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The Emergence of Telehealth in Wound Care

The healthcare industry is forever evolving. With the intention of delivering health services and information across both short and long distances, many sectors have begun offering remote services. This practice is known as telehealth. With credit to the Wound Care industry, patients have been able to receive help in treating their cuts, gashes, and lesions through virtual means. Below, we will dissect both the wound care and telehealth industries, as well as explain how they’ve joined forces.

The Importance of Wound Care

Wound Care offers solutions to patients having undergone injuries or surgeries resulting in skin ulcers, pressure sores, gashes, and similar cuts. Treatment of these injuries is crucial in igniting the healing process. Commonly, caretakers use wound dressings, antibiotics, antiseptics, and enzymes to prevent the patient’s open wound from becoming infected.

However, things can get far worse for patients who do not seek oversight from a wound care specialist. For example, visits to already overcrowded emergency rooms and hospitals and infections may lead to avoidable amputations and death. And those who have underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and others can experience more difficulty when it comes to healing even the most minor wounds.

Those Who Benefit From Wound Care The Most

wound care

The bulk of patients with wounds desperate for specialized care are also the most vulnerable to serious complications. Saying this, the patient demographics needing specialized wound care the most include people:

  • in recovery from recent surgeries,
  • with chronic lung disease or asthma,
  • undergoing dialysis,
  • with diabetes,
  • with circulation problems,
  • in nursing or post-acute residencies,
  • aged 65+,
  • with serious heart conditions,
  • who are immunocompromised,
  • with mobility issues, and
  • who are extremely obese (BMI 40+).

Still, obstacles continue to rise in reaching those who fall into the above-named demographics – with primary reasons rooting to socioeconomic factors.

The Expense of Wound Care

The cost of wound care adds to its complexity. It seems the most crucial health services are often fiscally unobtainable for the ones they will benefit most. American Medicare approximates the fare of acute and chronic wound treatment to range from $28.1B and $91.8 billion each year.

Taking a closer look, surgical wounds cost up to $13 billion annually, and diabetic foot ulcers up to $6.9B. Of course, that’s only a portion of the greater pool of expenses. Chronic, incurable wounds impact nearly 15% of Medicare beneficiaries each year – summating to 8.2 million American seniors. Take note of the previously mentioned demographics when soaking in this data.

Each patient can expect a $3,000-$4,000 bill per wound treatment. However, treating the most expensive wounds can cost nearly $10,000 per incident.

How Telehealth Helps

By expanding wound care into telehealth, patients are ensured immediate assistance to their problems. On top of this, telehealth provides patients the opportunity to minimize their risk of spreading their wound-caused infections to other patients and their providers.

Telehealth also provides elderly patients with brighter solutions. 8.1 million Americans will go on to need some form of long-term care in their lives. This is noteworthy as a huge percentage of elderly patients suffer from wounds while undergoing nursing home care. Here’s who is impacted by this:

  • up to 36% (1.6 million people) of home health patients,
  • up to 35% (500,000 people) of hospice patients,
  • up to 35% (300,000 people) of skilled nursing patients, and
  • up to 27% (219,000 people) of long-term acute care patients.

Even further, up to 2.5 million Americans in senior care facilities may require chronic wound care as we speak.

See Also: Saving Post-Acute Care For Future Generations

The Specialized Digital Platforms Telehealth Requires

wound care telehealth zoom

Right now HIPAA rules are being relaxed, and healthcare providers are able to use the following platforms for patient communications:

  • FaceTime
  • Messenger
  • Google Hangouts
  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • GoToMeeting
  • Webex

These are not HIPAA compliant, however. Telemedicine platforms are built specifically to be HIPAA compliant. However, videoconferencing will not always work for wound care telehealth – even the platforms specifically built for healthcare needs. Wound care requires accurate imaging to properly identify the type and condition of injury. Taking this into account, standard definition video or photos are not powerful enough to do the job.

For example, a provider needs high-definition software so they can analyze the patient’s tissue color to help determine the health of their skin. Furthermore, software must be powerful enough for the provider to take wound measurements, as these are critical in accurately assessing the wound for proper treatments. A misdiagnosis due to software can cause the patient to continue suffering, or go on to worsen their condition.

Wound Care Is Essential

Overall, telewound can provide significant long-term benefits. This approach to healthcare is more cost-effective for wound care providers. It is also time-saving and convenient for the patient – improving their satisfaction. Moreover, it helps with selection, authorizing, and education on new products.

Telewound can also provide healthcare professionals to track wound healing with electronic databases through means of image capturing and storing the patients’ wound history.

When technology and people merge, wound care can become a far better experience for the patient. With telewound, we can solve the wound care challenge.

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Android vs iOS: Which is the Best Platform to Build Your First App?

Android vs iOS – which is the best platform to pick for your first app development? This is a question that is here to stay. After all, developers around the world continue to craft top of the line apps. It’s a debate that every potential digital startup goes through, picking the right platform as per your target. Arriving at a decision requires extensive research and understanding of the audience and revenue.

While Android and iOS are operating systems that continue to rule the world app industry today, both have their pros and cons. It eventually falls in the hands of developers to analyze every possible aspect like the geographical location, their budget, the target revenue, and so on.

Through this exclusive article, we aim to reach a conclusion on the ongoing gaga over Android and iOS – whether which one is better for mobile startups today – by discussing certain factors that affect the overall success of either Android or iOS apps.

Factors to Keep in Mind Before Picking Either Android or iOS for First App Development

android app development

Here’s our take on the factors that eventually determine whether to go for Android or iOS first.

The Audience Reach

One of the biggest differences when it comes to Android vs iOS is the user reach of both operating systems. As per the latest statistics, Android currently holds an edge over iOS in terms of the global market share with a staggering 87% of the share as against the 13% of iOS. In fact, this number is set to go to 87.4% by the year 2023.

As for iOS, the majority of its users are located in geographic areas like Australia, North America, Western Europe, etc. These are the demographic sectors where iOS has over 70% of the share against Android.

Hence, for an app developer targeting the global audience, opting for Android is the best option. While for those aiming for any particular locations like Australia and Western Europe, opting for iOS has to be the go-to pick.

Revenue Generated

Revenue, at times, becomes a major talking point for app developers targeting to generate a certain amount from their apps. While Android has a considerably low stat in terms of revenue generation, iOS gains new leads in this aspect.

According to the reports published in the year 2018 by tech giants Apple and Google themselves, the Apple App Store generated around $12 billion in the third quarter of 2018 while the Google Play Store generated $6.2 billion by the play market, which is only about 50% of the revenue generated by iOS.

In fact, the Apple App Store generated nearly 80% more revenue than the Google Play Store in the first half of the year 2019. Have a look.

The reason behind this is perhaps simple to understand. On average, the annual salary of an iOS user is above $50,000 while the salary of an Android user is above $37,000. Hence, iOS users are generally amongst the riches and spend more on the App Store market.

Timeframe and Budget of App Development

Another crucial factor to consider while hunting for an answer is app development timeframe and budget. Let’s understand it in this way – the longer it takes to develop an app, the more costly it gets.

Besides, owing to the simple guidelines by Apple, developing an app for iOS can be done much quicker than Android. Since iOS devices are few in number, developers have no compulsion of adapting their app to various screen parameters. On the other hand, when it comes to Android, developing an app takes about 40% more time than iOS as there are more than 24,000 different types of Android devices around the world.

Hence, for developers working with a minimal budget and time-frame, opting for iOS app development isn’t the worst option today.

Flexibility of Customization

One of the biggest gains that developers get from Android app development over iOS is the flexibility to customize their app the way they want. Since Android comes with open licensing, developers have endless opportunities to play around with the functionalities, customize their UI/UX, or make use of multiple frameworks and plugins.

As for iOS, opportunities for customization are minimal due to the limited choices of development tools, pre-crafted frameworks, and solutions.

The Level of Security

The protection of data from cyber threats is a critical talking point amongst app users around the world. For banking and financial organizations aiming to develop their app, iOS edges ahead of Android owing to the security levels that the platform provides. It is a platform that provides automatic security from any kind of hacking.

On the other hand, nearly 95% of the Android apps are at the risk of being affected by any kind of malware today. As per a report published in the year 2016, Android took over iOS in terms of mobile vulnerabilities reported and the trend has continued since then.

Hence, developers considering developing secure apps, especially in the case of finance and banking, can opt for iOS over Android.

See Also: 13 Security Tips for Your Android Phone

Android vs iOS: Summing Up

ios app development

So, which is the best platform to work with first for app development? Whether to opt for Android or iOS platforms depends on multiple factors. Ultimately, it comes down to the developers to pick the right one according to their user reach and target.

As for the above-discussed points, they portray how factors like audience reach, revenue generated, and ease of customization play a vital role in determining the go-to platform for app development. We can perhaps sum up the discussion with some key takeaways.

Key Takeaways

Here are some key takeaways from the above-discussed points.

  • Android has more global reach while iOS is dominant in particular geographic areas. Hence, developers can pick the platforms according to the audience they are targeting.
  • If generating the maximum revenue is the target, then opting for iOS app development should be the name of the game.
  • Android app development is more time-consuming and costly when compared to iOS app development.
  • Opportunities of customization are endless with Android apps as compared to iOS where there are limited choices of tools and solutions.
  • iOS is a platform that offers exceptional security against bugs and malware while Android is more prone to cyber-attacks.

Hence, if you’re an app developer pondering which the best platform to build your first app is, the aforementioned points can help you to analyze each factor and come to a conclusion as to which platform is the one that aligns with your target best.

If you have any questions for us or want to share your thoughts on the subject, feel free to get in touch with us through the comments section below.

See Also: How To Design The Perfect Icon For Your Mobile App

The post Android vs iOS: Which is the Best Platform to Build Your First App? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Ransomware Attack: Everything You Need To Know To Stop It

All businesses — whether they are large corporations, governments, or small organizations — are always at a high risk of being attacked by hackers and cybercriminals aiming to steal your money. According to a report in 2019, cyberattacks have an increase of 235%.

Malware and phishing are some of the most common types of cyberattacks, but which could be more dangerous? The answer is Ransomware attack. Ransomware is a type of malware threat that is on the rise in the cyber world. So, no matter the size of your business, it is essential to know how to prevent your business from ransomware. But, before stopping Ransomware attacks, you need to know everything about them.

This article will teach you all there is to know about Ransom prevention. We explore what is Ransomware attack, what types of this attack are, why Ransomware is so effective, and how to protect your data from ransomware attacks.

What is Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats that cybersecurity teams around the world are facing. This type of malware erases all data until a ransom is paid. From small teams to large enterprises and government networks, this advanced form of cyberattack targets all organizations. This alone can be damaging to a network and result in fatal loss to infrastracture.

One of the most famous examples of ransomware is the Wolverine ransomware attack. The Wolverine Solutions Group was hit by a ransomware attack in September 2018. Malware encrypted many of the files of the organization, leaving workers unable to access them.

Fortunately, forensics experts were able to decrypt and restore them on October 3. However, lots of patient data was compromised as a result of the attack.

Why is Ransomware So Effective?

ransomware attacks

Ransomware attacks can be very damaging to all types of organizations, causing loss of productivity and finances. Most obviously, the loss of data may represent hundreds of hours of work or customer data that is essential to the smooth running of your organization. Ransomware generates over $25 million in revenue for hackers each year, which shows how effective it is to extort money from organizations. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why Ransomware is so effective.

Ransomware Targets Human Weaknesses

By targeting businesses with phishing attacks, hackers can bypass traditional security technologies with ransomware. In the security infrastructure of many businesses, email is a weak point, and hackers can ruin this by using ransomware. Hackers can also target human error by using trojan horse viruses. Lack of awareness about cybersecurity threats is the major issue here. Many people are unaware of what threats look like and whether they should avoid downloading or opening files in emails. This lack of security awareness is the main reason why ransomware is spreading much more quickly than other threats.

Lack of Strong Technological Defenses

One of the main reasons why ransomware is so effective is the lack of strong technological defenses. Several companies lack the strength as far as their network defense is concerned. Thus, they fail to block these attacks since such security shields can be costly and complex to utilize. Other times, it is tough for the IT department to persuade company higher-ups to invest in strong security defense until it becomes too late.

Outdated Hardware and Software

Besides not having strong defenses against ransomware threats, many organizations also depend too heavily on outdated hardware and software. Over time, hackers discover security vulnerabilities. Technology companies often push out security updates, but many organizations have no way to verify that users are installing these updates. Apart from this, many companies rely heavily on older computers that are no longer supported and hence, they are open to vulnerabilities. This is one of the main reasons why ransomware attacks have become the most popular and disruptive threats.

How To Prevent Ransomware Attacks?

Want to prevent your data or files from being held to ransom? If yes, the best way to stop ransomware attacks is to be proactive in your security approach and ensure that you have strong protections in place before ransomware can infect your systems. Here are some tips to stop ransomware attacks.

Strong, Reputable Endpoint Antivirus Security

ransomware attack security

Having a very strong endpoint security solution is one of the most important ways to stop ransomware threats. Installing security shields on your endpoint devices will effectively impede any malware from corrupting your systems, data, or files. These solutions can protect malicious downloads and can alert users when they are visiting risky websites. As cyber criminals always try to create new pieces of malware, these systems are not guaranteed to be 100% effective. However, installing endpoint security is an essential step in strong protection against ransomware threats.

Email Security, Inside and Outside the Gateway

As ransomware threats are commonly delivered via email, email security gateway is the best way to stop these attacks. Secure email gateway technologies identify threats and block them from being delivered to users by filtering email communications with URL defenses. These gateway technologies can prevent ransomware from arriving on endpoint devices and block users from unintentionally installing ransomware onto their device.

Data Backup and Recovery

Is the ransomware successfully installed in your system? Are your data compromised? If so, you need to restore the data you need quickly and minimize the downtime to protect your organization. Besides, you can ensure your data are backed up in multiple places including in your main storage area, on lock disks, and in a cloud continuity service.

In the case of cyber attacks, the best Cloud Data Backup and Recovery platform allows businesses to recover data. This is known as an important tool for remediating against ransomware threats.

See Also: How Backup And Storage Led To Cybercrime

Don’t Let Ransomware Damage Your Organization

As you can see, ransomware is a type of malware which criminals use to steal money, and for a few years, this ransomware has been spreading quickly. So, if you don’t want to face any productivity and financial losses due to these threats in the future, you need to follow some tips. With the aforementioned information and by following the above steps, you can protect your organization against damaging ransomware attacks.

The post Ransomware Attack: Everything You Need To Know To Stop It appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

9 Frugal Tips for Families to Save Money

Family is an integral part of any person’s life. When we live with our families, it’s either we’re dependent on somebody or somebody is dependent on us. Many conflicts arise in a family due to improper finance management. When you have a family, you might often come across situations where you might feel there is never enough money to go around that saving is completely overlooked.

However, saving money helps in stabilizing your family’s financial life. It is putting aside money for more important goals. This requires discipline, which includes steering clear of whims and splurges. Thus, maintaining a frugal life can help you enjoy your life, only focusing on what’s more important for you and your loved ones. By knowing what and how to prioritize, it’s easier to set aside some extra money.

What is frugal living? For some people, it might seem like they are compromising the way they are living to save. But that’s not what it is. You can enjoy your life while practicing some frugal tips to help you achieve your money goals, too. Frugal living is nothing but being conscious with your money and how you spend it.

It suggests prioritizing the most important things and spending on them while keeping a track and reducing unnecessary, unimportant spending. Frugal life suggests balance. It doesn’t mean you’re cheap, it only means you know how to enjoy your family life while being secure with your savings.

There are many benefits to a frugal lifestyle which include fewer stress levels, more money to spend on things that are important to you and your family, and increased appreciation for living life in simplicity. Moreover, being frugal frees up more money for other activities like travel and other goals you have with your family.

Here are 9 tips for activities which can help you be more frugal in your everyday life, so you can enjoy the most of it with your family:

A treasure hunt

On a nice summer afternoon, when you’ve had your lunch and everyone is home, you can arrange a treasure hunt and invest time playing with the kids. Set up an exciting treasure hunt, think about some clues, build your maps and the gift prize for the winner. You can do it indoors, too, in case the weather is not permitting. It will not cost you anything, plus you will spend a crisp afternoon seeing your kids happy and you will get to spend precious time with your family.

Spend some time in your garden and practice gardening

When the spring is in the air, and your garden is coming back to its greenery, get your kids involved and get their help in clearing away all the dead leaves, the dirt and debris and raking up all the dead foliage outside. Plant new trees or flowers; create a bird feeder, or even a birds nest or bird-box for some lovely visitors to make themselves comfortable. This can teach your kids a lot about gardening and the beauty of nature. The feel of fresh air and the fun of watering the plants with a sprinkler or pipe will brighten their day in a way television or phone screens could never do.

Go for a walk

frugal tips

You might face some grumbles from your kids when you suggest walking; however, try to go for an evening stroll with your family. Walk to a nearby park, or lake or someplace nice and watch a sunset. Or discover a lovely spot nearby and take a picnic for the afternoon. As long as there is fun in the activity you do, kids protesting won’t be a problem. Spot different birds, spot flowers, go fishing, and enjoy the fresh air and beauty of everything around.

Head to the Library

Libraries are underrated in today’s world. But the real treasure lies in these libraries. The trove of books, the excitement of finding the book you are looking for, the silence and smell of old books make the air more exciting and can help you do a lot of productive reading. Spend an hour, sit in the library and read. The kids can choose the books they can take home and check out the activities going on. Check out ongoing or upcoming local events and make an effort to attend those. From puppet shows to local concerts and guests readings to writing classes for kids and adults, spend more time enjoying these local amenities.

Visit local museums and theater

The local places of interest have free admissions or discount rates on tickets once in a while. Thus, you can save money and entertain kids at the same time. Check out local museums and check for upcoming workshops or some shows in your local theater.

A movie afternoon

If you are stuck indoors on a rainy day, make the best out of it. A movie afternoon could be all that you need. It is a wonderful way to spend some time indoors with your family. Let your loved one pick up their favorite movie. Make popcorn and coffee or some snacks you love. Throw in a blanket on your couch and set up the atmosphere you can enjoy a movie in.

See Also: How to Access Your Favorite TV Show or Movie from Anywhere

Learn something new

frugal tips for family

Spend a day researching and gaining knowledge about the things you or your kids love. All you need to do is an internet connection and a printer, which is completely optional in case you need prints.

De-clutter

Spend some time tidying your rooms and helping your kids tidy their rooms. Try arranging your furniture differently and give your home a new outlook. Gather old toys, clothes, and books and donate it to needy.

Go to the park

Time spent at a local park is indeed enjoyable. It keeps your kids entertained by playing on swing sets, climbing frames, etc. Your kids will have fun and it is completely free, not to mention you get to spend wonderful time with your family.

The post 9 Frugal Tips for Families to Save Money appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Start Your Coin Collection With These Rare Coins

Rare coins can add beauty and value to any collection. It is a piece of history that any man or woman hold in their hand. It could belong to an ancient era and certain empires such as the Romanian world or maybe it’s a silver dollar that pioneered in the wild east. Coin collectors are bailiffs of these treasures of the world, which can also be turned into an investment.

Any collector chooses the coins based on the artistic beauty of the design, their popularity in the market, and their potential to increase in value over time. You can find an assortment of coins when beginning with the collection; however, as you advance your collection, more coins will become a part of your collection.

Here are some coins which you can add to your collection.

Lincoln Cent

rare coins to collect lincoln cent 1909
Via usacoinbook.com

The United States, in 1909, changed the design of the one-cent coin removing the Indian head to a design that commemorates the hundredth anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln. The coin was a success among the people. Some numismatists argue that the Lincoln cent is one of the most popular U.S. coins. Many beginners start by collecting Lincoln cents.

Ancient Coins

Many numismatists are passionate about collecting ancient coins for sale, mostly the ones belonging to the ancient Romans and Greeks, as well as those from the medieval times and empires. This was when the currency began. They are mostly unique and can become a challenge to find. Not only are they extremely rare, but they can be a solid investment as well.

Peace Dollar

rare coins to collect peace dollar
Via wikipedia.org

Anthony DeFrancisci designed the peace silver dollar in 1921. The idea was to commemorate the peace after the Great War. The design emblematic of liberty on the obverse of the coin and the American eagle on the reverse was the peace symbolized on the coin. It is rare as the peace of the world did not last for a long time.

Double die Lincoln cent

Another coin that is popular for its rarity among the Lincoln coins collector. Although it is considered as an error coin, it is rare and is highly valued among collectors. The tale of the error began with the mints that received two impressions that were slightly offset from each other. Mint workers discovered the error when 20,000 or more coins were minted and mixed with the other coins.

Three-Legged Buffalo

rare coins to collect three legged buffalo
Via coinweek.com

Another error coin that became extremely popular among collectors is the three-legged buffalo coin. Given the time and cost to produce the coin dies, many dies were polished and grounded to extend their life for minting, which removed the details of the front leg of the buffalo on the reverse of the coin. The coin in the past didn’t receive the popularity like the double die Lincoln coin, but today only the collectors with deep enough pockets can afford them.

The Washington Quarter

Intended for the commemoration of the 200th birth anniversary of George Washington, it was adopted in the year 1932 and is still used in recent times.

See Also: The True Value of The 11 Coins From Around The World

The post Start Your Coin Collection With These Rare Coins appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

10 Quick Link Building Tactics For Beginners

Link building, according to a lot of digital marketers, is a very old and very traditional digital marketing method. However, just because it’s all that antiquated doesn’t mean it’s useless. In fact, we may consider link building as one of the most timeless yet most effective digital marketing strategies out there.

Link Building: A Quick Rundown

With great link building, your brand may be able to reach any kind of audience and any kind of industry. That’s regardless of your chosen marketing channel, marketing method, or even timeline. That sounds awesome, right? If people and other members of your industry link back to you naturally, the likelier it is for your content to rank. In fact, 62 percent of top 10 Google results in most searches are actually more than three years old!

This is also the reason why it’s very effective despite the impression that it’s traditional. For a beginner marketer, link building seems really intimidating. However, it can actually become one of the most fun in most creative digital marketing strategies you can apply to your campaigns. Here are some quick tips:

Tap into broken links and transform them into your own

Broken links happen when websites have backlinks that end up in error or 404 pages, rendering the link in that particular piece or page generally useless. This can make that particular piece or page unattractive for search engines, and may even result in lower rankings. You can leverage on these broken pages by messaging website owners and suggesting they put your own link in that broken link instead. This not only redirects all traffic to you, but you instantly get linked to a potentially high-ranking page. Remember, though, when you offer links, make sure they’re related to the piece.

Find broken links to your own pages and fix them

linkbuilding for beginners

If broken links can be catastrophic to both guest sites and the competitors that put them, it can put you in a disadvantage as well. Broken links can lose you relevant viewership numbers, and they may end up becoming lost conversions and customers. To avoid this, make it a habit to actively find broken links to your site — be it unlinked anchor texts, misspelled names, and wrong links — and to message the webmasters to send the right ones. SEO tools can easily help you find those broken links and restore them. This ensures your link building efforts haven’t been put in vain.

Add a guest posting feature to your blog

A great way to attract increased viewership and better partnerships would be opening your blog for guest posts. You’d be surprised with how many high-ranking websites may want to connect with your site. This not only lets you have a share of their readership, you also get high-quality content for free. If you want, you can negotiate with these blogs to exchange links, where you post their blog in exchange for your link being posted in theirs. This can be a great way to build a network and establish yourself in the industry, both to search engines and your audience.

See Also: How Guest Blogging Can Boost Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Choose your network and connections properly

Aside from opening your website for guest posting, it can also help a great deal if you make posts that other websites can feature. However, while guest posting in itself can be an effective link building method, you need to choose your connections properly. Make sure you post on blogs related to your industry so that search engines can properly associate your content with your keyword. Websites who fail to do this get on the bad side of search engines, as search engines might feel these websites are just spamming keywords for the numbers.

Find resource links and form your own spin to its contents

Most of the major websites in any niche likely rely on resource websites for information on their most popular content. Articles pertaining to trends, statistics, and new discoveries most likely have sources in the form of research, studies, statistical findings, and even testimonies from these resource sites. However, did you know you can use the same resource links to make your own cornerstone content?

One of the best ways to create appealing content is to find the main source of information in your niche, and tackle its data with your own angle. This would instantly make you and your content more unique. In fact, if you take advantage of the fact that long-form (3,000+ words) content can get 77.2 percent more backlinks compared to short-form content, your cornerstone content can be the reason for your rising ranking.

Take advantage of putting your links in social media content

doing linkbuilding

Did you know that 3.8 billion people are actually active in social media? This is 75 percent of existing people using the internet (4.5 billion as of 2020) right now! As such, it is very likely for you to find an online forum or community of your nation on a social media platform. You can take advantage of the situation by joining these forums and communities, and posting relevant content such as posts, images, videos, and even infographics that contain links to relevant pages you want to link back to. If you choose the right content and post in the right community, you will likely get a lot of traction and even new audiences.

Make your content optimized for mobile

Before you release any form of content — be it blogs, posts, multimedia or ads — it’s important to make sure they’re optimized for mobile first. This means they have to be viewable from a mobile device without any hassle. You should also make sure your links are easily recognized in the middle of the piece, as they’re more helpful compared to sidebars and footers. Doing this can earn you huge plus points from search engines, as they like content that is visible across different kinds of media platforms. This also makes sure all audiences across all devices can check out your content without any worries.

Reuse old data to create new and improved content

If you have a page with interesting content but isn’t ranking, you don’t necessarily have to discard it. Rather, you can actually take data and relevant information from that content and repurpose it into something more updated and more appealing to other content platforms. For instance, an old blog post you think has potential can be repurposed into an infographic or social media post.

