Dumb Little Man

Mastering The Beautiful But Difficult Art Of Letting Go

“The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go.” – Dodinsky

Fears, doubts, past events, unpleasant memories, bad conversations – these are some of the factors that contribute to our unhappiness.

Our mind has the tendency to hold onto those things for long, creating misery. For instance, if someone said bad words to you, your mind will keep on clinging to it until another event happens.

Unless you learn how to let things go, you won’t be able to embrace every moment of life and live it to the fullest. You won’t be able to enjoy even the world’s best luxuries.

In this article, you’ll learn the best tips for mastering the art of letting go.

Learn to Accept Before You Learn How to Let Things Go

More than half of our problems begin when we start questioning the things around us. For instance, suppose you are stuck in a bad traffic jam and there’s no way out for you.

There are two ways in which you can handle this scenario.

You could start yelling at people and vent out your frustration but this can make things even worse. Or you could keep calm and use this time to do some thinking. You could sit quietly and enjoy the music being played on the FM.

Now, what usually happens?

We choose to react negatively to the things around us. When thoughts bother us or a past event troubles us, we start questioning, explaining or justifying it. This leads to more chaos and confusion.

The best thing you can do at any moment is to accept it as it is.

When you accept it, your mind comes to rest immediately. With a stable state of mind, you can decide what can be done to make the situation better. Such decisions usually never end up in regret or guilt. Also, accepting things can help you to move on quickly from events and situations.

Remember Death

letting go

What are you really holding onto? How long will you hold onto it?

In all those moments when you find it difficult to let go, just remember that one day this is all going to be over. This very realization takes away the stiffness in your mind and body. When you remember death, you are able to honor life.

There are many people who have come before you, had been in the same situation as you and may have even left the world by now. So, there’s no point in worrying or holding onto things. Enjoy the moment you have now and just let go!

Have Faith

What keeps us from letting go of our anxieties and fears? It’s the lack of faith.

Lack of faith leads to insecurities and fears in us. That’s why faith is the biggest blessing you can ask for. With faith and confidence that you will get what you need at the right time, you can easily let go of your fears and worries.

We all have experienced this at some point.

There have been moments when you badly needed money and somebody out of nowhere came to help you. Whenever you need some help, someone always finds a way to be there for you.

That’s because of faith, isn’t it? So, have faith and let go!

Meditate Regularly

meditate regularly

Meditation is a highly recommended activity for mastering the art of letting go and living in the present moment. Meditation helps you get rid of negative emotions, stress, and everything that bothers you. It gives you the power to channel your thoughts in a positive direction.

Practicing meditation twice a day keeps you away from impressions, events, and happenings in the outer world. It helps you stay in the present moment and do your tasks with sincerity and dedication.

See Also: The Profound Effects Of Meditation On The Mind

Bottom Line

With practice and patience, you will eventually learn how to let things go, particularly those that bother you. You’ll realize that anxiety and fear are not worth your precious time and peace of mind.

Let go of things and be happy right now!

See Also: 12 Stressful Things To Let Go Of If You Want To Live A Calm Life

The post Mastering The Beautiful But Difficult Art Of Letting Go appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Are You Too Complacent In A Relationship?

Do you remember when you would check the mirror, adjust your hair and perhaps, put on cologne before seeing your mate? You wanted to put your best foot forward to make sure you would impress and attract.

Now, let’s be real.

After a few years in a relationship, we become so comfortable with one another that a lot of those little details don’t happen anymore.

Becoming complacent in a relationship is a double-edged sword. It shows that the love is unconditional and that our partner accepts us for who we are, good things and bad. The problem, however, is that you no longer put the effort you were giving before. When we start acting as though those details don’t matter anymore, a lot of things in the relationship change.

Now, if you are starting to worry about being complacent in a relationship, check these signs below.

You no longer hide the array of sounds (and smells) that your body produces

You may be thrilled that your relationship is close enough that you no longer have to leave the room every time you let out a bit of air. Unfortunately, your partner may not share your enthusiasm. Consider it something to keep to yourself and take it somewhere else whenever possible.

You have lost interest in personal grooming

It isn’t necessary to slap on some aftershave each time you walk past the mirror. In fact, it would probably be an overkill.

You should, however, make it a point to shower daily and brush your teeth regularly. Yes, your partner may love you no matter what but you shouldn’t make her work to remind herself why.

You mumble some version of “love you babe” frequently and without eye contact

Remember when you first told her you love her? You probably looked into her eyes when you said those words. You definitely felt their meaning.

If “I love you” has morphed almost exclusively into “love you babe” or some version of that, you probably have forgotten what those words are supposed to convey. It’s time to remember and make a change.

You think “dates” are no longer needed

no date

Believe it or not, dates are still necessary. What brought you together as a couple and helped you gain the comfort and closeness you now have was developed through dating.

Just because you are a few years into things doesn’t mean you should stop putting effort. People (yes, even your partner) change and grow continually. If you don’t spend enough time to enjoy each other’s company, you’ll eventually grow apart.

Closeness is a moving target. You can’t stop working on it just because you think you have it.

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

Sex has become like a well-loved recipe

sex in relationship

If your intimate life has a set routine and you could and possibly have done it in your sleep, you are probably too comfortable. Just because you achieve a successful…ahem…end result does not mean you have had a successful experience. Sex is far more enjoyable when there are a few new moves here and there. So, throw out the recipe and try exploring a bit. You might find yourself surprised by the result.

There is a difference between trusting someone so much that you can be completely comfortable in their presence and being so comfortable that you seem not to care. That difference can be a very fine line.

If several or all of the above points ring a bell, you have probably crossed that line. Try changing things up and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your partner’s reaction and what you get in return.

See Also: 6 Signs You’re In A Long-Term Relationship

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3 Simple Ways To Improve Your Piano Skills

I have been a pianist all of my life. I took lessons when I was about 13 and have never regretted it. By learning the basics of music and the piano at such an early age, I was able to build a foundation for music that lasts a lifetime. I play mostly by ear but by having the essential basics behind me, I am able to play a lot of things.

Not everyone takes lessons, though. Some people wait until they are middle-aged to learn an instrument and that’s okay, too! You’re never too old to learn, as long as you have the passion and desire to do so.

Do you find yourself wanting to become a more accomplished pianist or musician but don’t know where to start? Maybe you’ve become so frustrated at times that you just want to give up on your dream of playing altogether. Don’t do that!

If you want to do something, just try another way.

The piano has evolved over the years and there are several forms of this instrument. There’s the electronic keyboard, synthesizers, computerized musical composition software and much more. If you learn the basics of the piano, you’ll gain a wealth of skills and knowledge that you can use in a lot of ways.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to improve your piano skills and become a better musician.

Three Ways to Improve Your Piano Skills Now

These tips are not magical solutions for you to become the next Carnegie Hall performer. Instead, these practical tips can help you polish your act when it comes to achieving your music goals.

Make Use of Online Training Tools

There are tons of online tools you can use nowadays. One good example is the Online Pianist. It has created a piano online tutorial self-study that makes it easy for anyone to learn how to play the piano from home or on-the-go. This online tool allows you to learn the basics of piano and music theory in a fun and engaging way.

In addition to this, you can take a wide range of courses on Udemy, the famous online training and educational site that allows you to learn at your own pace. Simply visit their site and search for “piano”. From there, you’ll see the courses they have.

Feel free to browse and search on Google for more online training solutions and tools that can improve your piano skills as well as your music ability. By using these online tools, you can learn to play any instrument whenever and wherever you want.

You can also find a lot of helpful videos on Youtube. Instant Piano Genius is a great program that is showcased on that site. Pick up a few free tips or take the whole course. It features a non-traditional approach to learning the piano that you’ll surely enjoy.

Record Yourself Playing and Analyze It

One of the best tools you can use to improve your piano or musical ability is to record your performance and evaluate it. There are many cheap recording software solutions online, like Multitrack Studio. This software allows you to record both midi and standard audio inputs, mix it with other tracks and save your recordings. The cost of this nifty software is only $69.

If you would rather use a mobile app solution, try J4T. It’s a 4-track digital recorder that allows you to record up to four tracks and mix them together for your final output. You can record yourself playing piano using an external mic and this software. Once you are done, you can just mix in other tracks later, such as vocals or other instruments.

If you’re after an external solution, try the Xoom™ H4N handheld multitrack recorder. Amazon has this nifty recorder at some competitive prices. You can use this device to record up to four tracks. It allows inputs from professional XLR mic and other similar devices.

If you want to improve your music ability and skill, you will need to get used to the idea of recording as it’s a part of being a musician. Doing so will allow you to evaluate your performance and take notes of the things that need improving.

It can also help you be familiar with the recording techniques you can use professionally. Who knows? You might be able to sell your finished music on iTunes, CD Baby or Amazon in the future.

Practice and Review Your Weak Points

practice piano

Once you have a recording of your musical performance, you can listen to it carefully to see where you need to improve. Accomplished musicians and pianists will tell you that there’s no substitute for practice when it comes to developing your performance. Training does, indeed, make perfect.

You can also watch other performers that you admire and get ideas from them. Don’t copy their style but notice what makes their music high and see how you can apply some of their techniques.

Conclusion

Finally, have fun with your music!

One of the most successful groups in music history was “The Beatles”. When asked how they planned to become so famous, they said that they didn’t plan to be celebrated. They just wanted to have fun with it!

Perhaps, it is this kind of passion and dedication to music and not the actual ability or equipment that makes a great musician. So, play in your house, in the streets or in front of 10,000 people.

Whatever you do, just enjoy it.

Try our tips and see if they can help improve your piano or music skills. If they do, tell them where you heard it, okay?

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Staying Focused At Work: How To Be Productive In A Challenging Environment

A lot of organizations deal with challenges like maintaining productivity and quality of work. Employees constantly complain about the increasing chaos that hampers their productivity and this directly affects the business. Because of that, managers are quite pressed to find a solution that can motivate their team members while boosting their productivity.

In this article, we’ll share with you few essential tips on staying focused at work.

Prepare a To-Do List

prepare to do list

Half the battle is won once you prioritize your tasks. Make a master list of what needs to be done.

For example, you can put all tasks that require urgent attention under “A”.  Create a list “B” for things that are important but not urgent and List “C” for tasks that can wait for a while. Complete all tasks under “A” first before you move on to “B” and “C”.

Plan your day through these lists and set realistic deadlines to accomplish each one of them. Once you’ve completed everything, don’t forget to reward yourself to keep your spirit up. When you start prioritizing, you won’t just be focused but efficient, too.

Start With Cognitively Challenging Tasks

After preparing your to-do list, start with cognitively demanding tasks. Suppose your List “A” has three tasks. Start with the most difficult tasks before moving on to the easier ones. Do the same thing for the “B” and “C” lists.

Once you complete the difficult tasks, you are all set for the rest of the day. Now, you can relax and take care of the other tasks that aren’t as mentally draining.

Schedule Your Work

Don’t overstretch yourself with your work. Rather, split your work into segments and sub-segments. Try working within a 2-hour window and then take a break. Don’t sit for more than two hours at a stretch or else you’ll feel exhausted. Even a leading study suggests that “Sitting is the New Smoking”.

To avoid such burnouts, take a walk to revitalize your brain, allowing it to concentrate better. Though breaks are essential for a healthy workday, you must learn to take them with a pinch of salt. Frequent breaks can be addictive and can hamper work.

To draw a line, you can optimize your breaks by doing the following:

  • Schedule your breaks
  • Keep a track to ensure you are not overdoing or under doing your breaks

Learn to Set Priorities

Responding to each and every request of your co-workers can immediately affect your focus, preventing you from doing deep work. If you have a habit of entertaining every request, you are most likely to lose your value. On top of that, tackling on-the-fly requirements can also deplete your focus.

With that, you have to make others understand that their requests will be entertained but only once you are finished with your priorities. For better focus and results, it’s also important to avoid indulging in non-work related discussions or “grapevine.”

