire homes for renting on a daily basis. Some of these platforms include HomeAway, VRBO, Booking.com, and, of course, Airbnb itself.

This means that you can list your home as a short-term rental for the duration of your holidays. Instead of worrying about the safety of your property while you are away, you get to make money from it. Furthermore, you don’t need to spend almost any money to implement this strategy. Your home is already furnished with all items necessary for a comfortable stay.

Becoming a host is really easy. All you have to do is to read through the terms of a few homesharing platforms and choose the best option for your particular case. As a beginner, you should select a website which charges fees based on actual bookings rather than listings. Then, you need to create an account, list your space with an attractive description and appealing photos, and start hosting.

Before you decide to become an Airbnb-style host, make sure to check the local laws with regards to the short-term rental industry. Many major markets have adopted strict rules and regulations in an attempt to control the spread of the vacation rental industry. You might need to obtain certain permits and pay taxes in order to operate legally.

See Also: 8 Smart Tips for an Amazing Short-Term Rental Experience

Rent Out a Room Traditionally

make passive income in real estate

Airbnb is not the only way to make money from your home. If you have an extra room or two, you can rent them out on a long-term basis. This strategy is particularly good and profitable in college towns and busy cities with high rental rates. In these locations, students and recent graduates are looking for affordable renting options, so they will be attracted to your space.

An important benefit of this strategy is that you don’t need almost any initial capital to get started. The only money you might need to spend include those for buying some basic furniture in case your space is not ready for a full-time tenant. When choosing the furniture, go for durable items which will last for years rather than pretty pieces of questionable quality.

If you decide in favor of this way of making money with real estate, remember to set up a very detailed screening process. You are choosing not only a tenant but also a roommate. Ask for recommendations from employers, previous landlords, and even flatmates. Check the applicants’ credit history. Meanwhile, make sure that you don’t discriminate against candidates as that’s illegal.

Go for Real Estate Crowdfunding

You don’t have to let outsiders into your home in order to earn extra income from real estate without buying a property. Another strategy which has gained a lot of attention in recent years is real estate crowdfunding. This is just a fancy name for a relatively straightforward concept. What crowdfunding real estate property entails is investing money in large real estate projects with other regular people like you from all around the globe.

Fundrise, founded in 2010, was the first real estate crowdfunding platform. Its success inspired the establishment of many others, including Realty Mogul, RealtyShares, and RealCrowd. The best thing about this strategy is that you can get started with as little as $500. Crowdfunding has two other important benefits when compared to buying an investment property.

First of all, it requires zero knowledge and experience in the real estate business. All you have to do is to conduct some online research and choose the best platform. You don’t have to worry about selecting a profitable market, buying a positive cash flow property, or managing a rental. Second, this is a passive real estate investing strategy. Once you’ve chosen through which website to invest, you will start receiving dividends without doing any actual work.

Invest in REITs

Another way to make money from real estate – both in the short and long term – is to buy shares in real estate investment trusts (REITs). Actually, REITs are the traditional form of real estate crowdfunding, which are also known as eREITs.

Investing in REITs is very similar to investing in stocks. You buy shares in entities that own, manage, and finance income-generating real estate assets. With this strategy, even small individual investors can get access to enormous projects worth millions of dollars. Through REITs, you make money in the short run in the form of dividends, as well as in the long term in the form of capital gains.

However, before deciding to go for this strategy, you should know that conventional REITs have significantly larger expectations in terms of initial capital than real estate crowdfunding platforms. Most trusts require a minimum investment of a few thousand dollars. If you can afford this, then REITs are a true source of passive income from real estate.

Get a Real Estate License

making passive income in real estate

The last way to make money in real estate without buying an investment property is to get a real estate license. In simple words, this means to become a licensed real estate agent.

Whereas being an agent is not a source of passive income, it is definitely a great way to boost your income. Being a part-time real estate agent is absolutely feasible as many homebuyers and sellers prefer to visit properties for sale in the evening or during the weekend.

A major benefit of buying and selling homes is that you will become an expert on the real estate industry and the local housing market. If you realize that you really enjoy real estate, the transition to an investor who owns actual income properties is as easy as it gets. Not to mention the commission you get from each transaction.

See Also: How to Develop Property Listings that Make Purchasers Take Action

With real estate the sky is the limit. You can earn additional income without ever buying and owning an investment property. Just try one of these 5 best strategies.

The post How to Earn Extra Income from Real Estate Without Buying Property appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Handle Burnout And Toxic Stress In The Workplace

Whenever you’re stressed, your cortisol levels, which is also known as the stress hormone, increase 2-5x from their normal state. However, not all stress is equal. Humans can experience two types of stress: short-term or chronic. The difference?

One has a clear endpoint while the other never ends. An instance of short-term stress would be worrying about meeting a deadline. Why? A deadline is a tangible goal with a clear endpoint, ultimately challenging your cortisol to excel toward it.

On the other hand, chronic stress is permanent, and will eventually rewire your brain. Your brain is in survival mode when you’re under chronic stress, causing you to focus less on higher-order tasks which provides no outlet for your increased cortisol. Overall, stress in the workplace can go on to make you feel burned out.

What Is Burnout?

work stress burnout

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies burnout to be a consequential syndrome caused by workplace stress, with symptoms of feeling exhausted, being mentally detached, and having poor performance. Interestingly enough, 51% of the American workforce have felt burned out more than once and 57% say stress generates feelings of being paralyzed.

Meanwhile, 43% of employees are invigorated by stress, which may be why 64% of U.S. workers feel stressed or frustrated while at work at least once or more on a weekly basis. Moreover, 77% of American professionals and 84% of millennials have felt burned out at least once. What are the causes?

In the U.K., employees have many theories that create a recipe for office stress. 44% report high-pressure environments contribute to their work-related stress, 38% say it’s due to a lack of support from management, and 30% say their leadership’s unrealistic expectations are what stresses them out.

In addition to those, 1 in 3 U.K. employees say technology is to blame. 45% say technology increases their workload, 33% say it gives them tighter deadlines, and 29% say it makes them feel socially isolated.

Technology is a double-edged sword, though, as mindful use of it can decrease your workload. Tech that helps you work smarter, not harder, such as messaging bots, Grammarly, Slack, and more can decrease your workload and, subsequently, your stress.

How To Cope With Workplace Stress

burnout and work stress

Although it has somehow become normal for stress to exist in our places of employment, it is survivable. In fact, burnout is best treated by making simple lifestyle changes.

Take it from Jacky Francis Walker, a psychotherapist and the man behind The Burnout Bible, who once said, “Someone on the brink will probably begin to feel emotionally numbed or mentally distant. Like they don’t have the capacity to engage as much in the ordinary things of life.” Saying this, here is how you can spot the signs of impending burnout, and what you can do to steer clear of stress.

The biggest red flag you’re on the road to experiencing burnout is that you have this unshakeable feeling your work quality is diminishing, and that you’re not showing your full potential. The first thing you should do in this case is to get to the root of the problem. As a tip: overwhelming time constraints, working for a company whose values are misaligned from yours, and oppressive work environments are often to blame for burnouts.

Furthermore, it’s important you establish a routine and prioritize each day you have on the clock. Having a routine that’s predictable can help you so that when stress does strike, it’s still manageable. Creating a list of tasks is also a great way to prioritize the things you need to accomplish on your day-to-day. 

By doing this, you know what to expect when you go to work as unpredictability can often cause you stress. In your lists, strive to have a semblance of balance that’s long-term rather than trying to cram everything into a single day’s work.

Bea Arthur, who is another psychotherapist and the Founder of The Difference, once said, “You know what is urgent in your life, like seeing your family and friends more… Even if the work is still there when you get back from vacation, you’ll come back better.” Keep this in mind as you reorient your workflow to preserve your mental state.

Lastly, here’s what you can do to reduce your stress hormones. You should work these tips into your daily routine as this is the best approach to staying stress-free long-term.

51% of Americans deal with burnout by talking to friends or family. In other words, socializing is among the best ways to reduce your cortisol levels since isolation will only increase your stress hormones. Sleeping is also important. Stress causes trouble sleeping and that, in turn, leads to stress — which is why 50% of Americans fight burnout with sleep.

On the other hand, 44% of Americans use exercise to combat their burnout and stress. By engaging in physical activity, you can reduce your cortisol levels. Similarly, any form of meditation or conscious breathing will help to slow down your heart rate and decrease the negative effects of cortisol. 30% of Americans fight burnout through regular meditation.

Most importantly, seek help whenever you’re feeling stressed — in the office or out. Support increases your resiliency toward stress; and the earlier you seek help, the more likely it is you’ll be able to avoid the complications it brings.

See Also: How to Relax After A Stressful Day At Work

Contrary to the norm, burnout isn’t inevitable. Read more below for more on chronic stress in the workplace.

Burnout and Toxic Stress
Source: Online PhD Degrees

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How To Use Social Media For PR: A Step-By-Step Guide

Social media marketing is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing and PR. If you don’t use social media platforms to promote your business, then you are missing out on quite a lot. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use social media for PR.

Build Your Brand’s Personality

It is extremely important that you know who your audience is in order to be able to create the content that they will enjoy and make your digital marketing campaign suited specifically for them. In other words, if you don’t know who you are posting for, then you can’t expect to attract a dedicated audience on your social media accounts.

Do as much research as possible about who you want to target. It is also a good idea to segment your audience to have several groups that you will be posting for. On the other hand, you might want to focus only on one of the groups if you want to create a more personal relationship with your followers and make your audience more uniform.

Once you know who you will be writing for, you will need to decide what elements you will be incorporating into your content to make it shape your brand image in the right way. Branding with the help of content is still considered one of the most effective ways to give your brand a personality instead of simply making it look like a soulless corporation.

It is crucial that you make your social media content personalized and personal at the same time. Personalization will make it more appropriate for each of your audience segments.  Making it personal will also make your content more individualized, relatable, relevant, and attractive to the majority of social media users.

See Also: 5 Instagram Tools That Can Boost Brand Performance

Start and Participate in Conversations

use social media for pr

Starting and participating in conversations on social media is a great way to reach out to your potential collaborators and followers while also building valuable connections.

Conversations can be initiated in different ways: posting action-inspiring content, creating polls and surveys, replying to posts and to comments under the posts, and so on.

However, if you don’t have enough experience to write good text that starts conversations, you could hire a professional writer from a reputable or recommended company. A professional writer will know how to do their job well to meet all the objectives you set for them while also being efficient with their work.

Every social media platform will require a different approach from you, so you need to keep in mind the specifics of each of the platforms:

  • Instagram: You can create polls, questions, and quizzes in your Instagram Stories, but you can also reply to posts and comments.
  • Twitter: There is an option to make polls, but you will have to reply to tweets most of the time.
  • Facebook: Creating high-quality content that motivates readers to write comments is one of the most effective tactics.
  • Other: Pin often and create interesting boards on Pinterest, upload insightful videos to YouTube, and repost and comment a lot on Tumblr.

Put Energy and Value into Your Content

Energy and value in content are both very abstract concepts, but they are actually essential for your social media content to be actionable. Here are some things you should definitely do:

  • Motivate Your Followers: Motivating your followers should not be something they come to hate eventually because you are being too clingy, but rather something they anticipate because it makes them do the things they have been procrastinating with. In other words, motivational content is the one that promotes hard work while also showing that you want your followers to be better in every way possible.
  • Inspire Your Followers: Inspiring your followers is also important, and even if it seems like it is the same thing as motivating your followers, it is actually quite different. Inspiration comes more on the creative side while motivation is more technical. You need to be an example and a role model that will show your followers that everything and anything is possible.
  • Make Valuable Content: Lastly, always create valuable content. If your content doesn’t bring value to your followers, then they won’t want to follow you. Everyone is looking for something they will either enjoy in terms of entertainment or something they can get knowledge from in terms of education. Consequently, choose your strategy and create either entertaining or educational content.

Create Your Own Opportunities

using social media for pr

Last but not least, stop thinking about where you can find new opportunities and start creating them for yourself. There are numerous ways you can do this, but here are some of the most effective ones:

  • Start Live-Streaming: By live-streaming regularly, you will be able to significantly improve engagement and brand awareness among your audience. Some of your followers will be looking forward to your next livestream if you create a schedule when you go live every week or month. In other words, this is probably one of the best ways to establish a better connection with your audience.
  • Create A YouTube Channel: A YouTube channel will not only help you build your community on that platform, but it will also allow you to post your videos on other social media platforms. Right now, video content is in-demand (and it will likely be even in ten years because of how much viewers enjoy it), so you need to use this situation to get through to all of your followers.
  • Be as Creative as Possible: Being creative is the key to success. If you find unique ways to approach a subject or to create your next piece of content, you will notice that there are many people who find such content useful. Stay out of the crowd and you will attract more people to what you do.

See Also: Finding Out the Best Time for Posting on Social Media Sites

Final Thoughts

To sum up, improving your PR with the help of social media marketing is not as difficult as it seems. Just follow the advice and tips in this article and try to combine these tactics to create a more effective digital marketing campaign.

The post How To Use Social Media For PR: A Step-By-Step Guide appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Improve Your Business’ Email Response Time

Promptly responding to the emails you receive is crucial for an array of reasons. For one, it builds trust with whom you’re communicating with. If popular media has convinced you that “email is dying,” I encourage you to think again. In fact, email is doing the exact opposite. By just next year, about 126.7 trillion emails will be pushed out annually. About 90% of the people in the country reported relying on email communication in 2017 alone.

Saying this, email responsiveness is important because it’s in demand. 46% of Americans open their inbox as soon as they wake up – even before they turn to social media, check the news, or make a Google search for what’s on their early morning mind. Additionally, 35% of email traffic warrants an answer. 23% of those require quick answer. Yet, that expectation is not met on average. Let’s get more specific.

When emailing a business with inquiry, 11% of clients expect to be answered within 15 minutes. Given slight more leeway, 19% of clients expect an answer within 1 hour. 14% of clients will wait 4 hours before getting antsy. 1 in 3 GenX and Boomers expect to be replied to within an hour or less.

Despite that, the response time, on average, is around 42 hours. What does this imply?

Think about it this way:

Time is money. For every minute you don’t respond to your customer’s email, the more disinterested they grow. When you fail to give them what they want in a quick manner, they’ll feel frustrated and annoyed. Response time is a nonverbal cue to your business-goers. They’re more likely to zone in on these nonverbal cues if you don’t address them with swiftness.

email time

On a more positive note, responding to inquiries within an hour makes you 7x more successful in qualifying the lead than others who take 2 hours to respond.

What Customers Want

Remember: the customer is always right. Always.

But how do you know what they want (outside of a quick response)?

I’ll tell you.

80% of people say friendly service, convenience, and knowledgeable help are the most essential components in making a positive client-business interaction. Once you meet their expectations, the individual client is 80% more likely to continue using your business. They will go on to spend 67% more than they would’ve before having such a delightful interaction.

In other words, customers just want to feel heard and valued by the places they spend their money on. Here are a few things you can do to improve your business’ response time.

To begin, you must encourage your entire brand to rethink about electronic mail communication. Email is far from dead, so encourage each employee with email access to work toward a response time goal catering to the aforementioned client expectations. Furthermore, suggest that your team organizes their inbox to minimize their rate of electronic chaos. By doing so, this employee will be able to find what they’re looking for much easier and quicker, allowing more time to focus on replying to customer inquiries.