The trick here is to find old and struggling content that you think might be relevant to your viewers today. Using new content can boost your old data, as you can link back to that old piece of content. Likewise, if other content creators find your new content interesting, the likelier it is for them to give you backlinks as well. The trick here is to post new content in platforms that can naturally and organically earn you links.

Add links to your content organically

What a lot of brands don’t realize is that they sometimes force their keywords into their content. As a result, they create content that seems “scammy” or off-topic. Unfortunately, they may have included the keyword in their website, but doing it in a forceful way also spells trouble for their SEO. This is why link building services often focus less on aiming for high search engine scores and instead focus on making contextual pieces.

This means adding links to pieces as needed, and only when they provide value to the piece. As such, when writing blogs and making posts, add links that point users to statistics, facts relevant to the niche, and informative pieces that can help enrich user experience. If you want your link building strategies to work, your content must have their keywords and links naturally placed there.

Never buy a backlink from websites

While it can be tempting to just pay websites to post your content, websites that do ask for payment in return for backlinks most likely have low search engine scores in the first place. This not only makes them unreliable, but being associated with them may lower your own ranking and even affect the way search engines perceive your website. if you’re talking to a website that asks you to pay for your guest post, you should probably look for another website to submit your content to.

Link Building: A Timeless Way to Build Connections

With the above points taken into consideration, it’s important to understand that link building remains timeless because its methods can be applied to almost any up and coming trend. Despite the rise of tools such as chatbots, virtual reality, and AI, all of these concepts have to rely on link building if they want to become effective digital marketing tools. At the end of the day, these tools still have to rely on keywords and concepts in order to link brands with their audiences. And with the tips above, knowing how to tap into these tools can give you an edge and help you build better links.

If you have other quick tips you want to share to fellow marketers, feel free to share them below. And if you want to discuss some point we’ve raised in the article, feel free to start a discussion in the comments.

Author Bio:
John Gonzales loves two things the most in the world – technology and pizza. As a writer by trade, he spends a lot of time writing about food, travel, and the latest in tech developments. John is your guy when it comes to writing pieces on gadgets and consoles, games, health and medicine, and even marketing. As a techie himself, John wants to make sure his pieces aren’t just informative, but also very personal and tailored to reader needs.

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To All Those Who Love Nature And The Ones Who Don’t

I think it is pretty amazing how nature alone can teach us so many things and can make us realise the real beauty and meaning of life. For some, it may be boring and for some it is the answer they have been longing for.

Whether it is an old tree or a clear blue sky, a mountain top or a dark hidden cave, a clear blue ocean or a blooming flower, each one of these show what life really is.

The sky will show all its colors over the course of the day. It always begins with the cool bluish hue of the morning, its shades somewhat transitioning to red orange with the arrival of sunrise, and finally welcoming the coolness of the afternoon with its blazing golden colors. The sky’s beauty is then further highlighted with its pinkish glow as sunset approaches and basks us in its splendor.

That’s exactly how human emotions are — totally different from one another. All we need to do is express each one of them. And we must not forget about the somber vibe of the night, too! If we expect a bright morning, then we must also anticipate for the coming of the dark, deep blue, night sky. If we are open to happiness then why shun bad times? Everything has its time in our life, nothing is forever and we must understand that.

nature teach us

Diving deep into the beauty of nature, a tree is the best companion you can ever have! Who says a person is alone? Nature is something that never ever leaves you. It’s always there, keeping its ears attentive for all that you have been piling up inside. Its arms are wide open to give you a warm bear hug, leaving a smile on your face.

Sitting under a tree, listening to the rustling of leaves, observing the new and young ones, which are soft to touch and, at the same time looking at the old ones that have fallen beside you, closing your eyes for a few minutes and just letting the cool breeze touch you, is the best feeling you can feel!

Speak your heart out because a tree is never going to judge you. It will tell you something and listen to your somethings. It will teach you how to stand tall in spite of the heavy rain even though it knows that, at some point, the rain will do some damage; but it never stops trying to stay strong! It teaches you to be fearless, to believe in the power of perseverance, and to accept the changes happening around you.

Take out some time from your busy life, and just experience it for once. I am not saying do it daily! But trust me it’s going to be much better than the amazing party happening in the city. It’s going to be worth it! No therapy, counselling sessions, and exercises can work in maintaining your mental and physical stability until the time you give nature a chance to do  its part.

what nature teach us

For those who adore the beach, looking at the sea and releasing all your tensions right there and then actually gives you a feeling of lightness. Those sunburns have their own fun; tasting the salt from your face when you’re in the sea and trying to open your eyes when looking towards the sun are the small things which we often forget to try.

That is exactly what is called living the moment! Going on a vacation abroad just to be close to nature, but ending up clicking thousands of selfies is not living the moment and is an unfortunate waste of time. No one is telling you to stop taking pictures. In fact, photos are the best way to capture beautiful memories.

Snapping photos to have something to remember your experience by is one thing, being oblivious to the beauty around you because you’re too busy clicking and applying filters is another. And to be close to nature doesn’t mean that you need to plan a vacation in the Himalayas! It can be a park near your home, or any place where you can walk through the lane of emotions while you try to figure out life will do.

Thank you
Ridhi Panwar

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Expand Your Brand Using Business Cards

Every successful business expecting high returns should have investment projects. Just like any other advertisement plan, a business card is crucial. It links up your company and the potential customers easily. It’s cheaper to design and distribute the cards.

However, for a startup business which is low on budget and high on initial expenses, designing the card may be a significant challenge. But, it should not stop you from being a successful entrepreneur. You can create it yourself or have the best free business card makers Shopify for perfection.

How to Design Your Business Card?

making business cards online

To make your business cards online, you should first understand the content to display. It will depend on the type of your business, your potential customers, your expectations and your budget. Thus, make a shortlist of your content bearing in mind that the card is small and can’t fit a ton of data.

Besides, a large number of people ignores typically long statements tending to concentrate on short ones. Make it appealing, readable and don’t overwhelm it since the appearance of the card speaks about your brand.

The card should display a positive image of your business brand. You should incorporate your business name, email and business products. Customers need to know the business location and any contact to use while reaching you.

If you do your business online, remember to include your website URL. Also, you can add a QR code which will help in mobile shopping. These codes make iPhone and android users shop faster by merely scanning them to access your products.

You should likewise know how to arrange all the data on the card and its size. Usually, the right business card size is 3.5 x 2 inches. Decide on the card formatting design where you can either choose from portrait or landscape layout.

You can either follow one side or double side design depending on data length while making the card. Don’t forget the visual aesthetics such as colours, font sizes, patterns, lines and logo if you have any. Make sure the visual branding of the business is fantastic, communicating and attractive.

See Also: Choosing Brand Colors: How to Pick The Best Hues For Your Business

Why Do You Need to Have a Business Card?

using business cards

A quick first impression

Business cards always make the first impression of any brand. For your business to stand out, you must immediately seize the customer’s attention even before they notice your products. Your card must be attractive and create a positive impression of your brand.

It delivers business details

It displays all the contact details about your brand with clarity. Customers usually lack time to go searching for shops, so having the business name, contact number, and location is a must.

It gives a personal touch

In this digital age, a business card gives that special personal touch. It lets a potential customer who may otherwise forget you, have a chance to whip out your card and contact you. At best, your business card will be shared with friends and family thus widening your reach and increasing your sales.

See Also: Here’s Why Business Cards Are Still Useful

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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.

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7 Must Do Hacks for When Your Motivation Dips

Do you know that feeling when you are hyped and ready to take on a new challenge? You are taken over by a surge of motivation and excitement and you’ve made a commitment you fully intend to stick to. It sounds familiar, right?

Perhaps you declared your intention to dedicate more time to self-care, or you signed up to that online course, or invested in a pack of exercise classes, or you set a goal to read 20 pages a day. Whatever it is you devoted yourself to – you meant it when you said it.

Then you get started; initially you are doing well, perhaps you even set out better than you had planned, and it feels GOOD.

We’ve all been there. After that early high, we begin to feel the motivation declining. It’s disheartening – what happened? Keeping it up doesn’t feel as effortless as it once did and you have to push yourself to stick to your target.

Eventually, full-blown procrastination kicks in and your vision is falling by the wayside.

This drop in motivation is worrisome, mainly because you turn inwards. So you begin to question yourself, your capability, and your ability to stick to anything. As well as this, you feel bad that you have spent money or made promises that are feeling like a chore right now.

The problem arises when people use this turn of events to question their own self-worth and self-esteem because they are not as motivated as they once were. I meet too many people who blame themselves for lack of motivation.

What if you were able to take a step back and realize that it is not just you this happens to. Nope, trust me, you are not alone. This is a regular cycle that hits the best of us.

This does not reflect you individually, it’s just your feelings and drive are not at the same peak they were when you started out. Naturally, what goes up must go down – including that high of motivation and excitement.

Much of what is going on can be explained by science. Your initial motivation is caused by the release of dopamine as you imagine your goals and the positive outcome of what you want – these spikes make you feel good and you are driven to take action and keep this feeling alive.

Over time, those spikes reduce, and we don’t feel the same thrill we once did. There are many reasons why this happens. It could be that reality kicks in as you realize there is more to this than you initially understood, or you have become accustomed to the change, or results may take longer than you anticipated, or maybe you may have taken your eye off the prize.

Take a step back and question why you may not be feeling the same excitement. It’s good to do so as it will help you get perspective on what is really going on, rather than simply criticizing yourself.

Once you have reflected (providing you have not decided this commitment is totally sucking the life out of you and turns out to be a terrible idea for you) and got some understanding, you are in a better position to realize you do not have to give up just because you don’t feel the same level of excitement anymore. Nope, you can choose to continue with your plan.

Below I have outlined 7 top tips to help you rise back up when your motivation has dipped. I honestly use these very ideas myself and hope you find them just as useful.

Reconnect with your WHY

First up, one of the greatest things you can do is trigger intrinsic motivation (motivation that comes from within).

Take some intentional time out to check in with your why. Why did you feel excited about this in the first place? Why did you want this? Why is this important to you?

If you want to get your motivation back, then seriously reconnect. Journal, meditate, walk, or do what works for you. Get still and feel into why this is valuable to you and what it means for your life to stay committed to this change.

Quit waiting for the motivation

The best advice I ever read (sadly I’m unsure where) went something like this “stop waiting for motivation to fall from the sky because it’s not going to happen”. Action precedes motivation. You act first and then motivation follows. Just like that time you couldn’t be bothered to meet your friends but once you got there, you had a great time. You were pleased you made the effort.

Action first.

Schedule it in

motivation tips

Schedule in what you need to do and when. Knowing you have a plan and time put aside can help you to feel better about yourself and the situation.

You are more likely to stick to a plan if you have put it in your diary.

See Also: Top 8 Apps for Productivity to Help You With Your Daily Tasks

Follow the plan and not your mood

This is a phrase we use in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy interventions for depression. Follow the plan you have made, not your mood. If you follow your mood you may well take no action. Don’t believe your feelings, they are not always talking truth. If you are prone to not doing what you say you will, then this is a good technique to master.

Don’t beat yourself up

Honestly, don’t be so hard on yourself. This reduction of motivation does not reflect your worth or value as a human being. You are simply experiencing a drop in motivation and need to make some moves to power through. Don’t make this personal. The more you beat yourself up, the worse you feel; the worse you feel, the less excitement you feel about doing most things. It’s a vicious cycle.

Check your thought traps

Check in with yourself. Be sure you are not falling into traps of comparing yourself and telling yourself you are not good enough for this. That is not your voice, it’s your fear speaking.

Change is scary for people – we like things to be familiar (even if that means being miserable).

Don’t underestimate yourself here, you can do this. Ask yourself, are you self-sabotaging? If you conclude you are, choose again. Choose your dreams, choose your WHY.

See Also: 7 Unhealthy Behaviors That Affect Your Mental Health

Share your goals

how to get motivated

It’s true that accountability can help us to get a boost back. Tell someone your plans or better yet, get them involved. Set up a study hour, share your calendar or have weekly check-ins. It can also add to the fun to have someone else involved.

As a bonus, they may appreciate the opportunity for themselves.

A lack of motivation right now does not mean this is not important to you. You are a step ahead because you are here, which means you have the self-awareness to know your motivation has dropped and you are open to the idea that it can be restored.

Knowing this is only part of the battle, the next part is taking action – this part is up to you. Where are you going to start?

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Can Apps And Video Games Be Medical Treatments?

Just a few decades ago, the idea that you could treat tremors from Parkinson’s disease or help a person with autism live a more integrated life was fantasy. Over the last several decades, treatment and research advanced significantly on those and many other difficult-to-treat health issues. But then, further help came from an unexpected left-field: technology. Advances in general technology have led to new uses for it, and some of those uses include treating health issues. This sector of healthcare technology has become so popular that by 2025 the market for digital therapeutics is expected to reach $7.8 billion.

What Are Digital Therapeutics?

digital therapeutic

Typical medications are chemical compounds that have been proven to treat a specific type of illness or symptom. Thanks to advances in technology, there are new therapeutic interventions for a whole laundry list of issues that include apps, video games, and more. Digital therapeutics are therapeutic interventions driven by technology. They are designed to alleviate the symptoms of certain neurobehavioral or physiological conditions. Many of these treatments are combined with more traditional treatments in order to boost efficacy.

The possibilities when it comes to digital therapeutics are endless. Already, this burgeoning sector of healthcare has shown promising results in treating Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory issues, obesity, problems of the central nervous system, gastrointestinal issues, and more. These treatments offer hope to those with difficult-to-treat conditions and offer new options for unmet treatment needs. In some cases, it may even decrease reliance on medication.

New Digital Therapeutic Interventions Abound

digital therapeutics appas and video games

New and old technologies are combining to create new treatments all the time. Things like MRIs, ultrasounds, video games, and apps are nothing new. But, when they are put together in new ways or added to new technologies like artificial intelligence, that’s where the magic happens. Exablate Neuro is a perfect example of existing tech being used in new combinations for new treatments. It was developed by scientists in Israel using ultrasound waves guided by MRI to stop Parkinson’s tremors, something that until now has been exceedingly difficult to treat.

Doctors fit a patient with a specialized cooling helmet, kind of like a radiator for your head, which prevents the patient’s skull from overheating during the procedure. Next, the Vim point, the point at which the tremors originate, is located through MRI imaging. Then, high intensity ultrasound waves are used to treat the Vim point and end tremors. There are side effects, but most are mild and temporary.

Video games are another area where advancements are being made to treat certain conditions. Even two or three decades ago, we knew that video games could improve hand-eye coordination, but now the treatments coming from video games are even more impressive. Video games can improve working memory, selective attention, and executive functioning when used appropriately. These improvements can make great strides against a wide array of maladies.

Akili Interactive has developed a number of games that target specific conditions that are very hard to treat. Its Selective Stimulus Management Engine specially designs gameplay to achieve desired results. Algorithms adapt to a specific player and work to coax out desired behaviors, adjusting to each player’s skill level. Sensory and motor stimuli target certain neural pathways and build new links through continued interaction.

The result is the alleviation of symptoms of major depression, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and autism. Developments are also underway to treat lupus, ICU delirium, and traumatic brain injuries. Biofeedback offers the game a way to learn whether the desired result is being achieved. If it’s not, the game can make adjustments. It monitors heart rate, galvanic skin response, eye tracking, respiration, temperature, and more to ensure proper engagement. If engagement lags, the game adjusts to make the player uncomfortable until they comply.

See Also: 5 Positive Effects of Gaming on Your Mental Health

Apps are also being used to treat addiction. Rather than releasing addicts to the recognizance of an app, these apps are being used in conjunction with outpatient treatment. This makes treatment accessible to more people, as inpatient beds are both highly expensive and difficult to find. The apps provide cognitive behavioral therapy to supplement treatment, giving patients greater access to lifesaving treatment even after they have left a facility.

Learn more about the future of digital therapeutics below.
Digital Therapies
Source: Nursing School Hub

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Define The Character Of Your Business For Social Media

Social media is the primary marketing channel for a majority of marketers – regardless of the size of the business – in recent years. But many businesses fail to make an impact in social media because they don’t define a character for themselves in particular platforms.

More precisely, the social media accounts of businesses should exhibit certain characteristics of success. Especially for long-term results, the character of social media accounts is critical. It is also an important element in the overall digital marketing efforts of businesses.

If you are a business and using social media to connect with new audience and customers, creating the social media protocol or character is critical.

Be Active And Responsive

You should give good care to your brand in social media and ensure that your audience has a seamless experience. They should be able to find the information they want in less than a minute. Engage and make your leads active by posting on a regular basis.

Occasional posts can’t give you the magical numbers in shares, likes, and retweets. Don’t forget that businesses that tasted greater success on social media have done some serious long-term work with clear objectives. This is especially important for businesses so you shouldn’t expect overnight results.

You should also be attentive to your audience and respond to their messages and comments in a few hours – not in a few days. Ensure that you have enough manpower to handle the social media and the incoming traffic.

Add Value With Diversity

how to build your brand in social media

Various social media platforms serve different types of contents, and the content created for one platform may not work for the other. While Facebook is for videos, Instagram users may not be happy to see long footages.

However, you can still add value by offering diverse forms of content. Don’t always go and create contents with links that ask your audience to make up their mind. You can post tutorials, guides, or recipes to let your audience learn more about your products and services. Interestingly, this can work out as an art of sales rather than boring, repulsive marketing.

You should do the fine job of attracting your audience with information, suggestions, tips, and more. For instance, Coca-Cola utilised its social media accounts to engage the audience with images, updates, event updates, different meal combos, and more. Who can resist after seeing an image of a delicious pizza with a Coke in social media?

See Also: How Using Live Video Can Boost Your Business Dramatically

Reach Out To Influencers

build your brand in social media

You can seriously route the relevant audience to your pages using the top of the industry – the influencers. Businesses who have mastered in engaging with customers and tasting greater success are credited with making an excellent relationship with the top names in the niche.

Inexperienced business leaders do not try to reach out to influencers as they think that they may be ignored. In reality, you lose nothing if they turn down your message. But by keeping that in mind, you shouldn’t make a proposal without careful consideration of things. Pay attention to treating the influencers worthwhile to encourage them to promote your products and services.

You can achieve this in several ways, like proposing to send a free product to the influencer or offering a free trial for the service. Your relations with the influencers can give more credibility and give more shape to your brand’s character.

See Also: How to Measure Influencer Marketing Impact

Base Your Analytics And Strategies

Keeping track of your posts is highly critical if you want to make your campaigns successful. After each campaign is over, you should make thorough research and archive the data. Anything and everything about your campaigns is valuable information, and you should ensure its proper storing.

After the campaign season is over, these pieces of information can give you an overview to create better campaigns next time. You will also get valuable insights that let you know the right direction for your campaigns – an important phase in shaping your social media character. Once you start spending time on social media and understanding the numbers, you will also learn the simplicity of these platforms.

Importantly, you shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes and getting the right lessons for your long-term business growth. Create quality content, eye on how your audience responds to your campaigns, and make conversions in no time.

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The Best 11 Marketing Automation Software to Boost Startup Branding

Once you get your company off the ground, there’s so much responsibility to take on, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and torn apart. Marketing, sales, financing, customer support, and other tasks are nearly impossible to handle without assistance.

In such cases, most startups have minimal resources to hire a large team of specialists for every task above. That’s where marketing automation is coming through the whole affair like a breath of fresh air.

Marketing automation has fast become a staple of most bootstrapped startups. It lets the technology work as the marketing team, making it easier to manage repetitive and time-consuming tasks.

In today’s digital era, if you are well-versed with the right software, you can single-handedly automate your marketing activity while you’re sitting at your desk sipping coffee.

The following is a list of top marketing automation software that is tailored to the limited resources and the unique needs of startup firms.

Hubspot

hubspot marketing tool

Hubspot is one of the most widely used and powerful marketing automation software in the digital sphere. This software provides all-in-one inbound marketing tools, including a full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM. It brings your entire marketing funnel together into one platform for better control and superior results.

With the help of this software, you can effortlessly manage impressive customer support. It also has useful analytics and reporting features to help keep your startups performance on the track.

The all-in-one marketing software can unleash tons of automation possibilities that would be painful if you use separate tools. Also, its easy-to-use interface makes it easier for you to craft simple or highly sophisticated conditional workflows.

Mautic

Mautic provides you with an open-source to automation software at an affordable price. Its modern approach to marketing automation makes it easier for you to automate personalized communications across all your digital channels.

This software automates the process of getting and nurturing leads generated from landing pages and web forms. It manages email, social media monitoring, website visitor tracking, real-time reports on key metrics, and even integrates with your CRM and other technologies.

With a high level of integration and deep audience intelligence, it takes actions and automates them based on your target customers’ behaviors and needs. It helps you to develop a meaningful connection with your potential customers– which is the key to making them convert to loyal customers.

This is one of the best marketing automation software you should consider if your startup is on a tight budget, but determined to create a marketing automation pipeline effectively.

See Also: 9 Signs You Are Doing Your Email Marketing Wrong

Drip

Drip is a feature-packed marketing automation software purposely designed for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. It’s mostly known for the visual email marketing campaign building. This software allows you to create personalized emails to first-time buyers or returning customers, develop a visual workflow of your campaigns, and handle your leads.

It supports different types of marketing emails that suit the different promotional and campaign needs of individuals and businesses. With an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, you can seamlessly send targeted emails and personal communications to a handful of subscribers.

Drip also integrates with Facebook Custom Audiences for more targeted, effective advertising. Now it becomes easier to create custom ads with Facebook and manage them within Drip.

If you’re looking for a marketing automation software that reaches your Facebook audience, Drip is worth considering.

AdRoll

AdRoll offers you a precise segmentation of your potential customers through its location, behavior, and interest. With its industry-leading automation and personalization, you’d be able to structure, measure, and sync your marketing efforts seamlessly.

It provides you with reliable data you need to get a grasp on why some of the potential customers convert and why some don’t. That way, you’ll understand their preferences and set better plans to draw them down the marketing funnel and convince them to buy.

One of the best features of AdRoll is dynamic retargeting. So when a potential customer visits your website, they get targeted with your ads on other platforms (including social networks) once they leave – based on their pools and interest. If you have a retargeting marketing campaign to run, AdRoll is one of the best ways to go.

MailChimp

mailchimp marketing tool

MailChimp is a reliable marketing automation and email marketing tool. It helps you to create a customized email to market your products, find the prospects, and convert leads into sale.

With the automation features, you can send out an auto-respond message to welcome new customers. You can wish them a happy birthday or even remind them when they abandon a shopping cart. That way, you can engage your customers and make them stick around longer.

This software also allows you to monitor your startup email marketing performance by showing you interactive graphs about how many emails were sent, what percentage of customers opened the emails, and more.

If you’re looking for a solution for automated marketing software to leverage your email campaign efforts, MailChimp is worthy of being in your toolbox.

Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft combines your CRM with marketing automation, e-commerce, social network, and payment collection. It allows you to record sales, capture leads, and send automated emails. So, it makes it easier for your startup to streamline communication and boost the brand building.

More than just an automation software that saves your time and energy, Infusionsoft helps you map out each step of your marketing strategy to improve your sales pipeline while developing personal relationships with your customers.

Using this tool, you’d be able to see which prospects and leads that are actively engaged with your brand. That way, you can easily adjust and adapt your marketing effort cost-effectively. This software is highly recommended if you’re looking for an easy way to organize all the customer interactions and their daily activities in one place.

SharpSpring

SharpSpring is a cloud-based marketing automation software specifically designed to help you target leads with behavioral-based communication that turn them into sales. It provides you with feature-packed tools for lead management, lead distribution, sales management, contact management, and analytics.

With this software, you can create powerful automation based on your lead’s behavior. With the Drip Campaigns feature, you can effortlessly personalize and automate emails. It makes you keep up with customers much easier and targeting new leads much more effectively.

Also, there are dozens of stunning landing page templates designed to convert. It lets you create personalized landing pages based on behavioral information — taken from your lead data. If you’re a startup that’s aiming to improve lead nurturing with marketing automation, SharpSpring comes in handy.

Zapier

Zapier allows you to create interconnectivity between several business apps or software and integrates them (even when there’s no native integration) without requiring any coding. It means that if you write a new blog post on WordPress, it will trigger an action in other apps – depending on the conditions that you set up.

That way, you can easily automate data flow from one software to another, eliminating redundant and time-consuming manual data entry. Also, there’s social network automation you can use for sales and marketing. It supports major social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, making it easier for you to assist your social media campaign.

If your startup emphasizes on a marketing software that can automate data integration between thousands of business apps, then Zapier is the solution.

Act-On

Act-On is a feature-packed marketing automation software that helps you to create quality marketing materials with ease. It connects your email operations to other lines of business, including CRM, website visitor tracking, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and many more.

It also offers automated program templates that you can easily customize to meet your startup needs in driving leads into your marketing strategy. With a drag-and-drop interface, you can create a top-notch looking email, landing pages, and forms.

One of the best offerings of Act-On is that you can integrate almost any leading CRM available in the market, as well as webinars and online event planning. If you’re looking for any full-featured marketing automation software with minimal IT involvement, Act-On may be an ideal one.

Marketo

Marketo is an excellent automated solution to create professional, rapid-fire content such as emails, landing pages, forms, social posts, and any marketing campaigns that are tailored to leverage digital marketing efforts.

With its focus on various aspects of digital marketing, it offers essential features like lead generation, leads nurturing, CRM integration, analytics, and report.

This software receives much praise for its usability. With a simple, straightforward interface, the features and tools are easy to get used to. It also has a native Salesforce integration, as well as other popular software to keep your marketing and sales database in perfect harmony.

If you have pretty straightforward automation needs, Marketo is a must-have in your marketing tech-stack.