If there are sudden urgent tasks, you can deal with them with a simple project management tool. Simply make a note of the new task, assign a deadline and you are good to go. Once you’re done with your current task, start finishing the others one at a time.

Desist Multitasking

It might feel tempting to do multiple tasks simultaneously to enhance your productivity. But, honestly, it just makes things worse.

Multitasking drains your mind and it can cause a significant decline in your mental sharpness with time. It can prevent you from achieving your most important goals and make you more vulnerable to work errors.

Avoid Distractions

Nowadays, being online on various social media platforms is a trend. Several notifications pop up every now and then, commanding your attention. If you are constantly attending to such notifications, how are you supposed to do meaningful work?

One of the greatest tips in staying focused at work is to identify distractions and just get rid of them. While working on an important project, put your phone on silent or switch it off. If you really want to stay updated with your social media accounts, you can designate dedicated time slots to check your phone.

Be an Email Ninja

Though emails are important, they can be distracting, too. They have the potential to divert your attention from your work to something that can wait.

So, lay down personal rules and follow them religiously. Set specific times for your emails and stick with them.

Pay Attention to Chat Status

More often than not, people take your chat status wrongly. If your chat status says “available” all the time, they’ll think of it as a sign to forward more requests.

When you are doing a task that demands a razor-sharp focus, set your chat or email setting to ‘busy’ mode. Needless to say, you can change the chat status after you’re done.

Cut Outside Noise

avoiding noise distraction

Managing your focus in an office environment can be quite tricky. Until you do away with noise, you won’t be able to focus.

Limiting auditory distractions is crucial in increasing attention span. You can use noise-canceling headphones for that. If you still feel distracted, you can move to a quieter place, such as a conference room. In case that doesn’t solve the problem, opt for remote work for a day or two to regain your lost focus.

Manage Stress

Working on a crucial project with close deadlines? Growing expectations, increased competition, and pressing deadlines can increase your stress at work. This can make your productivity suffer.

To solve this, try turning on a soothing music to lower your stress and calm your mind. Apart from that, you should also pay close attention to your diet. As much as possible, avoid the following:

  • Nicotine
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol

Don’t forget to exercise regularly and sleep well.

See Also: 4 Ways To Reduce Stress Inside and Outside of Work

Declutter Your Workdesk

Visual clutter can take away your focus, preventing you from doing any meaningful work. Therefore, you must declutter your office desk to increase work performance.

Keep everything that’s essential to your work, like your pen, notepad, marker, and files, on top of the table so you can easily get them when needed. Lock all other unnecessary things inside your drawer.

See Also: 12 Desk Hacks To Make You More Productive At Work

In Summary

Focus on bringing tranquility to your workplace, so the whole environment undergoes a positive change. You can add positive images to your work desk or you can write down quotes to boost your focus. Practice a simple routine of keeping a clean desk and make sure that you don’t leave food or other things lying on your desk.

Keep on practicing these positive habits and you’ll surely see a noticeable improvement in your productivity level at work.

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5 Behaviors That Annoy Your Customers

Frequent calls and customer complaints are staples in every business. This, however, doesn’t mean that they are completely harmless. In fact, the increasing number of calls and customer complaints can mean that your business isn’t doing well.

Today, customers aren’t afraid of switching. If they are unhappy with your services and goods, they’ll just move on and find another company or brand that can meet their needs and expectations.

So, whether you are a startup or a big player in your niche, providing the best services and products for your clients is essential. After all, the more unhappy customers you have, the less chance you’ll succeed.

With that, we have jotted down 5 things customers find annoying and what you can do to avoid them.

Slow response

One of the most common things that customers find annoying is when they can’t find a quick and instant solution to their problems. If your business fails to impress with a quick response time, it creates a negative experience and forces customers to switch to a competitor.

Introducing a live chat solution can permanently fix the problem. Your customers can connect to a live chat agent in seconds and get their questions answered in real-time, creating a positive impression.

live chat

See Also: Know Your Customers In The Digital Age

Irrelevant Information

Most businesses today focus on acquiring customers through social media campaigns. Posting engaging content with appealing headlines is the most common way to do that.

But, are you false-trapping your buyers through click baits? If yes, then you need to reconsider your strategy as soon as possible.

Customers feel annoyed when they aren’t provided with the promised content. They are likely to leave and never return if they feel like they’ve been fooled.

As a way to solve this, make sure you live up to your promises. If you are offering a solution to your customers’ problem, ensure that your content has it. In addition to that, you should also consider the way you deliver your promise.

Most web users are short on time these days and they want solutions that they can consume in a matter of minutes. If you provide that, you are most likely a step ahead of your competition.

Insufficient Value

Valuing your customers is one of the best things you can do for your business. If your customers feel privileged, they will stay and ultimately become members of your loyal tribe. On the other hand, not offering what they expect can make them switch to a competitor product.

That said,  you must focus on getting regular feedback from your audience. You can use the information you get from them to improve the products and services you offer.

Introducing a live chat can be one option but it’s not the only thing you can do. You can also offer discount coupons, freebies and more to make them feel valued. Never miss an opportunity to show how your customers are important to you.

Uniform Treatment

happy customer

 

A business has both loyal and occasional customers.  While occasional customers expect discounts and better services, loyal customers may demand more.  They should be given some liberty points, coupons or schemes to make them feel more special. Customers observe each and every detail, so you should always keep these things in mind.

Not listening to your customers

Every business has problems that their customers also feel. If you are a smart business person, you will find a way to make sure that your customers are heard.

If your customers have no platform where they can put their thoughts, they may feel neglected, annoyed and angry. This can decrease customer retention and negatively affect your overall business. A live chat can help in this case as it allows your customers to speak their mind.

See Also: 4 Surprisingly Easy Tips To Improve Customer Engagement

The Solution

You obviously don’t want to continue making those mistakes. So, here are a few notable suggestions to avoid unhappy customers:

  • Provide 24/7 online support by integrating live chat for website
  • Improve the quality of your services and products
  • Take immediate actions on customer’s feedback and complaints
  • Keep refining the products

Conclusion

Businesses should aim to improve their relationship with their customers to increase retention. The more loyal customers you have, the better your business’ survival rate is.

Avoid having unhappy customers by giving them exactly what they want. Provide a solution to their problems and make that solution easy to achieve. Be consistent in your efforts in making them feel valued and they are highly likely to stick around for a long time.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Consider AI Automation for Small Business

If you are aware of the developments in technology, then you have probably heard about Artificial Intelligence (AI). For a lot of people, it’s too complex or high-tech so they don’t really pay a lot of attention to it.

In fact, even small businesses don’t think much of AI. They believe that only big tech companies like Apple and Google can utilize it. However, that’s not true.

AI has numerous benefits for small businesses. It’s something you cannot ignore if you want to stay ahead of your competition.

Today, open-minded businesses have started using AI to create a business logo, respond to emails, comb the Internet for leads identification, help customers with chatbots and a lot more.

If you have not seriously considered AI automation for your business yet, then the following 5 reasons can surely convince you.

Enhanced Bookkeeping

There are plenty of AI tools designed specifically for bookkeeping that you can use. While many offer help with the basic data entry tasks, some are more advanced and can easily perform many roles. You can use it in reading and preparing invoices, set invoice reminders, release payments on schedule and more.

So, instead of expanding your accounting department, you can invest in an AI bookkeeping program which is more affordable and highly useful.

Lead Nurturing

No matter how skilled your sales reps are, they will always have limitations.

For starters, one can handle only a certain number of leads at a time. Secondly, they need a certain amount of time with every lead to learn about their personality, pain points, opportunities for connection building and many other aspects that are required for their nurturing.

However, with AI automation you can take the entire process to the next level and benefit from increased productivity.

An AI program designed for lead nurturing can read and respond to the emails of your prospects using a list of set messages and the Natural Language Processing technology. It can also go through the past conversations you have had with your leads to pinpoint important bits of information. Most importantly, it can work 24/7 since it can function without human intervention.

Online Customer Support

A number of studies have found that customers find it more comfortable to inquire about the services or products of a company through messaging, especially via online chat as opposed to voice calls. However, hiring a full-time customer executive can be expensive for a small business. Again, this is where AI automation can be a great option.

chatbots

Not only AI-powered chatbots are highly popular today, you can also find some highly affordable options easily. You can install one of these on your website so that when your customers need some information, it will be readily available. In addition to that, having AI-powered chatbots can also make your website more attractive.

See Also: How To Boost Your Business with Influence Marketing Chatbots

Cheap but Quality Branding

Usually, it’s hard to find quality and affordability at the same place. However, AI automation seems to have changed that.

This is because it can help you with your company branding in many ways and at modest pricing. There are companies like Tailor Brands that offer an entire suite of branding tools- from logo creation to social media banner creation at a fraction of the price that you would pay to a graphics designer.

Intelligent Personal Assistants

You are probably already familiar with virtual personal assistants, such as Apple’s Siri or Microsoft Corona. Today, a new range of similar assistants is emerging and they are even more intelligent and more suitable for businesses. For instance, there is Amy from x.ai that can arrange meetings for you or Pana that can arrange your travel.

amy intelligent personal assistant
Via slideshare.net

AI has matured enough today that it can be utilized in different ways in every industry. It’s now easily available at affordable costs, too. If you haven’t considered using one for your business, it’s probably the right time to reconsider your strategy.

 

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Roofing Inspection Checklist for Homeowners

Performing preventative maintenance on your roof can make your life a lot easier. Many of today’s repair orders could have easily been avoided by a simple roof inspection by the homeowner.

However, some people aren’t comfortable climbing a ladder and standing on top of a roofing system. If you are one of those people, it’s a good idea if you can get your roof inspected by a professional. It will be less costly than waiting for an actual problem to happen.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at the most common inspection techniques you can actually use.

Cracks

Sloped roofs are the most common residential structures since they easily repel rain with an associated gutter system. They are mostly required by homeowners’ associations with strict building guidelines.

The surfaces considered here are mostly composite shingles- the most common roofing surface for residential homes. Finding broken shingles can even be done on the ground, as it is really easy to spot a missing shingle from even a few yards away.

Cracked shingles may be a little more difficult to spot, so getting up close and personal may be the only way to go. You will see a dark seam on the outside. When you get up close, be sure to peel it back the best that you can and see if it has any give to it.

It should not fold or crease as you peel back; it should remain sturdy. Anything less than a solid, seamless shingle should be considered cracked or damaged and should be replaced asap.

Leaks

Another part of the surface that can be cracked is the caulk around the base of the flashing. Inspecting the flashing seals are extremely important as these are the number one cause of leaks over time. You may also notice some rusted spots on the caulk, which can result in cracks shortly so make sure to repair and replace quickly.

The rubber boots are the pieces around the vent pipes, mostly near the apex of the roof. Check to make sure that there aren’t any cracks in these pieces either, as there could be a significant leak resulting from such instances.

Replacing these parts can be a bit difficult, so consider calling in a professional should you spot any issues.

Decay

Finally, you could find organic growths on and around the roofing surface in the form of moss, algae or mold. This indicates that there is decay occurring on the plywood that supports the shingles.

moss on roof

Plywood can become decayed if exposed to too much water, so any areas with cracked or missing shingles are usually a good place to look for such decay. Decay can’t only damage your roof but it can also affect someone’s health if gone unchecked for too long.

Final Thoughts

If you are hesitant to go up and do your own roof inspection, don’t do it. The fear of being up there can paralyze your balance and result in injury. You may want to hire someone else to climb atop your home and do the roof inspection.

In fact, a great way to get this inspection done correctly is to request a roofing quote by a local roofer. This may sound a bit expensive but it’s actually not. You can actually end up saving more if you do.

inspecting roof

And if your local roofer finds a problem, he can give you an estimate of the severity of the damage as well as the overall cost of the project.

The most important thing here is that you pay attention to the condition of your roofing system and perform preventative maintenance whenever possible. This will ensure a long life and an ease of any larger concerns down the road.

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

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Is There Going To Be A Student Loan Apocalypse?