Furthermore, emphasize the importance of apologizing in the scenario your team member falls behind in client communication. A simple apology can buy goodwill; however, lengthy excuses are unnecessary and distract from the original inquiry that was made. The last thing you want to do is have your client focus on your brand’s non-responsiveness.

Set a standard that outlines when you’d like your team to get back to clients. You can do so by creating an email policy. It should outline how vacation responses are covered or how many emails (at maximum) can sit in a shared inbox.

Another method would be to schedule specific times in the day check the inbox. By setting clear expectations with your team, you will indirectly train your clients on when to expect a reply. This will leave them feeling less frustrated in the case of delays.

email responsive time

Quick replies are also helpful. They can help you make scripts to respond to frequently asked questions. This way, you don’t have to continue rewriting the questions you’re asked the most.

There are many other ways you can work with your employees to improve your email response times. Just be sure to measure your progress along the way so you can figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Furthermore, be sure to maintain that human touch in your approach to electronic mailing. Including a bit of human and personalizing your message can go a long way with those on the other end of your text – especially if you frequently use pre-written scripts.

Time is money, and being responsive is critical. Below, you can find more information on the importance of email responsiveness and how to improve your response strategies.

See Also: Essential Tips On How to Manage Work Emails Without Losing Productivity

Please include attribution to Time To Reply with this graphic.

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How To Choose The Right Apartment Insurance Policy

Apartment insurance is not exactly something a lot of people enjoy talking about but it is actually something which is very important and is often ignored. Apartment insurance, also known as renters insurance, covers a lot of things when you have issues with your apartment. If you don’t have this policy then you risk losing your belongings should something go wrong with no kind of compensation.

This is what makes choosing the right renters insurance policy quite tricky. Don’t worry though as we have put together some advice that can help you to make the right decision. Keep reading to find out more.

Choosing The Company

choosing the right apartment insurance policy

One of the most important things that you need to consider when picking out apartment insurance for your home is the company that you are going to buy it from. Some insurance companies put their customers first while others try to get out of paying out any kind of money when something goes wrong. It might be worth taking a closer look at the company and reading some reviews. If you know someone who is happy with their current policy, ask them for a recommendation.

Checking What Is Covered

Just like with other kinds of insurance policies, you will find that renters insurance can cover a variety of things. Some policies will cover more than others and this can be risky if you don’t read the policy carefully. Standard policies should cover personal property, personal liability and medical bills and temporary living expenses.

Within these categories, there are certain things that you will want to look for. You might want to get some extra coverage for your expensive items including electronics or jewellery.

Reading The Terms and Conditions

choose the right apartment insurance policy

When was the last time you read over the terms and conditions that came with your insurance policy? This is a big mistake that many people make when buying a policy and it can be quite risky. The terms and conditions are something which you are agreeing to when you buy a policy and sign a contract. This means that you will be held to this contract should anything happen and you need to make a claim.

Some of the terms can include exclusions that you aren’t covered for as well as deductibles. The best advice that we could give you is to spend time reading over this and make sure that you are choosing the right policy for you.

Comparing Prices

Our final tip for those who are on the hunt for a new apartment insurance policy is to make sure that you are comparing prices. Of course, you shouldn’t always just go for the cheapest option as this can sometimes indicate that the policy is not as good as you are hoping.

A good way to compare prices to compare the type of cover at the same time. A certain policy could be more expensive but it could also save you money in the long-run should something happen. Don’t forget to compare prices as this can often be key to choosing the right one for you.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a new apartment insurance policy then you should make sure that you spend some time looking for one that will cover everything that you need. Whether you are adding on extras or going for basic coverage, time spent researching should come in handy.

Follow all of the advice that we have given you in this article and this should help you to come to the right conclusion and find the best policy.

See Also: Explaining The Importance of Insurance For Renters

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How To Transform Your Logo Into A Piece Of Art

We all know just how important the logo is for any company or brand. You don’t have to listen to me rant on and on about the importance of the logo, how it is supposed to be memorable and evergreen and everything else. You know it better than I do.

That is why a lot of companies pay a hefty amount to a logo design company to make the logo as relatable, relevant, and sometimes mysterious as they can. Your company’s logo is supposed to tell your story. People should relate to it. It should have the right colors and geometry to be easily understandable and memorable.

It’s not like sitting down on your desk, drawing a circle, using a font to type in your company or brand’s name and voila! You have yourself a logo.

Oh no, no, no!

It takes much more effort than that.

That is why a lot of people must have told you to use a logo design service instead of doing it yourself. You may be good at business, sales, marketing, but if you are not on the up and up with the logo design world, you just might end up with an average logo that looks like a hundred others.

This is what happens when you use free logo maker websites and software. A totally uninteresting, uninspiring and boring logo that no one wants to look at.

So, the question is, whether you are a company or a logo designer, how do you ensure that your logo is not among the hundreds of logos out there that all look the same? How do you ensure that your logo stands out and catches the eye of the audience?

By……..wait for it…….turning it into art.

SAY WHAT NOW?

Yes, you heard me right. There are a million different ways that you can turn your logo into a piece of art that people will talk about for decades to come. It is difficult, but totally possible. Later in this article, we will discuss how you can do that and what are the elements that you will need to incorporate in order to do so.

But for now, let’s talk about how to begin. It’s not like you have a clear idea about designing your logo. So, experiment with various logo templates to get yourself warmed up first. It can also be the starting point of your journey towards making a killer and memorable logo design. It can give you an initial idea of where to begin and just might give you further ideas that you can adapt and incorporate later on.

Do you have a logo maker tool that’s handy? Is there an online app? Make a few logos and circulate them among your friends and colleagues to find out what they think about them. They can suggest any edits that they think you might need. Getting your peers on your side is something that you really need.

So now that we’re done with the warm up exercises, let’s dive into the world of logo designing and see how you can make your logo stand out.

Do you know what a Visual Double Entendre is?

A double entendre is a figure of speech or anything else that can convey two different meanings. Simple as that. A visual double entendre is the same thing but the double meaning is conveyed visually. Some of the world’s most renowned logos use this element to increase the engagement level of their logos and people all around the world remember these logos for their wittiness.

Take for example the Amazon logo. Now who doesn’t know Amazon? At first glance, the logo has an arrow that goes from the ‘A’ in the beginning to the ‘Z’ in the middle and it looks like they are saying that they provide service with a smile. The thing that a lot of people miss is that the arrow is pointing from ‘A’ to ‘Z’, meaning that they have everything that you might ever need or want.

visual double entendre amazon logo

Another great example is the Baskin Robbins logo that uses the curves of the letter ‘B’ and the straight line of the ‘R’ to show their audience just how many flavors they actually have.

The Importance of Colors

One of the most essential decisions that people tend to make about their logos is the colors that they want to use. You might think that it is an easy decision, but it’s not.
You may or may not know this, but every color conveys a deep meaning that resonates with the audience and if you don’t get it right, you just might end up losing your audience instead of gaining one. Colors can communicate various messages and ideas.

For example, red is the color of danger, but it is also the color of excitement and Coca Cola has used it to great effect.

coca cola logo

There is a rich palate of colors that you can truly explore before selecting one or more for your logo. Because once you have a logo, you might not be able to make a lot of changes to it, much less change it for something else. The colors that you use can either grab the audience’s attention and pull them in or they can push them away. The best thing about the color palate is that it is completely up to you. You can even choose a gray scale logo if you think it works.

Avoid the Cliches

Just like every other industry, the logo design industry is also prone to various trends and fads that come and go. What a lot of good businesses do is to follow these trends and fads and generate a logo according to them. What they don’t remember is that trends last for a little while and then fade away.

It doesn’t mean that you stay away from every new thing that enters the market. Study them, do your research on them, but also make sure that you don’t jump on the bandwagon for the pretext of keeping up with the times. It accomplishes nothing more than a bunch of similar looking logos created by different people.

Own Your Logo

Everyone owns a logo, right? So, what am I talking about here?

When I say ‘Own your logo’, I mean that instead of taking into account the latest trend and going for it, you should do your research about the company or the brand. Get to know their products and services, their background story, and then come up with something that reflects those things. That will resonate more with the viewers and they will relate with it instantly.

As an example, let me show you the Evernote logo.

evernote logo

If you look at it, it is just an elephant head which has got nothing to do apparently with the app. Or does it? Remember anything about elephants and their memories? Now check out the way the trunk is curled and the way the ear is marked/folded. That is something that the viewers can immediately connect with.

Say It with the Fonts

Sometimes you don’t need to put so much effort into the colors and the design of it. Sometimes you can do it all with the typeface. Give your simple and minimalistic logo a creative and unique font to make it awesome and super memorable. As an example, I will have to go back to the Coca Cola logo. The font became so famous that a lot of other companies started stealing it and using it as their own typeface in their logos. Now that is the kind of uniqueness that every logo designer is going for.

Go Negative

Yup! You heard me right. You can use the negative space in your logo to create illusions and tricks just like a logo with a double entendre. Instead of talking about it, let me just show you what I mean.

Do you see the hidden arrow between the ‘E’ and the ‘x’? Now if that is not an ingenious idea, I don’t know what is. The use of negative space in the FedEx logo is amazing.
Now that you know how negative space can be used, check out the NBC logo and see if you can figure out how they have used the negative space.

This one is pretty easy, right?

Summing It Up

Knowing these things can greatly help a logo designer, whether you are working in-house or as a contractor. You can show your client just how much effort you have actually put into the logo and blow their minds away.

See Also: Building Your Personal Brand: 3 Ways To Stand Above The Noise

The post How To Transform Your Logo Into A Piece Of Art appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

3 Ordinary Steps on How to Live an Extraordinary Life

We’ve all been sold the dream that our life will play out like the stories we consumed as a child. A place where everything works itself out at the conclusion of a 30-minute TV episode.

Not every road to success looks as glamorous as it does on a Friday night’s silver screen.

So, if we want to live extraordinarily, we have to ask ourselves:

How we do get there? How do we really, I mean really, start to achieve a life that we can look back on and say “I lived”?

Define Success

What does success mean to you?

Does it mean hopping from city to city and rubbing elbows with start-up founders at roof-top parties?

Or maybe it means watching your children grow up and spend time with them on your terms?

how to live an extraordinary life

Maybe your goals are somewhere in between or you might not even know your goals.

That’s okay. That’s why I love Brian Tracy’s method.

My man Brian knows how to get the human mind to be honest with oneself. He found that in 30 seconds, you pretty much know what your goals are as if you spent 3 hours on the topic.

Visualize what you want in each area of your life 5, 10, 15 years from now. Although that’s hard to do, try to do this for each area of your life. And be honest with yourself when you think about the following areas in your life:

  • Business/career
  • Family/relationships
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Social life/community

Literally, take 30 seconds for each area. Write your top 3 current goals. Write them as if you’d already accomplished them. Do it on paper, in present tense, in the first person.

The key thing is, identify the goal in each area of your life that has the biggest impact.

See Also: 20 Qualities for A Successful Life

What Are You Willing to Lose?

To pick something up, you must put something down.

Let me say that in a different way.

If you want to start something different, you will inevitably spend less time doing something else. One cannot ‘create more time’ without shaving time down from something else.

I’m willing to listen to a man who gives away 97% of his wealth to charity and can still be a multi-billionaire. I’m talking, of course, about Warren Buffet.

His method is simple.

Take your top 30 goals. Now, cut them down to 5.

It’s hard, right? Those other 25 goals, those are your secondary goals that come in a close 2nd place, right?

Not at all.

Warren Buffet suggests that these are your ‘avoid at all cost’ goals.

I’m not going to lie. This exercise hurts for me to even attempt. So I combine Brian Tracy’s method and do top goals for each area of my life.

The point being, realize that you will never have enough time to do everything you want to do in your life. And that’s okay.

Because living intentionally (having a laser focus on a handful of things) will create more happiness for you. More happiness than lulling around, attempting a basket-full of things in your life.

See Also: Do You Have Too Many Goals? Here’s How to Prioritize Them

The Actions You Can Take Daily

live an extraordinary successful life

The next step is to start breaking down those big ideas into actionable steps.

It needs to be dead-brain simple. Your goal may be to climb Mount Everest. But you sure wouldn’t slap that on your to-do list. It may look something like:

  • Write out why I want to climb Mount Everest.
  • Read first-hand accounts of people who have climbed Mount Everest successfully.
  • Watch documentary about failed explorations and what went wrong.
  • Find local mountaineer group to get more general knowledge.
  • Hike local mountains to understand scale of difference.
  • Maintain exercise regiment targeting muscle groups needed for climbing.
  • Set date for Mount Everest excursion.

I’ve never climbed a mountain. I am guessing that it’s better to take action than to hope that one day a Mount Everest excursion will waltz itself into your life.

The real question is this:

What kind of life are you going to live from here on out? Are you ready to live an extraordinary life?

The post 3 Ordinary Steps on How to Live an Extraordinary Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Smart Tricks On How to Keep Skin Young-Looking

Skin aging is an inevitable process. Despite that, there are a couple of things you can do to slow down the process and keep that youthful glow.

Read on to find out how to keep skin young-looking:

Breathe and relax

Gone are the days when people used to have ample amount of time to relax. Such things are rare now. Whether we are at home or at the office, we hardly get any rest these days.

So, it is quite important to take out at least 5 to 10 minutes of time from our packed schedule. And, we need to do that on a regular basis.

During that 5 to 10 minutes, simply do nothing. All you have to do is to sit, breathe, and relax your mind and body. Stay away from all the humdrum thoughts. Just keep on doing this for a month and surely, you would see the change in your skin and body.

Get enough sleep

keep skin young looking

Beauty sleep is necessary.

We splurge a lot of money on buying expensive cosmetics. But, what if we spend some time daily so that our body gets the necessary hours of sleep?

It is said that at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep is necessary for an adult. It rejuvenates our body and also our mind. And honestly, healthy and young-looking skin is impossible without a healthy body.

So, sleep well and get ready to ditch your bottle of anti-aging cream forever.

See Also: Are You Sleep Deprived? 8 Health Risks Of Poor Sleep

Stay hydrated

Water is life and this is not a mere adage anymore.

When we drink sufficient amount of water every day, our skin cells rejuvenate and stay hydrated. In fact, drinking the right proportion of water is important for keeping our organs functional as well.

So, make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.

From now on, do not drink when you only feel thirsty. Rather, keep drinking a glass of water every hour.

See Also: Top 5 Tips On How To Stay Hydrated

Bring in positivity

Often, people think that slathering expensive creams is going to save their skin. But, it has also been seen that bringing in a positive change in lifestyle can bring out the same effect, too.

When we look at the negative aspects of our life, the difficult phases become more critical and uglier. Negativity rises exponentially and there is literally no end to it.

With that, it is extremely important to lead a life filled with positive and motivating thoughts. Always look at the brighter side of any situation. When your mind stays positive, your body feels awakened, too.

Eat more foods with antioxidants

When oxidation occurs in our body, free radicals are created. These unstable molecules are enough to damage skin cells. In fact, oxidation is the biggest reason behind skin aging.

So, if foods that are enriched with ample amount of antioxidants are taken, those things can be prevented.

Make sure that your diet contains fruits, seafood, carrots, green tea, pumpkin, grapes, milk, dry fruits and nuts.

Stay fit and look fit

how to keep skin young looking thru yoga

Sedentary jobs often take a toll not only on our health but also on our skin. Digestion process gets hampered by constantly sitting in one posture. And, this thing eventually damages our skin profile.

So, in order to look young, it is important to stay active. If you start jogging regularly, it would heal your entire system. In fact, doing yoga also helps a lot. When the entire system becomes rejuvenated, skin looks healthy and young.