Pardot

Pardot is designed for organizations that mainly focus on B2B sales and marketing automation. It features lead management, a landing page builder, an automated drip campaign, ROI reporting, and real-time sales notifications to align marketing and sales team functions.

As a Salesforce product, Pardot offers native integration with the CRM. With the integration, it allows your customer service team to seamlessly add a current customer to drip emails and review them.

However, one thing to be mindful of is that this software is quite pricey in the market. But, if you have an extra budget to ramp up your startup marketing efforts with some robust technology, Pardot should be on your list of options.

Wrapping Up

Marketing automation software not only saves you a ton of time, money, and energy, but it also helps you streamline and speed up your marketing processes. If you’re considering jumping into marketing automation for your startup, it’s crucial to understand your business needs and how it affects your marketing performance. Choosing the right marketing automation software that covers all your business needs increases your chances of developing your startup’s brand cost effectively.

The post The Best 11 Marketing Automation Software to Boost Startup Branding 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.

5 Keys For Being Successful In A Long Distance Relationship

All relationships have their challenges. But when you are in a long-distance relationship, the challenges you face are very unique and sometimes difficult to overcome. Difficult but not impossible, nonetheless.

Most people wouldn’t choose to be in a long-distance relationship. But sometimes circumstances can’t be helped and, if you don’t want to end things, that’s the reality. So, although absence can make the heart grow fonder, it can also mean that you’ll need to establish a few ground rules and learn some new routines in order to be successful.

Coming To Terms With The Distance

maintain a long distance relationship

One of the hardest parts of living with a long-distance relationship is the psychological aspect. Yes, there are many new behaviors and practices that you need to consider, but before you can do that you need to be mentally and emotionally ready to make them work.

Being successful with the new dynamic of your relationship means accepting that the distance is real, and things will be different. It’s easy to live in denial and pretend that nothing will change, but the truth is that they will. Both you and your partner will need to be realistic and open about this. If you’re not, you will set yourselves up for disappointment. There will be a disconnect between the two of you, and likely failure.

So, how do you do this?

The short and sweet answer is to talk about it. Be honest with each other about your concerns and fears regarding the challenges and time frames associated. Maybe it’s a work assignment with predefined times, or perhaps it’s a permanent move for one of you.

Whatever the reason, discussing ahead of time the expectations for how long you’ll be apart is important for establishing the right psychological approach to your situation.

The same can be said for discussing your fears about the new dynamic in your relationship. No matter how strong your relationship is, you should each have questions and doubts about the impact it will have and how you will make it successful. It’s not a sign of weakness to admit that.

In fact, not asking can potentially create a situation where those fears will come true. But by discussing them you add the strength of your partner to your own strength as you work together to make sure things stay healthy and strong between you.

Be careful not to be too naïve or overly confident. Underestimating the impact is an easy and tempting thing to do. Being optimistic is great, but you have to be realistic and honest about the potential negatives as well.

Once you and your partner have committed to making things work, you then need to make a plan for how that will happen.

Best Practices For A Strong Long-Distance Relationship

There’s no surefire formula for making a long-distance relationship work. Each circumstance will be a bit different and each couple will have to adjust as necessary. The one certainty for every couple in this situation is the uncertainty that it will cause on a regular basis for each of you. With that said, there are some best practices that can help make the success more likely.

Agree on a goal

A permanently long-distance relationship isn’t realistic for most. While there’s always exceptions, physical proximity eventually becomes a crucial factor for a happy and healthy relationship. The time you plan to be apart may be long, short, or subject to change, but along with that understanding you need to agree upon a goal for your relationship in general.

Are you married? Do you want to get married? Do you want to eventually live in a specific area together? Are you working toward saving a certain amount of money to get to the next step? Leaving things too open-ended can lead to a lack of commitment.

Make talk dates

You may need to be flexible with this as life has a way of altering schedules, but making phone dates or FaceTime dates can give you each something to look forward to and help keep you connected.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but because you each have a life and your normal daily activities can take over, it can become easier and easier to allow these things to slip. So, treat them like a regular “date” and make a plan to “get together” on a set schedule.

Pre-plan visits

long distance relationship

This can be harder for some than for others, but try to plan ahead for visits. This may mean going to each other, or it may mean meeting in the middle, but seeing each other is an important way to keep things strong.

Word to the wise – surprise visits should be thoughtfully considered before initiated. Because of hectic schedules or set plans that can be hard to alter at a moment’s notice sometimes, a supposedly fun, surprise visit can actually backfire by causing stress and difficulty despite the good intention.

Keep things romantic

Physical romance and intimacy can be exponentially more difficult when you’re apart, but you should still make an effort. Send little mementos, romantic texts, and make sure you are open about your feelings of love and desire. And, when it’s appropriate, there are ways to create intimacy using technology. Just be smart and avoid taking pictures or doing things that leave a permanent digital record and could be harmful down the road.

See Also: 12 Tips on How to Celebrate Anniversary in a Long Distance Relationship

Trust, trust, trust

This can be especially difficult. When you’re apart it can be easy to let your imagination get the best of you and feel convinced that your partner is betraying you. This, unfortunately, is one of the biggest killers of a successful long-distance relationship. But there is a big difference between checking-in and checking-up on your partner. So, accusing them of anything without proof can put a quick end to things.

Today, more than ever, the world feels both smaller and more accessible. This means that at any point the possibility that you or your partner may have an opportunity beyond your current geography always exists. It can seem scary to consider a long-distance relationship, but people do it successfully every day. If you find yourself in this situation, you can, too, if you’re smart about it.

The post 5 Keys For Being Successful In A Long Distance Relationship 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

The post How To Handle Burnout And Toxic Stress In The Workplace appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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.

5 Questions to Ask Roofing Contractors When Hiring

As our home’s first line of defense against harsh sunlight, torrential rains, heavy snow, and the elements in general, the roof is the part of our home that tends to sustain a lot of damage over time.

Considering the importance of our roof, any sign that it has a problem must be addressed right away. That means hiring roofing contractors to fix the roof or replace it if needed.

However, it would be a mistake to just hire the first roofing contractor that comes your way. As mentioned above, your roof is a very vital part of your house, and you will want good roofers to work on it. You wouldn’t want to make mistakes like hiring people who don’t have proper insurance for roofers or roofing contractors who aren’t legally allowed to be in the business.

So when you’re interviewing potential roofing contractors, you need to ask the following questions:

What is your business’ legal name?

interviewing a roofer

There are people who pretend to be roofing contractors online and otherwise. So when you get to talk to a representative of that company, make sure you ask them about their legal business name.

If you’re talking to legitimate roofing contractors, there will be no hesitation as to the name of the company they are working for. Once you get the name, you can always do some research afterward to verify things. Legitimate roofers will be in state and federal directories, so if you do a search and the business name you were given doesn’t appear, then you’re likely being targeted by a scam.

It would also be nice if you can get them to email you a copy of their license to provide roofing services in your state, as it gives you more information that you can verify via government regulatory websites.

Do you have roofer’s insurance?

One of the biggest mistakes you can ever make is hiring a roofing contractor that doesn’t have roofer’s insurance.

Always keep in mind that roofing jobs are performed at higher than usual heights, which makes them quite dangerous. Roofing is, in fact, considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. The likelihood of them getting injured on the job or causing injury to someone else is high. There’s also the danger of them causing property damage while working on your roof.

You need to make sure that the roofing contractor you’re eyeing has roofer’s insurance, as well as worker’s compensation coverage. This will both protect you from any liability should an accident happen and result in injury or property damage.

If the prospective roofing contractor answers in the affirmative, don’t just take his or her word for it. Always ask for verifiable documentary proof. You also need to make sure that the amount of their coverage matches or exceeds minimum state requirements.

Do you have customer references?

A great source of information about the quality of work roofing contractors—or any other type of contractor, for that matter—provide are past clients. Sure, some former customers may not like the idea of being used as a reference, but in cases where it’s okay, make sure you check out the references the prospective roofing contractor provides.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of roofers cherry-picking their customer references to those they know will give them a good review, then you can look at how they’re doing in crowd-sourced review forums, where former clients won’t hesitate to tell all about any contractor they’ve worked with in the past.

Will you be the one working on my roof?

choosing a roofer

We live in a world where just about anything can be outsourced, and the roofing industry is no exception. There are roofing contractors who outsource their jobs to other roofers.

While it doesn’t automatically mean that the subcontractors they hire aren’t any good, it can be a bit uncomfortable for you to be talking to one company and doing all sorts of research on them, only to find out later that someone else you haven’t done any vetting for will be doing the job.

Then again, whether or not you’ll hire a roofing contractor that subcontracts jobs is ultimately your call.

Does your roofing work have a warranty?

It is standard practice for roofing contractors to offer a warranty for their work. If a roofing contractor says there are no warranties, cut the interview short and move on to the next one on your list. Legitimate roofers offer a warranty for their work. Most offer a year-long warranty, although some roofers offer longer ones.

There are many other questions that you might want to ask potential roofing contractors, but the five questions mentioned above should be enough to get you started on your search for the right roofer for the job.

See Also: Roof Issue: Why Metal Is Better Than Asphalt Shingles And Tiles

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Why You Need a Mindful Journaling Practice

Each person should find time to have a break and think about what is bothering them. Mindful journaling will help to figure out what is in your heart.

Our hectic lifestyles lead to stress, depression, and other similar problems. Nearly all people have this feeling when everything seems to be fine, but something is wrong. You can be successful, you can have a great life and no complaints, but some event or even conversation might leave a trace in life. Mindful journaling is a practice that is targeted at finding out what is wrong.

When you can’t get over something bad or negative, mindful journaling is supposed to help in soothing your mind. You need to find time for yourself, to focus on what is bothering you, and to figure out why you are experiencing certain feelings. Such a practice will help to categorize your feelings, to understand yourself better.

All you need to do is to spend some time alone. You don’t have to meditate and close your eyes, just think about the feelings you are experiencing, write them down, and let it go. For example, if you had an argument with someone and you can’t get over it, just process your thoughts in your mind. Think of reasons why you can’t forget this conversation, why did it affect you that much, and write down these thoughts.

By doing so, you will see clearly what is wrong. When you understand why a situation had such an impact on you, eventually, you can get over it. Mindful journalism helps to restore the peace of your mind, it gives a boost to your mental health, and you feel a lot better afterward.

How To Start Your Mindful Journaling

You can create your own scheme of how to begin your mindful journaling, but to make it easier, you can read the tips below. Just remember, your thoughts in written form are going to help you to understand yourself better.

Use Paper

We live in an era where everything is computerized. Probably, the first thought that came into your mind is to put your thoughts into a computer or tablet. But it’s better to use simple paper or even a special notebook only for your thoughts. Don’t confuse it with a diary, it is different since you note your thoughts and reasons why you are experiencing certain feelings.

When you are putting your thoughts on paper, it takes a bit longer, but that’s exactly what you need. While writing down your thoughts, you are processing them at this moment. This writing process gives you time to understand you even better. Written thoughts give you the feeling that you are in the present moment, it gives you ground. And one more thing, if you choose a notebook that you like, you will be more eager to take your journal again and open up.

Think Deeply

If you understand that a situation, event, or even someone else’s phrase has caused an impact on you, try to look at a situation from a different perspective. If you can’t get over something, for instance, if you are in conflict with someone, try to look at this situation as if you are an observer, not a participant of that conflict.

We all need advice at certain points in our lives. But who would be the best advisor in any situation if not you yourself? Try to think about a situation as if it happened not with you, but with your friend. What advice would you give?

When thinking from a different perspective, we see other details. We can’t change what has happened, or what was said at some point. It might be nagging us and that’s why we can’t get over it. But concentrating on the same details won’t help us heal from a situation. So look at it from a different perspective and eventually, you will get over it.

Date

You might want to write the date when you have expressed your thoughts on paper. It works especially well when you are trying to get over something. Writing a date might help you to leave a situation in the past and to start living in the present day. We all do the same mistake — let our regrets affect the present.

What happened in the past is already in the past. Writing the date of when you have written your thoughts will help you to start a new day without regrets. It helps you to live in the present and your negative experience won’t affect how you perceive the present. That’s how you can keep your mind sound.

Censorship Is Not Allowed

how to mindful journaling

You don’t have to be afraid of misunderstandings, you are exposing your thoughts in front of yourself. When we are talking to our loved ones, we sometimes filter what we say since we might be afraid of being misunderstood. We are carefully choosing words and phrases so the listener would definitely understand us right.

But you don’t have to hide some thoughts or feelings if you are putting your thoughts on paper. Your journal is a safe place where you can be yourself. No one will read it, it’s only yours. And you have to be completely honest with yourself, to write down your thoughts in those exact words that describe your feelings, since that’s the only way you can understand why you are experiencing these feelings and let them go.

Add A Touch Of Happiness

Do not focus only on negative things in your life. Think about what can help you in a particular situation. For example, you feel that you are not completely satisfied and you miss out on something. What could you do in this situation so you will feel better? If you are feeling lonely, you can figure out where you can meet new people. Or you can decide to call your friend, etc.

Or if everything is going well, try not to focus on small negative details by writing them down. If overall you are feeling great, encourage yourself. Think about how happy you are and write down a thought that you are doing great and should keep up the good work. Take some time and write down what makes you happy. After you put your words down, you will notice a long-lasting positive effect. Happy thoughts always have the best flavors.

See Also: Simple Yet Effective Habits For A Better, Happier Life

Start By Doing Small Steps

It’s like learning how to walk or to ride a bicycle. Start with small steps. If you don’t know where to start, just take your journal and write down some thoughts that had occurred in your mind. You don’t have to write down a detailed analysis of what you feel and why you experience these feelings. If you don’t know how to do it, write simple sentences. Eventually, you will gain experience and will figure out the best way to explore your own mind.

One of the best ways to systematize what you are feeling and experiencing is by writing down lists or bullets. For example, write down a small note reflecting your feelings, and then write down everything that comes into your mind as a list. You will understand what you mean, and everything that made no sense will finally become meaningful. That way you can solve the issue, you will understand why you are feeling in a certain way.

See Also: 5 Benefits of Journaling To Inspire and Motivate You

Keep Up The Good Work

mindful journaling tips

Considering the tips mentioned above, and your own thoughts about how to mindfully journal your thoughts, start a habit of taking your journal and writing down your thoughts. It doesn’t mean that you have to do it every day, but don’t forget to have a break sometimes and to take your journal. If you feel happy, write down what makes you happy. Process this feeling, let it go through you and you will notice that this positive effect is long-lasting.

If you feel that you are losing control over a situation or life overall, take a break, write down your thoughts. Reread them, figure out why are you experiencing these negative emotions, and figure out a way that can make you feel better.

Your journal is a safe place where you can express yourself without being judged. It will help you to understand how to make you feel happier. When you take your time and write down what makes you feel sad, you can get over this situation. That’s how you can gain full control over your life and be happy.

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How Come There Are Fewer Women than Men in Tech?

Women have made huge strides in every field, yet tech is one industry where they are still underrepresented. Even though many women are responsible for shaping the tech world the way it is today, they are not being given their due. In software development companies, women are often misunderstood, underpaid, and repeatedly passed on for promotions.

Despite there being more women in tech than ever before, it is still not enough to make a mark. Problems like sexism, hostility, and harassment are rampant in many companies. There are companies like Alphabet, Facebook, and BairesDev that focus on hiring the most deserving candidate based on their skills. However, there are still many out there who will blatantly refuse to even interview women for a tech role.

According to a report, recruiters are 13% less likely to open a woman profile, even though she may have all the skills required for the job. So what are the reasons why people think women are not suitable for tech jobs?

Discrimination

women in tech discrimination

Most people won’t believe it but women are still discriminated against in many organizations. Many software companies don’t give women responsibilities or influential positions just because they are not considered as authoritative as men.

People think women to be less technically sound than men. Most of the time, it’s the conscious bias, rather than the unconscious one, that generates this perception. Most companies have a patriarchal structure, which causes them to have even fewer women in higher positions.

According to a report, 19% of women are at the entry-level at technical companies. At the executive level, only 10% of women remain. Even the ones that remain are paid less than their male colleagues. The gender pay gap is rampant in almost all industries, but in tech, it’s quite high. For instance, there is a pay gap of 5.4% between men and women in the US.

Harassment

There have been many cases of female harassment in software companies, with a few of them getting quite a bit of coverage. The Tesla case was the one that opened everyone’s eyes about the harassment women have to face every day in these companies. Most people are not even aware of acceptable behavior and professional ethics in the office.

Social conditioning

women in tech jobs

Most women do not consider a job in application development when thinking about their futures mainly due to social conditioning. Women are not suggested to follow a career in tech, even if they show caliber for it. Also, they don’t have many strong role models to guide them.

According to PWC UK, only 3% of women would think about getting into tech, with only 30% of them studying a related subject in their university. The fact is that, even when they can get a job in the tech industry, 56% of women leave it at the most crucial points in their careers.

Funding discrimination

Women are typically not given grants and scholarships for tech projects/higher education. Also, VCs don’t fund their startups. There are a couple of reasons for that, such as women not being considered as competent as men. According to a study, women-led startups are 63% less likely to be funded than men-led startups. As per entrepreneur, the biggest VC funding to a women-driven startup was $165 million. This is in contrast to the $3 billion given to a man-driven startup. It also said that 98% of the VCs funding goes to men’s startups.

The problem is multidimensional and hard to address. Fortunately, there are a couple of measures that companies could take:

Scholarships: Many scholarships are being given to women to encourage them to take up STEM fields at undergraduate and graduate levels. Scholarships such as Amelia Earhart scholarships, IBM research internship scholarships, etc. are making women’s lives easier by helping them financially and emotionally. More of such scholarships should be offered to women. Organizations must give more internships and apprenticeship programs to women.

See Also: How Students Can Change The World With STEM Education

Increasing awareness about this issue: Women should have increased access to STEM careers. Tech should be shown as a viable and fulfilling option for women. Colleges should be told to encourage academically intelligent women towards STEM programs.

Sexual Harassment training: Most men don’t know that women are facing problems in their jobs. The need of the hour is to educate men to avoid gender discrimination. Men should be given sexual harassment training and should be told about unacceptable behaviors and NSFW language. People should refrain from saying things like “Man’s Job” or “Looks and brains.”

See Also: How to Treat a Woman With Respect

Pay gap: Software companies should make more efforts to reduce the pay gap in the industry. There should be a level playing field for both men and women.

More female role models: There should be more female role models in the tech industry. Additionally, there should be higher visibility for the women that can already serve as models. There are many great female CEOs, for example, Ginni Rometty of IBM, and Youtube CEO, Susan Wojcicki. Such women should be shown as the perfect example of women that can thrive in the tech industry.

Conclusion

Even though women have done such a massive amount for the tech industry, they are still not given their due respect in the industry. And yes, in the coming years, this will change, but only if we take the required steps in the right direction.

Many countries and regions, such as Latin America and India, are taking huge steps for empowering women and making sure that their contribution to their field doesn’t go unnoticed. But the thing that will give rise to the most effective outcome would be a change in the general mindset. Because the day people stop thinking a particular trade to be a “man’s job” is the day women will get the recognition they deserve.

The post How Come There Are Fewer Women than Men in Tech? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Eight Ways Entrepreneurs Can Finance their Business Ideas

Every entrepreneur or startup owner faces the biggest concern of financing their business. With minimal experience and no business background, entrepreneurs find it very hard to get the money at the initial level. Be it working capital or provision for the troubled times, you need money to run and grow your business. Let’s discuss some of the options that can help you get funding for nurturing your business ideas.

Before digging deep into the topic, it is necessary to go through two ways of financing your business — Equity and Debt. The equity option enables entrepreneurs to fund their business by providing an ownership stake to an investor. Here, there is no obligation of repayment. But then, you need to give up a part of your ownership in the business. It can also make you lose control over the company in the long run.

The debt option is like taking a loan for a specific period. You have to pay interest on the amount. Here, the ownership of your company is not at stake. But, if for some reason, you fail to repay the loan, the lender can take your company into liquidation. In such a scenario, you lose your company. The debt option is worth only when you have a strong financial backup.

Equity-based Funding

how to finance your startup idea

Self-funding- This is the safest way of funding for your startup. You can either use savings, personal debt, or both for your business. Also, you can consider selling assets like a second home or a boat to generate cash for your company.

Friends and family- This is a source of both equity and debt funding. Though this seems a handy source of funding, you need to remain cautious while assigning part of your business among friends and family members. Many businesses fail because key parts of business go into the wrong hands. Also, when the capital erodes, it hurts feelings and ruins friendships.

Angel investors and Crowdfunding- Affluent investors can bring capital in the startups. They are known as angel investors as they are always willing to invest in ideas they find lucrative in the future. Angel investors can also form a group of investors to spread risks and assist you to do extensive research. Local angels and the Chamber of Commerce are also good sources for funding your business at the initial stage.

Crowdfunding is also a concept similar to angel investors. The only difference here is that there is a large number of people or investors who contribute to your startup idea as per their wish. Crowdfunding has certain norms and its success rate is lower than that of angel investment. Crowdfunding is based either on equity, debt, or rewards. You can select the most suitable platform from hundreds of crowdfunding platforms.

Partnership- This is one of the strongest sources of funding for your business. Strategic partners can not only bring investment but also give new thoughts to take the business to the next level. Partners can also help your business by managing key processes. Let’s take the example of a property management company. A strategic partnership with a property maintenance company can help this company to provide 360-degree solutions.

Debt-related Funding

financing your startup

Lenders- Many lenders and organizations lend money to small businesses and startups. They lend money either at higher interest rates or ask for assets as security. Here, the interest rate is a bit tricky. For example, if the interest rate is 3% and the term is one month, then the actual annual interest rate is 36%. This is quite high as compared to a 3% rate.

Lenders are of two types- Traditional and Government lenders. Traditional lenders can be the first choice. Banks and credit unions are included in this type. This type of lenders, however, do not fund any innovative or experimental ideas. Government lenders work with the government arms to get more funds with some risks.

7a Loans- It is a type of loan that assists startups or businesses that have no collateral. Entrepreneurs with no personal or business assets are the most eligible candidates for this type of loan. However, a common man may not get this type of loan. What makes this loan attractive for entrepreneurs is the fact that the 7a loan has simple T&Cs. Entrepreneurs need to give a repayment guarantee of 85% to take this loan.

Banks- Both government and private banks lend SMEs and startups. But they need a track record and want to secure their loans by some of your assets. Banks are, however, not much friendly for SMEs and startups. Many entrepreneurs tend to stay away from banks at the initial stage because they have issues of both working capital and initial funding. In today’s time, banks have quickly become out of focus for entrepreneurs.

See Also: How to Get A Short-Term Business Loan

Venture Capitalists

They are basically the innovators of the business world. They’re constantly in search of entrepreneurs with lucrative ideas. If your idea is capable of working at a small level, you can easily convince a VC (Venture Capitalist) to support your business. VCs provide funds in two ways — equity or debt. Venture capitalists can lead your business to succeed at the international level.

Some venture capitalist companies invest in businesses by offering scholarships to entrepreneurs. Techpreneurs can leverage the benefits of these scholarships and become owners of small companies or startups at a young age. What’s more, your company can get money along with qualified business mentors through such venture capitalist companies. Simply put, VCs can assist you to launch your products while guiding your company at the initial level.

The SBA (Small Business Administration) is also a considerable debt option. It has many options but these options need a guarantee of repayment.

Concluding Lines

Many options are available to fund your business at the initial level. If you have a unique idea that you think it is worth investing, you can certainly explore various options and find the ideal one for your startup.

The post Eight Ways Entrepreneurs Can Finance their Business Ideas appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How AI Makes You A Better Photographer

Once upon a time you needed to carry camera equipment around with you if you wanted to be able to document anything throughout your day. At first, cameras were reserved for still, seated photos only, but over time camera technology improved so that cameras were easily portable.

By the 1990s and early 2000s, cameras didn’t even require film and there was no developing of pictures as everything had turned digital. As digital camera technology improved, digital cameras began to be added to cell phones, and eventually smartphone photography became commonplace.

This gave rise to all kinds of apps like Instagram, which is basically a diary of photos online. Cameras on smartphones have become highly sophisticated pieces of equipment, and part of the reason we’ve all turned into such great photographers is the technology inside those cameras.

How AI Improves Smartphone Photography

Regular cameras have automatic features that still motion and adjust aperture for the right shot. In your smartphone, this is all done with artificial intelligence, which allows a tiny camera to be packed with powerful features. The AI in your smartphone camera can detect faces, blur the background, adjust lighting, and more. Different effects create different outcomes, but in many high tech cameras the AI will take the best features from multiple shots and combine them into one perfect photo.

The artificial intelligence in your smartphone camera works by mimicking human sight, filtering out the excess information that your brain would and creating one unified image. It makes split second decisions about all the variables in your view in order to produce the best possible results.

In addition to perfect photos every time, the AI in your smartphone camera can also add fun and interesting effects to your photos and videos, change out backgrounds, create different effects, and more.

Apps Make Smartphone Cameras Even Better

present ai photography

If you want to achieve different results than your standard camera can produce, there are apps for that. Cymera Camera can help you retouch photos or add stickers for social media. The VSCO app allows you to mimic the effects of old-school films like Agfa, Kodak, and Fuji. Filmic Pro can help edit for focus, exposure, white balance, zoom, and more. Moment Pro allows for professional-grade photo editing on your smartphone.

For editing and enhancing there’s also:

  • Prisma – filters that make your photos look like paintings
  • FaceApp – lets you edit your photos to look younger or older or otherwise change your appearance
  • Adobe Photoshop Camera – swap out the background of your photos and more
  • Doublicat – put your face in a meme
  • Polaroid Lab – print your photos right from your phone onto Polaroid paper

New Hardware Turns Your Phone Into A Professional Camera

You can use your phone to create professional photos and videos for a blog or business, too. There are lots of hardware add-ons that can help you generate high quality photos and videos. If you want to shoot video for a vlog, you’ll need a gimbal. It’s a device that stabilizes your phone. You’ll also need a microphone to improve sound quality. With all the enhancements available it won’t be long before someone starts shooting movies on smartphones.