One of the scariest things that can happen is a robocall alerting you to the fact that student loan forgiveness program is on thin ice. It’s such a predictable tale of terror – people were promised a decade ago that if they made payments based on their incomes, the remainder of their debt would be wiped out in a decade.

It seems that the program is on the chopping block and people are in a panic. They entered into these agreements in good faith, executed their end of the bargain over the past decade only to see their balances increase, thanks to unfettered interest rates.

Now, they have no recourse and many will have to start the cycle all over again. Is it time to talk about student loan forgiveness?

Student Loan Forgiveness Horror Stories

Clerical errors that aren’t even your fault can keep you in debt for life if your debt is in the student loan category. The New York Times recently reported a story about an Oregon man named Jed Shafer who discovered- after eight years of his 10-year payment plan- that his loan servicing firm failed to enroll him in the program he asked to be enrolled in.

The $70,000 he’d paid in that time period had not put a dent in his loan principal balance. And he’s not the only one who spent the last decade spinning his wheels.

Even the folks in the correct repayment programs are worrying that they might not be out of the woods yet after announcements of their programs’ probable cancellation.

How Many People Are Affected By Student Loans?

The short answer is almost everyone. Even if you don’t carry a student loan balance, chances are you know someone who does.

But even if you don’t know a single person who carries a student loan balance, student loans are an invisible drag on economic recovery. Black Friday is just around the corner. It’s called Black Friday because that’s when retailers get their ledgers into the black after being in the red all year long.

But people who have a student loan debt, a debt category that is second only to mortgage debt in America, spend far less money during the Holidays than everyone else. These are people in their supposed prime earning years who should be otherwise contributing to the economy.

  • 61% say they spend less on gifts
  • 39% say they spend less on travel
  • 28% say they spend less on charitable donations
  • 28% say they spend less on Holiday gatherings

An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

student loan tips

The bottom line is this:

The only way to survive student loan debt is to not get into it in the first place. Sure, there are people who dutifully made maximum payments and got out of their student loan debts by living in their parents’ basements and working two jobs.

But, for many people, especially those who find that making a living wage isn’t as easy as you were led to believe at college orientation, the payments are too big and the paychecks are too small. It may be too late for Millennials. However, younger generations should heed their warnings: no amount of student loan debt is safe.

What Needs To Be Done?

student loan crisis

If you already have student loans, don’t count on forgiveness programs to bail you out. You could end up like countless others paying minimum payments while your balance continues to grow. Pay as much as you can each month, including additional principal payments.

The key is to reduce the balance, not to wait around for someone else to do it for you. Take a second job if you have to or find an employer who will pay a portion of your student loan debt as part of your compensation package. Your future depends on it.

See Also: What Can Employers Do About The Student Loan Crisis?

If you are a student looking at schools, stop. Go to a state school or a community college. Apply for work-study programs. Do not go to a private or for-profit college or university. You don’t need it. Consider becoming an entrepreneur to fund your school expenses so that you can work your schedule around school.

The problem with student loan forgiveness is that it is a tremendous economic burden. All that debt has to go somewhere and it’s starting to look like Congress has declared a collective “not it!”. Time will tell if anything meaningful will be done about the student loan crisis. Until then, learn more about the case for student loan forgiveness from this infographic.

Source: refinancesstudentloans.net

Student Loan Forgiveness

The post Is There Going To Be A Student Loan Apocalypse? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How to Set Up a VPN

If you want to protect your online privacy and prevent unwanted people, such as government agencies and advertising companies, from tracking you and using your private information to their advantage, there are a few ways as effective as VPNs to do it.

However, not everyone is really aware of what they really are and their advantages. To help you out, we’re here to discuss how to set up a VPN and how you can start using it.

How do VPNs Work?

As the term suggests it, a Virtual Private Network or VPN is a network of servers you can connect virtually (using the internet instead of a physical connection) to enhance your privacy. It does this by encrypting all the traffic that comes from your device and then rerouting it through one of the servers that compose it to mask your online trace.

Each part of the process presents a benefit for the user. The encryption of communications between the user and the VPN makes it impossible for Internet Service Providers and other eavesdroppers to snoop on your online activity. On the other hand, tunneling your connection through a VPN server makes websites think it is the server that’s accessing them when it’s actually you who’s doing it.

That offers you two benefits:

First, this prevents the website from tracking information about you coming from your device. You’d be accessing every website as if it were the first time you’re doing it and advertising companies would be unable to tailor ads for you.

The second benefit of tunneling is tied to the location of the server. Servers located in different countries allow you to access web content as if you were connecting from the same location of the server. This lets you access content from websites that isn’t available in your region.

Clear and Easy Way to Set Up a VPN

set up vpn

To use a VPN, you have to find a provider of the service online. This is perhaps the hardest part of the process since there is a very wide variety of VPN services available online. Not all of them are equally good and some of them may even end up doing more harm than good.

We recommend you use one of the following providers. We have already tried out and verified the quality of their service.

  • NordVPN
  • VyprVPN
  • PureVPN
  • ExpressVPN
  • IPVanish

After you’ve made your pick between them, all you have to do is follow these steps:

Purchase a Subscription

The first thing you have to do after you’ve picked a VPN service provider is to buy one of the subscription plans they offer. Keep in mind that the longer the subscription time you buy, the more value you’ll get for every penny you spend.

Download and Install the Software Client

Most VPN providers will ask you to download their software in exchange for letting you connect. This software client contains all the options you need for a safe connection that suits your needs.

Adjust the Settings

After you’ve installed the software, you have to open it and configure your connection to your specific needs. Most of these settings will come preconfigured for the most common and convenient settings, but you might want to tweak it a little bit.

Particularly regarding communication protocols and encryption algorithms, you’ll want to use OpenVPN and 256-bit AES encryption, respectively. These are the most reliable settings you could wish to have on a VPN, so they are the ones we recommend you to use. If you’re curious, you can look up any other settings online before messing with them but do this with extreme caution.

Choose a Country

After you’ve dealt with the technical details, it’s time to choose the location of the server you’ll be connecting to. This is important if your goal is to bypass the region lock of a website.

For instance, if all you want is to be able to access Netflix’s full library, then you’ll want to connect to a server in the US. VPN services usually let you decide this using a drop-down menu on their software.

Connect and Enjoy

After all this, you’re ready to hit the connect button and start browsing the web as you’d normally do. You’ll now be completely anonymous to the websites you visit. Your ISP won’t be able to monitor your online activity, too.

It’s only responsible for us to spread the benefits of VPN usage to contribute to a safer internet. They are a very powerful tool that helps you protect your online privacy and that of your loved ones.

The post How to Set Up a VPN appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Client Refusing To Pay Invoice? 5 Ways To Deal With Non-Paying Clients

One downside of being an entrepreneur is clients who pay late or not at all. Small business owners are most likely to face this problem. It’s usually because they are unsure about how to pursue these clients.

Are you a small business owner tired of having your invoices ignored? These tips can help you deal with a client refusing to pay an invoice.

Contact the Client

email clients

Email your clients and remind them that you haven’t received payment. If they don’t respond within a week, then send a follow-up. The person responsible for invoices might have been out of town, had an emergency or accidentally deleted the message. You can also try contacting them via social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).

However, if these methods yield no results, then it’s time to place a phone call.

Talk to the client. You may need to call every day for a month and act like an absolute pest, but hey, you need the money. Make sure to leave a voicemail each time, explaining that the invoice is past due and you want to resolve the issue. This is a good time to ask if there was a problem with the service or product you provided. If the answer is no, then they should have no problem paying.

Offer Options

Sometimes, clients put off paying their invoices because (1) the payment method is inconvenient or (2) they’re having trouble with the payment system. In this case, often all they need is a friendly person to reach out and guide them through the process. If there is a problem with the system itself, offer another way they can pay you.

The client may also put off paying their bills because they’re having financial trouble. Be flexible in this scenario by working out a payment plan (a certain amount per month over a certain time period) or requesting a good faith payment now and the rest later. When you’re understanding with your clients, they’re more likely to stick around.

Settle for Less

If worst comes to worst, you can discount the bill. They’re likely to jump at the chance to pay less for the service and you’ll get money in your pocket sooner than the alternative. You may want to avoid potential future invoicing headaches by dropping the client, though.

Hire a Collection Agency

Emails, phone calls, and reminders have gone unanswered. In this case, business to business collections is a possible solution. A professional collection agency could contact the client and attempt to get your payment. This type of agency deals exclusively with business debts.

As long as your debt is business-related, then this type of agency can be your next best option. If you’re hesitant to go that far, a warning letter from a lawyer generally elicits a speedy reply.

Small Claims Court

small claims court

Small claims court allows you to present your case directly to a judge. Some states, such as Michigan and Nebraska, don’t allow lawyers in small claims court. If you live in one of those states, then it’s mandatory for you to represent yourself. But, in most states, legal representation is an option.

The cost of hiring a lawyer for small claims court is usually not cost efficient, so most people choose to represent themselves. However, using an attorney instead of a debt collection agency can result in a quicker resolution to the outstanding debt and the preservation of your business relationship.

Each state sets its own limit for the maximum amount you can request. The limit can be anywhere from $2,000 up to $10,000. Check with your state to see if your claim is eligible. If your claim exceeds state limits, then you need to file your case in another court.

See Also: How to Sue in Small Claims Court

Moving Forward with Problem Clients

Once the client has finally made the payment, you may want to make some adjustments to how you bill them in the future. For example:

  • Ask for a pre-payment or retainer, especially for larger projects.
  • Make them sign a contract before getting started. That way, if they go AWOL, you have a more straightforward route in place to go after them.
  • Ask for payment based on project milestones rather than dates. This makes sure you’re paid in full before the project is finished.

Conclusion

In a perfect world, you’d get every invoice paid in full and on time. in reality, however, you have to take action against a non-paying client. So, don’t hesitate to ask for the money you’re owed; you’ve already earned it.

The post Client Refusing To Pay Invoice? 5 Ways To Deal With Non-Paying Clients appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Basic Car Repair Everyone Should Know

Most of us agree that car repair can be costly. Every time you take your automobile to a repair shop, you are forced to part with some amount of money.

There are different categories of car repairs. Major repairs need to be handled by people who are well-trained in handling various issues that affect cars. The other category is the minor repairs. Although you can seek the services of a mechanic, you can do most of them on your own.

Here are some of the basic car repairs that you can handle to save money.

Changing oil

Oil ensures that your car engine operates smoothly and lasts for long. As a car owner, you need to check the oil levels of your car on a regular basis.

You can change your car’s oil without seeking help from experts. In fact, it is one of the fundamental skills that any car owner should have.

Changing your car’s oil involves a few steps. First, you will need to remove the drain plug. Secondly, unscrew and empty the oil filter. After that, fix the plug into its original position, remove the filler hole cap then pour fresh oil. It’s as simple as that!

Jumpstart a car

jumpstart car basic car repair

You don’t need specialized training to know how to jump-start your vehicle. Any car enthusiast can do this simple task and save on the repair costs.

It is necessary to jump start the car if its battery dies. All you need is another vehicle whose battery has the same voltage as yours. The good news is that most car owners are always willing to help each other to solve this problem. The first step is to connect the jumper cables from a Samaritan’s battery to yours. While doing so, ensure that both the vehicles are off.

Changing spark plugs

We all know the critical role that spark plugs play in a car. These are small but essential devices found in the cylinder. They are responsible for powering your car.

Your car’s spark plug can wear down once your vehicle covers a specific number of miles. Once that happens, you need to know how to fix it on your own.

Locate the exact location of the spark plug, remove the connecting wire and then remove the faulty spark plug. In its position, put the replacement then fix the plug wires to their respective positions.

Changing a flat tire

changing flat tire basic car repair

This is another necessary basic car repair practice that you need to know. Since you’ll never know when and where you will have a flat tire, you need to be prepared. Changing tires is always classified under life-saving skills.

First, you will have to lift the car off the ground using a jack stand. After that, remove the lug nuts and then the flat tire. Put your spare tire into position and wrench the lug nuts back to their place.