Say no to your gadgets

In today’s busy life, the importance of mobile and other gadgets is infinite. If we constantly look at them, our eyes and the surrounding skin might start to look tired and baggy.

But, what if we keep those things off our life on a daily basis?

It is the simplest of all the tricks. From this day on, when you go to sleep, make sure you are not using your gadgets or mobile devices when lying on your bed. When you wake up, you’ll notice that your skin will look healthy and plump.

Lastly, it is not possible to bring about these habits in your lifestyle overnight. But, with constant effort you can make them happen. Knowing how to keep skin young-looking isn’t enough. You also have to exert effort.

The post 7 Smart Tricks On How to Keep Skin Young-Looking appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

6 Simple Steps to Achieve Laser-Like Focus

Does focus elude you? Do you multi-task at the cost of focusing on your more important projects? Have you ever wished that you could have laser-like focus?

Well, as we all know, there is medicine for this type of need. But I think even people who take focus-enhancing medicine will attest that unless you have a good process and discipline, you’re still not going to have great success with just a pill.

Here’s how you can achieve laser-like focus using the strength of your mind.

Eliminate Distractions

writing down insecurities

Plan your day. This will allow your mind to be free from worry because you’ll know that you’ve scheduled your most important tasks according to priority.

Clear your desk and do it quickly. Don’t get caught up. Just remove distractions and leave the sorting for later.

See Also: 5 Reasons a Messy Desk Is Not Good For Your Productivity

Close all unrelated computer programs and eliminate noises. No TV, radio or any device that will ruin your focus. Consider getting noise canceling headphones if you work around noise. The caveat is if you are doing physical work that doesn’t require mental concentration, then use music for energy if it helps you.

Also, don’t answer the phone. That’s what voicemail is for!

Set Visual Reminders

Some people are very visually oriented and creating visual explanations helps them more. If that is you, then create some type of visual reminder of the task you are working on. It can be a little yellow sticky note right on your computer monitor or a big poster in bold red letters.

That works well for me. I highly recommend it even if it feels silly. You can also use it as a muse if your work is creative-based.

Create a Hook to Super Charge Your Interest

Many times, we have to work on things that we aren’t excited about. If that is the case, then just buck up and find a way to get interested. Focus on the benefits of completing your work. That’s why you’re doing it, right?

Tell yourself that you like it. It can help to even be silly about it. Find ways to make it fun or sexy. Find ways to make it exciting.

If you’re already working on something you’re passionate about, then focus on that and exaggerate your excitement.

Set Mini-Deadlines

Chunk the work into pieces. Plan it out on paper and use timers to stay on schedule.

See Also: 7 Super Effective Tips to Meet Deadlines Without Going Mad

Take Frequent Mini Breaks

Get up and go to a different location to stretch. Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. Check your progress against your daily plan. Do this when you start to feel stuck, frustrated or when you just need a break. You’ll come back rejuvenated and with better focus

Relaxed Discipline

Stay on task but don’t be harsh, critical, and stressed. This will block creativity and productivity.

Be relaxed in your approach to your work.

How?

Commit to this: “It’s ok if it’s not perfect. It’s even OK if I fail. As long as I try and keep making forward progress.”

Be disciplined in a firm way, but without harsh judgment and pressure. Supervise yourself, watch out for procrastination tendencies, and gently bring yourself back to the task if you find yourself losing focus.

What are your secrets for staying focused? When was the last time you had great success with focusing on one thing versus trying to multi-task?

Written by K. Stone, author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements.

The post 6 Simple Steps to Achieve Laser-Like Focus appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Get Familiar With Your New City After a Long-Distance Move

Whether you’re moving a town over, a state over, or across the country, leaving everything familiar can be overwhelming. Maybe you had an unexpected obligation pull you away, or you got an offer for your dream job. Don’t panic. As long as you have the right attitude and our tips, you’ll find yourself settling in a new city just fine.

Download Local Apps

moving in a new city

Spend a little time researching the local area and figure out which apps are useful and popular in your new city. You could find public transit apps, restaurant ordering apps, on-demand grocery delivery services, and more. Chances are, every service in your city will have a mobile app. These apps can make it convenient to travel or exist for the first few weeks.

Join Organized Groups

From kickball leagues to nonprofits, even if you don’t normally go join activities, joining an organized group is an excellent way to meet new people. Start with something you like or a hobby, and search for a group. If you’re an animal lover, check out the local humane societies and shelters. Better yet, try something you’ve never done before. Being new at something lets you connect with other newcomers.

Start Off on the Right Foot

A move, no matter the size, is stressful. However, you don’t want to start your move out on the wrong foot. Don’t try to do it yourself. When you search online, make sure to add in your location. For example, search Google for reputable long distance movers in Dallas. These movers will ensure your pending move goes smoothly, and they’ll coordinate everything. In turn, this frees up your time to concentrate on your new city and everything you have to do when you get there.

Stay Somewhere Comfortable

For at least the first six months, concentrate on staying somewhere comfortable. You don’t have to be in a rush to find out the best bars, restaurants, or areas in the city. Instead, work on creating a safe space around your home. Pick out a few different areas and learn all about this. Maybe you want to live with a relative or friend for a few months before branching off on your own. Whatever it is that makes you comfortable, do it for six months.

Mark Out Important Properties

When you get to your city, you’ll be able to settle in better if you mark out where the local stores are in your neighborhood that can meet your needs. Look for your new go-to grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, drug store, and coffee shop. Once you map everything out and know right where it is from your home, your new city will start to feel more like home.

Look for Co-Living Opportunities

settling in a new city co living space

If you’re not quite ready to live by yourself, check into co-living spaces. Most co-living areas give you your own bathroom, kitchenette, and studio apartment. There is a larger family room, living area, and kitchen for all of the other inhabitants. Co-living facilities offer fun events, mixers, and outings. This will help you make new friends, and most co-living spaces are geared toward a certain demographic like young professionals or families.

Say Yes

You’re in a new area. This is why you have to start saying yes to everything to help you find your life essentials. Going out and going to events will help you find a few friends, a best friend, and activities to keep you entertained. You won’t find this sitting home waiting for it to come to you. Join events, go to date nights, galleries, wine tastings, or whatever interests you, and meet people.

Give Yourself a Year

At the bare minimum, give yourself a year in your new space. Settling in a new city takes time, but it should eventually feel like home. Anything you find yourself doubting yourself or where you’re at, remind yourself that you’re still in transition. Moving is hard, and leaving everything is harder. But, you deserve to give yourself a year before making any judgments.

Keep in Touch

inviting friend in a new city

You may have left your old town, but don’t forget your friends, connections, and family there. Make an effort to keep in touch with them. Go back to see them every once in a while. When you get comfortable, invite them out and show them the city. You never know, they may even fall in love with it and decide to move out by you.

Set up Dates

Before you move, go to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to see which connections live in your intended area. Send them a quick message and ask to meet up once you get moved in. Ask your current friends and family if they know anyone in your area. You may just be surprised at what you find.

Know Your Transportation Options

Many small or rural towns don’t have public transportation, but larger cities do. It’s important that you learn about your new transportation options. Find out about bus transit lines, subway systems, ridesharing services, and bike-sharing programs. It may take a little trial and error to find the best routes to your work or around the city, but it’s worth it.

Look up the Area on Reddit

Almost every city has an area on Reddit. To find your particular city, look under reddit.com/r/cityname/ and see what comes up. Look through the historically popular questions, and ask any burning questions you have. Reddit will tell you about potentially unsafe areas you want to avoid, opportunities to meet people, and how friendly the locals are. What’s even better, you’ll get honest answers.

Bottom Line

Moving to a new city can be overwhelming, but there are several things you can do to help the transition process go smoothly. When you’re settling in a new city, just remember to take it slow. You’ll eventually find your routine, and it’ll feel like home.

See Also: 7 Things to Consider When Moving to a New City

The post How to Get Familiar With Your New City After a Long-Distance Move appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Clean Wood Bathroom Cabinets: Top Tips You Can Try

Wood cabinets are the superstars of the cabinet world. They are elegant, classy, and extremely good looking. This is why many homeowners choose them over other materials for their kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms.

But everything pretty comes with one rule – you must maintain it.

Regular maintenance is the only way to protect the charm and ensure longevity. When it comes to bathroom wood cabinets, this becomes a rule.

Bathroom cabinets are subjected to the most wear and tear along with consistent moisture. Neglected cabinets can, thus, get ruined in no time. We all know what that can lead to.

Don’t worry, though.

Maintenance is not an arduous task as long as you do it regularly. It involves daily cleaning with safe ingredients and disinfecting whenever the need arises. In this article, we shall help you with the best tips on how to clean wood bathroom cabinet.

Let’s begin.

Use soap and warm water.

This is the easiest way to clean your bathroom wood cabinets.

Mix mild dish soap with warm water and use a clean sponge to wipe the cabinets down. One teaspoon of soap is enough for a cup of water. You can increase the quantities based on how many cabinets you have.

This combination is useful for everyday cleaning. However, you must be sure not to use too much water. Use just how much is needed for gentle wiping and then use a dry cloth to wipe down one last time. This will remove all the unnecessary moisture.

Use vinegar and water.

how to clean wood bathroom cabinets with vinegar

Mix equal quantities of vinegar and water. Use a soft cloth or cheesecloth to wipe the surface of the cabinets.

Vinegar is safe to use every day since diluting it with water makes it a mild solution. It also safeguards the finishing of the cabinets.

However, some homeowners may not like using it due to its strong odor. In this case, you can always fall back to soap and warm water for daily cleaning and restrict vinegar to once a week.

Use baking soda and water.

how to clean wood bathroom cabinets with baking soda

Baking soda is quite mild and makes a wonderful cleaning agent. All you have to do is to make a paste by mixing just enough water and then use a cloth to clean your cabinets.

While following this cleaning method, though, you should be very careful. Baking soda, despite being mild, is an abrasive. Being harsh while cleaning can tarnish the wood. Be gentle and don’t rub the paste in too much.

If you are unable to remove a particular stain, rubbing may make it worse. We advise you to apply the paste and leave it for 20 minutes instead. Wiping it down will be easier this way.

Get a wood cleaner.

If you would rather buy a product to keep your cabinets clean, we recommend a wood cleaner that’s soap and oil-based. These cleaners are specifically formulated for wood and, thus, do the job really well.

Also, apart from knowing how to clean wood bathroom cabinets, you should also know how often you should clean them.

Ideally, you won’t need to clean the cabinets every single day with these. Regular cleaning, maybe once a week, would be enough.

The best method to clean your bathroom’s wood cabinets totally depends on the usage. If you don’t use the bathroom regularly (happens when you have multiple bathrooms at home), you can stick to cleaning once a week or so.

Bathrooms that are used every day must also be cleaned every day. Make sure you regularly check the insides and keep them clean, too. You can use the same aforementioned solutions. Under no circumstances, though, should you use strong detergents or abrasives.

What are you waiting for? Choose a method and start cleaning your cabinets!

See Also: How to Effectively Remove Mold From Your House

Author Bio:

I am Sharon. As a professional, I am a content writer. I like to write about interior design, gardening, home improvement, and all new things. I also like to share new stuff, knowledge.

The post How to Clean Wood Bathroom Cabinets: Top Tips You Can Try appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Measure Influencer Marketing Impact

The rise of social media in the last decade has altered the way we live, work, buy, and do business.

Millennials and Gen Z that have the most purchase power spend most of their time online. This is why it has become indispensable for organizations to have a robust presence on social media platforms.

Influencer marketing is a relatively new concept that has really caught on. It is perceived to be more personal as it comes from individuals whom customers trust.

Due to the massive expansion in the influencer market, authentic content created by influencers has taken the center stage.

Before diving in to understand how to measure influencer marketing impact, you must know that influencer marketing is not just about selling.

Marketing through influencers has become synonymous with creating a community of like-minded target audiences and growing it organically. That is the reason why brands commission influencers to create scalable content that has the power to spike interest among the target audience. In fact, consumers trust online influencers far more than a newspaper ad or a radio commercial.

What is Influencer Marketing?

influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a means to bridge the gap between social media users and your brand.

Influencers on social media are individuals who boast a substantial following and are considered subject-matter experts among their niche. Built on trust and face value of the influencer, this type of marketing could help you in many ways, including increased brand recognition.

You must select influencers by conducting a thorough study. Based on your end goal and budget, you may choose from various mega, macro, and micro-influencers to promote your products or services.

See Also: From Baby Bump to Social Bump: The Rise of Mom Social Media Influencers

The Impact of Influencer Marketing on Consumers

Influencer marketing may not bring immediate results, but it definitely ‘influences’ online users to subconsciously explore the product, if not buy it.

Whether you choose an established actor with a following of over 7 million or a micro-influencer with high engagement, your influencer marketing plan is bound to impact prospective customers.

Here are some of the most prominent results of influencer marketing:

Brand Exposure

Influencer marketing helps create brand awareness and exposure. This could be highly beneficial for new brands.

Perception

Marketing programs created with influencers can help create a brand image among users. For this reason, choosing influencers that speak the language of your brand is a must.

Sparks curiosity

Influencer marketers can spark interest among the target audience by just giving a sneak peek through their profiles.

Builds trust

Influencers are regarded with high respect and considered experts in their field. So, they help build trust by being a representative of the brand.

How To Measure Influencer Marketing

how to measure influencer marketing qr code

The ultimate goal of marketing is to generate sales and the same is true with influencer marketing. Setting online goals and measuring their success is naturally the first step.

What you want to do is analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) of the influencer. These KPIs could include the number of followers, reach, impressions, traffic data, etc.

But, more often than not, the real dilemma arises when you need to analyze the offline effect of an online campaign.

But there is a way around this too!

You can make a dynamic QR Code and use it to measure the offline success of a digital campaign.

How does that work?

Have influencers share coupon codes or discounts in the form of a QR Code as well.
This QR Code can be saved to Apple Wallet or as an image and then, later on, used at a store.

Once the salesperson scans this code, the sale gets attributed back to the influencer campaign.

The data gets stored in the linked program, which you could further use to analyze the overall impact generated on all offline mediums.

Influencers are here to stay. Therefore, the world of influencer marketing will keep evolving.

See Also: How To Nail Social Media and Influencer Marketing: The SME Edition

The post How to Measure Influencer Marketing Impact appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Deal with Toxic Relationships?

Dealing with toxic people can be challenging, especially when you are not even able to identify their toxicity. Instead of helping you evolve, these energy vampires bring you down and make you feel less confident in your abilities. The interesting thing is that most “victims” do not even see through what these individuals are doing.

So, they get up caught into this circle of unidentifiable pain, unable to make changes and always feeling responsible for other people’s feelings and emotions. It’s important to mention that toxic partners or friends can be highly manipulative, meaning they can affect your life in ways you might not identify as manipulation. They can play with your mind without you knowing. So, great job being here – that means you are taking the first step in the right direction.

Here are some ways in which you can deal with this toxicity.

First step: admitting it is true

deal with toxic relationships

The first thing you must do when you are in this situation is to realize the problem that you’re having.