Light rings and different lenses can also enhance your photography. Light rings are fairly inexpensive and use ultra-efficient LEDs to give your photo a sense of professional lighting. Different lenses can be snapped right on to your phone for different effects. Fish eye lenses can make fun and whimsical photos, while macro and micro lenses can help you achieve specific photographic tasks.

See Also: Pictures and Pennies: How To Make Money From Photography?

Smartphone Photography Becomes Next Level

ai photography today

You can take the cover shot for a magazine with your smartphone, and even journalists are using smartphone photos in reporting on their stories. While there will always be a need for regular cameras, for our daily lives smartphone cameras have more than filled that void. Just think about all the baby pictures you see on social media on a daily basis — it’s easier than ever to document every moment and milestone.

Learn more about the high tech software and hardware that allows you to take stunning pictures with the same device you call your mom on from the infographic below. Where will this amazing technology take our smartphone photography next?

Please include attribution to https://www.ubreakifix.com with this graphic.

Smartphone Cameras: How AI Makes You Look Like a Pro [infographic]

 

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12 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Few activities have stood the test of 2500 years. Today we still have running, music, writing, swimming and… mindfulness meditation (among scarce others).

Such ancient interests that are still practiced today have a good reason for thriving so many centuries later. But while our ancestors could feel the benefits of meditation, they didn’t have the luxury of modern science to support their claims; it seemed to improve their lives, so they kept doing it.

Now, as western researchers have applied scientific rigor to mindfulness meditation, the results are in… and they’re more incredible than you might have imagined. Below are twelve science-based benefits of mindfulness meditation that will blow your mind.

Make your brain younger

A Harvard neuroscientist and her team wanted to determine whether meditation can change the brain over the long run.

Amazingly, their research found that 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter (brain cells) as 25-year-olds in the prefrontal cortex (a key brain region used for decision-making and memory), which normally declines with age. The scientists concluded that “regular practice of meditation may slow the rate of neural degeneration.”

Meditation has also been shown to fight age-related cognitive decline and even slow cellular aging. While most peoples’ memory and other brain functions decline as they get older, these effects aren’t seen to the same degree in long-term meditators.

Increase pain tolerance by 57%

mindfulness meditation benefits
Meditation has been shown to increase pain tolerance.

Your read that right: After just four days of training in mindfulness meditation, participants in one study found painful hot sensations to be 57% less unpleasant on average.

This may sound too good to be true, but there’s solid neuroscience to suggest why. As you learn to meditate, your brain can begin to separate the physical sensation of pain from your emotional reaction to it. Most of the suffering we experience, scientists have found, is a result of our psychological reaction, rather than the pain itself.

See Also: Easing Back Pain: 7 Things You Can Do To Promote Comfort

Gain back half of your waking life

Harvard researchers found that we spend an average of 47% of our days lost in thought. That’s nearly half of your waking life spent in some kind of mental simulation, daydreaming about the future or past. And the same study found that many of those thoughts are negative!

Mindfulness meditation can help you regain presence and spend less time mind-wandering. As you practice, you’ll spend more time immersed fully in whatever you’re doing and get more out of your life.

Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression

In our modern western world, millions of people suffer from anxiety and depression.

This has also led many of them to take up meditation, which has been shown to help with both mental problems. One of the reasons that mindfulness meditation helps in this area is that it teaches you to identify and detach from the harmful stories you might be telling yourself. Anxiety and depression, after all, are both negative narratives that get repeated over and over again in a mental loop.

Become more self-aware

This isn’t something that can be studied in the lab, but it’s one of the first benefits that every meditator notices at some point.

Having sat for some time directing your attention inward during mindfulness meditation, you’ve trained in the art of self-awareness (or what psychologists refer to as “introspective metacognitive awareness”). To put it one way, your mind gets good at observing itself.

This benefit doesn’t just help others, who have to deal with less of your annoying habits, but it’s also a fast path to self-improvement. Us humans are the only species on earth with this skill of “5th-degree metallization,” the mind’s capacity to become aware of its own processes.

Improve your concentration and working memory

In our current distraction crisis, it’s never been more important to have control of our attention. Furthermore, working memory is your ability to hold something in your mind in the short-term and is something that seems to be declining. Could you remember a 7-digit phone number if you had to?

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve both of these key areas of cognitive functioning. So to all the kids drinking insane amounts of caffeine to get better test scores, try meditation instead!

Diminish inflammation

Inflammation is a major underlying cause of many illnesses, including depression, heart disease, acne, and fatty liver disease. While most people look to decrease inflammation by going on a special diet or exercising, there’s another option available that takes just a few minutes each day.

Studies have confirmed meditation’s ability to help diminish inflammation. Because of the mind-body connection, mindfulness meditation benefits your body’s health as well as your brain.

Overcome addictions

Whether to a chemical drug or something more minor, like chocolate, meditation has been shown to help reduce cravings and even addiction.

Addiction recovery centers are now using meditation, along with traditional treatments, to help addicts. Brown neuroscientist Judson Brewer, Ph.D. and his team found that mindfulness meditation was as effective as any other method for helping people quit smoking.

Reduce feelings of stress

mindfulness meditation benefit
One of the benefits of mindfulness meditation is that this happens less often.

The modern world is full of things that stress us out, from traffic jams to an unreturned text message. But your brain often can’t tell the difference between those minor issues and a lion attacking you on the savannah, as it sets into the motion the fight-or-flight response.

When you meditate, the brain goes from active beta brainwave states to slower and more rejuvenating alpha and theta brainwaves. One of the first things you’ll learn to activate on command is a state of deep relaxation that you can spend more of your time immersed in.

Boost your immune system

Nobody likes getting sick, and oftentimes we think of washing our hands as the best preventative.

But it turns out there’s another way to help bolster a healthy immune system. Some of the top meditation researchers in the world, including Richard Davidson, Ph.D. and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. found that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training significantly increased key antibodies compared to a control group.

Cultivate positive emotions, like compassion

While you won’t feel happy all the time, training a mindful mentality will gradually build up positive emotions. You’ll come to appreciate the smaller things in life more and better bear turbulent times.

Meditators commonly report feeling like they can better “surf the waves” of life, even when the ocean waters aren’t perfectly calm. And you also might uncover a natural well of untapped compassion within yourself as your practice continues.

Enhance your sleep

massage therapy deepen sleep

Sleep is something that’s often viewed as a waste of time… until we get a bad night’s sleep and realize how important it is for mental clarity, mood, and productivity.

Shockingly, 40% of U.S. workers chronically under-sleep, costing over $63 billion in lost productivity each year.

And while some people try to use various cocktails or drugs to knock themselves out, oftentimes they are just knocking themselves out rather than actually sinking into a restful state.

Better to do it the old-fashioned way with an ancient practice that’s been the hero of our story: mindfulness meditation. In a randomized clinical trial, meditation significantly improved sleep quality and lessened fatigue.

How much would you pay for a “magic pill” that accomplished all of the same benefits of mindfulness meditation? But all it takes is a few minutes each day. And if you’ve tried meditation but it didn’t seem to work, it’s likely that you weren’t taught correctly.

So if you feel like getting all of these benefits for yourself, here’s where to start:

The Best Way to Learn Meditation

Many people find it best to learn from a professional app, where they can meditate on-the-go and access some of the world’s best instructors in their pockets at any time. But most of the apps provide only surface-level instruction and are trying to make a quick buck.

That’s why we recommend one app in particular, the FitMind meditation app, which was created with the help of neuroscientists and monks and takes a more in-depth approach to meditation. Unlike the other apps, you’ll learn over 50 different methods, progressing from beginner to advanced techniques.
fitmind mindfulness meditation benefits

Via fitmindFitMind teaches this same program at Fortune 500 companies, like Amazon and Uber, and was recently named the #1 meditation app for better sleep and less stress by CNET.

If you’re trying to start a meditation practice or take your current practice to the next level to reap the full benefits of mindfulness meditation, we recommend giving the FitMind program a shot.

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9 Wardrobe Essentials You Must Own

While the in-season sneakers and fashion styles tempt you to give in to the latest fashion craze, chances are, you’ll find these used-to-be trendy pieces at the back of your closet. Trends come and go, but wardrobe essentials that never go out of style last a lifetime.

Look away from fleeting fashion styles and trends. Instead, fill up your closet with classic pieces that will never go out of style. Let’s get started!

A classic white shirt

timeless fashion pieces white shirt

A good quality, crisp white tee is arguably the most versatile piece you’ll ever own. You can style it with a pair of jeans or skirt, wear under a silk dress, or tied at a waist over it. It’s a wardrobe piece you can wear any day of the year.

See Also: Ways That Will Make You Love Your White Tee Even More

A go-to little black dress

A staple LBD—there’s no explanation needed for why you need one in your closet. But, if you must really know, a nice black dress that suits your silhouette at a modest length can go from day to night.

An all-around pair of black trousers

Whether they’re wide-legged, tie-waist, or pleated, you need at least one pair of fail-safe black pants. For days when you don’t know what to wear, it’s a good wardrobe piece that will go well with anything—white tee, sweater, cropped top… you name it.

A for-any-occasion dress

A bold, floral printed dress is an essential piece to complete your wardrobe. You can wear it for any occasion and season. Moreover, you can dress up in it for a cute daytime date or lunch out with friends.

If you’re not into florals, you can opt for a delicate silk slip dress. It’s one of those versatile and stylish pieces that you can wear for leisurely days (to long nights) or party nights with your girlfriends.

A versatile pair of minimal sneakers

Chunky sneakers emerged into the fashion spotlight several months back, but a good pair of classic sneakers will remain in style no matter how many trendy footwear surfaces. Think of it as the traditional white tee. Whether you’re wearing a slip dress, a white tee-denim jeans fit combo, or an LBD, you can put an effortless spin with a nice pair of white sneakers.

A chic yet comfy pair of ballet flats

From Audrey Hepburn to Meghan Markle, a lot of celebrities have been spotted with a good and sophisticated pair of ballet flats that completes the whole look. The best part—they’re just the right balance of comfort and style. You can wear it to dress up your cocktail dress for a date night or a business casual day at work.

See Also: What to Wear On A Business Trip: 5 Outfit Ideas You Can Try With Flats

A laid-back pair of denim jeans

timeless fashion pieces denim jeans

Jeans will never be out of style. It’s a classic piece that you can wear when dressing up or down. It works well as an off-duty look or a casual fit for when you’re running errands. It’s also something which you can wear throughout the year, whatever the season. Toss over a coat, and you can don it during wintertime.

A chic white button-down

How do you know if you have the perfect pair of white button-down? When it can pair seamlessly with anything, be it with a pair of black trousers, denim jeans, or a pencil skirt. It makes you look polished. Plus, a white blouse is office-appropriate. You can buy a couple of different styles and wear them to work—sort of like a uniform.

A cozy sweater

The perfect sweater is not only comfortable and stylish, but it also works well tucked in boyfriend jeans, over black pants, and even paired with a feminine skirt. If you lay your eyes on one and instantly liked it, get one in at least two colors.

Summing it up

Spend less time curating your outfits or thinking you have nothing to wear when you have a closet full of trendy and statement pieces. The solution to this fashion dilemma is to dial it back a bit to a more minimalist wardrobe.

When you finally get your hands on the perfect white tee and little black dress that you can whip out on any occasion at any time, you have one less thing to worry about when heading out. Think about revamping your wardrobe and style—switching to timeless pieces—as one way to shape an improved version of you.

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Creating Your Personalized Productivity Tool Kit: Top 10 Tools to Consider

Wouldn’t it be great if you complete a task that usually takes 20 minutes, within a fraction of seconds? It would surely save your time, which further can be utilized for other important tasks. Needless to mention, when you complete more tasks on a daily basis, your business is likely to enjoy exponential growth. You can improve your chances of success by exploiting personal productivity tools.

Arrays of software are available in the market that allow professionals to automate most of the tasks and keep track of everything. These tools offer outstanding features that aid in creating tasks, setting timelines & reminders, performance tracking, time tracking, creating reports, team collaboration, file sharing, etc. Simply put, these features will take your team’s productivity to another level.

With so many tools around, you may wonder what is the most popular personal productivity software to boost time management skills? We have sorted out the following personal productivity tools that will help skyrocket your productivity.

ProProfs Project

best productivity tools proprofs project

It is a robust online project management software that boosts productivity by simplifying most project-related tasks.

Features

  • An intuitive dashboard helps in managing and organizing project-related tasks, tracking progress, collaborating with the team, delegating tasks, and creating reports.
  • Task dependencies to save time and meet deadlines.
  • File sharing and internal commenting to discuss particular tasks or projects.
  • Gantt charts to check out the progress of each project.

Pricing

It is free for a lifetime in the basic version. Its premium version starts at $19 per month.

TickTick

It is an intuitive and effective personal productivity software or app that can aid in scheduling and managing your tasks.

Features

  • With this personal tool kit, you can classify your work according to deadlines, make notes and checklists, prioritize your targets and sort your goals in accordance with priority, date, and title.
  • It works as a productivity planner and enables you to achieve your goals.
  • No matter whether your goals concern shortening project completion time or sharing a to-do list with team members, TickTick is a one-stop solution to all your problems.
  • As this personal productivity software is intuitive and user-friendly, you can add reminders and tasks swiftly and effortlessly.

Pricing

Starts at $2.99 per user per month.

Google Drive

best productivity tools google drive

You prefer to work smarter, don’t you? Google Drive is one such productivity management software that helps you work smartly and be more productive in accomplishing tasks in your daily life.

Features

  • It is cloud-based software to add files (docs, sheets, and presentations) and works on them in real-time.
  • All Google account holders get 15 Gb storage space for free.
  • You can save your attachments, keep your files and documents in a particular folder, and even make presentations on this drive.
  • You can share your saved files with your colleagues and friends so that they can view, download, and edit them.

Pricing

It is free until 15 GB. Subscription for Google Drive starts at $1.99 per month.

Evernote

Gone are the days when you take your notebook out and take notes about work schedules, deadlines, etc. Thanks to technological advancements, we can now use an application for taking notes. Evernote is an easy-to-use software that enables its users to make notes and create to-do lists online.

Features

  • Save all your files and notes in real-time by using this cloud-based software.
  • You can use a smartphone, computer or tablet to access this user-friendly application, which can be synced across all devices.
  • It serves as a productivity management software, which offers help regarding note-making, archiving, organizing, and task management.

Pricing

It is free for a lifetime. Its premium version starts at $7.99 per month.

Last Pass

You might have to keep all the passwords in your head and use them as and when required. But have you ever thought what would happen if you lose these passwords or forget them? It will hamper your workflow. This is where Last Pass steps in to release the pressure.

Features

  • Last Pass is a personal productivity software that helps to keep and protect all passwords.
  • Creating an account on LastPass is as easy as creating an email ID. All you need to do is to set login credentials to access your LastPass Account.
  • You can even generate passwords for your business accounts by using this software.
  • You just need to remember the master password of the LastPass account, and this application will do the rest for you.
  • It supports auto-filling the app logins and web browsers.

Pricing

Free, Premium pack for $2 per month, and a family pack for $4 per month

Beeminder

best productivity tools beeminder

Have you ever come across any tools that help you in visualizing your goals? Beeminder is one such tool that aids in the visualization of goals and sets measurable targets for accomplishing them.

Features

  • Whether it is about hitting the gym, learning a new skill, spending time on a project with a strict deadline, or anything else, this app can help you focus on your targets.
  • It keeps track of time and sends notifications to keep you updated about new changes in the project’s success.
  • The software helps in keeping all distractions at bay.

Pricing

Starting from $15 per month.

Toggl

Online time tracking software, Toggl is extremely helpful for consultants, graphic designers, and freelancers. So, how does this software help?

Features

  • It keeps track of time spent on each task and also reviews concerning prudent use of time.
  • You can access this software through your computer, tablet, or smartphone and keep a tab on the number of hours spent on a particular project.
  • You can convert Toggl time tracking data into insightful reports, which further can be exported in PDF, Excel or CSV format.
  • A powerful dashboard helps in monitoring the progress of the project.

Pricing

Starting at $9 per month.

Todoist

Todoist is a robust productivity tool that helps in organizing all your tasks. It helps in creating tasks, delegating them, setting deadline and tracking tasks.

Features

  • It reminds you about preset deadlines from time to time.
  • Subtasks can be created for better organization and prioritization.
  • You get timely notifications when team members add comments, begin a task, or complete it.
  • It shows daily and monthly reports.

Pricing

It offers a three-tier pricing, which are as follows: free, premium, and business. Pack available from $29 per year.

Spark

Spark App is an email management app by Readdle that keeps your productivity up by syncing and organizing your emails.

Features

  • It is loaded with built-in capabilities that allow this tool to analyze your emails and help you classify them according to the priority.
  • This tool groups the emails in categories such as personal, newsletter, and notifications.
  • The app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows users.

Pricing

Starting from $9.99 per month.

Any.Do

best productivity tools any do

Any.Do is a popular productivity tool among users, as it comes with multiple functionalities from task management to to-do lists. This tool allows you to remain organized, thereby, maximizing productivity.

Features

  • It is a very robust tool that combines tasks, calendars, lists, and reminders.
  • It keeps you stay on track, which enables you to plan and manage your tasks effectively.
  • The app is accessible from multiple devices

Pricing

Starting from $4.99 per month.

Create your personalized productivity tool-kit by picking any software from this list!

No matter what your profession is, automating your life with these useful tools is necessary to enhance your experience and maintain a balance between your professional and personal life.

The post Creating Your Personalized Productivity Tool Kit: Top 10 Tools to Consider appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How Gen Z Is Revolutionizing Our College Approach

Those in Generation Z are the youngest alive, but their advanced wisdom is considered to be ahead of their years. Today, the average teenager and young adult is all business, putting the bulk of their focus on their future.

Gen Zers are privy to a high-level of socioeconomic consciousness, such as the fact that nearly half of the American workforce is living on less than an $18,000 annual income. As their generation approaches adulthood, they’re searching for a better future than the economical climate they’re observing — and 82% consider college the most realistic way to get there.

To do so, the Gen Z population is completely reshaping how we interact with higher education. At large, students are prioritizing scholarship before work, not even showing interest in summer gigs and after-school jobs. Even though 12.6% of their generation is unemployed, Gen Z will go on to make up nearly a quarter of the American workforce by just 2028. More importantly, this is their preference. But why?

Rising student debt has made Gen Z reluctant toward higher education. This isn’t to say our youngest generation isn’t attending college, because this isn’t the case. Instead, students are taking more strategic approaches in the ways they choose which college to attend and the financial packages they receive. Most just want the assurance they’ll get their money’s – and degree’s – worth before enrolling into a specific university.

gen z college

This is why we’re seeing more K-12 students grow interest in their education. I bet you never thought you’d see a statistic telling you that students are obsessed with learning. Spending almost one hour more per week than within the years of 2005-2009, the average

Gen Z student spends 6.48 hours per week on homework. The number of students engaging in volunteer work has also grown. In fact, it has doubled since 1985-1989, as the average student dedicates 2.66 hours per week to volunteer work.

See Also: Why Volunteering Is Important In Getting Your First Job

Furthermore, nearly half of Generation Z high school students have already earned transferable college credits. This is just another example of how today’s youngest generation is ahead of the game. To put it numerically, 74.8% of 2015’s high school students had earned college credit before completing their K-12 career. In 1985, this number was significantly less — only 58.7% of students achieved this. However, the availability for dual-credit courses was not at the level it is today.

college and gen z

Upon entering college, the generation’s ambition still seems to grow strong. Today, fewer college students than ever are working while in school. Why so? To Gen Zers, education trumps all. However, some do work — they’re just working less.

From 2010-2016, college students worked an average of 6.66 hours per week. During 1985-1989, this number was dramatically higher, and the average college student worked 11.26 hours per week. To put these numbers in another form, 57% of college students held a job from 2010-2016. In 1985-1989, 74% of college students held employment.

Now let’s relate this to national employment.

In December 2019, 145,000 new jobs were created in the U.S. The following month, unemployment fell to 3.5%, which was down from the 3.9% unemployment rate the following year. For those aged 20+, the unemployment rate is even lower. Women older than 20-years-old fall into an unemployment rate of 3.2%, men: 3.1%. Interestingly enough, only 0.7% of Americans have been without work for more than six months.

Still, unemployment numbers don’t describe the entire dynamic of America’s future job market that Gen Z is preparing themselves for. Nearly 9 in 10 of Gen Z college graduates took their desired field’s job availability into account before selecting a major. Today, the fastest-growing American employers are within the service industry, including: retail, healthcare, and hospitality.

However, it’s not even in the interest of most Gen Z students to enter the fields they’re cushioning themselves to fall back on. 92% of Gen Z students expect to work for less than six employers throughout their lifetime. In further ambition, 60% plan to start a business someday, and 38% plan to pursue an advanced degree.

See Also: GenZ and Money: How GenZ Faces Their Financial Fears

For Gen Z, it’s all about employment. In fact, Gen Z is projected to become history’s most entrepreneurial and educated generation yet. Check out the infographic below for the complete analysis explaining how Gen Z is reshaping the college years.
How Gen Z is Reshaping the College Years
Source: Online College Plan

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Accepting Partner’s Friends: 3 Steps For Dealing With Your Wife’s Annoying Friend

You love your wife — flaws and all. But sometimes, the flaws are far easier to deal with than that one, insanely annoying friend that she insists on keeping in her life. And yours. Sounds familiar?

Before you agree to spend the rest of your life with someone, there are many things that you should discuss. Finances, family planning, and future goals are all no-brainers. But what about accepting your partner’s friends?

You can’t tell your partner who they can and can’t be friends with, but the people they associate with do impact your life. This makes figuring out how to best deal with personality conflicts between you and the people your partner is close to a crucial, and often overlooked, step for a harmonious relationship.

So what should you do if you really, really can’t stand your wife’s friend(s)? Check out these three steps for some guidance on accepting your partner’s friends.

Step One – Weird, Annoying, Or Toxic?

accepting partners friends analyze

Before you actually do anything, you need to figure out what it is that really bothers you so much about the offensive friend. Is it just a personality clash or do you really feel that she’s a bad influence?

Figuring this out means that you will need to make sure you take some notes. It may seem like a strange thing to do, but actual written notes are more accurate and reliable than mental notes.

And if you’ve gotten to the point where you feel something needs to be done, having specific examples to discuss is helpful and important. It will also allow you to reflect on what it is that you’re seeing and feeling, whether there are valid concerns, and what you think needs to happen.

You may also need to consider whether your issues have more to do with you than with her. Are you possibly jealous of the time that your wife spends with this friend, or the amount of fun they have together? This doesn’t mean there’s not a problem and it doesn’t need to be discussed, but understanding this will make it a very different kind of conversation.

See Also: How To Distance Yourself From Toxic People Without Them Noticing

Step Two – What Do You Want To Do?

Annoying people exist everywhere.

If your wife’s friend is just a really annoying person, she may just be someone you need to put up with. A whiny voice or obsession with cat videos can be irritating. However, if she’s your wife’s BFF, then you may want to find reasons to be somewhere else when she’s around.

But if your wife is friends with someone who’s toxic or somehow detrimental to your wife or your relationship, that’s a different story.

Once you have taken the time to observe and reflect, it’s time to decide what you want to do and why. If this friend you can’t stand is taking advantage of your wife, a narcissist or enticing her into making poor decisions or behaving in unhealthy or irresponsible ways, then you will need to plan for a conversation.

Friendships come in all shapes and sizes.

Unfortunately, however, they can sometimes be very unbalanced. Friends who bring drama or need to be rescued all the time can drain a person and that person’s other relationships. If this is the case, your wife may feel responsible to help her or feel guilty if she doesn’t.

It’s possible that she needs help from you to see things from a larger perspective. To understand that what she’s doing is enabling bad behavior and not actually being a good, helpful friend.

If, however, this person that appeals to your wife’s wild side (or irresponsible side), and things like girls’ nights are becoming more and more dangerous – to her or your relationship – she may not be aware of how her behavior is affecting you, your family, and potentially, even her.

In this case, your wife will need to examine her own behavior and the reasons she continues to participate. Word to the wise — people don’t love to admit they need to change or that they’re doing anything wrong.

Step Three – Talking To Your Wife

accepting partners friends talking with your wife

Once you are certain that a conversation is the appropriate next step, you’ll need to make sure you approach things the right way. Saying, “I hate Jane and you need to stop hanging out with her,” or “It’s her or me babe — you choose” are examples of what NOT to do.

You’ll need to be mindful of the importance of friendships and accepting partner’s friends. And that trying to influence her friend choices may seem controlling and not be well-received. Choosing the right time, approaching it with understanding and kindness, and having some real, impartial examples of your concerns are all crucial.

Bear in mind that there may be no resolution to this situation right away. These relationships can be complicated for many reasons. But if you really feel there’s a reason to be concerned and your wife’s annoying friend is potentially worse than simply annoying, continue to have gentle conversations when appropriate. Her respect for you and your relationship will likely mean she’s taking things to heart more than you realize.

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5 Tips for Aging Men And Women to Improve Memory and Focus

Memory and focus are both parts of the psyche negatively affected by age. Fortunately, there are tons of tips on how to keep your memory sharp.

As both memory and focus play integral roles in completing everyday activities, working to keep them sharp can help avoid a number of problems that come with aging. This includes memory loss, decreased independence, physical health problems, and serious mental issues like depression and suicidal thoughts.