Changing brake pads

Brake pads can be the only thing that will stand between you and what would have been a nasty accident. This is because brake failures cause most accidents, so you should ensure that your brake pads are always in excellent condition.

Changing brakes is not an expensive or complicated process. You can do it and save money on car repair. The procedure of changing brake pads is almost similar to that of changing the tires.

Once you remove the wheels, remove the slider bolts and the older brakes. Fix the new brake pads and secure them in position using slider bolts

Changing car battery

A car battery can die when you least expect it so be sure to routinely check the state of your battery. This will help you know if you need to get a replacement soon.

To change your car battery, remove all the covers then disconnect the negative cables. Shift the clamp from the battery post and then disconnect the positive wires. Remove all the screws and replace the old battery with a new one.

Removing scratches from the car

Although it may appear to be a minor aesthetic problem, it can end up costing you some good amount of money. After all, you would like your car to have the best appearance and would pay any amount to achieve this goal.

Did you know that getting rid of scratches is another basic car repair that you can do at home?

To execute this task, you need to find out the depth of the scratch first. Secondly, sand-scratch and clean the area. Apply some rubbing compound on the scratch. Use the same compound to polish the area and then wax it. With these steps, the scratch will be eliminated.

Replacing the wipers

Do you really have to pay an expert to repair your windshield wipers?

Save yourself from this unnecessary cost by executing the repair on your own. The poor performance of your wipers is likely due to broken blades. To repair them, simply lift the wiper from the windshield and press the small tab to allow the blade to come off. Replace both wipers and you’re good to go.

Replace air filters

Most car owners tend to overlook air filters but they are as important as the other parts of a vehicle. The filters protect your car’s engine from dust and other solid contaminants.

Their effectiveness tends to degrade with time, which makes replacement inevitable. To do that, you need to find the exact location of the air filter and then remove it. Clean the air filter housing before you insert a new filter in it. This basic car repair can save you a good amount of money.

From the article, it is clear that you don’t have to attend any class to perform basic car repair and maintenance. The tips above can help you save money that you would otherwise spend on a mechanic to handle your car’s issues.

See Also: Necessary Steps When Teaching Your Teenager to Drive

The post Basic Car Repair Everyone Should Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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10 Brilliant Camping Tips To Make Camping Easier

What are the campgrounds near me? What should I bring to a camping trip? Are there camping hacks I don’t know about?

If you’re asking yourself or the all-knowing Google these questions, then you’re most likely new to camping. Camping is fun but it can take a lot of planning, patience, and work, particularly if your family is big. Without the right strategy, it can easily turn out as one of your worst outdoor experience. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to make camping more fun and less stressful.

Below, we’re sharing with you 10 of the most useful camping tips you can use to make your life in the campsite a little easier.

Use sage to keep bugs away

sage camping

Admit it.

Although camping is a great way to explore nature, it’s not always the best idea, particularly when bugs start bugging your campsite.

So, to keep those annoying insects from ruining a good campout, you can toss a bundle of sage into your campfire every now and then.

Now, you’re probably wondering: What if I’m not allowed to create a fire in your campsite?

There are other fragrant plants you can use to keep bugs away. Basil, lemon balm, and citronella can repel mosquitoes once crushed and rubbed onto the skin.

Make a Swedish torch

swedish torch camping
Via pinterest

Now, if you don’t want to create a huge campfire, you can just create your own Swedish torch. It makes an excellent and efficient campfire for cooking.

You just need a log and make three crisscrossing cuts that are almost to its core. Pack some fire-starters inside it and once it’s lit, you can practically forget about it. The cut you created through the log will allow air to naturally ventilate your fire, allowing the log to burn from the inside out.

And you know what else?

A Swedish torch can also double as a cooking surface. You can use it to hold cast iron pans.

swedish torch
Via thehomestead.guru

Do a makeshift lantern

makeshift camping lantern
Via adventuretogether

Camping lanterns are great in keeping your camping area well lit. But, once you place them inside your tent, it’s a whole different story. Most of them are way too bright, which can be blinding to look at.

To diffuse the light and make it softer, you simply strap the light to a gallon of water. Make sure to point the light towards the water to make this hack work.

Make DIY fire-starters

When you’re camping, it only makes sense to bring at least two types of fire starters to the trip. You wouldn’t want to spend the night at the campsite without a fire to keep you warm or cook your food, right?

One of the easiest DIY firestarters you can make involves just a few pieces of cotton pads. Dip them in wax and allow them to dry on a piece of wax paper. You can tear or cut them before lighting.

diy fire starters camping tips
Via preparednessmama

Another great way to create your own firestarter is to gather a few pieces of old cardboard. Cut them into 3×3 pieces, dip them in wax and then let them dry. They are easy to stack, so you won’t have any issues packing them inside your bag.

Pack your own emergency kit

mini camping emergency kit
Via pinterest

Accidents can happen anytime, so make sure you are prepared. Instead of packing a big kit, prepare a smaller one which you can take with you anywhere you go. Make sure it can fit a small compass, pain reliever, whistle, adhesive bandages and flint and steel.

You should also pack a few antibiotic ointments in your kit. You can cut up a straw and fill its pieces with the ointments. Seal their ends with a heat sealer or use a lighter to melt and close the ends.

mini first aid kit ideas for camping
Via pinterest

Put your eggs in a mason jar

eggs in a mason jar camping tips
Via khnutrition

The idea might sound bizarre but it’s actually one of the most brilliant camping tips, particularly if scrambled eggs are your favorite breakfast.

Before leaving for the trip, crack your eggs into a mason jar and keep it in your cooler until it’s time to cook the eggs. Just remember to shake the jar vigorously before you pour its content into your pan. Enjoy a no-fuss scrambled eggs in the morning with less work and less mess.

See Also: Five Clever Tips for Stress-Free Family Camping

Store your spices in Tic-Tac boxes

tic tac boxes spices
Via Good Housekeeping

Now, if you worry about your scrambled eggs tasting a bit off, you can keep a few spices in tic-tac containers. These boxes are just the right size to hold enough spices to make your food taste like it just came out of your own kitchen. Plus, they also have snap-tight lids which keep the spices from getting all over your camping tools.

Protect your toilet paper with an old coffee can

camping hacks toilet paper inside coffee can
Via pinterest

If your toilet paper gets soggy, it’ll be practically useless and having a roll of toilet paper you can’t use is a lot worse than not having one at all.

Agree?

So, instead of relying on a paper bag to keep your toilet paper fresh and dry, take an old coffee can and use it to hold your toilet paper. It’s the perfect size and it comes with a lid for extra protection.

Hang up pots and pans using a belt

camping tips pots and pans
Via experienceonstar

Since there’s not much space on your table or in your tent to keep all of your camping tools, you have to be a bit more innovative. Get a belt and wrap it snugly around a tree. Attach a couple of S hooks and use them to store some of your essential kitchen tools.

Make individual coffee bags

Listen:

If you are one of those people who can’t function well without a cup of coffee, this is one of the most helpful camping tips you can’t really miss.

With just a coffee filter, dental floss, and ground coffee, you’ll be able to get your daily fix of caffeine even if you’re in the middle of camping.

individual coffee bags camping tips
Via inspiredbarn

How?

First, you need to get a coffee filter and fill it with about 2 ounces of ground coffee. Hold the bottom of the coffee filter (where the coffee is) and twist its top part to create a pouch.

Secure it with a few inches of dental floss.

Each time you need to drink coffee, you simply need to place your coffee bag in a mug and add in water. It’s actually similar to how you prepare your tea.

See Also: Camping Outdoors: A Perfect Health Booster

We hope the above camping hacks will prove useful to you on your next trip. To find out the best place for your next adventure, check out an online campground finder like this one.

 

The post 10 Brilliant Camping Tips To Make Camping Easier appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Reasons Why You Need To Start Learning From Mistakes

Have you ever wondered why most successful people speak of their achievements and avoid talking about their unsuccessful attempts? This is quite logical since we all aim to achieve more and love to brag about our success.

However, this doesn’t mean that we won’t make mistakes along the way or that successful people did everything right from the beginning. As a matter of fact, most successful people put emphasis on why learning from mistakes is important.

Every unsuccessful attempt can help you gain indispensable experience and mistakes can even be more valuable than achievements.

To help you understand that idea better, here are some of the top reasons why mistakes are valuable:

Gives Us Experience

Do you remember your first bad experience with an employer? Do you remember your first bad grade for a paper or an embarrassing moment when a teacher caught you cheating during an exam?

These are common struggles but they are actually a great way to build good future habits.

Once you have the experience in the workplace, you will no longer make the mistakes you did before. And when a teacher already caught you in the act, you will know better than to cheat in the future. As we make mistakes, we learn from them.

Sometimes, it doesn’t really matter how many times we hear an advice from our friends and family; we simply let things go by. But, when we actually experience and make the mistake, it sticks to our mind and provides us with the lesson of not repeating it.

Encourages Different Thinking

encourage different thinking

As we make mistakes, we eliminate certain ways of reaching our goal. When an approach is proven wrong, people immediately start looking for different ways to resolve a situation.

Basically, mistakes encourage finding a new solution. If your initial idea did not work, you are more likely to take a different stand and think of ideas you wouldn’t have thought if that didn’t happen.

Builds Character

This is quite the tricky benefit since people can go either way when it comes to building characters. Very often, too many mistakes make people depressed. Too many failures convince them to just give up on their dreams.

However, once you start learning from mistakes, you’ll gain confidence from them. They will help you build a stronger character and help you become a more passionate, successful person.

Encourages Improvement

‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me’.

We’ve all heard this proverb and it most certainly applies to this case.

When a person fails once, it is quite normal and often even expected. After all, it is rare for someone to achieve a big goal in just one attempt. However, if you take the same steps and use the same strategies despite the failure you experienced, you shouldn’t expect to see a different result.

When you fail in something, you should look for a better way to achieve your goals. It should encourage you to think outside of the box and look for a solution that can take you to a different path.

See Also: 8 Good Reasons Why Change Is Hard

Reveals Weaknesses

Are you the type of person who skips all the parts you cannot do and focuses only on those you are good at? While this can be a good strategy when you have people to finish other tasks, it is actually the worst thing you can do if you need to achieve a goal on your own.

overcoming procrastination

Procrastinating is one of the most common mistakes people make. We keep postponing our weaknesses and focus on the things that come easily to us.

See Also: 4 Habits That Will Improve Your Focus And Destroy Procrastination

Look at it this way:

Only a few people make it right the first time. Most of us struggle with getting it right during the first attempt. We have to practice, fail and rise up again. If you want to be successful, you have to start learning from your mistakes.

The post 5 Reasons Why You Need To Start Learning From Mistakes appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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25 Best Books For Starting An Online Business

There are millions of reasons to start a blog, a landing page or a website. Whatever your goal is, you’ll need the right strategy to stay ahead of the game. That’s exactly why I recommend that you check out best books for starting an online business. These books won’t just answer your question but they can also immensely improve your knowledge.

Are you ready to feel inspired and encouraged? Let’s press on!

eBooks for Blogging

Trying to find eBooks that can guide you in the right direction can be overwhelming. No worries, though. Today, I’m listing down my compilation of the best eBooks about blogging, creativity, and inspiration you’ll need in running your own blog.

  • Content Marketing 101: The Must-Know Essentials

content marketing 101 ebook

Why do some bloggers get the lion’s share of attention while others end up writing posts that virtually nobody will ever read? This eBook is aimed at both the novice and experienced blogger who are suffering from low traffic on their blogging websites.

If you’re eager to present work that creates a reputation and builds businesses, then this eBook is just the thing for you. With this, learn the three essential principles of content marketing: how to produce the right content, how to find feedback and analyze and measure the content performance.

  • A Simple Guide to Blogging for Business

a simple guide to blogging for business ebook

If you are convinced that blogging can catapult your business to greater heights, then this free eBook is a perfect choice for you. Whether or not you already know, companies that blog on a regular basis gain 55% more traffic to their websites.