Without admitting the cause of your pain, you will not be able to solve anything. To do this, you must accept that it affects you first. Denial is a pain in the bum, so make sure that what you are thinking of is actually true. Here are some ideas that you could work with, in case you might be in denial but might have not figured it out yet:

  • Be patient and kind with yourself – if you are not sure where you stand or if you’re experiencing denial, being patient and honest with yourself will help a lot. However, don’t be too harsh, it will only aggravate the negative feelings you might be feeling.
  • Avoid ignorance and understand how it differentiates from denial. With ignorance, you know that something is going on but choose to ignore it. With denial, on the other hand, you deny the fact that something might be going on. Make sure you have someone close to talk to about your issue.
  • Remain calm. Try to meditate, do yoga, take a walk, and think about it. Do not overthink though! Relax as much as you can.

You should not get stuck, keep on moving

Toxic people will make you feel that you cannot do better than them. You must wake up! This is not the best that you can do. Usually a great way to detect whether someone is doing this or not is to ask yourself: how many (other) friends/family members are you still engaging with? Do you contact people who used to be in your life regularly now? And if not, why so? Has this toxic person influenced you in one way or another?

Understand that this feeling might come from fear and it is usually promoted by an inferior
complex. If you think you are not good enough to accept what is best for you, you might be more inclined to search for those toxic relationships. This happens because as people, we find it challenging to get out of our comfort zones, so staying in the safe areas (engaging with people who make us feel the way WE feel about ourselves) is easier than accepting healthy people in our lives.

Make sure you do not continue this ongoing circle. Contemplate on your emotions and always ask why. What is the reason you are thinking whatever is that you are thinking? What is the reason you are engaging in the same addictive behaviors that you are engaging in? Even if questioning ourselves can be challenging, not doing it makes us ignorant. So, start questioning everything.

Take responsibility for your actions

It’s important to understand that, even if you let other people help you, they will not be able to change you. You are the only person who can do that, so start taking responsibility for your actions, emotions, and thoughts. Yes, it’s true that toxic people can easily get to you, but it would be false to say that you cannot choose the way you react. You have the freedom to do it; and that is because you create your own reality.

So, if you realize that there are some issues going on with someone in your life and would like to withdraw, start making active changes. Do not wait for someone else to intervene. There are two questions we need to ask ourselves when something affects us negatively.

  1. Do I like the situation that I am in or would I need to change it to feel better? And if I don’t like it;
  2. How can I change the situation which I find myself in?

Look for the reason

how to deal with toxic relationships

If you can understand the reason why certain things happen or why some people cross paths with you, it will be easier to understand their situations and change yours. Whenever two people meet, there is a reason for it – nothing is coincidental. Why do you attract these types of people? Are you looking for something you do not have in your own life? Often, people around us mirror what we fear the most, so ask that question as well – do you fear becoming toxic, addicted, dependent? Also, what do you think their life lesson is? Why did they have to cross paths with you? What could they learn from you?

Maintain boundaries and be specific

When you finally realize that some people are toxic for you, you will want to make changes. So, the first thing you should do is draw boundaries. Being able to communicate properly is important, so try not to make the other person feel guilty. When expressing yourself, use “I” statements – for instance, “I feel that this relationship does not bring me the benefits that I thought it would”, or “I do not feel prepared to continue seeing you”. Do not put the blame on them for how you are feeling, ever. That will make them defensive and unable to communicate with. If, however, you choose to use personal statements, they will not be able to invalidate that.

See Also: 5 Signs You Need to Start Removing Toxic People

Conclusion

Our lives are highly influenced by the people we choose to spend time with, so make sure you are choosing healthy relationships within your life. Make sure you truly connect with your peers/partner and understand that they are not your responsibility. Good luck!

Author bio
Emma Johnson is a digital marketer and a blogger at best essay writing service and professional college essay writers company. She is also perfect at writing and talking about self-improvement, social media and communication. Find Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

The post How to Deal with Toxic Relationships? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Build A Minimum Viable Product

In the era of constantly churned out applications, the only thing that can make you stand out from the crowd is a Minimum Viable Product.

An application is hardly ever a one-person job. It is a lot of people coming together and putting their heads together to create a product that will, in turn, be accepted by the market.

There is always this risk hanging on top of your head, one that implies what if your application isn’t as great as what you believe it to be. For dispelling all your doubts and reducing the risk of your investment, it is a good idea to create an MVP.

An MVP is a product that provides the basic core functionality to its users without any of the sophisticated trimmings on top.

Every big application in the market once started as an MVP. Amazon initially started as an online marketplace that only sold books. It later diversified into the e-commerce giant it is today.

At the same time during the E-revolution, there were hundreds of websites that began but then failed, never to be heard about again.

Your MVP is what creates your initial user base which can be further worked upon once you know your product is feasible enough to survive in the market.

An MVP is also important to secure funding for your project as an application requires manpower and resources, which are both next to impossible to get without adequate funding.

But there is no point in building an MVP if you’re planning to go in guns blazing. A successful MVP is a collection of right steps taken in the right direction in the absence of any kind of preconceived notions.

So here is a guide on how to build a minimum viable product.

Do Your Research

build a minimum viable product

The leading problem with most MVP is the startling lack of research. A product can be built simply by sharing the wireframes with your developer and them creating a running application.

However, just the existence of an application is not the basis of a successful application.

Research needs to be carried out. Your target audience needs to be defined and their needs understood. Your product also needs to be useful to them and add value to their life.

You also need to carry out competitor research that clearly states how you are better than what exists in the market. Even in the absence of a direct competitor, just the fact that your product is the new kid on the block will not be of much help.

Your Idea Needs Definition

It cannot be stressed enough but your product needs to add value in your customer’s lives. Your product needs to have the intention behind every aspect of its working.

Understand the functions that are part of your application’s core functionality. Don’t add features just for the sake of bulking up the application.

Decide On The Design And User Flow

building a minimum viable product

Once you have managed to figure out the ideal market, it is time that you begin to design your application.

Everything you do should be done with the user in mind. It does not matter what you think about it as long as the users are happy.

Begin with designing user flows (User Journey maps are good, too) to describe the stages of the process. That would help you chart the path that a typical user would take while completing a task on your application.

This in-depth detailing is essential as it lays out the necessary steps that are required to be taken by the user. It also allows you to improve their experience.

See Also: Integrating User Experience Design and Internet Marketing Successfully

Decide on the features

You have finally completed building your process. Now, you move on to in-depth detailing. You determine exactly what are the features that you want your application to eventually incorporate.

See the process list and then jot down the features that you believe will work with them the best. Prioritize these features next.

Once you have finished organizing the features, define their scope for the first iteration of your application. Then, you’re good to move on to the next step.

Build the MVP

Welcome to the final step of your journey, the actual iteration of your dream. Remember that your MVP is not a low-quality render of your final application. Yes, it is stripped back but by no means is it anything less than what you have decided to release in the market.

An MVP is not the end goal, a full, functioning application however is. Once you have an MVP, it is time to test it. You now need to test it with real audiences to ensure that there are no kinks in the product.

Your customer perception is the only thing that can make or break your product. It is essential that you take their views into account before figuring out whether or not your product is market-ready.

The post How To Build A Minimum Viable Product appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Plan a Simple Engagement Party On a Budget

Throwing an epic party doesn’t have to mean emptying your bank account. After all, it should be about creating lasting memories and not the amount of money you and your partner spend. To plan the most awesome engagement party on a budget, here are some tricks you might want to try.

Use Candles

budget engagement party

Candles are the tiniest and cutest decorations one can ever have! They are traditional, symbolic, and fulfilling.

Using candles instead of lanterns cuts your budget in half and still gives all the romantic feels. If you decide to use candles for the table decorations, you don’t even need to do other table decors. One or two candles and a few flowers are enough to throw super positive vibes. You can also try balloons to decorate the walls. The best part of using candles is that it pairs well with any lush arrangement.

Have an Informal Dinner

There are many people whose only concern is to have a lavish dinner at engagement parties. Well, if you want to provide that, you can do so without compromising your budget.

There are many eating options available that are delicious and cost-effective. You just need to think out of the box and try varieties.

Instead of cumbersome menus, arrange some seasonal juices, light appetizers, and moving snacks. You can also avoid serving champagne and settle with cocktails or mocktails.

If you want to get rid of the whole dinner stuff, you can arrange the party after dinner hours. After all, it’s your engagement party and not theirs. The choice should be yours.

See Also: An Easy Guide to Food And Wine Pairing

Try Local Entertainment

Try to find local artists who can perform at your engagement party. There are many talented people out there who genuinely wish to be heard. They need a platform so give them a chance.

If you want to cut your budget even more, simply share your best playlist and opt for some light music. It will give your party a personal touch and keep the mood upbeat throughout the time. You can also request some of your close friends or family members to set the pace.

Invite Wisely

Always remember that this party is just an engagement party and not your wedding. So, you don’t need to invite everyone. Keep the extra ones on the list of wedding guests.

Make your engagement exclusive for your near and dear ones. Keep it more intimate and throw a small party. This step alone can literally cut your cost a lot.

If you invite wisely, you can even spare a few more bucks for decorations, wine, and food. Don’t forget to invite fun people who judge less and dance more.

Pick an Inexpensive Place to Throw the Party

engagement party on budget

A restaurant or farmhouse is definitely one of your best choices to throw a party. But if you really want to cut the cost, then try having a cozy party in your home or backyard. This way, you can save the entire budget of the place. You don’t need to pay the rent, allowing you to utilize that amount in other activities.

These are some of the best tricks you can apply to make an engagement party on a budget possible. If you have any other ideas, you can share them here with us. Let us know and help other people plan their engagement party.

The post How to Plan a Simple Engagement Party On a Budget appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Deal With Employee Resistance During Agile Implementation

The modern workplace is a combination of people from different generations who have varying workplace ideals. Some people prefer to strongly believe that the traditional method is the best way to work. The younger generation, meanwhile, mostly believes in a flexible work environment that is more inclined towards ‘agile’.

With vast differences in the way of working between individuals, it can be a tough problem to introduce the agile way of working. Before we talk about employee resistance in the workforce to become agile, let’s see how agile benefits the organization.

How Agile Triumphs Over Traditional Way of Working

employee resistance workplace

The traditional team typically consists of a manager under whom you can see different employees with numerous roles like Java developers, analysts, testers, etc. The functioning of this traditional team will follow the hierarchical approach, where the manager sits at the center and has total control of the whole operations.

On the other hand, agile teams are self-managed, where cross-functional working among different teams is the key. Instead of a single person sitting at the top and giving out orders or supervising the work, the team players also take part equally in the decision-making process. They decide who the best fit for the role is and determine the tasks everyone needs to play.

In the end, everyone is involved in the project as a whole instead of just having a partial vision of the project from their working scope. This also improves the accountability of the team members. It will motivate them to get involved better in the project and improve their performance, as well as the project results.

The Need for a Flexible Workforce

According to the workplace trends prediction by Dan Schawbel in Forbes in 2017, he pointed out that there is going to be a high demand for a flexible work environment and that the organizations will face pressure from the young employees to embrace flexibility.
Also, he pointed out the flexibility is the top employee benefit over healthcare in the years 2015 and 2016, but only one-third of the organizations are implementing it seriously. Further, the organizations that do focus on agile systems do so to align their working to match the customer needs.

The reason for some organizations that don’t enforce an agile way of working can be due to the traditional mindset of top management. However, one of the most common reasons is the fear of resistance among employees.

Employee Resistance towards an Agile Approach

While implementing agile in a workforce, things don’t go as planned. Some may face unexpected resistance from certain sections of employees, which could affect the performance at the initial stages. There can be clashes, miscommunications, and issues between employees due to the resistance from some.

This behavior is mainly due to the employee’s misinformed notions about agile practices. The employees may have difficulty in accepting the new changes in the working systems when they don’t understand how they can be benefited from it. For some who are familiar with the same system, it can be difficult to come out from the years of familiar working methods and embrace the new system of agile.

However, such resistance from employees doesn’t mean the end of agile. With a few help from the top management, the employees can be convinced to look at all the advantages agile brings.

Here are a few ideas to overcome employee resistance and bring a coordinated agile way of working in the organization.

• Anticipate and Manage Resistance Before It Crops Up

When you break the news about the changes in working methods, you’ll have an idea of the people who will oppose them the most. There can be a few who are on the fence – not very happy about the change but open to accepting it. But the few who are steadfast against the agile implementation may easily turn those people, too.

To avoid the increased resistance, talk with the managers and identify the few people who are totally against the opposition and address the issue with them first. When you can neutralize these few instances, then you can minimize and manage the resistance from other employees easily.

• Avoid Overnight Transformation

Understandably, you want to incorporate the agile systems as soon as you can. But, asking the employees to wake up one day and suddenly start working the agile way isn’t going to work.

It is necessary to incorporate the agile processes incrementally. Start slow and ask the employees to make a few changes. Once they become familiar with it, proceed to the next level. Break down the agile implementations into different phases and gradually ease the employees into it. This will give them a practical idea of how much an agile system helps them to complete their work efficiently. It’s one way to lessen employee resistance, too.

• Be Open to Address Questions

Employees will have many questions in their minds about how this implementation could influence their work life. It is the responsibility of the organization to answer the questions in the best possible and convincing way. It is their duty to encourage more employees to be open towards agile.

You can have an open session with the employees. Let everyone have their chance to ask questions or even just to talk about how they feel. This is a crucial primary step to show the employees how much you care about them and make them understand that the first people who would benefit from the new system is them – the employees.
If you have any people in the organization who have previously worked in the agile environment, you can also encourage them to talk about its advantages and let the employees see how it can impact their work life.

• Address the Gaps in Technology

You need to provide the employees with the required technologies if you expect them to stick to agile. The agile system depends a lot on the flexibility of the employees to work from anywhere they want and includes the freelance workforce, too. When your technology doesn’t support your intentions, then the employees will crawl back to the only other working system – the traditional way.

When you have decided to implement agile, it is vital to do property research and analysis on the technologies your organization has and the additional ones it may need. You can either slowly start including some before you implement agile or break the news of agile with the good news of the beneficial technologies.

• Include Routine Checks and Weekly Assistance

employee workplace resistance

Not all employees can understand the essence of agile easily. They may get some doubts once they start working. Therefore, there should be someone in the organization they can talk to and clear their doubts.

After implementing agile, make sure to include routine checks to see if everyone is working properly. The checks should also identify employees who are struggling to change their way of working. Offer them unlimited assistance until they are entirely comfortable to work with the agile system.

There are no do-overs when it comes to agile implementation. When you do it, make sure that you are doing it right. Employee resistance is a part of any change. Making the employees see the new system’s advantages lies with the organization. If that’s done successfully, then the agile processes can revolutionize the organizational performance.

See Also: Redefining Office Culture To Boost Employee Satisfaction and Productivity

The post How to Deal With Employee Resistance During Agile Implementation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Develop Property Listings that Make Purchasers Take Action

After discovering a property representative, preparing your home for sale, and staging the house, you and your realty representative require to create remarkable real estate listing descriptions.

The initial step that 42% of purchasers require to buy a home is to look for listings online. 95% of purchasers utilize the web to eventually discover a home in their search.

You might lose these purchasers permanently if your listing pictures and story do not mesmerize home hunters browsing online. One research study revealed that listings with one image took over double the time to offer than listings with 20 pictures.

That’s why you and your realty representative need to develop the very best property listing in your location.

Here are some of the best ways to do that:

No Smart Device Pics Allowed: Your Photos Should Be Sensational

Imagine that you’re really in the market for a brand-new home. There are two homes on the very same street, comparable flooring strategy, and rate point. However, they have hugely various pictures.

According to CBS News, homes marketed with a leading quality expert listing images offer for 47% more than homes with low-quality photos. Images can likewise assist your home sell 32% faster.