Here we have outlined 5 tips for aging men and women to keep their focus and memory strong and ultimately avoid the physical and mental health issues that often accompany memory loss.

Mental Exercise

keeping your memory sharp

Exercising your mind is a great way to keep it young. Saying the word “neurobics” is a brain exercise in itself, but it is, indeed, a real science. Many resources online offer easy-to-use programs and games to work out the brain. For the phone-savvy, there is a wide array of mental exercise games available in the app stores.

Things you already do may also be mental exercises, such as newspaper games like crosswords and Sudoku. Anything that makes you think is contributing to your mental aerobics!

Sleep

Sleep leads to a more focused mind and a well-rested memory. If getting more sleep is something that seems like a difficult challenge, there are many healthy ways to extend the number of hours your mind is at rest.

Some of these coincide with mental exercise, such as reading before bed or listening to music. The easiest way to try to improve your sleep is to simply go to bed when you feel tired, even if it seems early or late.

See Also: Importance Of Sleep: How It Can Put Your Health In Serious Jeopardy

Social Activity

This may be the opposite of sleeping, but it’s just as important for memory and focus improvement. Connecting with individuals, especially new individuals keeps the mind fresh.

Staying in contact with friends or re-building an old friendship is as easy as ever, thanks to technological advances. Calling family or friends and catching up for a while helps trigger memories. Meeting new people, on the other hand, makes the brain focus to realize who they are and what they’re telling you.

There are many avenues for the senior population to meet new people, including senior fitness classes and senior sports leagues like bowling and golf.

Exploration

Though jumping in an RV and going to a place you’ve never been is certainly worthy of being called “exploring”, you can take your brain for an excursion without leaving your town or even your home.

In relation to the social aspects above, going to unfamiliar places strengthens the brain. This can mean a new restaurant in town, a new park down the street or a bookstore that you haven’t been to in a while.

Different environments force the brain to adapt and learn something new. Exposing yourself to these environments can be a very enjoyable form of mental exercise.

Diet

keep your memory sharp

A diet consisting of eating fruits and vegetables is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. Increasing the “good” cholesterol and decreasing the “bad” cholesterol (steak, dairy, fried foods) can be as instrumental in preventing memory loss.

Trying a new healthy restaurant is a great way to exercise the brain with new activities while also starting a healthier diet!

See Also: 5 Practical Tips to Boost Energy and Brain Power

Taking small steps every day to work on your mental processes can pay off largely in the long run. After all, there’s nothing more important than mental health.

The post 5 Tips for Aging Men And Women to Improve Memory and Focus appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Using Machine Learning and AI for Productivity In The Workplace

For the majority of us, AI is something only seen in sci-fi films. However, in the last few years, it’s ended up being much more accessible to us, specifically in business.

With technological innovation advancing at breakneck speed, there are now a variety of ways that AI can be utilized to enhance your productivity. Improving procedures such as recruitment, administration, and information analysis, smart software can be an indispensable asset as far as running a business goes.

Will AI substitute human workers?

In short, no — it does have limitations.

While it might be a concern, what we’re in fact seeing today is the opportunity to improve efficiency. It’s a chance to better manage a workforce. Essentially, it allows you to get a better grip of the daily operations of your business.

If anything, it’s making business a lot more human by offering breathing space and reducing stress. It enhances the mental health and well-being of your workforce as a result.

Just 23% of organizations are believed to have incorporated AI into their processes according to Forbes. But, come the next 5 years, the AI market is anticipated to grow by 50%. Despite organization size, it can be used. There are a number of ways that you can use AI for productivity.

How can Artificial Intelligence benefit you?

Using AI for recruitment

ai productivity

One crucial area of your business where AI can be implemented is the recruitment procedure. When your company is ready to employ, you need to be able to produce the best pool of candidates as rapidly as possible.

Utilizing recruitment firms for pre-screening isn’t unusual. However, it can be expensive. Also, it’s unlikely to use the exact same thorough, personalized analysis that an AI program would.

Recruitment agents are profit-driven, too. They are likely to tip the scale in their favor when the time comes to present a candidate to you. This isn’t something AI does.

Tools such as Pymetrics use a series of “ethical AI games” to evaluate a candidate’s cognitive and emotional characteristics. It can also match the outcome against existing workers who perform well. This gives you a customized image of where a candidate may fit within your business.

By putting these steps in motion, it’s said that it can take 75% less time to employ somebody and boost retention rates by as much as 50%.

Give AI the long, uninteresting tasks

There are specific jobs that nobody likes doing, but need doing regardless. This is where AI can be of real benefit in terms of productivity.

While some may worry this is where they’ll lose their job to a machine, it’s anticipated that there will actually be net positive job growth into the 2030s. This is when the labor force transitions into higher skilled roles.

Reasons to use AI for certain functions

Speed of execution – AI systems can make countless decisions all at once, unlike a human.

Less biased – It’s hard not to cast some sort of judgement or prejudice as a human. This isn’t a trait AI is capable of, therefore any decision it makes is totally fact-based.

No saturation point – AI will never ever stress out or need breaks, meaning the overall time taken to perform a task is substantially decreased.

Accuracy – No human indicates there’s no human error.

Boredom – Often, errors occur through boredom, it can be hard to stay focused on a long, complicated task. This isn’t the case for a smart machine.

What tasks might you turn over to AI?

We’re not in any way suggesting you make team members surplus to requirements in favour of AI. Hoowever, there are roles that can definitely take advantage of harmonizing their efforts.

Here are four job roles where AI can help lighten the load:

Data Analyzing

With a need to collect and evaluate huge quantities of data to find patterns and opportunities, many companies will turn to a Data Analyst to help them stay ahead of the game. With the development of social networks and eCommerce as a whole, there’s been a 344% increase in demand for information researchers since the early 2010s. However, with a typical wage of $130,000, that’s not always going to be within every business’ budget.

AI tools such as Deloitte’s LaborWise can provide managers with analytics to recognize high-cost locations, roadblocks and even supply information about which departments are overworked or understaffed.

Demand Forecasting

Using artificial intelligence tools, you can evaluate mathematical models relevant to your organization. They can help forecast changes in demand, avoid supply interruptions, and properly prepare for when a new item launches. According to consultancy company McKinsey, this can minimize supply chain errors through miscalculations by approximately 50%.

See Also: Can AI Streamline Your Supply Chain And Save Your Business?

Administration

chatbots

Once again, we’re not suggesting AI can replace all human elements of the role. However, it can definitely make things easier.

Here are a few tools that can be specifically useful for simplifying your administration processes:

X.ai – Connecting all of your calendars, the AI algorithms will instantly coordinate the best times to arrange meetings, whether internally or when meeting with clients.

Otter.ai – Almost like an AI PA system that takes minutes, Otter can develop rich notes from meetings, interviews and other crucial voice conversations– ensuring absolutely nothing is missed out on and all points are covered.

Spoke – Essentially an HR service desk, it can respond to questions about basically anything HR-related, including requests for annual leave and internal processes. If it can’t help, it will direct the query to a suitable person within the group.

Skype Translator – If you need a conversation translating, it can do so in near real-time. This makes interactions with any foreign market completely possible.

MobileMonkey – You can train a chatbot like MobileMonkey to respond to frequently asked questions on your website. If it can’t address the needs of the end user, the chat will be directed to a human. Using chatbots can considerably minimize the number of customer queries that come through by phone or email, and 80% of sales and marketing leaders state they already utilize chatbot software or plan to by the end of 2020.

Marketing

If there’s one area that’s really beginning to embrace artificial intelligence, it’s marketing, particularly digital. With Google’s application of machine learning algorithms such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) for SEO and Smart Bidding for paid marketing, how the industry works is now very much tailored to favour AI and automation.

Advances in AI and software intelligence is enabling businesses to personalize their products and services better. This results in a more customized approach to how they market themselves to consumers. A recent research piece by Accenture suggests that customers are reacting well to this, with 83% of consumers in the US and UK willing to trust retailers with their data in order to receive more tailored, appropriate outcomes.

This willingness from consumers is encouraging and 64% of B2B online marketers consider AI to be an important part of their sales and marketing strategy.

See Also: How Artificial Intelligence Will Dominate the Future of E-commerce

Learning with AI

Beyond the recruitment process, you can utilize AI to train staff. This can be especially beneficial when working with a number of new starters. If your organization has a particular way of managing certain jobs, AI can make sure that training is consistent and thorough. There are a few AI tools that can be used for on-site training. Here are two examples that are worth checking out:

Training tools such as Chorus can analyse sales calls as they happen, offering real-time tips to sales representatives as required. This suggests there ought to be little need to shadow a new starter and the sales representative is able to learn at their own pace and experience the training “on the job”.

A similar tool called Cogito can produce real-time suggestions while someone is making a sales call but focuses more on mindfulness and their approach. For instance, when learning something new like telesales, it’s rather easy to quicken your conversation due to nerves — this tool can remind you to take a breather and slow down.

The Future of AI

As it stands, the implementation of AI into our everyday working life seems inescapable, whether we like it or not. As a growing number of organizations welcome more innovation and automation, to try and prevent it could mean you’re left out of the game.

Those that have actually integrated AI into their workflow strategy are seeing the rewards when it comes to speed, efficiency, and precision. This is despite worries that it could indicate an end to human jobs. 

At the heart of the matter, those jobs that were traditionally lengthy, resource-intensive or laborious, are now being transformed into higher-skilled, more proficient roles.

The post Using Machine Learning and AI for Productivity In The Workplace appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Top 9 Financial Mistakes of Young Entrepreneurs You Need to Be Aware Of

Thousands of young businessmen and women start new companies in the United States each year. Most will not last. However, whether you decide to form a limited liability company or go out on your own, you can increase the odds that your business will be one of the few that makes it. Success is not a question of good genes or dumb luck; it’s usually just about being prudent. Avoid these nine common financial mistakes of young entrepreneurs.

Not Separating Personal and Business Assets

You should always keep your personal and business assets separate. Not only does this help to streamline your business operations, it also allows you to take advantage of tax deductions, such as writing off business expenses.

One way is to set up a limited liability company (LLC). There are many benefits to establishing an LLC, including the ability to safeguard your personal assets if your business loses money or in case of a lawsuit.

Racking Up Personal Credit on Business Expenses

financial mistake of young entrepreneurs

If you’re using the same credit card for your movie tickets as you are for ordering branded stationery, you need to stop. Don’t mix your personal and business spending. Business credit card issuers stipulate that you can only use these cards for business purposes anyways, so it’s best to steer clear of such practices.

Another key reason for keeping your personal and business spending separate is that putting both expenses on the same credit card jeopardizes the protections that having a limited liability company gives you. Most business expenses are tax deductible, so separating personal and business spending makes life easier during tax time.

Not Preparing for Unforeseen Circumstances

When you’re young, it’s hard to imagine difficult situations such as death and divorce. However, it’s important to make provision for unforeseen circumstances to protect your loved ones—and your business. Having a buy-sell agreement in place outlines what will happen with your shares of a business should the worst occur.

You can use a revocable living trust to decide who will get your property when you die. This can be altered as your wishes and circumstances change, but the most attractive aspect of a living trust is that it allows you to avoid probate. Probate is the legal process of handling an estate, and it can be expensive and complex.

It may not be very romantic, but if you have your own business, it’s also a good idea to sign a prenuptial agreement before you get married. This legally binding contract describes who owns what assets, and how those assets would be distributed in a divorce.

Foregoing Insurance

Insurance is a legal requirement if you have employees, but even if you are a solo operation, insurance protects you if anybody makes a claim against your business. Business Owners’ Insurance provides an income if your business is temporarily out of action due to a disaster, and covers expenses such as rent and utilities you would’ve incurred during that period.

You may be cash-strapped when you’re starting out, but not taking out insurance could become a very costly false economy.

Not Planning for Taxes

When you first launch your business, it can be tempting to focus all your energy on generating income. But have you thought about taxes?

How LLCs are taxed depends on the number of members it has, and whether you decide to treat your LLC as a different business form for tax purposes.

This checklist from the IRS will help you ensure that your new business complies with federal tax requirements. Each state has its own tax rules, too. It’s not all bad news, though: You can also take advantage of tax incentives relating to energy use and other aspects of your business.

Not Paying Yourself

financial mistakes of young entrepreneur

It’s very common for young entrepreneurs to deny themselves an income. However, you should still pay yourself the market rate for the job you’re doing as soon as the business can afford to do so. When you don’t compensate yourself, it can be hard to determine whether your business model is profitable.

Not Hiring/Speaking to an Accountant

When you are starting out, it can be tempting to try to do everything yourself. This is understandable, considering that your funds are probably limited, and your enthusiasm is unbridled. However, thinking you can be your own accountant can end up saving you money upfront, but costing you more over time. Unless you have financial training, you’re better off hiring a professional. He’ll be able to help you build a strong foundation for your business and save you money in the long term.

Expanding Too Quickly

While it may seem hard to believe, growing too quickly can sometimes be as bad as not growing at all. This is largely because rapid expansion can put too much pressure on your fledgling business, and you have neither the infrastructure nor the experience to deal with it.

The result can be customer dissatisfaction because of your inability to handle an influx of orders, employee burnout from too many long days, and even cash flow problems because you might be shelling out for inventory while customers owe you money.

Insufficient Capital

Likely the biggest mistake that young entrepreneurs make is not having enough money to fund their business properly. Either you, your partners, and/or your shareholders need to invest sufficient capital in the business to ensure its success.

If your business focuses largely on providing services (for example, copywriting or web design), you may not need much capital. However, it’s still worth remembering that the leading cause of failure for all businesses is a lack of money.

See Also: Get Your Business Running With These Business Funding Solutions

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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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The Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Doer

Sometimes, we spend an inordinate amount of time talking about our ideas, dreams, and aspirations. It is easy to content ourselves with simply having lofty ideas and not realizing their sheer abundance.

Anyone who has taken a breath has likely had an idea that could have literally changed the course of his or her life in a revolutionary way. Unfortunately, such ideas rarely get implemented. According to Mark Twain, “the secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

If you are tired of inactivity robbing you of your potential, then here are 15 ways to be a doer.

Dreams and Mental Preparedness

Cultivate Your Dream

achieving goals

What would you attempt to do if you knew that you could not fail?

In so many cases, your answer will account for a mere fraction of your potential. This is important.

In order for one to unlock such potential, he must be able to move past mental barriers. Accordingly, meditate on what winning will feel like for the next 30 days. Saturate your mind with the next level, but don’t stop there. Write the vision. Make it plain. Unlock your dormant dreamer and doer!

We tend to move in the direction of our most dominant thought.

Don’t be contained by limited thinking. Your dreams should inspire you to move beyond your comfort zone and into action. Your dreams should also inspire awe from observers.

Whether your dream is prosperity and wealth, helping thousands of people, fitness or a phenomenal career, cultivate your dream. Remember that the dream is the fuel and your plan is the map!

Relinquish Regret

Regret is usually a waste of time – Thomas Crown.

Languishing in regret and despair over past mistakes is counterproductive. It will just rob you of your joy. The energy expended on regret could be put to much better use, like realizing your dreams.

Everyone makes mistakes or missteps occasionally, but the key is extracting the lessons from mistakes and minimizing or even evading future losses. To err is human, but to forgive is divine.

Forgive yourself today.

See Also: How to Avoid The Regret of Yesterday And The Fear of Tomorrow

Let Go of the Stigma of Failure

Similarly, you should not let the fear of failure stop you from working on your goals. John F. Kennedy said those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.

Dave Ramsey, Robert Kiyosaki, Suze Orman, and many others have tasted what many would characterize as failure, only to later achieve extraordinary success. The key lesson is that there is another act to your life’s play.

In How to Appreciate the Pain of Financial Problems, I discussed how failure can be instructive and how it’s just often temporal. It’s simply a matter of opinion that can unleash your creativity.

Don’t let the stigma of failure stop you from achieving your goals, even if you experience an initial setback. If you made a mistake, you are in great company.

Know Yourself

Knowing yourself is so important to getting the maximum return on your efforts. You are unique and have tremendous value. Sometimes, we begrudge our differences from others rather than embracing them.

For example, when I was in pharmacy school, I discovered how I preferred to learn. Sometimes, it was different from the others in my classes.

However, knowing my learning preferences ended up being a great benefit to me because I began to cater to them. Had I not understood and embraced my individuality, content that I now devoured readily would have continued to take me a long time to understand, analyze or evaluate. It is important that every doer honor his differences and use them to his competitive advantage.

Goals and Planning

Plan to Win

To Type-A personalities, it may seem intuitive that making a plan dramatically increases the odds of achieving. However, so many of us fail to systematically plan our finances, careers, health, and our relationships.

Failure to plan is planning to fail.

What’s your success plan?

Often, what is lacking is a plan of action specifying precisely what we want our lives to look like in the next three years and what 6 steps we will take to achieve our goals. A goal without a plan of implementation is a pipe dream. Decide on a course of action today.

Prioritize

Attempting too much is just as dangerous as not attempting anything. Focus is blinding. By focusing on your priorities, you can block out distractions. Sometimes, that means putting down something that is important for a passion that must happen.

Thomas Edison said that he has more respect for the guy with a single idea who
develops it than the person with 1,000 ideas but does nothing.

We shouldn’t unnecessarily dichotomize everything into “good” or “bad” when it comes to goals. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of “now” versus “later”.

Harness the power of focus to unleash a determination and passion for your dreams that will make you unstoppable.

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

Start Small

Don’t despise small beginnings.

How do you eat an elephant?

The answer is one bite at a time. Just because your goal is to lose 40 pounds this year doesn’t mean you are a failure for losing 10 pounds in the first three months.

In fact, even if you only loss five pounds but have improved your cardiovascular conditioning, diet, and muscularity, you have made significant progress.

Don’t be discouraged by the need to tweak your plan to account for life. Instead,
acknowledge your progress and continue moving in the right direction. Remember, people
cannot always be what they are not, but they can become what they are not.

Set a Time Limit on Preparation

I love preparation as much as anyone, but doers often set a limit on preparation time.

The downside with spending too much time preparing is that you may never get started. In Poke the Box, Seth Godin argues that it is easy to fall so in love with starting that we never start. If you truly are progressively moving towards your goals via preparation, go for it.

There are some things (and even certain professions) that require years of preparation before they are achieved. However, make sure that you are not using preparation as an excuse to avoid action.

Setting realistic expectations on how much time should be allotted for laying groundwork is a great way to keep preparation time reasonable.

Admit the Joylessness of Over-reaching

While I love setting audacious goals, I also have to caution you regarding goal-setting fatigue. If you are constantly over-reaching, then you risk burnout.

You can still stretch yourself and have phenomenal goals without being perpetually miserable because your goals are so huge that they require miracles to accomplish.

Don’t allow your motivation to wane because you set yourself up for disappointment. Treat such stretch goals as just that: goals designed to push you out of your comfort zone.

Know that they are a part of your overall success plan, but don’t despair if your plans sometimes take longer or go in a different direction than you initially expected. By pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, you are often still better off than the alternatives, provided that your ambitions don’t rob you from experiencing any contentment in the process.

Relationships

Banish Eeyore

Dream-killers, aka “Eeyores”, are some of the most dangerous people that you know. They function as saboteurs to productivity. Regardless of whether they act with the intent of maliciousness, banish (or limit) such disastrous relationships if you plan to be a significant doer.

People providing constructive criticism are fine, such as those providing advice on being objective with your projections. However, those who primarily hinder your progress due to their limited vision need not be included in your elite team.

Network With Achievers

meeting importance

If you want to move beyond your comfort zone, one of the fastest ways is to network with achievers. In fact, while I’m writing this, I have just returned from spending a week with people in my industry who are rock stars.

Being immersed in that environment compelled me to take my game to the next level faster and grander than I had initially planned. When you network and become accustomed to interacting with the next level, it makes you uncomfortable with where you are currently at. Strategically, place yourself in situations that stretch you.

Get an Accountability Partner

While “head knowledge” is good, part of the secret to successful transformations, such as those seen by popular diet programs, is accountability. Your relationship with partners is powerful in achieving your goals. This is because good partners have already gone through the same journey, can see through the lame excuses, and will encourage you during the down times.

Everyone is not suitable to be your accountability partner which is fine. Find the person who will empower you to push past the common to achieve the impossible.

Delegate

Not everything requires your core competencies, so it is not always advantageous to do everything yourself. The ubiquity of businesses such as Elance, Angie’s List, and Fiverr makes finding reasonably-priced freelancers and contractors to delegate to much easier.

It’s one thing to do tasks that are not central to your focus because you enjoy them or lack the finances to hire help, but it is another issue entirely if you are stuck doing something you hate simply because you haven’t inventoried the resources available to you.

Delegation can be a powerful practice. It’ll allow you to develop your strongest areas while relinquishing distractions and increasing your overall productivity.

Deal With Barriers to Motivation

Create an Action Environment

Your environment matters to your productivity, often more than you realize. It’s important that when you sit down to work, you are not bombarded with distractions. It is sometimes difficult to get motivated to do anything productive in the first place.

Thus, the last thing one needs is to get started only to have his or her time wasted on something that’s unimportant.

Creating an action environment may mean shutting off the automatic notification feature on your phone or email at certain times during the day. It could mean removing the candy jar from your desk or logging off of Facebook.

Regardless, create an environment that encourages you to get things done.

Record and Celebrate Your Progress

Acknowledging and celebrating your triumphs can serve as tremendous motivation to continue in your endeavors. Achievers don’t just work hard; achievers play hard too.

When I became debt-free, I threw a huge party just as I would have celebrated a milestone birthday or a graduation. Big hairy audacious goals require time, so when you are victorious, why not celebrate your successes?

The law of recognition says that what you fail to recognize will not be properly
acknowledged. What you continually fail to acknowledge will eventually leave your
life.

If you value your successes, celebrate them!

Closing Thoughts

Inactivity is one of the greatest thieves of opportunity. Don’t be content with simply having a great idea. After all, an idea is often just a small fraction of the journey. It’s what you do with your ideas, dreams, and passions that count.

Remember, as your thoughts become more, you become more. Therefore, commit to thinking on a higher level, develop high goals and plans of implementation, establish and maintain relationships that add to your life. As you apply these steps consistently, you too will be a doer.

Written by Roshawn Watson, a writer at Watson Inc. on eliminating debt, investing money, and building wealth. Get my free eBook Your Foundation to Wealth by signing up for my email updates (no spam I promise). Get my RSS feed and connect with me on Twitter @roshawnwatson too.

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The Industry of Mobile Gaming Explained

In its current state, the mobile gaming industry is worth billions. In fact, even games that are free to download are raking in millions by the month: Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, and Fortnite, to name a few.

How so?

People can’t get enough of their games. Human engagement with mobile playing continues to rise, growing by 10% every 365 days. By the time 2021 comes, about 1 in 4 people will be considered an active gamer. And by such time, consumers will have spent $90 billion on mobile games.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality is a major driver in captivating users to increase the rate of gameplay. Unbeknownst to most, this isn’t a new element in gaming.

In-game AI goes back to the days of Pac-Man. Using Pathfinding technology to plot the shortest path between two points, Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man can quickly navigate through mazes. Today, developers use smart technology to enhance the personalization gaming provides. This was seen in Pokemon Go, Red Dead Redemption 2, and more. Let’s dig in.

See Also: How Augmented Reality Is Changing The Game

Since the beginning, gaming has fueled the necessity to advance data science. Although gaming and artificial intelligence (AI) have always gone hand-in-hand, AR or augmented reality was first brought into the mainstream by mobile games. The wow-factor AR presents is providing a more immersive gameplay experience.

mobile gaming pokemon go industry

The most popular AR games have earned billions. For example, Pokemon Go has reeled in over $2 billion to date. Jurassic World has a cumulative revenue of over $20.5 million. The Walking Dead: Our World has drawn in over $6.8 million.

All in all, 81% of today’s American gamers have played using AR technology at least more than once, and 53% play mobile AR games, such as those previously mentioned, routinely.

Reverting to the conversation of artificial intelligence as a driver for the business of mobile gaming, in-game AI features continue to improve. Let’s take Red Dead Redemption 2 for example. Its developers were able to define complex behaviors for Non-Player Characters (NPCs) by using its corresponding AI software.

As the industries of gaming and data science continue to mesh, user gameplay experience will be completely reinvented. OpenAI’s Universe Program is a great example of this, letting companies that develop self-driving car to train their AI algorithms by playing Grand Theft Auto.

Google’s DeepMind provides a similar advantage, capable of beating 99.8% of human players in StarCraft II. More commonly known, Microsoft’s Project Malmo uses Minecraft to test its AI ability to navigate the world and collaborate.

In the future, games will have AI-powered levels, open worlds, and graphics. Even more interesting, the growth of data science will allow games to be created from nothing and completely by artificial intelligence — without any human involvement. Graphics will be more realistic and based on real-world images, and levels will begin being based on developers’ game design.

Furthermore, Next Generation In-Game AI will present a new realm of self-learning that allows characters to learn and grow just like people. This same technology will also allow games to adapt to what each player likes, catering to individual user personalization. DeepMind is also producing flexible behaviors for their characters in simulated environments.

Today, 81% of digital gaming time is spent on mobile apps — reducing the demand for the heavier, more stationary console. As a result, mobile phone games are making millions. In 2019, Clash of Clans was the highest-earning gaming app in the iOS App Store, earning $1.54 million per day. This game isn’t the only high-baller, though. Homescapes earns $44 million per month, Candy Crush Saga earns $71 million per month, and Battlegrounds earns $31 million per month.

mobile gaming candy crush industry

To reach the point of futuristic gaming, developers will need to begin testing their AI software. Doing so can assist in checking their game’s speed and performance. It can also shorten the time needed to develop and release new games.