Can your blog do the same?

This simple guide can help you to learn why blogging is important to your business, how to find and create great content and how to promote your blog. Remember, every time you blog about your company or brand, you put it in a positive light and convince people that your offerings are better.

  • Who’s There?

whos there ebook

If you’re looking for a silver bullet, then I may have to disappoint you. The free eBook I suggest here will not help you write compelling posts. Instead, it will help your blogging website work better.

This eBook aims to showcase how to create a spectacular impact as a blogger. This will be a great surprise for curious people who underestimate blogging or are not doing it well. With the simple idea of helping people get a jumpstart into online marketing, this freebie can dip your toes deeper into the water.

You’ll like the way this book explains things. It’s a great choice for both bloggers and non-bloggers. Seriously, you should read it.

  • How to Make Money Blogging?

how to make money blogging ebook

With this comprehensive free eBook, even a newbie can learn how to blog. It includes step-by-step instructions and links to point you in the right direction.

The best part of this eBook is that it’s full of information necessary for anyone starting out. It covers so many topics, from knowing the importance of a customizable WordPress theme, how to make money from your blog, SEO tips, a set of helpful tools to increase your earnings and much more. If you want to launch like a rocket, get started with this book.

  • How to Start a Blog? The Beginner’s Guide to Successful Blogging

how to start a blog ebook

Here is the perfect beginner’s guide to help you learn how to start a blog. Step-by-step, this will teach you all the necessary information on how to avoid pitfalls and missteps that hinder some novices. It will also help you decide on which platform to choose and install, how to grow your audience, find your niche and more.

  • Business Blogging 101: How to Promote Your Business

blogging 101 how to promoteyour business ebook

Want to take your business to the next level?

With this interesting free eBook, it’s simpler than you think. It’s not a secret that starting a business is a challenge. The good news is this eBook can guide you and help you get your business blog up and running.

Simply put, I think this eBook is worth your attention. Learn the correct ways to promote and spread your blog on the web, how to generate engaging topics, how to increase website traffic and bring new leads- this can teach you that and more!

  • MeetEdgar’s Secret Blogging Formula

meetedgars secret blogging formula ebook

Looking for help? Don’t fret.

Here’s a wonderful opportunity to learn everything you need to create a killer blog post. Get ready to enjoy this free eBook and be inspired to write amazing posts, discover your voice and drive traffic. With this, you’ll get a collection of high-quality free photos, social media guides, and useful social media promotion tools that can generate conversions.

Ready to explore the secret side of successful blogging? Let’s do this.

eBooks for SEO Improvement

If you’re interested in developing and converting an audience, boosting SEO and expecting sales to come flooding you, then this is for you. By reading these wonderful freebies, you’ll surely win.

  • Mobile SEO Tips

mobile seo tips ebook

How many times a day do you check your phone? Did you know that an average person does it about 110 times a DAY or nine times an hour?

If you’re a serious blogger, you want to be sure you’re getting the most traffic possible. Now, how can you accomplish that?

One sure way is to make your website responsive. With this engaging eBook, you’ll learn how to make your page rock on mobile devices of any kind. You’re going to love it.

  • SEO Best Practices for a WordPress Blog Post

seo best practices for a wordpress blog post ebook

Waiting for readers to come to you? That’s not the way to go. The longer you wait, the more competitive your niche gets.

Grab this free eBook to figure out where your readers are, go there and drag them back to your site. Magic happens when you choose the right path. Explore the importance of an SEO-optimized WordPress website that can make your visitors’ lives easier and more enjoyable. It will surely make you win over the world.

  • Everything You Need to Know About Long Tail Keywords

everything you need to know about long tail keywords ebook

Do you ever wonder if there are any helpful strategies to increase the specificity of keywords? Looking for advice on how to arrange long tail keywords across your unique content?

Let’s just say that this free eBook has all the answers to that question. Get this eBook now unless you have a very good reason not to.

eBooks That Will Improve Your Writing Skills

The best way to improve your business or personal writing skills is to read more, write more and study your idols. Let’s look at these free eBooks below.

  • Storytelling That Doesn’t Suck

storytelling that doesnt suck ebook

Written by Catherine Crayon of TemplateMonster, this handy free eBook illustrates the main rules for business storytelling that work.

You can turn your passion into a thriving business, but you need to learn how to tell a story to market yourself first. Learn how to tell your unique story to tease your readers and flirt with them. Sounds intriguing? Try it.

  • How to Make an eBook That Rocks?

how to make an ebook

Raise your hand if you want to make an eBook to sell on your blog or website.

If you do, then this powerful eBook will be useful for you. Written in a straightforward manner, this is a truly step-by-step guide full of brainstorming ideas, defining concepts and designing layout ideas.

  • Author2.0 Blueprint

author2.0 blueprint ebook

If you’re passionate about writing, this free eBook will help improve your talent and make you unstoppable. It’s not only about encouraging you to start writing, but also about giving you smart tips on how to write different types of content.

It will teach you how to draft fiction and non-fiction books, how to market your work and even how to make a living with your unique writing.

  • Writing with Style: Three Concepts and Two Stages

writing with style three concepts and two stages

Grab this freebie and learn the three most important concepts every aspiring writer needs to know. Full of real-life examples, this eBook is a great option for every serious writer/blogger who is eager to improve his writing skills. It will help you become a key player on the web.

  • EBook: 365 Writing Prompts

365 writing prompts ebook

Waiting for inspiration? Need a little push?

Well, you can’t wait for inspiration to come. You have to go after it.

Get this interesting eBook written by The Daily Post team to have an entire year of writing inspirations at your fingertips. Written in an easy-to-read manner, it offers a whole host of fantastic ideas on how to get started with your writing projects. Perfect for honing your writing craft, it will inspire you to get started.

  • 10 Steps to Becoming a Writer

10 steps to becoming a writer ebook

Do you want to become a writer? There’s nothing stopping you from writing, so just write!

This free eBook covers smart ideas on how to become a writer and it will surely keep you busy.

  • How to Turn Site Visitors into Leads? 3 Actionable Strategies

You may think that you already know everything about optimizing your website. However, with this free eBook, you will learn how to create a personalized brand that will last and to make more than just money. Find the best way on how to create landing pages that convert, how to set up a webinar, attract natural traffic and achieve your goals. Remember, a little mindset change and this book can make all the difference.

  • Write Good or Die

write good or die ebook

Don’t miss out on a huge opportunity to learn survival tips from best-selling authors like Kevin J. Anderson, Heather Graham, Gayle Lynds, and more. Don’t leave money on the table with your blog. Explore the power of storytelling. Learn how to develop your writing skills, promote your work and use your imagination. As long as you recognize exactly what you are telling, you’re ready to get the attention you deserve.

eBooks for Social Media Marketing

  • 20 Instagram Post Ideas to Overcome Creative Blocks

20 instagram post ideas to overcome creative blocks ebookDo you want to make your Instagram environment awesome and engaging for your followers? Then you need to read this free eBook to grab some of the coolest Instagram post ideas. Get it, open it and learn from it.

  • Social Media Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

social media mistakes ebook

Sometimes we have an idea but don’t exactly know how to express it.

If this is your case, you will definitely find this free eBook useful and beneficial to your business. It will help you understand the world of social media marketing. It covers all possible bumps in the road and potholes an average business owner faces.

It’s a great choice for everyone who wants to learn the difference between personal and business profiles, how to react correctly to comments, attract more natural traffic and more.

  • How to Build an Audience on Social Media?

how do i build an audience on social media ebook

Not sure where to start building your unique brand or how to find your target audience? Is your website getting as many visitors as you’d like? I’ll tell you the secret:

This amazing freebie can be a source of inspiration for you. With the best practices assembled in this free eBook, you’ll be able to easily attract readers and build a loyal audience.

  • 21 Easy Tips to Create a Powerful Presentation For Your Business

21 easy tips to create a powerful presentation for your business ebook

To create a powerful business presentation, you need to use a strong visual language. It will represent any information and reduce the time it takes to convey your message. Get more information on how to build high-impact content that will captivate and inspire your audience.

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Visual Content

How can you win your prospect’s attention? With tons of information at our fingertips, how can you create the web content that is both useful and aesthetically appealing? I’ll tell you.

This wonderful free eBook will help you learn how to create eye-grabbing things, like high-quality photos, images, charts, infographics and other visual representations for your consumers.

  • How to Create Infographics for Your Marketing?

Imagery is the key to draw in your visitors and tell them the story of your mission. But, how do you create eye-grabbing images worth thousands of words? This free eBook covers the basics of creating and using beautiful infographics in your marketing.

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Shareable Infographics

a beginners guide to creating shareable infographics ebook

With this great eBook, you will be able to create effective and impressive infographics in a way that appeals to customers. The sooner you start reading it, the better.

Starting a blog or making a career online is not that easy. But, with the help of these best books for starting an online business, you will surely be one step closer to achieving your goals.

The post 25 Best Books For Starting An Online Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How To Organize Your Gmail In 20 Minutes (And Keep It That Way)

Do you feel overwhelmed every time you look at your Gmail inbox? Well, you’re not alone. A lot of people actually struggle with this and they spend a lot of time searching for tips on how to organize Gmail inboxes.

If you are doing the same thing, stop and check out these easy and fast strategies on how to keep your email more organized.

Archive Emails You’ve Seen But Don’t Want to Delete

One significant thing that’s probably making your Gmail inbox seem a little scary is that you aren’t using the Archive feature. It’s ideal once you’ve read an email and want to save it for reference.

Archiving a message removes it from your inbox but makes it searchable in Gmail. It’s a great method of stopping your inbox from getting out of control and losing an email you don’t want to get rid of.

With your inbox open, click on a message to highlight it. Then, look for the icon that looks like a file drawer with a downward arrow. That’s the Archive button. Simply click it and you’re done.

Get Organized With Labels

Gmail also has a cool labeling feature that groups all current emails into categories that appear on the left of your screen.

Open a message in Gmail and notice the button on the top with an icon that looks like a tag. Click it to add a label to your message or create a new one.

You can use broad categories like Work or School or use very specific ones like Receipts For Online Orders or Emails From My Sister.

Create Rules for Email Management

email management

Consider those emails your sister sent you. You can create a Gmail rule or filter that automatically sends her messages to that label so that you can read them all at once.

First, type her email address or name into the search box at the top of the Gmail interface. Then, click the downward triangle at the right corner of the box. It brings up other search parameters to try.

See the Create a Filter With This Search option in the right bottom corner. Click it to bring up a dialog box that offers various filter-related preferences. The Apply The Label option near the middle of the options relates to what you’ve just learned.

Notice how the first option (Skip The Inbox) relates to archiving. It’s useful if you want to keep emails but never see them.

To apply a filter to a certain message in your inbox, click the checkbox to its left. Then, choose the More option along the top. Click Filter Messages Like These and enter your specifications.

Use Aliases to Manage Future Junk Mail

Ever sign up for something online and feel sure you’ll get a slew of unwanted emails later? Take control by using Gmail aliases. They also work for blocking emails you receive after registering at a site and getting your details sold to a third party.

Gmail ignores emails with plus signs and periods in them. In other words, if your real email is JohnDoe231@gmail.com, you’ll still get an email addressed to JohnDoe+231@gmail.com.

That’s why it’s a good idea to use an alias and then set up a filter to automatically delete any messages addressed to that email. To keep track of what you’re doing, register at a site and provide an email alias with the [Gmail user name] + [Name of website] structure.

Make sure to keep the plus sign between the two portions. Then, immediately make a filter that deletes emails associated with that address.

Receive All Subscription Emails in a Daily Bundle

If emails you subscribe to overrun your inbox, there’s an app for that. It’s called Unroll.me. The free service compiles all subscription emails into one message, allowing you to read them at your convenience. Even better, you can also unsubscribe from the lists with one click, taking a step further in the quest to make your inbox more manageable.

unroll me

A message from the app is called a Rollup. It groups subscription-related messages by category for easier perusal. Also, you can look more closely at individual emails by going to a dedicated, secure Unroll.me folder in your inbox.