Online users invest 60% of their time taking a look at the pictures on a realty listing page, and 20% on residential or commercial property information and the listing blurb. That indicates that if your images do not blow purchasers away, then there’s a likelihood they’ll never see your home.

How to Get Great Listing Photos

real estate listing description

Whatever you do, don’t take your listing pictures yourself.

Your property representative must contract out your listing images to an expert photographer who will modify and improve every photo or take the pictures themselves.

To find the right contractor for the job, you need to do your research. Inspect websites with impartial evaluations like Yelp or Angie’s List to discover leading professional photographers near you or you can just delegate the task.

Whatever is in the image ought to be brilliant and noticeable

For interior shots, you must be able to see the view out of all windows. Professional photographers can accomplish this using specific techniques.

The picture needs to make the area look big as possible

Do the images all look cropped or was a large-angle lens utilized? All photos must be shot with a large-angle lens and the space must never feel confined.

Images need to be straight

All images must be level. Your photographer can go free-hand or he can use a tripod as long as he’s able to make every shot appear straight and perfect.

The order of your listing images is crucial. You should go first with the dining space, living space, and household space. After those areas, you can cover the master bedroom and the other rooms in the house.

Another smart method to encourage a prospective purchaser to come to see your home personally is to leave “Easter eggs” or little within jokes or concealed messages of home functions in the listing description. These should not be noticeable in pictures.

Tips for Composing the Perfect Listing Description

creating real estate listing descriptions

The listing description is your only chance to discuss anything about your home that purchasers can’t see in the images. For that, you need to:

  • Utilize words most likely to appear in search engine result
  • Display high-end and brand-name functions like your Viking range
  • Point out superb features of your community
  • Promote special services

Your representative will compose the listing blurb for you. However, you can ask to see it before the listing gets released online.

How to Compose a Fascinating Listing Title

Some property representatives will publish your home on sites like Craigslist. These sites use a “list view” which suggests that you’ll require an appealing title for your listing. Many property representatives will do this for you as part of their marketing strategy. However, it never harms to come up with some recommendations.

Unlike other marketing platforms that arrange by image, a list view sorts just by the listing title. It’s less likely that potential purchasers will click through to your listing if your claim is not as good as the other titles before and after yours.

One method to do that is to use power words in your listing title. We’ll compose 2 noting titles together, one with power words and one without.

Title A: Good home for sale in SF Bay Location.

Title B: New: Zen Retreat With Sensational Views in Laurel Heights

Can you think which listing title has the power words? That’s right — Listing B is a terrific example of what your listing title should look like.

We utilized the power word “brand-new” to get the attention of the purchaser. If a listing is brand-new, it’s most likely something she hasn’t seen before. It produces a sense of seriousness.

We utilized the power word “zen” to stimulate harmony and serenity. This power word falls in the “joy” classification, which is what every potential purchaser ought to feel when she discovers an appealing brand-new listing.

We utilized the power word “sensational” to stimulate a sense of splendor and to make the purchaser wish to click through to see pictures right now. “Spectacular” falls under the “charm” classification.

How to Utilize Buzz Words in the Listing Blurb

Buzz words or power words appeal more to purchasers than other generic words like “relaxing” or “adorable” since they paint a picture of your home. Inspect out these listing descriptions from an expert real estate copywriter if you ‘d like a couple of examples of well-written listings.

If you desire your listing to stand out in search outcomes, you’ll wish to utilize local keywords.

Prevent Buzzkill Words

Throw away words like “charming” or “relaxing” and expressions like “priced to offer.” These words have ended up being white noise in property listings and do not suggest anything to potential purchasers.

Instead, be as particular as you can about your home. Even if you do have a comfortable den, consider what makes it healthy.

Do not state: The home has a relaxing den off the living room.

State: The den is the ideal area to unwind with a cup of tea as the sun shines in through brand-new Pella windows.

You also need to check the listing blurb over and over to get rid of any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Any error in spelling or grammar can suggest that the real estate representative invested little time producing the listing.

Leading representative Caponigro informed us that terms like, “this will not last” are absolute no-nos. It appears that any listing that has 100 or more market days!

Keep a careful eye on different terms like “en suite”, “wrought iron fence”, and other similar terms. They might quickly (and incorrectly) be noted as “on suite” or “rod iron fence”. These little mistakes can send out purchasers running for worry of more significant errors in your home.

Your listing should never break the Fair Real estate Act which indicates that there shouldn’t be discrimination in gender, race, background, color or specific location.

Display Community Distance

Throughout your listing blurb, you need to make it clear that your home is located in a secure area.

Walkscore is a tool you can utilize to assist in determining what hotspots are instantly available to your home. The machine has a brand-new function called “Time Travel Map” which reveals to you how far you can stroll, drive, bike or take public transit in your location within 20 minutes. It will likewise show you how walkable the place is and the popular areas close by.

Other good ideas to keep in mind are: pure beach gains access to, fast highway gain access to, charming coffeehouse, and hassle-free shopping mall near to the property.

Reference Swanky Appliances and Cool Style Characteristics

This is among the locations in your property listing where you can best assist your realty representative. Caponigro asks all of her customers to supply her with a “function sheet” that details whatever the home needs to provide.

You can produce a function sheet for your real estate representative. It may consist of details regarding restrooms and spaces, lot size, square video, and so on. You may also want to include unique functions, like a double automobile garage, white wine cellar, kitchen area island, and any upgrades you have done.

Purchasers value high-end home appliances in a house, so you need to drop high-end brand names regularly.

If you have any high-end cooking area devices, windows, lights, home security systems or heating/cooling systems, make sure to include them in the listing.

Did a well-understood designer style your home? Current upgrades are as essential to your home’s worth as they are to purchasers. Market brand-new marble or granite countertops, a rejuvenated restroom, cooking area, yard, and any other high-end touches you included.

See Also: How to Decorate Your Home

Your Remarkable Property Listing

Above all, make sure that the listing records what you enjoy most about the home. The more distinct the description is and the more eye-catching the images are, the quicker it will be for your home to sell.

See Also: A Simple Guide to Selling A House in New York State

The post How to Develop Property Listings that Make Purchasers Take Action appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Develop Property Listings that Make Purchasers Take Action

After discovering a property representative, preparing your home for sale, and staging the house, you and your realty representative require to create remarkable real estate listing descriptions.

The initial step that 42% of purchasers require to buy a home is to look for listings online. 95% of purchasers utilize the web to eventually discover a home in their search.

You might lose these purchasers permanently if your listing pictures and story do not mesmerize home hunters browsing online. One research study revealed that listings with one image took over double the time to offer than listings with 20 pictures.

That’s why you and your realty representative need to develop the very best property listing in your location.

Here are some of the best ways to do that:

No Smart Device Pics Allowed: Your Photos Should Be Sensational

Imagine that you’re really in the market for a brand-new home. There are two homes on the very same street, comparable flooring strategy, and rate point. However, they have hugely various pictures.

According to CBS News, homes marketed with a leading quality expert listing images offer for 47% more than homes with low-quality photos. Images can likewise assist your home sell 32% faster.

Online users invest 60% of their time taking a look at the pictures on a realty listing page, and 20% on residential or commercial property information and the listing blurb. That indicates that if your images do not blow purchasers away, then there’s a likelihood they’ll never see your home.

How to Get Great Listing Photos

real estate listing description

Whatever you do, don’t take your listing pictures yourself.

Your property representative must contract out your listing images to an expert photographer who will modify and improve every photo or take the pictures themselves.

To find the right contractor for the job, you need to do your research. Inspect websites with impartial evaluations like Yelp or Angie’s List to discover leading professional photographers near you or you can just delegate the task.

Whatever is in the image ought to be brilliant and noticeable

For interior shots, you must be able to see the view out of all windows. Professional photographers can accomplish this using specific techniques.

The picture needs to make the area look big as possible

Do the images all look cropped or was a large-angle lens utilized? All photos must be shot with a large-angle lens and the space must never feel confined.

Images need to be straight

All images must be level. Your photographer can go free-hand or he can use a tripod as long as he’s able to make every shot appear straight and perfect.

The order of your listing images is crucial. You should go first with the dining space, living space, and household space. After those areas, you can cover the master bedroom and the other rooms in the house.

Another smart method to encourage a prospective purchaser to come to see your home personally is to leave “Easter eggs” or little within jokes or concealed messages of home functions in the listing description. These should not be noticeable in pictures.

Tips for Composing the Perfect Listing Description

creating real estate listing descriptions

The listing description is your only chance to discuss anything about your home that purchasers can’t see in the images. For that, you need to:

  • Utilize words most likely to appear in search engine result
  • Display high-end and brand-name functions like your Viking range
  • Point out superb features of your community
  • Promote special services

Your representative will compose the listing blurb for you. However, you can ask to see it before the listing gets released online.

How to Compose a Fascinating Listing Title

Some property representatives will publish your home on sites like Craigslist. These sites use a “list view” which suggests that you’ll require an appealing title for your listing. Many property representatives will do this for you as part of their marketing strategy. However, it never harms to come up with some recommendations.

Unlike other marketing platforms that arrange by image, a list view sorts just by the listing title. It’s less likely that potential purchasers will click through to your listing if your claim is not as good as the other titles before and after yours.

One method to do that is to use power words in your listing title. We’ll compose 2 noting titles together, one with power words and one without.

Title A: Good home for sale in SF Bay Location.

Title B: New: Zen Retreat With Sensational Views in Laurel Heights

Can you think which listing title has the power words? That’s right — Listing B is a terrific example of what your listing title should look like.

We utilized the power word “brand-new” to get the attention of the purchaser. If a listing is brand-new, it’s most likely something she hasn’t seen before. It produces a sense of seriousness.

We utilized the power word “zen” to stimulate harmony and serenity. This power word falls in the “joy” classification, which is what every potential purchaser ought to feel when she discovers an appealing brand-new listing.

We utilized the power word “sensational” to stimulate a sense of splendor and to make the purchaser wish to click through to see pictures right now. “Spectacular” falls under the “charm” classification.

How to Utilize Buzz Words in the Listing Blurb

Buzz words or power words appeal more to purchasers than other generic words like “relaxing” or “adorable” since they paint a picture of your home. Inspect out these listing descriptions from an expert real estate copywriter if you ‘d like a couple of examples of well-written listings.

If you desire your listing to stand out in search outcomes, you’ll wish to utilize local keywords.

Prevent Buzzkill Words

Throw away words like “charming” or “relaxing” and expressions like “priced to offer.” These words have ended up being white noise in property listings and do not suggest anything to potential purchasers.

Instead, be as particular as you can about your home. Even if you do have a comfortable den, consider what makes it healthy.

Do not state: The home has a relaxing den off the living room.

State: The den is the ideal area to unwind with a cup of tea as the sun shines in through brand-new Pella windows.

You also need to check the listing blurb over and over to get rid of any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Any error in spelling or grammar can suggest that the real estate representative invested little time producing the listing.

Leading representative Caponigro informed us that terms like, “this will not last” are absolute no-nos. It appears that any listing that has 100 or more market days!

Keep a careful eye on different terms like “en suite”, “wrought iron fence”, and other similar terms. They might quickly (and incorrectly) be noted as “on suite” or “rod iron fence”. These little mistakes can send out purchasers running for worry of more significant errors in your home.

Your listing should never break the Fair Real estate Act which indicates that there shouldn’t be discrimination in gender, race, background, color or specific location.

Display Community Distance

Throughout your listing blurb, you need to make it clear that your home is located in a secure area.

Walkscore is a tool you can utilize to assist in determining what hotspots are instantly available to your home. The machine has a brand-new function called “Time Travel Map” which reveals to you how far you can stroll, drive, bike or take public transit in your location within 20 minutes. It will likewise show you how walkable the place is and the popular areas close by.

Other good ideas to keep in mind are: pure beach gains access to, fast highway gain access to, charming coffeehouse, and hassle-free shopping mall near to the property.

Reference Swanky Appliances and Cool Style Characteristics

This is among the locations in your property listing where you can best assist your realty representative. Caponigro asks all of her customers to supply her with a “function sheet” that details whatever the home needs to provide.

You can produce a function sheet for your real estate representative. It may consist of details regarding restrooms and spaces, lot size, square video, and so on. You may also want to include unique functions, like a double automobile garage, white wine cellar, kitchen area island, and any upgrades you have done.

Purchasers value high-end home appliances in a house, so you need to drop high-end brand names regularly.

If you have any high-end cooking area devices, windows, lights, home security systems or heating/cooling systems, make sure to include them in the listing.

Did a well-understood designer style your home? Current upgrades are as essential to your home’s worth as they are to purchasers. Market brand-new marble or granite countertops, a rejuvenated restroom, cooking area, yard, and any other high-end touches you included.

See Also: How to Decorate Your Home

Your Remarkable Property Listing

Above all, make sure that the listing records what you enjoy most about the home. The more distinct the description is and the more eye-catching the images are, the quicker it will be for your home to sell.

See Also: A Simple Guide to Selling A House in New York State

The post How to Develop Property Listings that Make Purchasers Take Action appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Increase Productivity by Switching Off and Getting Cozy

The working world is in a constant state of flux. We have come a really long way in the last 150 years or so in terms of employment law and workers’ rights. In the grand scale of human history, we’ve barely stopped sending our children to work in factories. The 40-hour week was only adopted in the USA in 1940. Despite all this progress, why are so many people feeling burned out?

As quickly as we industrialized, we’ve digitized. We no longer work menial jobs en masse. Over 80% of Americans work at a desk, sitting down in air-conditioned buildings. Despite that, there’s still an underlying feeling of exhaustion, sadness, and a lack of work-life balance.

Technology is a double-edged sword

Computers and the internet were instrumental in securing a 40-hour week as they reduced the time it took us to do our work. 60 hours of work can now be easily done in 40 with computers. At the same time, the omnipresent tentacles of technology means that it’s harder than ever to switch off.

Being successful in your career and working hard is a virtue. But you can increase your output and your health by learning how to switch off from work properly and creating a safe retreat for yourself.

The concept of switching off is quite ingrained in some cultures, while others still promote the idea of constant work. Some people are suited to that always-on, always-working lifestyle, but for most of us, this is a fast track to burnout.

Setting Up Your Home for Success

switch off from work

To be more successful in our lives, it’s easy for us to look at productivity gurus and sleep-hacking entrepreneurs for answers. But for a great deal of the workforce, what works for these people won’t work for us. Perhaps the most important place to start is at home, because a cozy home has associated health benefits.

Unless you’re in a senior management position and above, you’re unlikely to have much say over how your office is set up. You can make suggestions, but there’s no guarantee these will be obliged. For example, lots of office workers want more ’breakout’ spaces, informal work areas, and access to green space whether that’s just a view of a park from the window or an actual place where they can take a time out and regroup.

You can make changes at home to foster a sense of belonging, calm, and restoration. You need a space to return to that is entirely separate from work.

If there are any similarities between the two places, it becomes harder to disassociate the two. We’re not talking exclusively about the interior design as it’s unlikely your home’s interior looks anything like your office. Rather, it’s how you spend your time at home and steps you can take to create a greater sense of peace.

So, How to Switch Off From Work?

The first thing you can do is to stop checking work emails outside of work. Technology has created this ‘always-on’ work culture. There are some roles where you do have to be accessible at all times, but for most roles, you shouldn’t be expected to be always on.

A good way of doing this is not linking your phone to work emails. You can only look at them when you’re at your desk. Leave the work emails at work because your personal time is your personal time. You’re not receiving extra salary to check those emails and reply to them outside of work.