Furthermore, AI testing provides developers with a tool powerful enough to run through a whole game in no more that one hour’s time. It helps them discover things they didn’t know were inside the games they’ve developed.

The industry of mobile gaming is in the hands of artificial intelligence and vice versa. For more information about the future of gaming, check out the infographic below.

Gaming and Artificial Intelligence
Source: PinkLion.AI

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The Link Between Social Media and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can have many forms and they are incredibly common these days. The problem does not target a specific gender or age. It can affect anyone regardless of who they are.

Nonetheless, teenage girls are the demographic category most likely to develop an eating disorder. Researchers claim that an estimated number of 30 million people go through Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, or other deviant eating behaviors in their lifetime.

However, the number has been increasing recently. Some associate this fact with the popularization of social media, drawing close connections between the two. But how exactly are social media and eating disorders connected?

Unrealistic expectations in regards to the body image

social media causes eating disorders

Social media is often the place for people to show themselves in the good light instead of their real selves. Most of the content posted online, both textual and visual, are altered in some way to appear more flawless and close to being ideal.

Long before social media became a thing, images of celebrities and models shown on magazines and televisions were retouched to look perfect. It has been overcome in recent years by people finally realizing that this is a requirement of commercial photography and videography.

However, when it comes to social media, it becomes a problem.

In the past, only a handful of people had the skills to professionally photoshop pictures. Nowadays, editing software has become accessible to everyone. It became extremely easy to alter pictures on mobile devices.

With the use of filters and in-app tools, anyone can make themselves look the way they want. They can fool people that they have clearer skin, higher cheekbones, and tinier waist. And with today’s technology, it is hard to tell the real and the fake images apart.

It starts small.

People start changing tiny details that do not have much effect on the final image. However, step-by-step editing becomes addictive. Eventually, social media users end up altering their appearance to such a point that their photos no longer look like them. Moreover, their photos become way too unrealistic.

This is harmful to both the person who uses the editing apps and those who see the final version of the photo on their feed.

The first ones develop severe body image issues. They feel pressured to match the image they have created which is essentially impossible. This pushes these people to restrict themselves food-wise and adopt unhealthy eating behavior. If left unattended, this could lead to extreme cases of eating disorders.

The latter ones are affected in a similar way. By seeing such content online, they start questioning their personal appearance and become feeling self-conscious. They want to look as flawless as the person they saw on the internet. Subsequently, they start paying much closer attention to their diet and physical activity. This, in essence, is not a bad thing. However, considering the fact that the results they are interested in are impossible to achieve, they might get frustrated. They may end up developing obsessive behaviors since they are too focused on this issue.

See Also: How Social Media Seriously Harms Your Mental Health

Promotion of questionable products

These days, a lot of people use social media as a platform for selling products. While some of them work, others are just clearly questionable.

It does not necessarily have a direct connection to eating disorders, but can definitely be detrimental for overall mental stability. It can cause the development of insecurities related to an individual’s appearance.

Paid weight loss programs and products have always been in high demand. Large corporations see people’s insecurities as a market opportunity.

In the past, such products were mostly advertised on television and in the press. Today, however, with the world rapidly transcending into the virtual plane, marketers have accordingly adjusted their strategy to fit the modern realities. Instead of publishing ads in the newspapers, they turn to famous and popular bloggers or the so-called social media influencers.

Depending on the content the aforementioned influencers share, the average age of their target audience may vary. Nonetheless, the majority of active followers are often teenagers and children on the verge of entering their puberty stage. This age group is the most vulnerable to the effects of what they see online. They try hard to emulate the behavior of the people they look up to.

A number of psychologists claim that at such tender age, teens are more inclined to look up to someone well-liked. They perceive them to have more authority.

Usually, teenagers find a role model outside of their family and circle of friends, most frequently among celebrities. By co-operating with these celebrities (who often are large social media influencers), companies gain access to a big number of easily affected customers.

This is dangerous as it is, but is even more dangerous if slimming and weight loss products are the subject of aggressive marketing.

Usually, the social media influencers who are chosen to promote the products are already fit and toned. They have achieved this look through working out and/or plastic surgeries as opposed to using the weight loss product they advertise.

Teenagers, the category that is most prone to developing eating disorders, start believing that weight loss products are a necessity to achieve the desired look. They purchase them, entering the vicious circle of rapidly developing self-consciousness.

Those products, however, rarely work as advertised. They don’t even bring the anticipated effect. This brings teenagers (or other mentally vulnerable people) to focus on achieving the results in other ways, often much harsher and unhealthy.

They become hung up on the idea of losing weight at all costs. This eventually leads to the adaptation of inadequate and dangerous eating habits.

This problem is unfortunately intrinsic to almost all major social media channels. It happens even though those platforms recognize the aforementioned actions as harmful and are actively trying to fight against it.

See Also: The Millennials’ Mania Over Social Media

Glorification and eating disorders online

social media and eating disorder

On a number of occasions, people who already have an eating disorder are trying to use the powers of social media to find like-minded individuals. For them, it’s a form of a coping mechanism.

This leads to the creation of thematic groups dedicated to eating disorders that frequently surpass the stage of being ‘therapeutic’ and end up being propagandist.

People worship destructive eating behaviors which has a huge effect on those who may be prone to developing an eating disorder. Moreover, by joining the aforementioned groups, people often see such deviant behavior as normal. They see other people practice it and they stop seeing it as something bad.

Cyberbullying

Social media grants a certain degree of anonymity to its users. Unfortunately, a lot of people abuse it and utilize it to be offensive to others.

Cyberbullying is a huge issue in the modern world. While it does not necessarily have a direct impact on the development of eating disorders, it can definitely play a role in it as a side factor.

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A Guide On Career Advancement for Male Nurses

You can land a great job as a nursing professional, but it helps to know a few things about the field before you start your journey, particularly career advancement for male nurses.

Male nurses face many obstacles in the field. Every day, they must deal with preconceived ideas and misjudgments about their role as nursing professionals. Unfortunately, these misconceptions are not only harmful to male nurses but also the entire nursing profession. Despite these obstacles, however, most male nurses enjoy successful careers.

Male Nurses: You Are Not Alone!

Male nurses make up less than 10% of the nurse practitioner talent pool. Still, as in many other fields and industries, they’re paid more than their female peers.

Research shows that full-time women nurses earn around 90% compared to their male counterparts. Male nurses earn a little over $60,000 per year. Female nurses, however, earn a little over $50,000 every year.

Showcasing Your Skills for Patients and Peers

career advancements for male nurses

Nursing is one of the last fields in the world that’s dominated by women. As a result, many men feel outnumbered and underrepresented. They worry about career advancement for male nurses.

Because many people feel as though nursing is a woman’s job, male nurses face many kinds of biases in the workplace. Some people believe men aren’t as compassionate as women. Others simply believe that nursing is a woman’s job and that men shouldn’t work in the field.

See Also: Men in Nursing: The Challenges of Men in a Female-Dominated Profession

It’s impossible to accurately predict the character of every patient that comes through the door. You’ll never make all patients happy, although it’s more than likely that you’ll try. However, every patient is different.

Nevertheless, you should remain confident in your abilities. By taking the time to get to know your patients, you will eventually understand their wants and needs.

Instead of worrying about what people think, stick to the basics. Focus on remaining compassionate. Compassion is your ticket to success in nursing and probably the reason why you entered the field in the first place.

You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable because you’re inherently different from your female peers. Men have a different build compared to women. As a result, your female coworkers may often ask you to lift and move heavy objects. Sometimes, they may even ask you to move patients.

Also, if you have a particular skill, tell your patients about it. If your patients know that you possess exceptional skills, it will make them more confident in your ability.

Nursing Jobs That Are Outside the Traditional Nurse Role

You don’t have to work in a hospital to land a job in nursing. For example, forensic nursing is a specialty that is expanding faster than the national average. The field emerged in the 80s, as the need for healthcare professionals with experience in both law and medicine increased.

Shows such as CSI have made forensic nursing extremely popular. However, as a forensic nurse, you’ll do more than what you see on TV. Also, you will find yourself working in a variety of settings – not just at crime scenes.

Additional Nurse Specialties Worth Considering

Forensic nursing, however, isn’t the only specialty that’s on the rise. For example, there’s a growing need for nurses who work in the mental health field. Alternatively, some healthcare professionals opt to become well-paid nurse anesthetists.

No matter which specialty you choose, nursing is a phenomenal career. As a result, many millennials and Gen Z healthcare professionals are curious about a career in nursing.

Do You Have to Quit Your Current Job to Advance Your Nursing Career?

career advancement for male nurse

No. You don’t have to quit your job to pursue a career in nursing. Thanks to the internet, today’s capable nursing programs can extend the classroom into your living room. You can take your nursing career to the next level by entering an MSN online degree program.

Online nursing programs employ highly skilled educators who will provide you with an exceptional learning experience. They will teach you the latest nursing best practices based on feedback from peers in the field. In the virtual classroom, you’ll learn the critical thinking skills that you need to succeed as a skilled nurse practitioner.

Once you graduate, you’ll enjoy a salary that exceeds the national average. With no more than a laptop computer, you can immerse yourself in a flexible learning environment that will allow you to pursue the career of your dreams.

Even if you attend online classes, you’ll benefit from bonding with a tight-knit community of healthcare professionals. Your online class will serve as a foundation for building a long-lasting professional network of peers. These connections will help you expand your understanding of the nursing profession and pursue career opportunities that you may not have had access to otherwise.

Upon graduation, your training will prepare you to deliver the highest quality of healthcare service possible. Now, you can enter a successful career in nursing with authority and confidence.

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10 Work Productivity Tips and Tricks You Should Adopt at Work Today

There are only two ways to increase the output of your work. It’s either you put in an extra number of hours or find smart work productivity tips to working hard.

Productivity and Motivation

You are more productive when you feel motivated.

Researchers Katherine L. Milkman, Julia A. Minson, and Kevin G. M. Volpp conducted a study. It involved 226 students categorized into three groups. These were the students who were having trouble going to the gym as often as they would have liked to.

Groups were:

  1. Group One got an iPod with popular audiobooks downloaded. They received it as a 10-week loan and were allowed to only listen to it while in the gym.
  2. Group Two got the audiobooks for free. Also, they could download these to their personal iPods. They were allowed to listen to the audiobooks in the gym or anywhere else, as well.
  3. Group Three was called the control group. This group got a gift certificate and were encouraged to go to the gym more often.

The study concluded that group one were the most motivated. Restricting access to their tempting desire gave them a 22% boost as compared to other groups. 62 students even agreed to keep the iPods.

The results show that reward-based tasks keep you focused on the end results. Just don’t let yourself have the reward until the task is completed. If you are doing something you love and you are good at it, your productivity will boost exponentially.

Another research from Gallup studied Americans’ happiness and energy levels based on people working on something they are good at. The research showed that people feel more enthusiastic when they know what they are doing. It lifts the confidence in their work.

The study showed that people reported fewer cases of worry, stress, sadness or anger in performing tasks that they do on a daily basis; working on the tasks they are experts in.

This leads to a positive mood and better work output. So if you are wondering about how to be productive at work, then find or create your ‘signature strengths’!

Below are 10 work productivity tips to help you achieve the best of your time.

Set deadlines to decide how long you’ll work on each task

Research suggests that only about 17% of people can exactly estimate the time required for their tasks. Setting up deadlines forces you to push yourself and consider what it will take to achieve your goal.

In order to achieve a deadline, you might even pull all-nighters to complete your tasks on time. But you might have trouble in assigning the amount of time required by each task. Psychologists refer to this as the ‘planning fallacy’. We are often too ambitious and don’t usually think about the challenges along the way.

Make a checklist for objectives every day

Since you have your deadlines set, it helps you prioritize your workflow. Make a list of important objectives that absolutely need to be accomplished during your day. These objectives will help you move your projects and goals forward. Prioritize and get started by making a checklist.

List the top 3 objectives for every day. This will maintain your focus on the most important things to do. Research by Kenneth McGraw explained that the biggest hurdle to success is often just getting started. When working on large projects, we often procrastinate because we visualize the worst parts of it.

So, just sub-divide your tasks, get them done in a streamline and cut them off the checklist!

Practice meditation for work

work productivity tips meditation

Meditation is one thing that the most successful people around the world have in common. It is not just for monks and hippies anymore. It has been scientifically proven that meditation increases your concentration power, removes distractions, and ultimately increases your productivity.

Instead of paying for classes, meditation apps offer you the same level of therapy at the comfort of your smartphone. They might be effective in helping you become mindful and more productive at work.

Take breaks regularly

Regular breaks can essentially help you improve concentration. Professionals might find it hard to fit exercise into their chaotic schedules, but taking out time for exercise actually increases mental capabilities.

Once your brain is working on its full capacity, you make smarter decisions and achieve goals faster than ever.

Do not waste your breaks. Schedule short breaks to maintain the same level of performance. Instead of wasting time on unnecessary things during your break, check your emails. You will get some work done and it won’t be heavy on your mind.

Use the “two-minute rule”

Procrastination kills productivity. You would always see the worst things that could happen during the task and not do it. Instead of ranting about it, you should sub-divide your tasks and get going.

Instead of looking for motivation, just start working. Eventually, you will work your way out.

Steve Olenski, an entrepreneur, mentions adapting the “two-minute rule”. If you have a task that you can finish within two minutes, do it right away. It helps you make the most out of small breaks you have during your time at work.

Getting the task done right away will actually take less time since you won’t have to get back to it later. He proved that applying this rule has helped him be successful in his field.

Work in intervals of 90 minutes

Avoid the lure of hyper-productivity and quit multi-tasking.

You may think multi-tasking gets most of your work done in one go, but the reality is just its opposite. Research proves that instead of increasing efficiency, it’s just a waste of time and productivity.

In fact, you will feel busier, but get less work done if you multitask.

Turn off notifications

You would be doing your work peacefully with concentration and your phone buzzes all of a sudden. So you spend the next hour on the phone scrolling through Facebook.

Relatable?

Been there, done that.

It is believed that procrastination develops through society. With social media being our constant source of approval, one cannot resist checking their phone every five minutes.

During work hours, you should turn off your notifications. Instead, spend this time checking email and important messages only. Hence, you’re still doing something productive.
Just put it on silence and give yourself a deadline. You would not check it until you complete this specific task you’re doing. There you go!

See Also: One Simple Trick to Get Rid of the #1 Workplace Productivity Killer

Use apps that increase productivity

Using productivity apps can be a smarter alternative to working hard to get the task done. Not only does it save time but it also reduces the effort to plan out an efficient schedule for the day. Luckily when technology is stapled to our hands, there are various apps available to help improve our productivity.

Apps like Dropbox can store files on the cloud, which can be shared via a link. Trello, Zoom, etc. can be used for online team collaboration. Toggl can be used for time-tracking while Any.do and Todoist are for making a to-do list for the day. A tonne of similar task-specific apps are available, which promise to boost your efficiency.

See Also: Top 8 Apps for Productivity to Help You With Your Daily Tasks

Minimize interruptions

work productivity tip

Other than distractions from your social media apps, there are many other ways to get interrupted at the workplace. Chit-chat and socializing in the workplace is good, but it’s counter-productive when it turns into unwated, irrelevant gossip.

Even brief interruptions can make you lose motivation and produce a change in work patterns. This ultimately leads to an exponential loss in productivity.

To minimize interruptions, you must set office hours, keep your door closed, or work from home when there’s a crucial task to handle. To fulfil time-sensitive tasks, resist the temptation of putting in longer hours or add into your already-full calendar. Instead, figure out the ways you can work smarter, not harder.

Refuse to attend unnecessary meetings

Do you ever come out of a meeting that felt too unnecessary and wondered you could get so many things done in that time? Meetings can consume a lot of time, and this time can be used to do something useful.

Holding a meeting is not as easy as it sounds. From setting the agenda, inviting participants, ensuring participation, meetings do become quite frustrating at times.

The solution? Just don’t arrange meetings, unless absolutely necessary. Sort out discussions that include information sharing, and get them done via team chat app, phone call, video conferencing, or an email.

Conclusion

Applying even one of the mentioned tips will help you become more productive and satisfied with your work. Every minute you save is a minute gained. Dr. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California found out that people who note down their goals are 39.5 percent more likely to achieve them.

Whether you make a checklist using an app like Todoist, or schedule meetings on an app like Zoom, you must always be consistent in managing your time. These tools can help, but are not the determining factor of your success. Productivity is determined by your mindset and the environment that lets you thrive.

Time management is all you can control in your life, so you must turn it around for good. Consistently following these work productivity tips will save your time, which you can invest in doing other important things. You should go out, eat healthy, drink water and have a positive attitude to succeed.

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12 Tips on How to Celebrate Anniversary in a Long Distance Relationship

Since the advent of the Internet, long-distance relationships have no longer been something extraordinary. They have become an extremely popular way of dating which quite often leads to marriage.

According to statistics, 75% of couples have experienced being in a long-distance relationship. About 3 million Americans live apart from their spouses for reasons other than divorce at some point in their marriage.

So, obviously, LDR couples have their LDR wedding anniversaries.

And if you are looking for some ideas on how to celebrate anniversary in a long-distance relationship, we have 12 cool tips for you.

Arrange a Virtual Date

how to celebrate anniversary long distance relationship

Spice up your normal FaceTime or Skype chat with a romantic vibe.

Plan your anniversary date together in detail. Consider food, drinks, decorations, outfits, and activities. You can even watch a movie together or play a game, for example.

Make this evening special and memorable. Show your significant other how much you care despite the distance.

Make a Video Surprise

What can be better than sweet long-distance anniversary messages? Only a sincere, romantic video surprise.

  • Rule number 1: Turn your creativity on.
  • Rule number 2: There are no other rules.

You can make a small cute video and tell about your feelings. You can also sing a song, dance or read a love message you’ve written.

Your partner will be over the moon after watching your lovely intimate video surprise.

“Open When” Letters

If you’ve never heard about this creative, romantic solution before, think no more. It’s always a win-win option.

The idea is to present your partner a bunch of letters they’re supposed to open at different times. For example, they can open the letters when they are feeling lonely or happy. Inside the letters can be small notes, cards, photos or even small gifts and sweets.

The best thing about this heartwarming gift is that it keeps giving.

Send a Handwritten Letter

When you don’t see each other for months, sending texts becomes an ordinary thing you do every day. Thus, if you want to do something more special than a long-distance anniversary message, opt for real mail.

A handwritten love letter or a postcard in the mailbox pile of boring stuff will surprise your sweetheart. It can become another heartwarming reminder of your love.

Netflix and Chill

Here is an idea from the list of funny things to do on your anniversary.

If you’re both dying to watch a new movie, you can organize a distant Netflix and chill date. Turn the movie on simultaneously and connect through FaceTime so that you can see each other’s reactions and discuss it while watching. Enjoy the same snack together, too.

Create the Memories

How to celebrate anniversary in a long-distance relationship? Create memories.

If you have an opportunity to meet on your LDR wedding anniversary, consider doing something you will both enjoy. Buy tickets to a concert or go on a hot air balloon ride. You can also try to do a parachute jump or a helicopter ride.

Send a Care Package

Fill a gift box with their favorite sweets, goodies, and cute little nothings. Spray your signature scent all over the box, add a couple of photos and an intimate love note.

Take a Matching Photo

Another funny thing to do on your anniversary when you are far away from each other is to take a matching pic as a symbol of your indivisibility and unity.

Experiment with the poses in your separate pics. Then, try to make a photo you would have probably taken if you were together in Photoshop.

Plan a Trip

how to celebrate anniversary

The first variant is to plan a surprise trip to see your partner in their city. If covering the trip expenses and taking several days off work is not a problem for you, think no more and get on a plain for the most romantic surprise for your other half.

Another option is to plan a trip for two and meet at some romantic place to celebrate your love.

Do a Quiz for Couples

Answering questions for long distance relationship couples or doing a love quiz could also become a memorable and funny thing to do on your anniversary.

Moreover, it’s a great bonding experience, despite being thousands of kilometers away, at a distance of a phone call.

“What I Love About You” List

If you are stingy with compliments in everyday life, making a «what I love about you» list will be a perfect long-distance anniversary idea.

Take some time to come up with the things you appreciate, adore, and love about your partner. What makes you proud of them? What makes you happy?

Send this list to your love in a message, in a letter, or write them on separate papers and put them all folded into a decorated jar.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

If you are still struggling with those tips on how to celebrate anniversary in a long-distance relationship, then rely on technology.

Long-distance anniversary messages and video chats are not the only benefits of our high-tech era. Through special apps for your phone like LokLok or Couple, LDR couples can find more new ways to connect with their distant partners and spouses.

See Also: 4 Original Ways to Be Romantic in the Digital Age

Love each other and show your love – no matter if you’re close or far!

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10 Tips On What To Do Before Marriage

Marriage does not belong to people. It belongs to God, and serves primarily His purposes. Only when our marriage is dedicated to God and serve Him do we find the happiness of family life and the fullness of joys.

Step 1. Living for God’s Glory

That is why, before looking for a life partner, you must find God and begin to follow Him. Often, young people are concerned about secondary (but in their opinion, the most important) questions: where to study, where to live, with whom to start a family.

And they miss the main fundamental questions: how to please God, to know Him, to serve Him. Bypassing these key issues of life, a person can wander for a long time in the dark, trying to solve these secondary issues and not finding solutions.

Therefore, first of all, develop your spiritual life and live for God’s glory, as it is said in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, eat, drink, or whatever else you do, do everything for the glory of God.

This is the first and important step.

The Origin of Love

Recently, a teenager of about fifteen came up to me and said that he had fallen in love. He wanted to find a good job to be able to provide for his future family and to marry this girl as soon as possible. I asked him why he was so sure that he needed to start a family as soon as possible. His answer was simple – because he had a crush on her.

How does human love develop?

It does not occur spontaneously at the very first meeting between a man and a woman. Those who tell sentimental stories about love at first sight believe that it takes no time to generate love. But this is not so. A person may like it at first sight, but true love needs time.

By nature, a man enters into a relationship mainly on the basis of instinct and reason. A woman, on the contrary, feels and perceives the world through emotions. Of course, this is a simplification, but it is useful for understanding how love is born between a man and a woman.

Step 2. Interest

what couples need to do before marriage

Do not be embarrassed by this, God did so. In the first stage, most often, the guy often likes a girl for her looks. It causes attraction in him – maybe sexual, maybe just mental. But she does not leave him indifferent.

The girl is fond of the guy, thanks to a burst of emotions: admiration, warmth, thirst for intimacy and love. This sprout of love cannot be a serious basis for living together. These feelings are essentially ephemeral and short-lived.

In adolescence, you have a natural desire to recognize the opposite sex. There’s the desire to love someone and be loved, to be understood and heard. These feelings often serve as the basis for falling in love for a particular person. Therefore, when you have feelings for a person, this is normal.

But this does not mean that you have real love.

These first feelings lead to one of two options. Either you will eventually lose interest in a person or move on to the next stage – the emergence of consonance, kinship.

Step 3. Affinity or Consonance

Observe if you had a feeling of kinship with the person you liked at the first stage as if you had known each other all your life. Communicating with him and observing from the side, you will find more and more common, something near and dear. You are attracted to each other by a common interest or a common enemy.

Here, usually, the most “dangerous” stage of love development begins.

Step 4. Love

When we meet a soul mate and even the opposite sex and we like her, then a special stage begins – love. This is a natural, normal reaction, but it cannot be the basis for creating a marriage.

We can fall in love not only once and not only in one person. Therefore, my advice at this stage: you should not “dissolve” your feelings.

I especially appeal to girls: take care of yourself.

This is not the last step. At this stage, a person can hardly be objective. He definitely needs a third party. He needs someone spiritually mature whom he can trust. Surely, parents should always be consulted. But it can also be a pastor or youth leader, a spiritual mentor. But I beg you, be sure to chat with someone mature at this point.

Vivid emotions distort the perception of reality to such an extent that we are ready to ascribe to the object of our love all our virtues, denying in it the presence of the slightest flaw. Everything in it seems to us perfect, right, and reasonable. We are ready to forgive any mistake and protect our beloved from anyone, most often from parents, or ministers, or even friends, who, with a sober look note both the advantages and disadvantages of your relationship.

Somehow a disciple approached the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes, who fell in love and asked him what is the cure for love at first sight. The sage replied: “Look at a person a second time”.

Falling in love cannot be a support for building a marriage. Rather, on the contrary: marriages concluded on this basis are most likely to result in divorce or disintegration from within. The very first days of life together bring the first difficulties: who will go to the store, who will clean the house, what to do in the evening and how to spend Sunday.

The dramatic and inevitable law of contrasts is disappointing; it is associated with the woeful discovery that the life partner we have chosen turns out to be a normal person, that is, a limited creature.

And it immediately makes us forget about its positive aspects, and now we are beginning to consider him the worst on the whole earth and ask ourselves how it could happen that we chose him. Thoughts come that there was no God’s will for you to marry her. What frustration and despair you will experience!

Step 5. Recognition. Friendship. Objective Assessment

what couples need to do before marriage

Do not disclose your feelings at this stage. It is better to recognize a person from the side, looking at him with the most objective eyes in his natural setting. For this purpose, you can simply do some service together.

A meeting will not provide as much necessary and objective information about him as mere observation from the outside. A date cannot become a really good tool for recognizing a person of the opposite sex. Joint meetings are possible, only a few times, and then at the final stage, before making a final decision.

Discard the illusions that you will be able to change the character of your chosen one after the wedding! It is better to prepare in advance for the fact that you will need to live with its shortcomings (and to him – with yours). Learn how this person walks with God, overcomes difficulties, how respectfully he treats his family members. And work on yourself – kill your selfishness before marriage.

Lasting love is built on the objective knowledge of a loved one. Of course, I would like to think that sympathy, beating in unison of two hearts – this is the necessary foundation of love. But this is not enough.