As you can see from these efficient tips, knowing how to organize Gmail inboxes is within your reach. And yes, you really can make progress in only 20 minutes.

The post How To Organize Your Gmail In 20 Minutes (And Keep It That Way) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Simple Yet Effective Tips To Win Online Slot Games

Who doesn’t like to win in an online casino game with a huge winning potential?

Everyone wants to do good with online slot games and earn the maximum while dreaming about what to spend their winnings on. Online slots are full of fun and excitement, even for those who are not interested in winning them. They’re one of the best pastimes and once you get on a winning streak, there’s no way you won’t develop a liking for them.

Let’s look at some of the simplest yet effective tips that can help you win big at top online casinos like EuroGrand Casino.

Understand the odds

It’s important to understand slots odds before strategizing to win. For instance, a 20-symbol 5-reel slot game has 1/3.2 million winning chance whereas a 20-symbol 3-reel slot game has 1/8,000 winning possibilities.

This is because a 5-reel slot game has comparatively more winning combinations than the 3-reel version. Hence, there’s a considerable difference in terms of odds in these types of online slot games.

Play only at reliable casinos

reliable online slot game casino

Though you may find various online casinos to play at, it’s important to sign up with a licensed one only. Look out for a casino that offers high-quality games. Make sure that you like its atmosphere and enjoy playing on its platform.

A good online casino should offer a wide range of slot games, should be fully licensed and should process withdrawals quickly. Furthermore, it should also offer other prominent online casino games, like poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, bingo and so on.

Money Management

It is very important to manage your money well while playing these online games. At times, people get so confident that they bet everything on a single spin; there’s no bigger folly than this. Please note that there is no guaranteed outcome in online slots or any other online casino games.

The game’s outcome can change anytime and cause you losses. That’s why you should always be prepared for the unexpected. Be cautious while placing your bets. Winning from a spin is just a possibility and there’s no certainty in it. There are various ways you can place your bets and use your money to play these games.

Before making any deposits, it’s important to know which would be the best currency to play online games.

See Also: Top 5 Strategies To Maximize Your Online Casino Profits

Have Fun

online slot games fun

 

You should play online slot games not just to win but to have some fun! Hence, it’s important to never take any losses to heart and stay relaxed while playing casino games. Although it’s important to pay extra attention while playing jackpots or tournaments where you’re expected to play quickly, you should never let it get to you.

Furthermore, never take your wins too seriously. These games are for your entertainment and enjoyment alone. The moment you start playing them for a livelihood, they lose their charm and lead to an unhealthy gambling behavior.

Conclusion

A lot of people play online slot games regularly. If you are one of these people, knowing and implementing the above-detailed tips can be immensely helpful in gaining an upper hand over the casinos.

The post Simple Yet Effective Tips To Win Online Slot Games appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 of The Best Hobbies To Get You Outside

It seems like everyone you meet is involved in interesting or unusual hobbies. Perhaps, it’s been a goal of yours to try one of those activities, too.

If that is the case, maybe you can try some fun outdoor activities.

You can pick up a new skill or learn a new technique to keep your brain and body healthy. You can also try out activities that can give you a better understanding of the natural world. Who knows, you might learn something that will greatly surprise you.

To help you get started, here are five unique hobbies you can enjoy in the great outdoors.

Metal Detecting

If you are someone who wants a new sense of adventure while outdoors, metal detecting is the hobby for you. Individuals and clubs involved in this activity explore different places where there might be a bit of treasure.

Whether it is combing an old battlefield for military memorabilia or seeking valuables in a nearby park, metal detecting is a hobby that enriches any explorer. You can rent cheap equipment or buy your own and go anywhere you want. You can go metal detecting when you go camping, road-tripping or just exploring nearby parks.

Gardening

fun outdoor activities gardening

A favorite hobby of anyone with a green thumb, gardening offers those passionate about growing plants endless opportunities for enjoyment. The internet, your local library or gardening club has all the information you need to start cultivating a garden.

Many people save money by using their gardening hobby to provide herbs, vegetables, and fruits for their families. If flowers are your thing, see how creative you can get by pairing perennials and annuals and growing inventive new color combinations.

Seeds are usually pretty cheap and the only purchases you might need are soil, new pots and perhaps a tool for weeding.

Paintball

Most areas have paintball clubs often sponsored by paintball businesses that have indoor and outdoor facilities.

Paintball is a great hobby for those looking to socialize, have fun and get active. However, you need to be in a pretty good shape and willing to take the stings that come with getting hit if you want to pursue this activity.

You can start a club or just join a local one. You might need to buy special clothing, pads or even a gun for it. There are, however, some facilities that provide them or you can just rent your gears there.

Motorcycling

A popular activity for people of almost any age, riding a motorcycle or renting one for an extended road trip can be the adventure of a lifetime. You’ll get to see America’s scenic highways from a whole new perspective. You’ll get the thrill of driving down a winding road like you never did before.

Be sure to study up or take a class in motorcycle driving and defensive techniques before trying out this activity. According to Abels & Annes, in 2011 there were 3,756 crashes involving a motorcycle in Illinois alone. Knowing how to predict drivers and to stay safe while driving a bike can save lives.

Always wear protective clothing and a helmet. If you can seat a passenger, make sure the other person is also wearing a helmet before you drive. This activity is great if you want to see many new places and get out in new campgrounds or trails.

Radio Controlled Vehicles

drone hobby active

RC cars and planes are a great outdoor hobby for those who enjoy building vehicles and don’t mind watching them break as they are being controlled. There are clubs, racetracks, and even RC airports where you can learn from and interact with other enthusiasts.

Check local regulations before flying any RC planes or drones on your own. Check local parks for busy times as well. With radio-controlled vehicles, you can have fun meeting new people or enjoy more secluded time alone.

See Also: How Auto Toys Can Keep Your Man Busy Outdoors

These are just some fun outdoor activities you can try. They can help boost your mood, alleviate stress, provide exercise, and expand your circle of friends. If you pick one and realize that it’s not right for you, you can just go and try something else.

The post 5 of The Best Hobbies To Get You Outside appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Ways On How To Live A Balanced Life

Knowing how to live a balanced life is a great thing for your mental health. It’s not a matter of having complete control over your life, but about finding what works best for you. It means not feeling like you’re being pulled in several directions all at once.

A balanced life can make you feel more content and calm. You’ll have more motivation and ability to move forward with your plans. You don’t feel so down about everything all the time.

So, read on below and find out how to start balancing your life today. Hopefully, these tips can help you be more grounded and better-rounded individual.

Inner And Outer Focus

There are two kinds of elements you need to balance if you want to start your new life. These are inner and outer elements. When one focuses more on one kind of element, an imbalance happens. And of course, you wouldn’t want that to happen.

External elements are your social circle, including family and other relationships. The list also includes your work, hobbies, and your activities. On the other hand, internal elements refer to your inner self. The thoughts in your mind and the workings of your heart are what comprise your internal elements.

Obviously, focusing on just work, relationships, and external activities would leave you with a massive spiritual gap. On the same note, it is also simply not practical to have your mind and heart reflecting on themselves all the time. After all, you have to experience life.

With that, you should strive to focus on both your internal and external elements. This can involve challenging your mind with intellectual pursuits or satisfying your tummy with delicious and healthy foods. As for your heart, it is best if you open yourself up to love, hope and joy. Exposing yourself to bitterness and hatred would soon starve your heart and it can affect you physically, too.

If you are lagging behind in your work, seek to motivate yourself. Don’t settle for less. Know when and how to give yourself the respect that you deserve. Give time to your family as well and remember these connections are for life. In the same way, you also need to pull back from those relationships and seek to foster bonds with those who are worth it.

See Also: 3 Simple Steps to Balance Your Emotional State

Look Around You

It’s essential that you look at your present life in order to work out its kinks. This can help you discern the amount of imbalance you’re currently experiencing. What are you neglecting and what could you make better?

Notice Your Leanings

Taking proper stock of your life would help you see which way you’re leaning. Are you listening too much to your heart and not enough to the practical aspects of things? This could make you a very shabby decision-maker.

Are you following every rule to the letter? It’s probably the reason why you’re not giving yourself a break every now and then.

Plan It Out

list-goals

Once you know where you need to improve, write out your goals. What tasks do you need to accomplish every week, month or year? What worked for you before? Do you think that would work again?

Planning all of these things out will help you create a proper and an effective plan of action.

Think About The Past

Think about your achievements up until now. Focus on your mood and your motivation, which led to your success. Once you’ve gotten hold of that feeling, don’t let it go.

You must have dealt with some fear and doubts back then, too. If you were able to handle them then, you can handle them now. Get some real motivation and some valuable lessons from your past self.

See Also: Time to Break the Cocoon! 5 Great Tips For Finding Motivation

Anticipate The Negativity And Prepare For It

When you look at achieving balance, anticipate the obstacles. Expect some negative feelings, doubts, and second-guessing. Once you know all your inner tricks that throw you off balance, prepare for a counter-attack. This way, you would be more kind to yourself in your balancing process.

Find A Support System

support system

When searching for balance, have a supportive person nearby. This could be your closest friend, a relative or your spouse. See which person provides the healthiest support and stick with him/her.

When you have a companion, the journey becomes easier. It will help you become more aware of your process and make more sense of it.

Wrap Up

Once you finish instilling the above tips in your life, you’re on your way to becoming more balanced and grounded. You would hopefully soon notice your productivity going up and your frustration coming down. This is an excellent exercise if you are consistently finding life slipping away from you.

The post 7 Ways On How To Live A Balanced Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Science-Backed Tips On How To Be More Successful In Life

Balancing your work responsibilities and personal life commitments is never easy.

Being in an active relationship can put you way behind your professional objective. Focusing intensely on your goals at work can prevent you from keeping an eye on your lifestyle and eating habits. In the end, you may need to sacrifice one for the other.

Fortunately, it doesn’t always have to be that way. There are things you can do to make sure no areas of your life suffer as you work on achieving your goals.

And to help you with that, here are some highly-effective tips on how to be more successful in life.

Set A Deadline For Each Task

set deadline

One amazing tactic to organize your workload is to set a time limit. By doing so, you will be forced to refrain from indulging in frivolous activities and getting involved in unimportant tasks. You will save more time and have a better day at work with all of your ducks in a row.

According to a study conducted back in 2002, setting deadlines can increase self-motivation and ultimately help individuals to prosper at double rates. The researchers state that self-imposed deadlines work more efficiently than externally imposed ones.

What happens is, when we know that we have endless time to complete a job, we begin to indulge in vain activities. We put other things first, delaying the job in the end.

By putting a tap on your workload, you’ll be able to invest your utmost attention and dedication to finish the job successfully and on time.

Reward for Progress

No matter how old you become, you will always need that little spark of appreciation and reward to be motivated.

After setting deadlines for your tasks, you should also think of something to reward yourself. The idea of receiving a reward increases the level of dopamine in your brain.

According to a recent study, people who are more active and enthusiastic have shown to have more dopamine level than those who are always lazy and tired. By rewarding yourself, you remain grounded and feel encouraged to accomplish your goals. Moreover, it makes you feel completely satisfied from the inside.

Celebrate The Tiny Wins

Frank Gruber stated, “This is a journey — a hard one — and the only way to make it sustainable and bearable is if you actually acknowledge your small successes along the way.”.

One principle to follow for a successful life is to love yourself.

In your journey to being successful, you need to set big goals and targets. Unfortunately, those big goals require time and waiting for them to happen can ultimately demotivate you.

So, instead of focusing on those big goals, take some time out and set your eyes on the little achievements you made by the end of the day or week. Cherish those little achievements and you’ll surely stay motivated.

See Also: The Surprising Success Strategy That Will Empower Your Next Steps

Do Not Consume Negative News Before Going To Work

A study at the University of Pennsylvania suggested that you should stop watching negative news at the start of your day. By viewing negative news for only three minutes, you are more likely to spend an unhappy day. Keep in mind that happiness is related to productivity.