This isn’t possible for everyone though. We can easily feel pressured to be available outside of work. So what else can we do?

Other countries have downtime ingrained into their cultural fabric. Let’s discuss a few examples.

Everyone knows the Danish art of ‘hygge’ now. A word to describe a unique cozy and special moment. This can be something as simple as having an open fire going, putting on your favorite pair of thick socks or playing a board game with loved ones.

The Spanish have something called ‘sobremesa’. This refers to being at the dinner table, having finished your meals, just sitting and chatting with your family and friends. Spaniards have perfected this art. This social behavior is key to their national identity with Spanish diners often talking into the early hours of the morning. The key thing here is family time.

‘Tech Sabbaths’ are being advocated by the Jewish faith and more, where all screens and tech are put away for 24 hours a week. The Japanese have an expression that translates to “too little tea,” referring to someone too busy to stop and drink a cup of tea now and then. In Croatia, they have a word — “fjaka” — which refers to the joy of doing absolutely nothing.

Some things you can do to embrace these qualities is setting some time aside to have a hot drink in the evening, without your phone or a screen. Just take 10 to 20 minutes to sit and enjoy your drink.

Candles and open fires, these foster a sense of relaxation. If you work at a computer all day, read a book in the evening. Staring at screens isn’t good for our health.

See Also: How Your Home Affects Your Mood (And What To Do About It)

How To Make Your House a Home

to switch off from work

What you do in your downtime is one thing, but the settings you do it in is another. Here’s how you can make your house feel like more of a retreat:

  • Personalize – Make your house feel like a space that’s catered to you. Lots of modern design trends have created these minimal spaces that don’t have an identity, like your home has been copied and pasted from Pinterest. Put your stamp on your space with treasured pictures, memories, and things that reflect your values and your personality. It gives more a sense of ownership and strengthens your sense of personal identity. Being in touch with yourself can improve your mental health.
  • Declutter – Organizing our homes is one of the most tangible steps you can take to decluttering your mind. It’s so easy to put off but every time we do it, we feel so much better. The Marie Kondo effect has seen people embrace a decluttered life. Let go of things you don’t need. Let go of things that serve your home no purpose. This brand of minimalism isn’t about living by your bootstraps, but only bringing things into your home that add value to your life.
  • Snuggle – Make your home a retreat. Comfort is key to this. Get candles and warm lighting to create ambiance. Pillows, blankets, slippers and warm, comfy clothes to wear create this stark difference to the office that we mentioned earlier. You want work to feel like the furthest place in the world when you get home. This helps you to switch off and reclaim some work-life balance.

See Also: 5 Features to Achieve a Peaceful Home

These are just some things you can do to reclaim your time and add value to it. This isn’t about shying away from duties and work. This isn’t about rejecting the working world, either. This is how to switch off from work so you can make yourself a better and more valuable worker.

A happy employee is a productive employee. Taking yourself as far away from the working world as possible, outside of office hours, is a way of making yourself more productive, more personable, and more satisfied during office hours.

The post How to Increase Productivity by Switching Off and Getting Cozy appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Identify A Narcissist At Work: Nailing Down The Key Factors

Crossing paths with a narcissist is not rare. In the USA alone, 6% of the general population has been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. That is not a small number. Now apply the same number to the estimated population of the world and you have 450,000,000 people having the disorder.

So, tell me, how common would it be to encounter a narcissistic coworker? Quite common, no?

Dealing with a narcissistic individual at work can be mentally taxing. It will begin to take a toll on you alone since the mental condition of the narcissist will never waver.

However, knowing who the narcissist is at your workplace involves a lot more than your gut feeling and the uneasiness you feel when being around them. Since identifying a narcissistic coworker can be a real ordeal, here are some signs you can look out for.

They are control freaks

Pathological narcissists crave control. They would never let go of a situation where their ‘leadership’ tendencies are compromised. Such individuals are prone to controlling and leading operations, especially when they know they will be in the spotlight.

And no, it is not always your manager. Hunting for a narcissist using this trait can be confusing. However, know that there is a difference between leading and dominating. Once you know how to differentiate between the two, you will know who is a narcissist and who isn’t.

They love to blame

the narcissistic coworker

They are never wrong. When narcissists are called out for their noxious attitude, they tend to shift the blame to the offending party.

To them, life works like the UNO reverse card. Whenever they are stuck facing a situation where they have to face criticism, they start playing the blame game. They would come up with the most ridiculous of excuses to prove they aren’t wrong.

If a co-worker gives them negative feedback or criticizes them, they believe they are entitled to lash out and blame them for feedback, not themselves. That’s because they can never be held accountable for their actions.

Toxicity surrounds them

Passing judgmental remarks, throwing tantrums, and ridiculing others in the workplace — for what? Only to hide their measly self-conscious selves. But they don’t showcase what lies at their core.

They indulge in criticism and personal attacks to hide their own insecurities. It only creates a toxic environment for the entire workplace.

If you see a narcissistic co-worker trying to put you down and shoving their ego in your face, you should not give in but stand strong against their toxic nature. The moment you give in to their emotional attacks and threats, you will forever stay a victim of their abuse.

See Also: 5 Really Useful Tips For Dealing With Toxic Bosses At Work

They exploit and take advantage of you

It is common for a child to toss away the toys he gets bored of. But for a grown-up working in a prestige organization to do the same? How would it feel?

Well, narcissists will only approach and befriend you if they seek some sort of benefit from you. Soon, they will set you aside or just walk over your good deeds. They only ask for help because they have an ulterior motive.

Once you are of no use to them, you will be treated like a nobody despite your help and care for them. Narcissists never feel guilty to behave as they do and there is no possibility for them to feel bad about it.

The world revolves around them

a narcissistic coworker

It’s all about them. The pleasure of narcissistic people lie in their need to enjoy talking only about themselves. That satiates their narcissistic tendencies. Your opinions and contribution at work won’t matter.

Bombarding others with their achievements and disregarding what others have to share is a common trait as well. If you think your coworker is not giving you enough space and suffocates you during meetings, then you are likely working with a narcissistic coworker.

When they feel someone is more vocal and interesting than they are, they will sever ties immediately. Only they are meant to be in the spotlight and nobody else matters.

Do these red flags ring a bell and seem a lot similar to your situation at work? Now that you are well aware of their narcissistic traits, you will know how to ignore them and pave a separate path. Always remember, never feed a narcissist’s ego.

The post How To Identify A Narcissist At Work: Nailing Down The Key Factors appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Find the Best Nail Shape for You: A Quick Guide

Playing with different kinds of nail colors is fun and relaxing. But when it comes to truly making your hands beautiful, it’s not all about the color or finish of your manicure. To have beautiful nails, don’t just look at your polish. You also have to know how to find the best nail shape for you.

Each hand, finger, and nail shape is different, and we are all born with various features. However, with the right nail shape, short fingers can look longer and hands can look daintier, edgier or more sophisticated to go with a particular look.

Get the right shape that accentuates those beautiful hands with these tips on how to find the best nail shape for you:

  • Round

round nail shape

This type is the simplest and most natural look that you can do for your nails. It is effortless to maintain, especially if you have time growing your nails.

To achieve this look, simply cut your nails to create an arc similar to the arch of your cuticles. Then, file off any of the rough edges.

A round nail is best when you are after strong nails. If you have visually long nails even after cutting, this makes your hands look very feminine and beautiful. Gel manicure would look lovely over it.

  • Oval

oval nail shape

This shape is quite difficult to execute. The form should be symmetrical, and the point is a little between oval and almond. If you file it too much, you could end up getting either one so it would take time to file your nails to get the perfect shape. It’s perfect for people with long fingernails who want a beautiful, sophisticated look because it creates a more feminine vibe.

  • Almond

almond nail shape

Almond shape looks lovely on glamorous, eye-catching events. It looks a little like an oval, but it is more tapered on the sides to shape more like an almond. To make it noticeable, you have to have longer nails.

To get the perfect shape, make sure to ask your nail salon to do it for you. It is one of the most playful designs you can get because it works for medium length nails. When you get tired, you can turn it into a squoval – a square or even an oval shape.

  • Square

square nail shape

Square nails are the easiest to make. To achieve this look, just file your nails down and make sure that ends become perpendicular to the nail. It is one of the most versatile looks because it works for either short or long nails.

However, if you already have short nails, the square may make your nails look even shorter. If that’s the case, go for an oval, round or squoval to make the shortness look less noticeable.

  • Squoval

squoval nail shape

It seems the most natural because most people are already born with this kind of nail shape. That’s why it is suitable for both long and short nails.

For the nails you currently have now, you only need to file a little bit to get the perfect squoval shape and you’re good to go. If you want the square look but hate how sharp it is around the edges, this would work best for you.

  • Ballerina

ballerina nail shape

As the name suggests, the ballerina is a nail shaped like a ballerina’s pointed shoes. It is a longer version of a square, but it is a little more convex with a straight tip. It is slightly tapered like the oval. Instead of an arc, the tip is flat.

The ballerina works best for people who love growing their nails long or for people who love going to nail salons. It’s ideal for people who love putting on gel manicures or acrylics to achieve a longer nail and avoid damage to the natural nail.

  • Stiletto

stilleto nail shape
Via Pinterest

Stiletto nail design looks intimidating and deadly. Both sides are tapered to create a pointy end. It’s very dramatic, edgy, and can be best left in the hands of professional nail salons.

For this, you need the help of nail extensions or gel overlays to create the look. Your nail techs will shape and design your overlays to create the pointed tip for each nail. It also works best for gel manicure because the polish makes the design look more prominent.

  • Lipstick

lipstick nail shape
Via Pinterest

Going for an out of the box look for special avant-garde events? Choose the lipstick.

The lipstick is like a simple square nail but only longer and asymmetrical, meaning it is just tapered at one side of the nail. It creates an uneven look that is too risky, eye-catching, and highly unusual. It works best for an equally experimental or innovative fashion style.

There are plenty of options for you to choose from, but what would be best would totally be up to you. This guide on how to find the best nail shape for you is just here to help you out.

If you want feminine looks, you can make your hand look dainty and slender by choosing rounder nails shapes like round, oval, almond or squoval. If you want strong, intimidating nails, you can choose between the square, ballerina and stiletto.

See Also: How to Remove Acrylic Nails

The post How to Find the Best Nail Shape for You: A Quick Guide appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Accept Other People’s Differences

Everyone is different and we tend to accept that. However, actually dealing with those differences can be difficult, especially when they inconvenience us. Some might argue that we don’t have to accept or tolerate other people’s differences. But, is it even possible to control, unify, and standardize everyone?

The answer, of course, is no.

It’s impossible to unite everyone. Whether we are talking about religion, personality or pizza topping preferences, people are always going to be different. Chances are that not accepting those differences will make your life a bitter and discontented one. Accepting others for who they are, however, may give you new insights and make your life more fulfilling.

In this article, we’ll take a look at individual differences and how to accept them.

The paradox of individuality and acceptance

Slogans celebrating individuality and differences are everywhere, from A. A. Milne’s quote “The things that make me different are the things that make me” to the general advice to “be you!”.

While a lot of people try their hardest to fit in with the crowd, we are also quick to point out the things that make us unique and special (even when they don’t). Whether it’s liking an obscure band or being outspoken, we often like to think that it’s something unique to us. And it’s no surprise we think like that when individuality and being different is valued in our society, at least on the surface.

But those same characteristics we prize in ourselves can be something we despise, mock or judge in others. When someone likes an obscure band, we may think of them as a poser. When someone’s outspoken, we may find them rude. This, too, is natural.

While individuality is often prized, humans are still social beings who like to feel connected and included. And one of the easiest ways to feel close to someone is to create a common enemy.

Judging a trait in someone else while thinking it makes us special doesn’t necessarily make us hypocrites. Of course, it’s not nice. People may be right to call you out on your double standards.

But in the end, it’s just another type of the self-serving bias. Some psychologists define it as any cognitive bias that maintains and boosts our self-esteem. By branding something “good” in ourselves but “bad” in others, we are able to maintain a positive self-image. And there’s a reason why so much of self-help literature is about raising self-esteem.

Why is it hard to accept differences?

accepting others

If individuality is valued, why is it so hard to accept that people are different? Thinking that we are always in the right and others are in the wrong to maintain our self-esteem is only a part of it.

Another reason may have something to do with the need for control in our lives. As psychologist Lauren Leotti and colleagues write in their paper about control: “…the perception of control is not only desirable, but it is likely a psychological and biological necessity.”

Human beings, especially those who differ from us, are unpredictable and hard to control. And so, our need to control our environment – which includes other people – may make it hard for us to accept people who don’t behave in the way we want them to.

Of course, our prejudices also play an important part. Many people like to think that they are free of prejudices or that their prejudices are justified. But even when our prejudices are based on some first-hand experiences, they aren’t necessarily true and they stop us from accepting other people.

For example, I may think that all blondes are stupid airheads who are only interested in fashion and looks because all the blondes I’ve met are just that. When I meet a blonde who is still interested in fashion and beauty but also excels academically, I will have trouble accepting them because of my prejudice.

Often, our prejudices aren’t even based on first-hand experiences but are passed on to us by our family or society.

The thing is, that on the most basic level, prejudices and stereotypes are simply mental categories. As psychologist Gordon Allport writes in this book The Nature of Prejudice:

“The human mind must think with the aid of categories… Once formed, categories are the basis for normal prejudgment. We cannot possibly avoid this process. Orderly living depends upon it.”

That’s what makes getting rid of prejudices and accepting differences so hard. Those categories and patterns are often so ingrained in our thinking that it takes a lot of conscious effort to change them, even when we gain experiences that dispute our prejudices.

Why should you accept others’ differences?

If prejudices are so natural, why should we go out of our way to accept people’s differences? There are many reasons, but some of the more prevalent ones boil down to a simple fact.

Our societies are getting more multicultural and diverse. It’s always the individual that has to adapt to the changing surroundings, not the other way around. Carrying around the burden of prejudices and trying to bend people to your will in a diverse world can be exhausting and frustrating while learning to accept differences can broaden your horizons and bring you new friends.

At work, I occasionally clash with my colleagues. While I tend to take a softer, more lenient approach to both counseling and teaching, some of the teachers are strict and unyielding. While I rely on videos and 3D models to explain psychological concepts, some of my colleagues are firm believers in pens and papers and long-form note-taking.

And that’s fine because neither of us is right or wrong. While some students prefer my approach, others find strict rules more helpful. A diverse staff means that every student can find someone who they “click with”.

Our world is constantly evolving and our mental patterns can – and should – evolve with it.

How to start accepting others for who they are?

accepting others who they are

So, how do you go about accepting the fact that your roommate likes rock while you enjoy rap and other individual differences?

Here are five simple tips to practice tolerance and acceptance:

Check your prejudices

While becoming aware of them won’t erase them immediately, realizing where your prejudices lie is the first step to combating them.

Remember, while prejudices are almost always negative, stereotypes can be both positive and negative. But even positive stereotypes can be harmful. For instance, thinking that all Asian people are smart or that all women are nurturing may sound like a compliment, but it erases the individual differences inside those groups.

So when you find yourself judging someone, check why you’re judging them.

See Also: Breaking The Cycle of Confirmation Bias

Focus on the person, not the description

While descriptive characteristics are useful for describing people, they can never provide the full picture.

People are greater than the sum of their parts. For example, someone can be a teen girl who likes Euphoria and TikTok, but that’s definitely not all she is. Try to look past the descriptives and focus on the individual.