It is the objectivity that leads from friendship to love that is the right path to marriage. I love a person when I love him for what he is; I love and appreciate its advantages, and I impartially evaluate the shortcomings and carefully help him correct them.

Every person, and in particular, a spouse, and then children, should be loved precisely for what they are, and not for the desired virtues, position in society, academic titles or successes achieved.

If we do not learn this central aspect of love, selfless love for a person by himself, we will quickly be disappointed. When success becomes less when a career does not work out, or the qualities that we so idealized turn out to be more modest, what are we left with? With disappointment?

If your love is built on this, then, of course, you will be disappointed. Moreover, we will have disgust, for we will feel deceived and seduced. There is nothing more violent than disappointment. Personal suffering arising from the realization of our mistake gives rise to the most cynical reactions – the better we know a person, his habits, his desires, the more evil we can inflict on him.

That is why it is important to get an objective picture in order to approach the final stage or the last step, when you can already go and make an offer (or accept it, saying “yes”).

See Also: Friendship’s Day Special: Why Friendship Makes Marriage More Fun

Step 6. Giving Yourself

Donating yourself to another person is not to be confused with the plexus of bodies. Love as a gift consists in the desire for the good of the beloved: his good, and not good in general, dissolved in a cloud of emotions. That is why conjugal love is a consciously made choice. It should involve bringing oneself as a gift to another person, accepting her as she is, with the aim of creating a family.

Only a marriage based on love-giving can lead to strong family life, although this does not mean that there will be no difficulties. But if Christ, His love, and His example of love will be at the center of such a relationship, then such a marriage is doomed to become happy.

10 practical tips for behavior before marriage

1. Take your time to make a serious decision.

True love is not afraid of time but only strengthens. If you have it, then over time it will become more mature.

In addition, falling in love is natural for a person, but this does not mean true love.

2. Remember that love is a gift from God. And you can not say “I love her” and “she loves me.” This is not true: there is one common love between us. Check whether your love is such, whether there is reciprocity.

3. Talk to someone you trust. A wise person will help you understand the situation and look at it soberly and objectively.

4. Do not rush to share your feelings with a person to whom you feel sympathy. Do not bind a person in any way (take a promise, forced to answer). If everything is from God, then you should not “help” Him.

5. Do not force yourself to love, if love passes – premarital relations should be natural and free.

6. Ask yourself:

  • Do I want to study the Bible together with him (her) and live on it?
  • Do I want to have children with him (her)?
  • When I think about this person, what thoughts do I have?
  • Why do I want to marry her / marry him?

7. Do not worry about your future. It belongs to the Lord, He will take care of you. In addition, marriage is not the only way to realize things about yourself. Trust the Lord and do not make decisions solely on the basis of fleeting feelings (love).

8. Study the Bible, especially words about marriage and the relationship between a man and a woman. Pray that God will help you see the situation through the prism of these passages. And please don’t be stubborn. If God speaks, then obey without trying to convince yourself otherwise.

9. No dates. If there are dates, then there is no objectivity, therefore there will be no real friendship. Have patience. God will show everything with time.

10. Live a truly spiritual life so that God can guide you. Do not leave the church ministry because you fell in love. Spiritual life and ministry is God’s unchangeable will for you at all times. Otherwise, you will start to think incorrectly and you will not be able to have a sober look at things. From this point in your life, there will be a mass of wrong actions and decisions.

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A Comprehensive Keto Diet Guide for Beginners

As medicine progresses, it becomes easier to understand our bodies. Realizing how things that we consume impact our health becomes easier, too.

It became clear that when combined with regular physical activity, a proper diet plays a significant role in enabling us to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, balanced and nutritious meals can help reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases, certain forms of cancer, and metabolic disorders.

The problem is how to choose the right nutrition plan.

As it turns out, there is a new diet hype every few years. Moreover, each diet is promoted as a health boost miracle. With so many options, it is not surprising that people get confused. This Keto diet guide aims to clear things up for you.

What is Ketogenic Diet?

You must have heard about Keto diet by now. After all, tons of celebrities, like Halle Berry and Lebron James, are strong proponents of the diet plan.

Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb nutrition plan that has been around for decades. It initially became popular in the 20s and 30s of the last century medicine.

The diet has been used to help with the treatment of more complicated cases of epilepsy in children. It proved to be successful but was set aside after the discovery of anti-convulsant drugs.

However, when it was found that keto diet results were more significant than those of medication, it became popular again. As of recently, experts are becoming increasingly aware that this type of food plan has enormous benefits for the overall health.

How Does Keto Diet Work

When you are on this food plan, you are replacing carbs with fat. Because of this, your body goes into a metabolic state known as ketosis.

Usually, the body burns sugar to produce energy. But with such a low intake of carbohydrates, the level of sugar in the body isn’t sufficient. The body begins to burn fat to get the energy it needs.

There are four different types of ketogenic diet:

  • Standard (SKD) is a typical keto diet for beginners. With this, your carbohydrate intake is about 5%, 75% is fat and 20% protein.
  • High protein is similar to standard keto diet but includes more protein. You will still be consuming only 5% carbs, but the fat-protein ratio changes. Now, it is 60% fat and 35% protein.
  • Cyclical plan (CKD) is different than the previous two because it includes two higher carb days. It means that you will be on a ketogenic diet for five days, followed by two days when you eat more carbohydrates.
  • Targeted plan (TKD) enables you to add carbs when working out.

What to Eat

When you are starting a new food plan, it is necessary to make sure you have all the information on what to eat and what to avoid. Therefore, we present here a keto food list, so you know what needs to be on your plate.

ketogenic diet guide

  • Meat: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, duck, wild game, lamb, goat, organ meats (heart, liver, kidney)
  • Fatty fish: mackerel, tuna, salmon, trout, etc.
  • Shellfish: oyster, mussels, clams, lobster, etc.
  • Nuts: almonds, macadamia.
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables like leafy greens, lettuces, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, mushroom, asparagus, etc.
  • Cheeses, sour cream, yogurt, and kefir, whipping cream, etc
  • Avocados and organic berries
  • Butter and ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil

It is equally important to know what to avoid when you are following a keto diet. Make sure to skip the following:

  • Grains, pasta, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, rye
  • Beans and legumes
  • High sugar fruits
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol

When you are starting new projects, like a keto diet, it might be overwhelming when you see all the stuff you cannot eat. There are plenty of keto recipes that can help in understanding how to prepare delicious meals while going towards desired results.

See Also: Essential Tips for People Who Want to Enjoy Ketogenic Diet-Friendly Fast Food

Benefits of Keto Diet

It is time to look at some of the benefits of a keto diet and understand why everybody is so crazy about it.

keto diet guide benefits

  • Weight loss is maybe the main reason why everybody is talking about it. It is a magic trick for losing weight. People are also using keto weight loss pills to speed up the process.
  • It proved to prevent metabolic disorders, such as diabetes type 2,

    because it regulates blood sugar and insulin levels

  • Improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Helps combat epilepsy seizures which is why it was created
  • Improves heart because it helps control HDL and LDL, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels
  • Enhances brain health because ketosis brings neuroprotective benefits. Studies show that people on the keto diet have lower risks of developing Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Also, it seems to be beneficial for people who already have this condition.
  • Enhances endurance
  • Alleviates the symptoms of PMS

See Also: 10 Habits That Can Prevent Heart Disease

Conclusion

People often confuse the keto diet with Paleo and Atkins, thinking it’s all the same. However, these food plans differ a lot.

All three are indeed low carb diets, but they serve different purposes. If your primary goal is to lose weight, then the ketogenic diet is the best choice for you. Apart from its potential health benefits, it can also improve your health and make you satisfied. It seems challenging to follow this plan, but once you get used to it, it will become more of a lifestyle than a diet.

Have you heard about the ketogenic food plan before? Or tried following it? What are your ideas or experiences?

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Cash Flow Management Tips to Improve Your Business

Cash flow management is simply a process of tracking the amount of money coming in and the amount of money going out. It helps you determine the amount of money that will be available to your business in the future. There is no business that can survive without proper cash flow management. It is an essential part of financial analysis and is an integral part of any business.

Cash flow management is especially important for startups. If the company is not able to manage its cash flow during the first year of operations, it will probably not survive during the second year. Poor management of cash flow can result in a company’s inability to pay its suppliers or finance urgent needs. Without any doubt, you can make use of a credit line.

However, when your loans and credit cards are empty, you will be left in a situation where the cash is needed.

In order to perform cash flow analysis, you will have to take three key elements into consideration and they are as follows:

  • Accounts receivable – This is the amount of money customers owe you.
  • Accounts payable – This is the amount of money you owe to suppliers.
  • Shortfalls – This refers to the situation where you owe more than what you have on liability.

You have to be able to manage all the aforementioned elements in order to lead your business to success. It is not advisable to allow a situation where your customers owe you too much or when you owe your suppliers too much. Otherwise, it can hurt your business significantly.

In order to determine the current cash flow, you will have to look at the amount of money coming in and the amount of money going out. In case you have a number of customers that owe you money and have yet to pay, make sure not to consider this as part of your cash flow.

Undoubtedly, cash flow management is vital for business. However, if there is no cash to be managed in the first place, the business is in trouble. There are, however, a number of ways to increase your cash flow and eliminate any difficulties with it.

Here are the most important cash flow management tips you can use for your business:

Calculate the break-even point.

cash flow management business tips

It is critically important to determine the break-even point for your business. In this way, you will know when your business becomes profitable and also gives an early goal to strive for.

During cash flow management, keep your focus on reaching that break-even point. This type of analysis can be done in two ways: unit-based or dollar-based. Both approaches involve fixed costs.

In order to calculate the BEP with the use of a unit-based approach, you will need to take your fixed cost. The next step would be taking your revenue per item and subtracting it from the variable cost per item.

The final step is to take the fixed cost and divide it by that number. BEP, with the use of a dollar-based approach, involves taking a fixed cost and dividing it by the contribution margin.

Consider cash flow before profits.

It might sound contradictory, but this is a reality. Even if you reach your break-even point and your business is profitable, you still need to take care of cash flow management.

The next step after reaching the BEP is making an analysis of accounts payable, accounts receivable, and shortfalls. Then, determine whether any of them possess a problem for your business.

It might also be the case that your business is able to break even but it does not have any cash left. If this is the case for you, then it is time to have a detailed look at the aforementioned elements.

It will help you to figure out whether you need to attract new customers or it would be wise to cut the expenses. Even the smallest modification can have a great impact on the profit margin and provide you with an idea of what impacts your business most.

Try to have cash reserves.

Any business has shortfalls and yours is not an exclusion. The survival of your business highly depends on the ability to manage these shortfalls. If you start your business already with some cash in your bank account, it will make your life much easier.

It would be great to have cash reserves that will help you to last for the first three to six months. In this way, you will be able to protect your business from situations where a market dives into a temporary downturn.

Focus on collecting receivables ASAP.

Customers like situations when the invoice says “due in 30 days”. Even though it is good for customers, it is not good for your business. It is recommended to state “due upon receipt” on your invoice.

You can also delegate the task of keeping an eye on receivables to your employees. He/she will be responsible for contacting your customers and collecting payments.

Extend payables ASAP.

Approach to account payables should be the opposite of account receivables. It is advised to extend payable to net 60 or net 90 if possible. It will give you a chance to have a higher cash balance and increase your debt.

Another reason for having cash reserves is your ability to pay suppliers. If you owe suppliers and do not have enough cash to make payments, you will harm the relationship with them. They might also impose additional fees. Apart from that, they can withhold the next shipment, which will interrupt the whole production process.

Carefully monitor your cash flow.

Make sure you have a professional team in the finance department. These people should be completely informed about all the company’s finances. It is also important to have a person who will be responsible for monitoring the cash flow and informing you when the company reaches a certain threshold. For example, when your cash flow hits the $1,000 mark.

Apply technology to your cash flow management.

cash flow management tip

Specialists recommend keeping your cash flow spreadsheets in the cloud. Some of these sites are DropBox and OneDrive.

By utilizing these services, you will be able to access them from anywhere. You can also make use of professional accounting software. One important detail to be mentioned is security.

Thus, when using cloud-based technology, make sure to have the best security practices in place in order to protect the data. Security should be priority number one for your business.

See Also: How Cloud Technology Can Help Your Business Grow

Project future cash flows.

Estimating future cash flows is an important element of cash flow management. This is normally done with the use of historical data and market movements. Make sure to make projections for every month, quarter, and year. Precise cash flow projections can alert you to problems before they appear.

Without any doubt, it is almost impossible to make the forecast that will match with real numbers when the time comes. However, it is possible to make a prediction that will be close to the real numbers.

Cash flow projections will give you an idea of what to expect in the future. In this way, you will be able to prepare your company for any difficulties that will come along the way.

The post Cash Flow Management Tips to Improve Your Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

8 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Few activities have stood the test of 2500 years. Today we still have running, music, writing, swimming and… mindfulness meditation (among scarce others).

Such ancient interests that are still practiced today have a good reason for thriving so many centuries later. But while our ancestors could feel the benefits of meditation, they didn’t have the luxury of modern science to support their claims; it seemed to improve their lives, so they kept doing it.

Now, as western researchers have applied scientific rigor to mindfulness meditation, the results are in… and they’re more incredible than you might have imagined. Below are science-based benefits of mindfulness meditation that will blow your mind.

Make your brain younger

A Harvard neuroscientist and her team wanted to determine whether meditation can change the brain over the long run.

Amazingly, their research found that 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter (brain cells) as 25-year-olds in the prefrontal cortex (a key brain region used for decision-making and memory), which normally declines with age. The scientists concluded that “regular practice of meditation may slow the rate of neural degeneration.”

Meditation has also been shown to fight age-related cognitive decline and even slow cellular aging. While most peoples’ memory and other brain functions decline as they get older, these effects aren’t seen to the same degree in long-term meditators.

See Also: The Profound Effects Of Meditation On The Mind

Increase pain tolerance by 57%

Your read that right: After just four days of training in mindfulness meditation, participants in one study found painful hot sensations to be 57% less unpleasant on average.

mindfulness meditation benefits
Meditation has been shown to increase pain tolerance.

This may sound too good to be true, but there’s solid neuroscience to suggest why. As you learn to meditate, your brain can begin to separate the physical sensation of pain from your emotional reaction to it. Most of the suffering we experience, scientists have found, is a result of our psychological reaction, rather than the pain itself.

See Also: Easing Back Pain: 7 Things You Can Do To Promote Comfort

Gain back half of your waking life

Harvard researchers found that we spend an average of 47% of our days lost in thought. That’s nearly half of your waking life spent in some kind of mental simulation, daydreaming about the future or past. And the same study found that many of those thoughts are negative!

Mindfulness meditation can help you regain presence and spend less time mind-wandering. As you practice, you’ll spend more time immersed fully in whatever you’re doing and get more out of your life.

Become more self-aware

This isn’t something that can be studied in the lab, but it’s one of the first benefits that every meditator notices at some point.

Having sat for some time directing your attention inward during mindfulness meditation, you’ve trained in the art of self-awareness (or what psychologists refer to as “introspective metacognitive awareness”). To put it one way, your mind gets good at observing itself.

This benefit doesn’t just help others, who have to deal with less of your annoying habits, but it’s also a fast path to self-improvement. Us humans are the only species on earth with this skill of “5th degree metallization,” the mind’s capacity to become aware of its own processes.

Diminish inflammation

Inflammation is a major underlying cause of many illnesses, including depression, heart disease, acne, and fatty liver disease. While most people look to decrease inflammation by going on a special diet or exercising, there’s another option available that takes just a few minutes each day.

Studies have confirmed meditation’s ability to help diminish inflammation. Because of the mind-body connection, mindfulness meditation benefits your body’s health as well as your brain.

Reduce feelings of stress

The modern world is full of things that stress us out, from traffic jams to an unreturned text message. But your brain often can’t tell the difference between those minor issues and a lion attacking you on the savannah, as it sets into the motion the fight-or-flight response.

When you meditate, the brain goes from active beta brainwave states to slower and more rejuvenating alpha and theta brainwaves. One of the first things you’ll learn to activate on command is a state of deep relaxation that you can spend more of your time immersed in.

mindfulness meditation benefit
One of the benefits of mindfulness meditation is that this happens less often.

Boost your immune system

Nobody likes getting sick, and oftentimes we think of washing our hands as the best preventative.

But it turns out there’s another way to help bolster a healthy immune system. Some of the top meditation researchers in the world, including Richard Davidson, Ph.D. and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. found that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training significantly increased key antibodies compared to a control group.

Enhance your sleep

Sleep is something that’s often viewed as a waste of time… until we get a bad night’s sleep and realize how important it is for mental clarity, mood, and productivity.

Shockingly, 40% of U.S. workers chronically under-sleep, costing over $63 billion in lost productivity each year.

And while some people try to use various cocktails or drugs to knock themselves out, oftentimes they are just knocking themselves out rather than actually sinking into a restful state.

Better to do it the old-fashioned way with an ancient practice that’s been the hero of our story: mindfulness meditation. In a randomized clinical trial, meditation significantly improved sleep quality and lessened fatigue.

How much would you pay for a “magic pill” that accomplished all of the same benefits of mindfulness meditation? But all it takes is a few minutes each day. And if you’ve tried meditation but it didn’t seem to work, it’s likely that you weren’t taught correctly.

So if you feel like getting all of these benefits for yourself, here’s where to start:

The Best Way to Learn Meditation

Many people find it best to learn from a professional app, where they can meditate on-the-go and access some of the world’s best instructors in their pockets at any time. But most of the apps provide only surface-level instruction and are trying to make a quick buck.

That’s why we recommend one app in particular, the FitMind meditation app, which was created with the help of neuroscientists and monks and takes a more in-depth approach to meditation. Unlike the other apps, you’ll learn over 50 different methods, progressing from beginner to advanced techniques.

fitmind mindfulness meditation benefits
FitMind’s science-based meditation training program. Via FitMind

FitMind teaches this same program at Fortune 500 companies, like Amazon and Uber, and was recently named the #1 meditation app for better sleep and less stress by CNET.

If you’re trying to start a meditation practice or take your current practice to the next level to reap the full benefits of mindfulness meditation, we recommend giving the FitMind program a shot.

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Proper Gym Etiquette: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do At the Gym

With spring break and the summer approaching, many people will be joining the gym. If you’re new to it, you may struggle with how to behave there. You may even fear getting judged.

To help you be more comfortable with working out, here’s a guide on proper gym etiquette.

Do: Bring a change of clothes and indoor shoes

gym etiquette

Everyone hates when others track dirt and mud into their home and they have to clean it up, right?

A pair of indoor shoes can help keep the gym floor, machines, and other exercise stations clean. While some gyms have full-time cleaning staff, many do not. And for those who don’t, their jobs will be easier if they do not have to follow you around to clean up your mess.

Some gyms are stricter than others about this rule. They may not let you get past the sign-in area without removing outdoor shoes.

Don’t: Forget to wipe down your station

Most gyms provide disinfectant sprays as well as disposable paper towels. I personally avoid gyms which mandate using a reusable towel or don’t provide a way to clean the equipment.

Typically, I will wipe down the equipment if I notice someone leave without doing so. Using them can help keep you and your other gym goers healthy, as well as avoid sitting in one another’s stink. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t sweat that much, or just sat in an area to rest, wipe it down.

Some people work out with towels, but your fellow gym goers can’t know how clean your towel is. One thing I see many people do is to sit on their sweat towel (or even worse, their hoodie) without disinfecting the station. Another is people using their towel to wipe the equipment with disinfectant.

Some microbiologists have said these habits greatly increase the spread of germs in gyms, increasing the risk of getting yourself or others sick. Your towel will carry fewer germs if you disinfect every station prior to putting it down.

Do: Re-rack your weights properly

gym etiquette dumbbells

When using plates and free weights, make sure to put them back where you found them. Some people don’t mind if you re-rack to one 45lb plates depending on the exercise and the gym, but the safe bet is to re-rack all weights.

You don’t want the next person to struggle in removing your weights. Some gyms have labeled areas for plates, dumbbells, and barbells. It is always best to put them in the designated area even if it is not where you found them. Sometimes, I sort weights while waiting for equipment or during a rest period.

Do not abandon your barbells in the middle of the walking area or stack plates into a tower. It is annoying and may lead to injury to yourself or others. Do not mix weights when putting them away. No one wants to have to de-rack and immediately re-rack two 25lb plates to get to a 45lb plate.

Do: Be aware of your surroundings

Be respectful of the personal space of your fellow gym-goers. You don’t want someone to drop a dumbbell on your foot! Be aware of what others are doing. You wouldn’t want to trip over someone stretching or knock out others.

Personal space at the gym is important. Most people don’t like a stranger taking a phone call an inch from their face, let alone when they’re trying to deadlift.

Do not block others’ access to weights, mirrors or gym equipment. For example, moving away from the barbell rack before doing a barbell set will allow others access to the weights without having to wait for you to finish your set or move. Even if it’s crowded, try your best to not stand in between another person and a mirror. You may block their view of their form.

You can do yoga or biceps curls in a different area of the gym. Many gyms have free exercise areas for yoga and stretching so don’t do them in squat or dead-lift areas. Those exercises can only be done in a limited part of the gym.

Don’t: Hog the exercise equipment

Some gyms have strict rules on how long someone can use an area or exercise equipment. Others rely on an honor system.

It may be tempting to make a circuit for your personal use but remember that other people may want to use the equipment as well. Don’t kill your gains to socialize. Although most people at the gym are friendly, you have to remember that they are there to work out.

It’s not a big deal to have a conversation or check your music in your rest period. However, you need to try to avoid spending an hour talking and fifteen minutes exercising. Be aware of your noise level and listen to your music with headphones. If half the gym is looking at you during a conversation, it might be time to quiet down and observe proper gym etiquette.

See Also: 12 Ways To Effectively Waste Time At The Gym

The post Proper Gym Etiquette: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do At the Gym appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Dating Mistakes To Avoid for Happy Relationships!

Falling in love with someone is a wonderful feeling that can only be topped by the feeling when that love is mutual. Starting a new relationship is extremely exciting! However, even with such an unpredictable matter as love is, there are still some rules to follow.

After all, dating is one of the most powerful forms of human communication. Hence, in order to make it fruitful and happy, you need to understand the basics of human relationships. Here are some of mistakes to avoid for happy relationships.

Making your partner the center of your universe

mistakes in relationships

The first thing on this list of dating mistakes people should avoid in order to secure a happy and long-lasting relationship may appear to be a little bit strange to some. One of the arguments against this point is that when you are genuinely in love with a person, you want to invest all of yourself into the relationship. You want to become “the one” so you put all your time and effort into making that relationship work.

However, this is not how healthy and happy relationships work. Of course, if you are going
out with someone it is essential that you pay enough attention to them, as well as their needs and wants. Nonetheless, it does not mean that they have to replace every single other human being and relationship you’ve had in your life before you met them.

Abandoning your social circle for someone is toxic and incredibly detrimental for you. The reason for this is that by focusing too much on your lover, you will lose those bits of character that other people fostered in you. It is likely that by only ever hanging out with your significant other, you will adopt their personality features and become a version of them. While this is cute to some, in reality, this is not great at all. It can even lead to a potential break-up.

The best way to explain the correlation between starting to resemble your lover and them
losing interest in you is this:

When the two of you meet and start to get to know each other better, each of you are a person of your own. And they fall for that person! If you eventually lose all of your unique traits and turn into their mirror reflection, they will be less intrigued by your existence.

In addition to that, it is incorrect to put your significant other’s needs above your own.
While it is an important feature of a happy relationship to know how to compromise, you should not forget about your own comfort when dating someone. Do not cancel plans you have made with someone and really wanted to attend to just at your partner’s whim.

It is understandable that after going out for a while people merge their social circles. They
introduce each other to their friends and mix and match the friendship groups. This is absolutely normal. The same way paying some little extra attention to your partner and choosing them before other people is normal.

You just need to remember not to limit yourself to just that one person by crossing out everyone else out of your life and abandoning your hobbies or goals that make your life a bit happier and fulfilling.

See Also: 6 Essential Steps For Overcoming Codependency

Trying to avoid arguments by bottling up your emotions and feelings

Another big mistake a lot of couples make that hinders them from having a happy and healthy relationship is avoiding arguments.

As weird as it may sound, the idea of arguments being unacceptable in a happy relationship is completely wrong. The truth is, arguments can be incredibly useful and healthy, and even take your relationship to the next level!

In fact, it is much better for your couple dynamics if both of you voice all of your concerns and talk them out, even if that could potentially lead to a heated conversation. If you discuss everything that bothers you at the time and let your partner know about your view of the situation, they are more likely to offer an explanation of their actions and subsequently suggest and alternative model of behaviour that would satisfy you both. After all, your lover is likely not a psychic and cannot possibly know how you feel about certain things unless you explicitly tell them.

Alternatively, if you choose not to express your disagreement and dissatisfaction simply because you would much rather swallow that instead of spending a couple of hours working out the problem, you are in for a hugely delayed scandal. It is human nature to accumulate all the unresolved conflicts and bottle up feelings instead of truly letting them go. Unfortunately, there is a limit to this.

Eventually, there will a be a thing, and often the tiniest one, which will push you over the edge and make you burst. Naturally, this will have adverse effect on your relationship and will likely end in a couple of days of not talking to each other.

Ignoring red flags

relationship red flags mistakes

Despite there not being a definite timeline for dating mistakes, this mistake is more relevant to those relationships that are still early, where people are still getting to know each other.

When you are only starting dating someone and still get butterflies in your stomach just from thinking about them, it is usual to idealize them in your head. Obviously, you are still new to this person and cannot possibly know about all their annoying little habits that are only identifiable to the people they live with. To you, they appear to be perfect. And this is, indeed, a wonderful feeling! However, this is exactly where the risk of ignoring red flag comes into the scene.