Therefore, being exposed to the negative news before 10 o’clock in the morning can build up a mindset that you are unable to take control of things. This will ultimately affect your level of productivity. It will influence your ability to organize your workload.

Instead of focusing on the negative, try to watch some solution-driven news that can motivate and freshen up your mind. Stay away from depression-inducing news and keep your head up to show the world who you truly are.

Meditate

meditate daily

Experiencing excessive workload stress creates tiny clots in our brain. This affects our nerves and blood circulation, resulting in a severe headache and laziness.

To keep our brain functioning well, you can try mindfulness meditation. Meditation rejuvenates the body from head to toe. It prevents the body from cognitive loss, controls high blood pressure, and reduces the intensity of pain by up to 40 percent.

By meditating properly, you’ll feel positive changes within your mind and body. Practices, like inhaling pure oxygen and being under the sun, can recharge your body, giving it an enthusiastic flame of energy flow. According to researchers, even the simple act of opening a window can lift one’s mood.

Therefore, to perform better, you need to recharge yourself, meditate, and get closer to nature.

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

Act Like A Pro

If you think you are investing enough efforts into your professional life but your outcomes are still minimal, then analyze the things you are doing wrong just for a second. Upon focusing, you will realize that the real problem lies in your attitude towards your work.

You are probably acting amateur. This mindset is stopping you from stepping out of your comfort zone. You take every suggestion as criticism and you never try to move ahead and learn new skills and abilities.

One tip on how to be successful is to act professionally.

Being a pro means putting your utmost dedication and surpassing every obstacle that comes along your way. You need to face your challenges as a pro learns from his mistakes and never backs down.

Conclusion

At present, the world has transformed into a highly competitive platform where every other person aims to take the superior spot. In such times, you have to work like a pro if you want to be successful. Search for new opportunities, learn from experiences, and practice new technologies. Keep pace with the ever-growing advancements and discoveries and you’ll be well on your way to the top.

The post 6 Science-Backed Tips On How To Be More Successful In Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Why Volunteering Is Important In Getting Your First Job

If you are a college graduate and still don’t have enough experience, volunteering can be a great start for your future career. It can show your strongest sides and develop your skills. These may be useful depending on the field of work you want to be in.

Just spend some time analyzing your interests, hobbies, and previous experience to select the most interesting area. After that, you can go ahead, make new connections and discover all the benefits the volunteering world has to offer!

Benefits of Volunteering

volunteering work

If you are still doubtful whether volunteering can actually help you to promote yourself, here are the three main reasons why you should definitely give some free time to non-profit organizations and devote yourself to a bigger cause:

  • It will show your interests. It is quite easy to get lost in a boring and academic resume, providing brief information on your college achievements. Volunteering experience may add colors to your CV and make your individuality much brighter.
  • Present yourself in the best way. You will be able to show your strongest sides and concentrate on the key features, which will help you stand out from the rest.
  • It will help you to promote your soft and hard skills. It is not surprising that volunteering work is so popular as it allows students to gain and develop transferable skills applicable to any career. Such skills include teamwork, leadership, and much more.

However, if you still don’t have volunteering experience, you can always contact your local student organizations or various volunteering websites to choose a project. Usually, such companies are always searching for volunteers, so you will easily find a project that will fit your tastes and preferences.

See Also: The Power of Volunteering

Spheres to Choose from

Before you apply for any volunteering project, you need to make sure you know what area to choose. Try to make a list of things that interest you the most and imagine yourself being a part of such a project. You can also contact local organizations or volunteers to find out more about the activities they perform.

If you still don’t know what area to choose, try to answer the following questions:

  • Do you like working with children? If you love children and want to become a teacher one day, it will be a great option to work in a camp, various church or school groups and so on. It will show your potential employer that you are well-organized and can engage a large group of people.
  • Do you like movies? Then you can assist with various tasks behind cameras and work on behind-the-scenes projects.
  • Do you like working with animals? There are always many stray animals and organizations which require help and attention. You can contact zoos, shelters or clinics to offer your help. It may be a bit messy, so you need to be ready to get your hands dirty.

animal rescue volunteer

  • Do you want to learn more about medicine? If you like helping others and are compassionate enough, there is always a huge number of projects which help ill and elderly people. You can play various games or simply talk to them, feed and do simple tasks at hospitals.

Useful Tips

If you are planning to do volunteering work, there are a few tips which may greatly help you to achieve all of your goals and obtain your first job:

  • Stay tuned. It is important to build relationships and stay connected with people even if you leave the project. The whole point of volunteering is creating networks and engaging everyone to achieve bigger goals. Don’t neglect personal meetings, phone calls, various events and lectures to exchange experience and make useful contacts.
  • Learn more about the company. It is always important to possess as much information as possible to be able to understand the goals and missions of the organization. That is why you need to spend some time researching and analyzing information before having your first interview. It will be useful to learn about the organizational structure and the culture of the company.
  • Be passionate. If you want to do volunteering simply to attract attention and get your first job, you will most likely fail. Be sincere and find a project which will get you involved.
  • Think about the skills you can use. If you find your place, it will be much easier to move along the career ladder and show your potential to the fullest. Spend some time to make a list of things you can do better than others and choose a sphere that can reveal your strongest sides.

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer

The post Why Volunteering Is Important In Getting Your First Job appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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3 Things That Can Help You Start Being Your Best Self

I did a video yesterday for a challenge that I’m doing and I was talking about something that I’m working on in the challenge. A comment from the leader came back and said that what stood out for her was how I’m constantly in “should”:

“I should have done…”, “I should have been able to…” and “I should…”.

Always “I should…”.

The day before, another friend commented on one of my posts that no matter how much I did, it was never enough: I SHOULD be doing more, I OUGHT to be doing more.

I don’t go into “Woulda” very much but I definitely do “OUGHTA”…

Actually, I do go into “would” but “would” is victim and I tend to go into blaming: the “ought to’s” and “should have’s”

At least, when I’m talking about myself, I go into blaming myself. I’m a bit more lenient on everyone else- sometimes.

The thing is, I can logically reason a solid basis for going into the “shoulds” and “oughts”. I’m aware that I’m not producing at 100% capacity.

I know I’m not being as efficient with my time as I could be and I know I’m hiding out and not doing what needs doing.

I know that if I just get my act together, I’d be producing way more and be way more effective than I am now.

And I know that I ought to be one of the top coaches and mindset experts in the world right now, but I don’t have my stuff together yet.

I ought to have my stuff together because I’ve been working with a mentor for a year now. Besides, I’ve been a coach for 15 years! I ought to be much further ahead than I am now.

And there’s no excuse! None! Not one! Well, except that I haven’t got my act together and I’m not giving it 100%.

By the way, I hate it when people talk about giving more than 100%: HOW?

How can you possibly give more than 100%? How can you start being your best self?

Be serious.

Not that I’m blaming anyone, you understand?

See how easy it is? See how easy it is for me to slide effortlessly into blaming about not being good enough? I start off well, being all objective and constructive. Then, ever so subtly, I always end up making myself wrong.

It even sounds like a logical step, doesn’t it? There’s no jarring change in tempo or direction. It just flows.

How interesting is that?

Our minds automatically go from detached, open-minded objectivity to pointing the finger, blame and make wrong.

I didn’t even notice it in what I was saying in either the video or the post! I didn’t see it or hear it. Honestly, it didn’t exist for me.

It’s just the truth and it’s just the way things are.

It’s a simple statement of fact.

[sigh]

So, what do you do about it? Because I can guarantee that if you want to create the things that you really want in your life, you’ll have to deal with this.

Notice yourself doing self-blame

First of all, you have to NOTICE it. You must notice yourself doing it so you can catch yourself and do something different. The easiest way to do this is to either journal or video yourself talking about yourself and your life, where it’s at, what you want, what you’ve done and haven’t done so far.

Then, get someone to read or watch it.

Scary, I know, but it’s the best way to do it.

If you can’t bring yourself to do that, you read or watch it. The problem with doing it this way is that we tend to believe that what we write or say about ourselves is the truth. It sounds true and it lands for us as just a statement of fact.

This is why we need someone else to point things out for us.

Notice what you say about yourself:

Are you not good enough?

Do you never do enough?

Should you be doing more?

Are you comparing yourself to others?

Does no one appreciate you?

Are you a victim?

Write it down

writing a list

Pay attention to the wording that you use.

Do the same thing again but this time, write about yourself and your life and listen out for the coulda, shoulda, woulda, oughta.

Now, here’s the challenge: Write about yourself and your life as though you’re a complete superstar who plays all out and always does everything to the best of your ability.

If you keep on catching yourself while you’re speaking, thinking, and writing about yourself and making a consistent, committed effort to support and admire yourself, pretty soon your whole life will be completely different.

Can you imagine that? Can you imagine how differently you’d feel about yourself if you just believe that everything you do is what’s necessary?

See Also: Writing Therapy: How It Can Make Your Life Easier

Believe you’re being your best self

be amazing

I don’t know whether you’ve ever experienced it, but when you’re in the company of someone who thinks you’re amazing, the whole world is different. You’ll be different. You act differently, think differently, and do different things.

Imagine if you lived in that space all the time, where you’re in the company of someone who thinks you’re totally awesome…

Someone who always speaks and acts in alignment with what’s important to him,

Someone who never lets himself down,

Or someone who knows that whatever happens, he’s done the best he can?

Can you imagine that?

Now imagine if that person were you.

The post 3 Things That Can Help You Start Being Your Best Self appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity

Productivity is an interesting thing.

Some people keep themselves busy all day and consider themselves productive. In reality, however, they focus on so many different things that the end result isn’t satisfying.

Others prefer to analyze their behavior closely so that they can see what they’re doing wrong and what can be optimized. That’s the right approach if you want to ditch some bad practices and succeed with your ventures in all aspects.

Our online habits make a great example.

What you do while working on your laptop or when you’re just using the Internet can kill your focus. To change that, you first need to define those time-wasting activities that affect your work productivity and start doing something about them.

Browsing without a purpose

online habits

It’s a common scenario to have many tabs open in your browser while working. Every now and then, you’d open a new one, read something and then distract yourself. After some time, you’ll find it hard to get back to what you were doing. That leads to hours of wasted time when you review what you did each week.

How to fix that?

If you really want a quick solution, then install and activate a software that blocks access to certain platforms. You can also do that to your browsers if you want to do some work that doesn’t require research.

There are plenty of tools out there that can do this for you and even notify you when you’re using certain websites too much. Some tools will even let you set limits as to how long you want them to block things so that you can focus on more important tasks.

Not being selective enough

If you don’t know what you need to do and why you’re doing it, you’ll end up indulging in many unproductive activities. Watching random YouTube videos, clicking spammy links, reading newsletters, and checking unimportant notifications in your social media can eat away your focus, energy, and time.

It’s time to get rid of the unnecessary things so that you can concentrate on the essentials. This will help you double your results when working. Apart from that, taking the steps below will also help you have more peace of mind.

Here’s what you should say ‘no’ to when online:

  • Unsubscribe from any site or service sending you their newsletters or offers. From now on, if you need anything, simply type the web address yourself and see what’s new.
  • Block ads from appearing on websites. You can do that by installing an ad blocker as an add-on. These differ depending on your browser, but each is effective enough.
  • Turn off notifications on Facebook and other social media networks you’re using daily. Go to the Settings tab and see what you can block, disable or remove. This way, there’ll be no more pointless news in your feed and you won’t hear alerts from your phone all day.

See Also: 7 Mentally Damaging Habits You Need To Let Go

Letting email become a distraction

Email is a powerful communication tool. But, if you don’t manage your inbox well, it might cost you time and compromise your focus on a daily basis.

To change that, set some limits. You can choose not to open your email first thing in the morning and do it twice a day instead. Open it right after you’re done with your most important tasks for the day and check it again in the late afternoon when your mind is clear.