Give up the (need for) control

The only person who you can change and control is yourself. Remember that next time when you feel frustrated because of someone’s behavior or opinions.

This doesn’t mean that you should accept any and all behaviors, even when they are causing you discomfort. Politely pointing out unacceptable behavior is always encouraged, but take a moment to consider why you find the behavior unacceptable.

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

Often, our inability to accept someone’s differences comes from our inability to understand it. But what if you tried to put yourself in someone else’s place and understand what makes them tick?

Chances are that if you approach others with empathy, you’ll also find it easier to accept them.

Don’t knock it until you try it

Some time ago, a friend tried to get me to go to the gym with him to try weightlifting. I resisted, because “weights aren’t my thing”. I also didn’t understand what he could possibly see in lifting a barbell and setting it down again several times in a row.

Eventually, I gave in and went along. My first foray into the weight room wasn’t a success, but after a couple of times, I could finally see the appeal.

Try out other people’s hobbies to understand why they like them. Or at least, don’t knock it until you try it.

Wrapping up

Individuality is often valued, but at the same time, we find it hard to accept that people are different. It’s natural to be wary of differences, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to combat our prejudices, especially in the diverse world of today. It takes a little work, but with some simple tips, you can learn to be more accepting of differences.

The post How To Accept Other People’s Differences appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Steps to Keep Your Home Warm When the Weather Outside Is Frightful

When temperatures fall below freezing and everything is covered in ice, nothing compares to warming up in the comfort of your own home. However, keeping your home warm can be a little trickier this year as forecasters with the 2020 “Farmers’ Almanac” are predicting a particularly harsh winter.

Dubbed a “Polar Coaster”, it’s expected to bring fluctuating temperatures and frequent blasts of ice, sleet, and snow. Plus, the harshest winter weather could arrive earlier than normal.

Start keeping your home warm by taking these steps throughout the fall:

Plug up any air leaks

Air leaks in caulk or weather stripping allow frigid air to enter your house and warm air to leak out. You can save between 5% and 10% on your energy bill by simply plugging these leaks.

While the weather is still warm, check your weather stripping by closing doors and windows onto a sheet of paper. The stripping needs replacement if it slides easily around the paper. Find other air leaks in the home by holding a lit candle around doors, window frames, and wire holes. A flickering flame means you need to insulate the area.

For more high-tech, accurate results, consider using an air leak detector. Once the device is turned on, point it toward the locations where leaks are suspected. A light emanating from the device will scan the area.

If a leak exists, it’ll turn blue if the air is cold and red if the air is warm. If no leaks are detected, the light won’t change colors at all.

Insulate anything and everything

People often avoid insulating their homes because they imagine wrestling with huge pieces of itchy, pink material. Fortunately, insulation has gotten a lot easier to work with. It’s still just as crucial for keeping your home comfortable and efficient.

Look for areas without adequate insulation, starting with the attic, garage, and any unfinished spaces. Use cellulose and spray in those areas. They provide a superior thermal barrier between your home and the worst winter weather.

See Also: 5 Ways to Become More Energy Efficient with Your Heating System

Show some love to your furnace

A pleasant home requires a fully functioning furnace. Before you have to rely on it daily, a certified HVAC technician should inspect the furnace and give it a tuneup. This affordable service helps avoid breakdowns, improves energy efficiency, and fulfills the requirements of the warranty.

If the furnace is past its prime, have a replacement installed immediately. You want everything to be up and running before the first cold night of the year.

Give the roof a close inspection

inspecting roof

Heat travels upward and if your roof is full of holes, it’s allowing valuable heated air to drift outside. Inspect every inch of the roof for gaps, cracks and leaks, particularly around vents, chimneys, and valleys. Looking for missing, curled or damaged shingles is also important. Unused antennas or satellite dishes can damage your roof in a strong storm, so consider removing them while you’re already up there.

See Also: Roofing Inspection Checklist for Homeowners

Get serious about gutters

Gutters divert water away from your foundation which is just as important in the winter when you face melting snowfall and freezing water expansion. Take action before the leaves start to fall.

Clean the gutters thoroughly. Then, consider installing mesh guards to keep the next round of leaves out. Inspect the downspouts and install extenders as needed. If anything is seriously damaged, replace it in the fall when the work is easy to do.

Prepare your whole lawn

Unfortunately, landscaping doesn’t stop when the summer ends. Even when the grass stops growing taller, the roots are still growing deeper, making fall the ideal time to fertilize. Even more importantly, overgrown trees can be a serious liability in the winter if limbs fall into power lines and leave your furnace disabled. Hire an arborist to preemptively remove anything that could put your power at risk.

Don’t forget to decorate

keep your home warm

A “warm” home is just as much about the atmosphere as the temperature. Even if we have an early, aggressive winter, the season is peppered with exciting holidays, starting with Halloween and carrying all the way through Super Bowl Sunday. If you feel inclined, decorate inside and out. It won’t necessarily keep the cold air out, but it will help turn your home into an inviting place for family and friends to gather.

The post 7 Steps to Keep Your Home Warm When the Weather Outside Is Frightful appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

14 Tips on How to Live A More Active Lifestyle

Most of us know how important exercise is when it comes to staying fit and healthy. Despite that, however, not all of us are moving as much as we’re supposed to.

Even when I have been motivated to get a gym membership and start exercising, it only lasts for a few months. At the first sign of stress and deadlines at work, the gym routine gets kicked off the list.

So, here are a few tricks on how to live a more active lifestyle:

Park far away

Get into the habit of parking a block away or parking at the farthest parking spot. If you are grocery shopping, park in the store’s lot but choose the back row. Clearly, you wouldn’t want to be caught pushing a shopping cart down the street trying to get to your car.

Take the stairs instead of elevators

If it is one or two floors, always take the stairs. If you need to go up or down several floors, then take the stairs to two floors above or below and then take the elevator. As you get used to it, increase the number of floors you use the stairs for. If you park in a level parking lot, always park in one of the higher levels and walk down.

If possible, walk or bike to work

This is not possible for everyone, but if you live in a place where the pollution is less and your workplace is relatively close by, then choose to walk or bike instead of driving.

Skip the stop

If your city has a subway or bus system, skip your stop and get off at the one after (or before) and then walk from there. You’ll get to enjoy the air and neighborhood a little while increasing your heart rate.

Maximize the benefits from your grocery trip

When you go to the grocery store, make it a habit to walk the entire store. Go through every aisle and every nook and corner. Avoid the aisles that could tempt you to pick up junk food though, since that can completely obliterate any benefits of walking a few extra steps!

Take a short walk-break at work

Again, this one depends on your work location, but ours is located outside the city and is on large private grounds. Every afternoon a couple of us go for a short walk which takes roughly 15-20 minutes. It is very invigorating and a nice break from the afternoon routine.

Do your own yard work

This is a good one for summer time when the lawn starts to grow and you need to keep it trimmed. Instead of hiring someone to do it for you, do it yourself. You will not only get some exercise, but save some money, too!

Play with your kids

Kids these days seem to play more video games than outdoor games like we did when we were younger. So, take your kids out to the park and throw the ball around or play tag.

Put on your favorite music and dance

This is not only exercise, but also a great way to unwind at the end of a busy day. And a good trip down the memory lane for those of us who have not done it in a long time!

While watching TV, pace or stretch

Instead of switching channels during the ad break, get up and walk around the house. Do some lunges or some simple stretching exercises. If you have stairs in your house, walk up and down the stairs a few times during each ad break for at least one show every day.

Choose to walk down instead of call or email

When you have a question for a colleague, instead of picking up the phone or shooting an email, walk over to their cube. This will not only provide some exercise but a short break for a quick recharge.

Walk while you talk on the phone

If your job involves talking on the phone a lot, then instead of doing this sitting at your desk, get into the habit of pacing while you talk. Motion creates emotion so you may even become a better speaker by doing this.

Choose active entertainment over passive entertainment

Instead of going for a movie, choose to go play tennis with some friends (or at least bowling). Instead of playing regular video games, play with a Wii. And instead of meeting friends for a cup of coffee, catch up over a sunset walk.

Choose active vacations

walking exercise

When planning vacations, pick something that involves some walking and hiking. While taking in a new city, do it by walk, instead of driving around. If golfing, skip the cart. If staying at a resort, make use of their pool and the exercise facility. Try skiing and white water rafting.

See Also: 5 Tips On Staying Healthy On Your Next Vacation

While none of these will make an immediate difference in your life style, over a period of time, they will get you into the habit of choosing an active alternative to the every day things you do. In the long run, that can set the stage for an even more active life style.

Written by isbf, the author of of Grad Money Matters

The post 14 Tips on How to Live A More Active Lifestyle appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Prepare for An Office Move: Top Tips You Should Know

Moving premises is an issue that’s likely to come up for most business owners at some point. Although it can be stressful, it’s not something you need to be afraid of.

If you’re moving offices, this is normally something to celebrate. It’s a sign of growth, expansion, and being on a positive path. This is particularly true if you have to move offices to accommodate more staff and clients. An office move makes sense financially and logistically, too.

To help business owners who are experiencing an imminent move, WD Storage made this really helpful infographic on how and when to move offices smoothly. They’ve included some statistics you’ve probably never seen before and offer up some pearls of office relocation wisdom that you may not have considered previously.

There’s one serious downside to moving offices that can’t be ignored, and that’s the stress of it all. It’s likely to have a very detrimental effect on the workload and stress levels of pretty much everyone in the office. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize this stress and make the move happy and prosperous for your business and staff.

When Should You Move Office?

office move

You may toy with the idea of moving offices at various points, but not actually explore it in detail. So, when do you give that idea a serious thought?

  • At the end of your lease
  • When you have available budget to cover all the costs
  • When your business is in a good financial situation
  • At the quietest time of the year for you
  • When you’re expecting to reach or go over your workplace capacity in the next five years

If you’re able to combine several or even all these elements into your moving plan, things will definitely be easier for you. If there are big projects or busy times on the horizon, it may not be the best time to move. Also, be confident that your business is financially sound enough to absorb the cost (the average UK cost of an office move is £40k!).

Don’t just include quoted costs in your planning. Have budget set aside for any unexpected costs, too.

How to Choose a New Office

Moving to a new office will require you to consider and make allowances for a lot of moving parts. The first thing you should do is communicate the plan with your staff as early and as comprehensively as possible. If people know about it early, they can get used to the idea of change and figure out whether they’re going to come along for the ride.

Another thing you have to consider is your current staff. Communicating with your team will give you some idea on areas where people won’t follow you. It will also help you to understand what your team wants from the new office.

Surveys have found that 45% of employees want green space at their place of work, even if it’s just to look at from their window. 40% felt like there weren’t enough informal ‘breakout’ areas in their office. 51% want a place where they can get away from their desk.

Ask your staff what they want from the new office. You will never, ever be able to please everybody. Some people won’t be happy with the move (generally a minority) but mostly, people will be excited for a change. It’s your job to make sure they’re excited about it. It’s also up to you to figure out what to prioritize.

When it comes to size, you should have around 95 square feet for each person. Think ahead about whether your office is future-proofed as well.

Can you see yourself employing more staff in the future? Will your new office have space to accommodate new hires/products/equipment?

Physical location is important, too. If your new office more than doubles everyone’s commute, for example, or is impossible to reach by public transport, you may lose staff in the process. While more remote offices tend to be cheaper, you could pay a price in struggling to attract people to work there.

Think about your clients, too. Will a remote location be conducive to attracting new clients? And if the only way to get to you is to drive, is there enough parking for both staff and clients?

Consider local amenities. Are there places to eat nearby? A shop? A gym? A park?

There are ways in which you don’t have to move to a new office that’s super high-spec to gain some pretty amazing perks. Simply move to an area which has better amenities.

Having restaurants nearby is great for client relationships and your staff. A nearby gym can promote and facilitate a healthy lifestyle. Nearby parks, greens or commons give your staff a place to go to and stroll around. These places will allow them to stretch their legs and clear their mind, fostering a more peaceful and productive work environment.

And of course, make sure your office is accessible. If you have staff with disabilities or who are in advanced age, that is essential. If not, you should still do so anyway. Prospective clients and staff may have those needs. Be thankful that you don’t and provide for those who do.

How to Prepare for An Office Move

prepare for an office move

As mentioned previously, no matter the circumstances, moving offices is going to get stressful for lots of people. 31% of business owners said that moving premises is the most stressful thing they could undertake.

Here are some tips you can take to reduce that stress to a minimum:

Delegate

Don’t take on the workload yourself. The amount of planning, administration, and work that needs to be done is too big for one pair of hands. Designate a project team made up of various highly organised members and let them handle the different aspects of the move.

Let the creative types handle the new office design. Allow the most analytical to handle all the processes.

Do you have an office or facilities manager? This is a great task for them. As your office manager, they’re going to need to have a deep and thorough understanding of the new premises.

You have a team of paid staff. Why not use them?

Delegation will make things easier. It gives more people ownership in the move, making them more enthusiastic and invested in it.

Planning

If you plan everything absolutely meticulously, then you’re giving yourself the best chance of relocation success. There is no such things as over-planning with this. The more rigorous you are in your planning, the more impervious to unexpected bumps in the road you will be.

Planning well will minimize any unexpected tragedies, anyway. From the timescale to where the new furniture is going, get everything planned and visualized.

Budgeting

Decide on and manage a budget for the move. This is going to be a hard thing to do but bear in mind that the average office move costs around £40,000. This should come under your planning, but you’ll need to create a mighty spreadsheet or equivalent for this.

Set yourself a budget target and track how you actually get on with it. That way, you can see how close you are to your budget in real time.

Auditing

An office move is a really good time to review and audit your business in terms of supplies, furniture, and equipment.

Is it worth lugging all those old PCs and musty chairs into your spangly new office? Or is time to invest in something new?

You can also use this time to think about your suppliers in terms of equipment and your utilities.

Communication

We’ve already advised it, but communication at all stages of the move is super important. From your staff to clients to suppliers, let everyone that needs to know what your plans are.

Most importantly, you need to be communicative with your staff. Listen to their wants and needs with regards the move and do your best to try and meet those. You won’t please everybody, but you can give it a good go!

If you’re thinking about an office move for your business, then congratulations! That means things are probably going well. And while moving will be stressful, it is possible to mitigate the stress with plenty of communication, careful organization, and stringent planning. Good luck!

See Also: How to Keep Business Data Secure When Transitioning to a New Office?

The post How to Prepare for An Office Move: Top Tips You Should Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Nail Social Media and Influencer Marketing: The SME Edition

I bet you’ve already read about social media and influencer marketing a lot. I bet you’ve already tried techniques that didn’t break the bank but didn’t excite you, either. And I bet you’ve already browsed the internet for answers on how to improve your marketing efforts.

The truth is that social media marketing and influencer marketing are two branches where something can go wrong pretty easily. However, this doesn’t mean it’s difficult to make it nor does it mean that you’ll need to pay a hefty amount of money to lead users further down your sales funnel.

sales funnel
Source: https://www.finteza.com/en/marketing-resources/13-conversion-funnels-must-have-marketing-tool

As you can see, not even 5% of the top of your funnel converts fully. We’re here to make sure that you won’t fall into any traps without having to pay a hefty amount of money for it.

Determine the platform and the target audience first

social media platform

You can’t know what you need to do later if you haven’t decided on who your target audience is first. Your target audience consists of those who will think that your brand is useful and will be positive when it comes to purchasing something.