Unfortunately, people in love tend to not pay attention to the things that they do not like.
Instead, they choose to focus on what is good about their lover. However, this can be extremely detrimental in the long run. If you want to be in a happy relationship, you need to be with someone who you are compatible with and who fits you well. If someone does not, they are probably not meant for you. It is wrong for you to think that you can “fix” them, and make them good for you.

What you need to do is to notice all the red flags as they come and terminate the relationship as soon as it becomes unacceptable for you.

See Also: 10 Red Flags to Consider Before Getting Serious in a Relationship

Not establishing clear boundaries

This mistake links back to the first point on this list since they are closely connected. In fact, not establishing clear boundaries often becomes the cause of falling into obsessive behaviours and focusing on your partner too much.

This is why you need to remember that the two of you are not to be indivisible. It is okay if both of you have your own personal space which the other one would not violate. It is okay to have some privacy, and it is not to foster any jealousy or secrecy. In fact, privacy in relationships does not equate to secrecy. Privacy is needed to be able to be your own person and is not related to you having secrets from your partner.

In addition to that, it is undeniable that the world of dating is wide and varied. It means
different things for different people. Everyone has their very own understanding of what is
acceptable in a relationship and what is best be avoided. it is important for the two of you as a couple to decide what aspects are okay with you, and which ones cross the line for you.

All in all, you need to be aware of the fact that despite being together, the both of you should still remain your own separate entities.

Comparing your current significant other to the relationships you have had in the past

They say, your current self are made of your dreams and aspirations, your thoughts and your past. When it comes to dating, however, it is best that you keep your past out of the equation.

Of course, it is completely normal to remember some bits of your past relationships and respect the lessons you have learnt from dating those people. What is not adequate, however, is constantly comparing and contrasting your current partner to your exes. Not only that is irrelevant, but that also makes your significant other doubt your feelings for them since it seems like you are not over that person you dated before them.

Besides, you should also remember that no people can be exactly the same.

Therefore, you will not be able to have the same experiences that you went through in the past.

If you want to have a happy relationship, it is pivotal for you to remember that each and every relationships is a fresh start and you have to treat it as such. Live in the moment, and look up to the things you will go through with your current partner as opposed to reminiscing over the stuff that you and your ex shared.

Lacking in the communication department

This perhaps, could be one of the primary and worst mistakes people in relationships make, lack of communication between partners. The truth is that any relationship, let alone a romantic one, are based on human trust and communication.

By dating someone, you give that person an access to your heart and let them be your companion through thick and thin. However, even then they do not have access to your brain and cannot possibly know what exactly is on your mind. And neither can you.

As it has been discussed previously, you can actually save your relationship by arguing as that will help you express your feelings and let your partner know what you’re thinking. However, it is not necessarily negativity that you need to express. Relationship is a continuous communication process. It is helpful when two people talk about their thoughts and ideas.

The worst thing that one can do when dating is assuming what their partner means. And act based on those assumptions. That can instantly worsen your relationship and bring it to a logical end. It is absolutely essential that you discuss everything that needs to be discussed.

Moreover, it is also important for you to not only listen to your partner but also hear what they are saying. Often, we agree to have a conversation yet we are still not ready to communicate. That is ineffective and does not give any positive results. In fact, that only ever leaves both parties unhappy and annoyed with each other. Therefore, in order to communicate with your significant other successfully, you need to actually trust what they are saying and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Spending too little (or too much) time with each other

relationship mistake

Something a lot of couples are guilty of is not being able to find the right amount of time to
spend with each other. Both too little and too much time spent with each other can be harmful to the relationship and result with dissatisfaction from both parties.

When you are not investing enough time into your relationship and end up being too distant from your significant other, you risk losing the connection with them. While it is a gradual process that takes a lot of time to fully happen, it is likely to be irreversible. Once you lose touch with your loved one, you will find it extremely difficult to reconnect.

Therefore, it is important to schedule your life in such a way that the two of you would have some time to be intimate with each other and just have some quality time together.

At the same time, however, it is vital that you do not overdo it. Being together all the time can be rather negative for your relationship. It can lead to the aforementioned dating mistakes such as making your partner the center of your universe and your boundaries being blurred out.

To put it simply, even if you love them a lot, being together too much can make you get bored of them or even make them start getting on your nerves. It is important to have an opportunity to take small breaks in your time spent together, so you would have a chance to start missing each other and then have an outburst of oxytocin when you finally see each other!

Going with your brain and not your heart

At last but definitely not the least, love is an incredibly complicated concept. While scientists claim that love is simply a chain of chemical reactions in your brain, in reality, it is so much more than that! Love is wonderful in its spontaneity and unpredictability. And the worst thing you can do when dating somebody into a happy relationship is to try and calculate it.

The post Dating Mistakes To Avoid for Happy Relationships! appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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.

The People and Tech Behind Data Science Explained

Within the past few years, the study of data science and machine learning has exploded into its own job field. However, the tech subgenre has been galavanting to the mainstream for nearly 3 centuries. It all started sometime in the 1740s with Bayes’ Theorem.

Today, the demand for data scientists is at its peak and is only continuing to surge. By the end of this year, there will have been 2.7 million data scientist job openings. The million-dollar question is:

What do data scientists do?

To be direct, data science is the process of analyzing data. Explaining with more complexity, data scientists use heterogeneous data – data that were composed of different forms or dissimilar components – to solve rigorous problems.

To do so, data scientists use their master skills in computer science, high-level mathematics, and more. These aforementioned skills are especially unique to data scientists developing industrial machine learning technologies, programs, and Enterprise AI.

data scientists do

In short, data scientists take three steps in analyzing their data: preparing, testing, and capturing. Of course, 2-3 individual tasks are necessary to complete each step.

Preparing

To prepare for data analysis, data must be first captured. In other words, the first task in a data scientist’s work is to simply collect their data. Scientists can extract or acquire them. To further prepare for data analysis, the scientist then maintains their data, safely storing and staging it.

Some data storage methods include scalable storage optimized with artificial intelligence. Finally, the data undergo processing which involves mining and classification.

Testing

Once data scientists are done with preparation, having completed the previously mentioned tasks, they will move on to physically testing their findings. Think back to your public school science fair days:

What must you do before testing your data?

Draft a hypothesis or an educated guess. It involves developing a theory to test with the data model. After this, the data is finally ready for analysis. This is the stage where new findings based on the initially collected data are discovered. It’s often done by modeling, exploring, and experimenting with data to reach desired outcomes and to decide what the data means.

what data scientists do

Capturing

All that’s left to do at this point is to communicate the results. Reconnecting data science to science fair procedures, how would you express your final discoveries? Perhaps a visual aid, such as a tri-fold poster board.

While data scientists may not necessarily take this route of expression, they create an easily understood picture of the model’s predictions. It’s easily translatable to an audience of laymen. The final task in data analysis is to apply your results. It’s to help end-users understand how to use the predictions to take effective actions within their business.

See Also: The Importance of Big Data In Business And Your Success

Who are data scientists?

More importantly, how do you become one?

Jenn Gamble, Director of Noodle.ai – the leading machine learning software giant – spoke on the subject, saying, “You don’t necessarily need a Ph.D. to do data science – you need an aptitude for math and a creative, problem-solving mentality.”

By 2025, we will be creating data worth 175 billion terabytes on a daily basis, so the primary way to fully understand and analyze the world’s surging data is to hire more data scientists with access to advanced tools.

Some of the most popular tools in the industry include the R programming language, python, PyTorch, hadoop, and Apache Spark. Among the most crucial roles needing fulfillment in the machine learning job economy are data engineers, AI hardware specialists, and software engineers.

Data engineers create and maintain the methods which bring in data, needing skills in Scikit-learn, AForge.NET, and/or Java programming language. Software engineers analyze business data and design software to fit needs, needing skills in Java programming language, SQL, and/or python. Lastly, AI hardware specialists create and program AI to perform specific tasks, needing skills in machine learning, python, Saas, and Java programming language.

Data science provides opportunities for people to express their creativity.

It gives them the means to create technology that can initiate changes worldwide. Think about all of the space exploration, autonomous vehicles, personalized medicine, and personalized education that have been created within the past few years. They are the work of data scientists.

This isn’t all, however.

Data scientists have also created technologies capable of monitoring wildlife migration and optimize energy. The essentiality of data science is no question. In fact, between just 2011 and 2012, job listings for “data scientist” increased by 15,000%.

Find out more about what data science is below.

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5 Surprising Benefits of Bringing Dogs In The Workplace

Thanks to the evolution of global office culture, managers and business owners have started to go against the norm and adopt non-traditional office policies. Aside from providing flextime benefits and the option to work remotely, more offices are starting to see the value of allowing dogs in the workplace.

Whether it’s for your staff or team leads, bringing your dogs to work can be beneficial in several ways. Aside from helping them get through tough bouts of work, dogs have the power to boost employee engagement and even inspire productivity.

If you want to switch up your company’s performance or help maintain the well-being of your staff, you should definitely consider this option.

Not convinced yet?

Take a look at these five surprising benefits of bringing your dogs in your workplace!

Encourages communication

Dogs can be an excellent icebreaker especially for your newcomers or shy employees. Pets are generally a common interest. Since they bring a friendlier vibe to the office, they unconsciously encourage your staff to talk to one another.

Since communication plays a big part in getting tasks and projects done, dogs can provide opportunities for casual conversations. This can significantly improve team communication and cooperation in the long run.

Boost employee morale

Hectic deadlines, demanding clients, and the happenings of everyday life can sometimes get the best of anyone. When mid-day blues strike, your employees may feel very drained and have a hard time getting back on track. Luckily, a dog’s presence can be enough to help everyone get through that hump.

Dogs are an instant mood booster and can help your employees recharge. Giving the office canine a belly scratch can feel like a breath of fresh air. It’s a lot more effective than gripping a random stress ball or fidget toy. By improving the quality of their breaks, it’ll be easier for them to gather themselves and get back on track.

See Also: 7 Ways Pets Affect Emotional and Physical Health

Promotes a healthy lifestyle

having dog in the workplace

Staying fit inside the workplace can be a challenge for many. The average employee spends around 45 hours a week inside the office and most of the time, they’re just glued to their desks. To make matters worse, their tight schedules may prevent them from following a consistent workout routine.

Other than helping you manage your mood and stress, letting pets in the office can actually pave the way for a healthier lifestyle. Taking a dog to work means waking up early.

Since owners have more things to prepare in the morning, they need to follow a consistent bedtime routine to make sure that they get enough hours of sleep. Once they get to the office, they need to take their pets outside for potty breaks regularly. It’s a simple but very effective way that dogs help you maintain your health by getting up and moving.

Improves employee retention

If you want to improve your retention rates, you need to keep your employees happy. To do this successfully, you need to help them fulfill their needs in and out of the office. For instance, an employee may be living alone with a dog, and there may be cases when the pet may require supervision.

Given this situation, having a dog-friendly policy can really lighten the load on their shoulders. By helping them take care of matters outside their personal life even within the confines of the workplace, they’re more likely to feel satisfied with their jobs and stay.

Win the recruitment race

bringing dogs in the workplace

From a managerial perspective, allowing dogs in the workplace can give your company an edge in the recruitment race. A dog-friendly workspace is often very happy.

The policies you’ve implemented and the benefits provided are significant, but nothing can attract your prospects better than being in a fun environment filled with friendly employees and fluffy cuteness. In the end, allowing pets in the office will definitely increase your chances of acquiring top-tier talent.

Back in the day, having pets in the office was nothing but a dream. However, advances in technology and cultural shift have made transforming a boring office into a flexible workspace a lot easier than you think.

Instead of investing in expensive pieces of furniture, buying the latest coffee machine or adopting unfeasible policies, something as simple as bringing pets in the office can change your whole office completely.

Other than changing the atmosphere of your workspace, it can pave the way for improved individual and team performance, better working relationships, and the development of your company culture.

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The Feeling of Being Ignored: What It Could Really Mean

Have you ever felt ignored?

Chances are you have – we all have at one time or another. Whether it’s being ignored by someone in particular or people in general looking past you, feeling ignored is isolating and painful. It can cause us to act out in destructive ways. This can be particularly true when you feel ignored or overlooked by someone you love.

So how should you handle the feeling of being ignored? And could it be possible that you’re making someone feel ignored without even realizing it?

Let’s take a look.

The Effects Of Being Ignored

being ignored

Being bullied is horrible, but being ignored can be worse. In fact, the silent treatment is a tactic often used by people who want to inflict pain without being outwardly confrontational. It’s manipulative and cruel.

See Also: The Most Important Tips For Dealing With Bullying At Work

People who make a point of ignoring others and using the silent treatment as a weapon may not realize the serious effects their behavior can have. They don’t know how devastating those effects can be. And some people may not even realize that is what they are doing at all.

While their indifferent behavior is selfish, it may very well be accidental.

Being ignored can cause emotional trauma. It can eventually lead to depression, anger, and low self-esteem. Because people are naturally social creatures, we crave acceptance, inclusion, and recognition.

For better or worse, we often use those around us as a mirror. Their reaction to us forms, or at least influences, our own opinion of ourselves. Being ignored by the people around us, especially a loved one, is like looking in a mirror and seeing nothing there. This can leave us questioning our self-worth and value.

But it’s not just psychological stress that we feel when we’re ignored. We can experience physical problems as well. Emotional pain can lead to headaches, digestive issues, disruptions in our sleeping or eating patterns and even diseases. All of them have serious consequences if left unchecked.

What You Can Do To Feel Seen

But what can you do if you feel ignored?

You can’t make someone pay attention to you, right? Well, you can. Unfortunately, the behaviors used by those who are demanding someone’s attention are often negative and destructive. They come from a desperate feeling that any kind of attention is better than no attention at all.

This really isn’t true, however.

If you feel like you’re being ignored, the best thing you can do is to remain calm. Allowing yourself to become so upset over it can drive people further away. The next thing you need to do is consider why you feel this way.

Ask yourself this:

Are you sure you are really being ignored? Could it be that people (or a person in particular) are just busy?

For instance, if you feel that people look right through you when you walk down the street, it may be time to examine your own behavior. People generally match the behavior of others in a public environment.

Could the indifference that you feel from others a response to your own indifferent behavior? Do you smile at others as you pass by? Do you make eye contact or hold a door when the opportunity presents itself?

If the answer is no, then it’s quite likely that those around you are responding to signals you are giving off that say, “Leave me alone.”

If you are being ignored by one person in particular, however, you need to look a little more closely at the possible reasons. Do so with an open mind. In today’s overly busy world, it’s entirely possible that the person ignoring you is actually just really distracted with their own problems and schedules. It may not have anything to do with you personally.

On the flip side, acting out our negative feelings with intentional silence, such as ghosting, has become more and more the norm, so there could be more to it. There is one surefire way to figure that out though – ask.

If you feel that someone may be purposefully ignoring you, then the best way to understand why is to ask them directly. Doing this in an inquisitive and friendly manner will give the other person the encouragement to answer honestly. And addressing the problem in this manner will show that person and others that you don’t accept being dismissed and ignored as an appropriate response.

How You May Be Ignoring People And Not Even Know It

feel of being ignored

What if you’re the one who is doing the ignoring? Would you even know it?

We all know that life can get a little crazy sometimes and we can become self-absorbed. But when you become so focused on your own world that you stop returning calls, answering emails or paying attention to those who are closest to you, it’s gone too far. Now you’ve become the one doing the ignoring and causing others to feel invisible. Not good.

The best advice is to take time once or twice a week to stop and take stock of your relationships and behavior. Give some thought as to what those around you may be experiencing as well. Nothing about our lives and relationships remains static or perpetually harmonious.

There are always ups and downs and back and forths. So, if you are feeling ignored, give some thought as to why and if your behavior is playing a part in that. Do a self-check.

Could you be the reason someone else is feeling overlooked and invisible?

The post The Feeling of Being Ignored: What It Could Really Mean appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Treating Arthritis Naturally: Home Remedies For Arthritis and Joint Pain

Arthritis is one of the most chronic and common illnesses affecting millions around the globe. It is a disease that causes inflammation of the joints and considered a rheumatic condition. It doesn’t just harm the joints, but sometimes it can also affect the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones.

If the condition spreads, it can also affect other internal organs and the immune system. The symptoms of arthritis include severe ache, pain, stiffness, and swelling in bones and muscles. Arthritis can also drain a person mentally, causing sleep disorders and depression.

Arthritis can cause severe fatigue and pain which can make daily tasks appear daunting.

What causes arthritis?

There are five primary types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Gout. Each type of arthritis has its own set of causes.

Below are some of the primary causes of arthritis:

  • Injury
  • Infections
  • Immune disorders
  • Heredity
  • Abnormal metabolism
  • Muscle disorders
  • Age
  • Obesity

How to treat arthritis?

The treatment for arthritis involves enriching the bones, joints or muscles, controlling the pain, and alleviating the symptoms. The treatment or care also focuses on minimizing the damage on the joints or nearby muscles and organs.

Home and natural remedies for arthritis involves augmenting the dietary and lifestyle habits. It can help in treating and also preventing the further spread of arthritis or its conditions.

Natural remedies for arthritis

Ginger

treating arthritis naturally ginger

Ginger is favored around the globe for its rich medical properties. It contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These and other components of ginger work together in reducing pain, inflammation, and disability.

Ginger also promotes weight loss and boosts immunity which improves the body’s ability to alleviate arthritis. It plays another critical role by increasing blood circulation and supporting the affected area with its healing properties.

Use powdered ginger to add flavors to dishes. Add grated ginger root to soups, teas or juices to experience its benefits.

Broccoli

treating arthritis naturally broccoli

Broccoli is a superfood that reduces inflammation. It is rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium which are known to be highly beneficial in treating arthritis.

See Also: A List of Superfoods You Definitely Need in Your Diet

Adding broccoli to salads is the most common practice to take in their benefits.

Healthy dietary management to fight arthritis.

Below are some of the foods for arthritis patients:

Sulfur rich foods: Asparagus, cabbage, garlic, and onions.
Antioxidant foods: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, spinach, red & green peppers.
Vitamin-rich fruits: Avocados, berries, melons, papaya, pineapple.

Herbal teas, garlic, turmeric, and cinnamon are highly recommended. These are loaded with anti-inflammatory and immune system boosting properties.

These foods help in rebuilding the damaged tissues, inhibit or reduce inflammation, and alleviate the pain associated with arthritis.

On the other hand, these foods also help in reducing weight, improving the immune system, and overall health which can ease the treatment of the condition.

Essential nutrients for managing arthritis

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients that helps in absorbing calcium and building strong bones. It also regulates the immune system to fight arthritis from inside.

Vitamin D is also vital for muscle movement, fighting inflammation, and enriching the communication between nerves. These attributes help reduce the associated symptoms and reduce stress.

Sun and yogurt are the best sources of vitamin D. Supplements are also recommended to fuel the body with significant amounts of vitamin D.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids help in reducing inflammation and improving the immune system. These essential fatty acids increase the blood flow, reduce joint pains, inflammation, tenderness, swelling, and discomfort in the joints and knees.

Seafood is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Generally, supplements of omega-3 fatty acids are also recommended for those who do not eat fish. You can also get them from nuts and seeds.

Glucosamine, magnesium, and calcium are other essential nutrients that should be taken in significant amounts to treat arthritis.

Warm water therapy

Warm water therapy regulates the size of blood vessels. It, in turn, increases the flow of blood, oxygen, and essential nutrients to repair the damaged tissues. It also eases the stiffness and gives more relaxation to the joints and muscles.

How to do it:

  • Relax in a tub of warm water or soak your legs in warm water.
  • The other way is to apply a warm compress to the affected area.

Avoid this therapy if you see any redness or swelling. You could also try a cold compress which has a similar effect. The cold compress does the opposite and reduces the blood flow and decreases inflammation.

Massage

Arthritis, as mentioned above, can limit mobility or cause severe pain when the affected person does physical workout. In such cases, massage therapy can be helpful.
Regular massage can soothe the pain, improve blood flow, increase flexibility, and strengthen the joints and muscles.

Besides, massage is known to inhibit the stress hormone and boost the serotonin levels, which can improve the mood.

Walking or swimming are also other physical exercises that can help in treating arthritis. Go easy on this routine or work out under an expert’s guidance. These simple exercises can reduce fat, improve coordination, mood, and quality of life.

What to Avoid

treating arthritis naturally what to avoid

A person who has arthritis should take necessary measures to avoid the following:

  • Flour and wheat products
  • Red meat
  • Alcohol
  • Processed or starchy foods
  • High-sugar foods
  • High-intensity exercises
  • Weight-lifting

Conclusion

These tips on treating arthritis can naturally help in alleviating the symptoms, reducing the pain, and treating the condition in the early stages. These remedies also help in improving the everyday physical and mental abilities.

However, in severe or chronic conditions of arthritis, it is a must to get proper treatment from a doctor. Otherwise, it could cause permanent damage and progress to other parts.

See Also: Words of Advice To Keep Your Joints Healthy

Author Bio:

Henna is a wellness lifestyle writer. She loves sharing her thoughts and personal
experiences related to natural remedies, Ayurvedic, yoga and fitness through her
writing. She currently writes for How To Cure. She can connect with others experiencing
health concerns and help them through their recovery journeys through natural
remedies

The post Treating Arthritis Naturally: Home Remedies For Arthritis and Joint Pain appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

12 Clever Ways You Can Earn Money From Your Computer Today

In today’s digital world, working from home has never been more accessible. At-home jobs are the perfect opportunity for those who have kids or those who have trouble finding employment locally. Even better, there is a huge host of different jobs you can do. All you need is a computer and a steady internet connection.

Translator

Do you speak, read, and write two or more languages? If so, translators are in high demand. Translators usually have to translate audio recordings or documents from one language to another, and you can work for yourself as a freelance translator. There are also companies that offer a huge range of remote translation services, but you may have to past a test first to prove your fluency.

Online Tutor

If you love helping people learn, an online tutor can be a fantastic job to do what you love. You can pick your subject or subjects and set your hours around your schedule. For just a few hours a day, you can make several hundred dollars within weeks or months using Studypool. This website has tutors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to answer students’ questions.

Virtual Travel Agent

If you love to travel and see new places, working as a virtual travel agent or consultant is the way to go. You can work part or full time dreaming up the perfect flight plans, itineraries, and activities for your clients who want to travel. As a bonus, many virtual travel agents get steep discounts that allow them to travel anywhere in the world they want without spending a lot of money.

Online Writing or Editing

A person who has a passion for creating engaging content or has a way with words can make a living writing or editing online. The pay varies from company to company or with private clients. A lot of freelance writers are full-time, but it’s also a nice side gig to make money around your schedule. The average salary for a freelance writer in $24 per hour.

See Also: 10 Tips for Freelance Writers That Really Work

Virtual Graphic Designer

Anyone who produces their best work outside a traditional office and has an artistic flair can get into virtual graphic design. You’ll assemble typography, images, and motion graphics for clients in the digital media, published, or printed sectors. You may draft logos, labels, packaging, or advertising materials for brands. You’ll want skills in software, typography, Adobe Photoshop, web design, and technology.

Airbnb Host

Do you have a house in a desirable location? Maybe you know all the hot spots in town, and you love meeting new people. If this sounds like you, becoming a host on Airbnb is a quick way to earn extra money. You set up and manage your profile online to offer short-term rental of your home. If you love to host and keep your house clean, rent out your guest bedroom or your guest house. Just make sure your community lets you have short-term rentals.

Virtual Assistant

Highly organized people that can multitask can find steady work as virtual assistants. Dozens of companies hire virtual assistants on a contract basis to help save on employment costs. Once they hire you, you’ll help organize people’s lives. Common duties include managing calendars, replying to emails, managing social media posts, and entering data.

Transcriptionist

Anyone who needs a job with no or very little experience can break into the transcriptionist industry relatively easily. You will have to have great attention to detail and be able to type quickly. You’ll listen to audio files and type out what you hear, and many job positions only require you to have a keyboard and computer to start. Most companies let you make your own schedule, and you could find yourself transcribing everything from a college lecture to a presentation.

Website Testing

Companies need people to test their websites to ensure they’re easy to navigate and intuitive. They’ll give you instructions to follow and ask you to rate how easy it was. It usually takes around 15 minutes from start to finish, and you get paid per test you complete. However, it’s first-come, first-serve. You have to stay on top of it and register for multiple companies.

Vlogger

Do your friends and family ask how you created that wreath or how you make those perfect cookies? Maybe you create stunning makeup designs. A vlogger is someone who uses platforms like YouTube or Instagram to showcase how-to videos and video blog posts. You get money per views and sponsorships, and it can range from under $100 a month to thousands. Make sure you enroll in YouTube’s Partner Program if you choose to use this platform.

Customer Service Representative

great customer service

People who are good at talking on the phone, de-escalating situations, and have a lot of patience can excel as customer service representatives. Basically, you help people that call you find the correct product, place their order, or resolve conflicts. Big brands and hotel chains employ thousands of home-based customer service representatives, and you get a reliable schedule.

Insurance Company Representative

This job does usually requires at least six months of training before you work on your own from home. However, it can be lucrative. You can make over $100,000 annually. As a representative, you’ll help customers navigate their insurance policies. You may have to answer questions, see if a service has approval, and talk to hospitals about a patient’s coverage. You also generally have to dedicate at least four-hour blocks at a time.

Bottom Line

It’s possible to find fulfilling and challenging work from home and make money with a computer. However, you should take your time and find a job that matches your wants, needs, schedule, and desired pay. It can pay off in a big way, and you get to make a living while working without the traditional nine to five job.

See Also: 4 Biggest Challenges of Being A Freelancer (And How To Deal With Them)

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