After determining that, you’ll need to think about the platform they’re using. For example, you’ll need to develop a great Snapchat game if you want Gen Z’ers to notice you. For Baby Boomers, you’ll need a great Pinterest plan.

Two things are for sure though:

  • You’ll need a solid plan when it comes to Facebook and Instagram, regardless.
  • You’ll need a great email marketing and automation tool

The first one, because Facebook and Instagram are the most influential social media platforms and most people check a business online before trusting it.

business graph
Source: https://irishtechnews.ie/sme-utilize-social-media-marketing/

The second one, because email marketing and automation is the most affordable channel with a crazy-high ROI.

What are your goals?

Do you need more leads? Do you need to nurture the already existing leads? What are you after?

If you can’t determine that, you can’t have a strategy. Study all the data you gathered when you went through with step one. This will give you more clarity and insight when it comes to actually understanding the core values of your business, but from a client’s perspective.

Determining clear and achievable goals is what will give you better leverage to pretty much everything, from designing a newsletter template to using a landing page builder down the line.

“But why is that?” I hear you ask.

The answer is pretty simple — because content rules all. However, content that is not consistent with your brand’s tone will, in the long run, damage your goals.

As you see, everything is linked back to your target audience. This leads us to step No. 3:

Use influencers and giveaways

social media influencer marketing

 

You need your name and brand to grow one way or the other and influencers are the perfect people to help you do that. On the other hand, giveaways are the perfect way to give something back to your crowd and perhaps attract more people while you’re at it.

Now, think of combining those two:

Giving something back to an audience that would be interested in you, but is not following you yet.

This is where an influencer comes into play. Again: an influencer. Not a model or an ambassador as this would be a costlier option. Besides, their audience wouldn’t be niche-specific.

For example:

Use a makeup artist if you want to promote your beauty brand. A makeup artist will have followers that will definitely be interested in your product, be it other makeup artists or just people watching YouTube tutorials on how to nail the perfect cat-eye.

That influencer can host a giveaway. It will attract people that will definitely be interested in what you’ve got to give back.

One little tip here:

Your brand tone should match the influencer’s brand tone. Here, you’re the one trying to convert an already existing audience into followers and, ultimately, customers.

Those followers are used to a specific tone of voice and means of promoting a product. So, the best thing to do would be simply leaving the creative aspect up to the influencers themselves — up to an extent, of course.

See Also: The Importance of Storytelling in Marketing

A couple of tips for the road

You wouldn’t want things to go wrong or maybe you’ve already gone through with your first giveaway and it didn’t quite work out.

This is where the following tips come into play:

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Be very careful about what you’re giving out on a giveaway, what is in your inventory in the first place and about the terms and conditions. You don’t want to have to deal with a case like this one.

Don’t be too vague with the rules. Your followers need to know exactly what they need to do in order to be eligible for the giveaway. Confusion is not your friend.

Don’t make things too complicated for a gift that’s too simple and vice-versa. Nobody will bother with a free sample if they’ve got to tag and tag accounts and people.

See Also: How To Drive Traffic to Your Website Through Social Media

Takeaway

The use of social media and influencers can be of great value to SMEs especially, seeing as everyone takes on to social media platforms in order to check the social proof and the end-value of a business.

Leverage micro-influencers that are niche-specific and you’ll see your conversion rate skyrocket!

So, what say you? Are these tips on social media and influencer marketing enough? Is there something you’ve tried and would like to share with us?

Tell us in the comments and don’t forget to share the knowledge!

The post How To Nail Social Media and Influencer Marketing: The SME Edition appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

What Is Relationship Addiction and How to Recognize It

Most of us would say we would prefer to be in a relationship rather than be alone. However, not all relationships are created equal. There are those that are healthy and those that aren’t. Being alone is actually better in some cases, especially if your other option is being in an unhealthy or abusive relationship.

But there are those who would still choose the unhealthy relationship over being alone, even if it’s detrimental to their happiness and health. Or those that swing from one relationship to the next, refusing to end one unless another has begun. Each of these people very likely suffers from relationship addiction.

Relationship addiction can be difficult to recognize, especially for the person suffering from it. Most of the time, they don’t see their behaviors as unhealthy. They may claim to be in love or to be following their heart. The truth is, however, that there are underlying issues that are pushing them to do all they can to avoid ever being alone.

What Relationship Addiction Can Look Like

what is a relationship addiction

A person dealing with relationship addiction can find it nearly impossible to function without being part of a romantic relationship. Left on his own, he may feel overwhelmingly lonely or incomplete. In his mind, he exists to be half of a whole, rather than being whole on their own.

This addiction typically manifests in one of two ways:

1. Relationship hopping. Relationship hoppers will meet someone, get intensely involved, and then, generally within months, meet someone else and break things off. This cycle will repeat itself over and over as they move from one person to another. The relationship hopper is constantly looking for the “one” who makes their life complete. They are willing to bank all their happiness on someone else’s presence and influence.

2. Refusal to leave an unhealthy situation. The other way relationship addiction can manifest is when a person fails to see and change an abusive or unhealthy situation. These people have their identity so tied to their relationship that the idea of leaving is nearly unfathomable – even if that means they suffer. And when these relationship addicts do find the strength to leave, they will often go back. They don’t feel like they can function normally outside of the relationship. This cycle can repeat as well. All the arguments, break-ups, getting back together, repeat.

People in either one of these categories can have a very limited sense of self and identity. They don’t know how to exist outside of a relationship. They often lose interest and connection to family, friends, hobbies, and even their jobs. Overtime, this can lead to feelings of isolation and depression.

Often they are also prone to confusing sex with love, assuming that sexual interest is the same as real and deep feelings of connection. Unfortunately, for many relationship addicts, this is a mistake. Frequently, their partner doesn’t share the same level of investment in the relationship. When this difference becomes clear, it can have significant detrimental consequences on the relationship addict’s mental state.

See Also: 10 Red Flags to Consider Before Getting Serious in a Relationship

Why Relationship Addiction Happens

relationship addiction

Relationship addicts don’t generally recognize that there is a problem. They feel like their goal of finding love and a happy relationship is the same as anyone else’s. What they don’t understand is that the underlying issues and motivators for their approach are different and unhealthy.

Most of the time, relationship addicts are struggling with self-esteem and intimacy issues. This can be due to things from their childhood and family environment, traumatic experiences in earlier romantic relationships or deeper mental health issues. These circumstances will have defined their idea of a “normal” relationship or given them an inaccurate view of what they feel they need and deserve from a partner.

Occasionally, especially in the case of relationship hoppers, the addict may be a narcissist and continually seeking partners who will validate their feelings of grandiosity and entitlement. In these cases, the addict can cause pain and harm to their partner as well, even to the point of making the relationship abusive.

How you help a person who is suffering with relationship addiction will depend on the factors that caused the behavior. Like any addict though, they may not be able to change without outside help, especially if they don’t recognize the depth of their problem.

Whatever the reasons are, wanting to be part of a relationship at nearly any cost is unhealthy and won’t result in a long-lasting and happy relationship.

See Also: How to Get Rid of Relationship Insecurities

The post What Is Relationship Addiction and How to Recognize It appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Get A Short-Term Business Loan

Are you a smart businessman? Do you have what it takes to take bold decisions when your company faces the music? Are you aware of the regulations and policies of the top lenders? Do you know how to get a short-term business loan?

If your response is affirmative to the above questions, you know how to sail your company’s ship out of the troubled waters like a champion captain.

Now, before you go ahead and set a meeting with your lender, you must first know your primary purpose.

Basically, such a loan is usually obtained by small businesses when they are in an urgent need of cash. It could either be due to the need for a bigger space to  store your products or fit your growing workforce. They also come across situations where they need extra cash to purchase resources for a big order from a special client.

Such challenges can test an entrepreneur’s ability to handle the pressures of the business world.

Although a short-term business loan can save the day, business owners must repay the loan within 18 months or one and a half years.

Now that you have understood what a short-term business loan is, let’s look into how to qualify for one.

Maintain a Good Credit Score

It all starts with your credit score or the record of your bill payments.

A lender needs to know the status of your finances and how responsible you are in dealing with your debts. If you are able to maintain a clean and reputable credit history, your credit score would allow you to look for different sorts of financing options.

Always keep in mind that lenders check your personal credit score in addition to your business one. It is important because personal debts and mortgages often create problems in the repayment of loans.

This way, your lender will have a 360-degree view of your finances like your credits, debits, and years of business before offering you a loan.

Meet the Minimum Requirements

get a short term business loan

It is essential to know that getting a loan is a two-way deal. You must be equally indulgent and cautious about the whole process as much as your lender is.

If the lender asks for your financial information and reviews your accounts, then it is necessary for you to do your own research as well. Even before approaching a lender, it is wise to carry out research to make things easier and more transparent for you.

You should look into their mission statements and understand the requirements that should be met to get a loan approved. Having all proofs and documents ready will impress your prospective lender. It will make it easier to meet their standards and increase your chances of getting approved.

Get Your Testimonies Ready

Getting a loan is a hectic process. Sometimes, it can take months of rigorous hard work to complete it and a delay in the process can deliver a severe blow to your business.

As a smart entrepreneur, you should be prepared. Before even applying for a short-term loan, make sure that you have read its details and requirements.

Your next task is to collect the necessary documents, like personal and business balance sheets, leases, and bank statements. It will not only improve your loan application’s chances for approval, but will also save your precious time.

The quicker you arrange the required paperwork, the earlier you are going to have an access to that pile of cash for your business.

Make Your Business Strong

short term business loan

The status and prospects of your business are of great interest to the lenders. No lender would want to engage its money in a business that is not doing well. Things may become even gloomy if your company has no future business plan or if it has a flimsy business structure.

You need to have a robust and proactive approach in your business. You must have a detailed picture of where your business started from, where it is now, and where will it stand in the future.

Make sure that your business plan is free from any discrepancies or shady areas. It must be strong and articulate for the lender. Don’t forget to include your company’s origin, background, mission, and vision statement.

It should mention your product or service description. It would be a great idea to also make an industrial analysis, relevant market research, and a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) for your business. These things will make your lender well-informed and impressed with your efforts.

See Also: 5 Ways Business Investment Loans Can Help Your Start-Up

Final Thoughts

Securing a short-term business loan is quite convenient if you know your business and you’re willing to go the distance to inspire its growth. A suitable lender will see through your hard work and reward it with a prompt loan — and with leniency and a lower interest rate.

You have to believe in your business and pitch the idea to your lender with real dedication and conviction. Do not laze around or delay the process. Be active.

In fact, you need to be proactive in both receiving and returning the loan. If you have the qualities mentioned earlier in your business, you will have a short-term business loan approved in no or little time.

See Also: What Are The Advantages Of Business Consolidation Loans?

The post How to Get A Short-Term Business Loan appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Create Effective Infographics to Boost Your Content Marketing Game

A static content is nothing but an onslaught of dead words running the length of a full page. The wordy research might be of high value, but for today’s generation that’s highly off-putting.

Do you know why?

Because present online users have relatively shorter attention spans and are more likely to lean towards visually appealing content that’s logically moving and impels their participation at the same time.

The true mark of a successful business organization is marked by its ability to use different strategies according to the latest trends.

And what’s in hype these days? ‘Interactive’ infographics that are dynamic, colorful, and engaging. It’s the new marketing strategy.

How do you create a perfect ‘interactive’ infographic? How to create effective infographics?

It’s not an easy process. It’s quite a tricky one. A significant amount of planning goes into it. But you need not worry because I’ve delineated the proper steps in a convenient progression below.

Here’s how to create effective infographics:

Examine your brand

Before heading out towards the battlefield, it’s wise to make a thorough inspection of the artillery and inventory, right? To make sure you’ve got the right weapons and defenses?

Similarly, before creating interactive infographics and adopting this new marketing tactic, it’s crucial that you reexamine your brand from top to bottom.

  • Run tests on it and sort out its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Mark the selling points and focus on improving the lags.
  • Plan your pitch and devise techniques to convert consumers into clients.

Once you know what your brand’s true call is, it’ll be easier to project it from the rest of the world.

Double-check the target audience

If an English Literature teacher delivers a lecture on Shakespeare to a class of medical students, that would sound absurd. It’s a total waste of time, energy, and resources, right?

So, it’s absolutely paramount to understand that audience matters greatly. The people listening to what you’re saying and receiving your message get to have the final say about that message after all. A simple yay or nay of the consumers could make or break your brand’s image.

Know your target audience so you can build a productive interaction through an infographic with them. Consider their pains and problems, find out their interests and motivations, and then mold your call accordingly.

Collect convincing facts

create effective infographics

Abstract propositions are a total turn-off for consumers, believe me. It’s like throwing darts haphazardly into thin air and never hitting the bull’s eye. Missing your mark means missing your chance of survival in the long run.

Only with concrete data, hard-core facts, and undeniable logic can you turn disinterested online consumers into potential customers. You need to convince them why they should opt for your brand instead of others.

If they do choose your brand, what’s in it for them?

Relaying everything through an interactive infographic sounds like a wonderful idea, doesn’t it?

Saves everyone time and positively leads to sales.

Craft an interesting narrative

Information explosion is one thing you have to look out for. It’s hardly delectable and not easily digested. If an infographic is filled to the brim with hard-core facts, then the online consumers will find it difficult to relate to it. And if they can’t find a hook, they’ll just drop it and that’s not something you’d want.

So, to make it easy for your target audience to smoothly sail from one point to the next one, you need to:

  • Craft a clever story around your brand which will take the onlookers on a journey and touch them on an emotional level.
  • Include real-life examples, metaphors, cool analogies, voice-overs, and comments in the infographic. This will allow it to actually speak to your potential clients and convert them into buyers.

Incorporate eye-catching graphics

The appeal of a pastry lies in its delicate decoration. Because it seems pleasing to the eyes, we naturally assume it to be tasty and worth eating, right?

The same applies to interactive infographics. If the information is represented visually, it automatically engages the users’ attention. You might think of graphs, pies, and charts, but they’re too mainstream and bore easily.

Animation, on the other hand, is a foolproof attention-grabbing hook.

A wonderful color-scheme coupled with creative doodles and mechanisms like easy transitions, on-click revealing of hidden information, scrolling and hovering is bound to keep the online consumer’s eyes on the infographic through and through.

See Also: 10 Design Rules You Should Never Forget in 2019

Embed SEO-friendly gambits

how to create effective infographic

An interactive infographic is like an open canvas. You can freely throw paint on it, add music videos in it, include links and watermarks, gifs, voice-notes, and so much more.

In addition, you can embed top-ranking keywords in the visual content in more than one SEO-friendly ways. This will allow Google or other search engines to trace it and rank you higher in its result. Crafty, right?

Elicit user response

The most important feature of all is enabling the online consumer to engage with the infographic and respond to it. To this end, you can include a smart ‘form’ or an opinion-based poll in the content, which the user can fill and give his feedback.

This feedback can then be used to inform the firm’s policies. It is a positive call to action which is the main purpose of the infographic.

Because of this, the user will feel empowered and know that his voice matters for the brand. This will encourage him to share the infographic with others and do an indirect advertising for the brand.

Once you’ve taken all these factors into account, creating an interactive infographic should not be a conundrum for you. Just make sure to operate over a stable connection and you’re good to go. Say goodbye to plain wordy content and welcome the colorful interactive one. It’s the way of the future.

The post How to Create Effective Infographics to Boost Your Content Marketing Game appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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.

The post A Simple Guide to Selling A House in New York State appeared first on Dumb Little Man.