Not knowing when to unplug

bad work habits

You can’t be productive online when you’re connected 24/7. Your mind needs a break from technology and the best time to do that seems to be around two hours before bedtime. That means not just ditching all devices from your evening ritual, but also not thinking about them. This will take some discipline and time.

In the beginning, you might crave checking Facebook when in bed or using your laptop right before that. Remember that devices can keep your brain activated long after you’ve put them away, making it harder for you to fall asleep.

To change that, unplug every evening after you’ve done all that you had to. In addition, don’t grab your phone or start checking sites first thing in the morning. Be distraction-free in the morning, so you’ll experience the solitude of the early hours. You should get online only when it’s time for work.

These practices will help you change not just your online habits, but your whole daily schedule. You’ll have more time for yourself as a focused mind gets things done in a shorter time.

See Also: 6 Simple Habits For More Productivity, Happiness And Fulfillment

The post 4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How To Clean A Blood Spill: Safe and Proper Blood Cleanup from Workplace Accidents

Many of us think that safe and proper cleaning of blood spills is as simple as taking a mop and a bucket of water mixed with bleach. But to tell you a fact, there is no simple thing about a blood cleanup.

Aside from the fact that it can be potentially infectious, blood is hard to clean because of its ability to attach tightly to the fabric and penetrate into porous materials. As such, a stain might look clean but has dangerous bacteria just beneath the surface.

The harm caused by blood led the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to publish the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. The BPS is a set of guidelines that aims to protect workers against health hazards made by bloodborne pathogens.

OSHA Standard

The Bloodborne Pathogen Standard requires employers to comply with OSHA’s guidelines and encourages them to create an Exposure Control Plans if it is highly likely that workers and employees will have contact with blood or other potentially infectious bodily fluids in the performance of their work duties.

Even though most workers and employees, such as those working in banks and financial institutions, do not perform duties in which there is an anticipation of contact with blood, employers should have the appropriate knowledge in case of bloody accidents.

In the guidelines, OSHA also demands employers to provide personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection.

Employers should implement the use of universal precautions, treating all blood, bodily fluids, and items contaminated with blood as potentially infected with HIV, HBV, and other pathogens. Vaccinations for hepatitis B should also be available within ten days of initial work exposure.

blood contamination

Employers Imperative

If you own a particular business, it is imperative that you follow the guidelines and regulations made by OSHA concerning biohazard waste. One way of being a good citizen is to comply with government regulations that put importance on the health and safety of everyone.

Materials Needed to Manage Minor Spills

Before you start the process of blood cleanup, you will need these materials:

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Registered disinfectant product that has a broad spectrum pathogen elimination
  • Biohazard bags
  • Biohazard labels
  • Brush and dustpan or forceps/tongs
  • Leak-proof sharps containers
  • And disinfectant wipes

biohazard suit

Here’s how to clean a blood spill on a surface:

Equip

It is necessary that you equip yourself with the proper protective materials, such as gloves, gowns, masks, and protective eyewear to protect yourself from any splashing. Be sure that your protective wear fits comfortably and does not have any holes so that no pathogens can penetrate your body.

Remove

Use your available materials, such as a brush and dustpan or forceps and tongs, to remove sharp shards of broken glasses that could cut through your protective gear. Then, place each piece into a leak-proof sharps container and do not remove them with your hands.

First Cleaning

Cover the blood spill with cloth towels to absorb as much blood as possible. Keep in mind that the disinfectant will not work if the blood still covers the surface. Then, throw the towels in a biohazard bag.

Second Cleaning

Before you proceed with the second cleaning, make sure that there is proper ventilation in the room where the spill happens. Then, you can pour the disinfectant onto the surface and let it absorb for ten minutes. After that, scrub from the outside toward the center of the spill area with cloth towels. Again, discard the towels into a biohazard bag after the second cleaning.

Third Cleaning

Again, place some more towels and put disinfectant onto the surface of the spill. Then, put the towels in a biohazard bag and leave the surface to dry.

Dispose

Same as with the towels, you should dispose your protective equipment into a biohazard bag. Seal the bag and put it into a second container then label it. Call your local health department for proper disposal.

Decontaminate

You should use a registered disinfectant to decontaminate any reusable materials, such as brooms, dustpans, and buckets. Then, scrub the equipment and rinse it with water.

Check

Final checking is essential for you to be sure that your body is not contaminated. Check if there’s any drop of blood splashed onto your shirt or your feet.

Wash Hands

Wash your hands thoroughly with water and disinfectant soap. You can also use disinfectant wipes.

Report

It is crucial that you fill out an incident report. Do this following any cleanup.

Takeaway

It is vital that you know how to clean blood spill in your workplace. It is one way of maintaining the health and safety of the workers and employees in your area. This guide can help you with that.

The post How To Clean A Blood Spill: Safe and Proper Blood Cleanup from Workplace Accidents appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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15 Tips On How To Live A Fulfilling Life

You despise yourself because of your imperfections. You loathed your skin color, your monolid eyes, your body shape—almost everything about you. That’s why you try really hard to get rid of them.

However, although a lot of people are already appreciating you, you still can’t be happy.

Why?

It’s because you don’t know your real flaws, the flaws that you have within you. They are those things that make you feel like you don’t belong in your own body.

Now, to address those issues, here are 15 tips on how to live a fulfilling life.

Be good to yourself

love yourself

If you will not be kind to yourself, who else will?

You need to take good care of your body because that is your temple. You need to protect it against your detractors and the only way to save yourself from them is to love yourself. Always remember that you should be the first person who should accept you for what you are.

See Also: 5 Steps to Loving Yourself and Living Happily Ever After

Create a support system

No matter how hard you try to be good to yourself, if the people around you like to disparage you, it’s still of no use. If you have a set of friends who always keep pointing out your flaws, distance yourself from them.

It may be hurtful to leave them, but it will be more painful if you will stay. You don’t need people who keep on giving up on you. You need people who will stay despite your shortcomings.

Dissolve feelings of shamefulness

You are ashamed of yourself because you think that you are not worthy to be loved and appreciated. You think that people will always point out your defect that’s why you just chose to hide it.

But, remember this:

Your skin color is beautiful and your scars are part of your journey. It’s society’s standard of beauty that must be forgotten.

Embrace your differences

You are born like that because you are special. If you will try to acquaint yourself with how society accepts every human being, you’ll end up being lost in the ocean of masked individuals.

Your differences make you unique, so you should own your individuality. If you are going to get rid of it, how would people distinguish you?

Focus on the positive side

Don’t think that your imperfections are the reasons why you failed. Everything happens for a reason and the reason is that you deserve much better.

If you will just look closely, you will realize that there’s a bright side in every situation. Don’t focus on the bad things that you forget how great life is. After all, it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

Stop rating yourself

When you rate yourself, you’re creating a standard that needs to be met. If you will set criteria every day and you’re not able to achieve them, you’ll end up dissatisfied for no reasons.

Rating yourself isn’t healthy. It will stop you from accepting your strengths and weaknesses as a person. It can even make you feel insecure about yourself.

See Also: Are You Your Own Best Friend Or Your Own Worst Enemy?

Appreciate the little things

Self-fulfillment isn’t always about getting a huge recognition; it’s also about being able to appreciate the small triumphs that you have. As what Frank Clark said, “Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.”.

If you will change your focus, you will discover that small things could actually make you smile.

Don’t give up on yourself

The reason why people couldn’t reach for their dreams is simply because they’ve given up on them. You are what you are dreaming of. So, if you choose to give up on your dreams, you are also giving up on yourself.

If you’re tired, take time to rest. Consider the rejections you encounter as lessons and not as failures. It’s not yet the end, so just turn the page to the next chapter of your life. Learn to trust yourself and you will surely make it.

Ditch the standard of perfection

Nobody’s perfect. You can’t fix yourself no matter how hard you try to make it better. Break the standards of society by accepting the fact that you shouldn’t live to the expectations of others. You are beautiful in your own way. The people who told you that you are not might also be like you.

Don’t let other people define you by your imperfections. Be a good person and let your personality and attitude speak up for yourself.

Turn your weakness into strength

Forget the notion that your weakness is the reason why you fail. In fact, you can make it as one of your strengths.

With the right mindset, you will learn to turn the things that you’re not good at into something that will make you productive. Give yourself the chance to be able to let the things that you’re scared of encourage you to focus on your main goals, and not to mind the situations that will stop you from achieving them.

Always be thankful

be thankful

You’re alive and you exist. Isn’t that something to be thankful for?

There are things that you forgot to be thankful for because you’re more focused on something that is big. You have so many blessings in your life but you fail to notice them.

Like what Oprah Winfrey stated, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”.

Choose a realistic mantra

There are mantras that aren’t even achievable. If you can’t choose a mantra, you can actually make one. The mantras that you will create should make it easier for you to tap into your true spirit and self.

For example:

“I am in control of my actions and emotions.”.

This is great for people who find it hard to control their reactions to unexpected situations.

Face your life’s drama

Problems are necessary to help you grow as an individual. Whether you like it or not, you need to face the dilemmas that life is giving you. How you direct your life has an important role on how your life would end up.

The challenges you encounter allow you to discover the real you. How you deal with each problem says a lot about you as a person. You’ll also know your limits once you have an idea of who you truly are.

Don’t compare yourself with others

Comparing yourself to others is like comparing an apple to an orange. They might be fruits but they’re not the same type. Even an apple is different from another apple.

If you will compare yourself with others, you will end up feeling disappointed with yourself. So, don’t hate or love your imperfections. Instead, accept them with all your heart.

Accept constructive criticism

Criticism should help you develop and improve yourself without changing who you really are. Take note that not everyone who gives comments on you wants to make you feel bad about yourself.

Sometimes, the negative statements people say to you don’t really mean that they hate you. It may seem like it, but they’re concerned about you. If ever you encounter this type of critics, smile and be thankful.

Just like the lyrics of Jessie J’s song, “Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars”, you shouldn’t let your true self get lost just to feel that you belong. If you think that you don’t fit in, learn how to stand out. You are uniquely beautiful in your own way.

You don’t need the validation of someone to have a more fulfilled life. It doesn’t matter if they’ll love or hate you. What matters the most is that you’re embracing the real you and that’s the most beautiful gift you could give to yourself.

 

The post 15 Tips On How To Live A Fulfilling Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Revisiting What You Need To Know About Eye Health

Taking care of your eyesight has never been more important.

As we spend a lot of time in front of our computer, mobile phones, and other gadgets, the more we become at risk of having dry eyes, early macular degeneration, and other eye problems.

Although employing the 20-20-20 rule can help mitigate the negative effects of staring too long at your screens, it’s usually not enough. To help preserve your eye health for the rest of your life, here are some of the most important things you need to do.

You Only Get One Set Of Eyes

Full eye transplant is still, as of writing, unavailable in regular medical practice.This means you have to take care of your eyes so, that they can last your entire lifetime. And since you don’t know how long that will be, it’s especially important to do everything you can to protect your eyes.

You can prevent physical damage by always wearing UV protective sunglasses when you’re outside. If you are doing any woodwork or you are working with chemicals, make sure you have your protective goggles on.

See Also: Eye Safety In The Workplace: Effective Ways To Protect Your Vision

Eye Exams Can Save Your Eyes

Because eye problems, like macular degeneration, often occur gradually, you might not notice anything amiss until it is too late. This is why getting regular eye exams is crucial to maintaining your ocular health.

Common problems that are easier to treat if detected early include:

  • Cataracts – Caused by UV light exposure
  • Diabetic Retinopathy – Damage to blood vessels caused by poorly controlled diabetes
  • Glaucoma – Has multiple causes and can only be controlled with early detection
  • Macular Degeneration – Multiple causes, including blue light exposure and screen time

Most people are concerned about losing their vision but only 14% of people with existing eye problems go in for routine eye exams. If you want to avoid such problems, make sure to see your eye doctor regularly.

Proper Nutrition Can Help

proper nutrition for eyes

As the old saying goes: Garbage in, garbage out.

If you are eating poorly, it can affect several areas of your health. Diabetes and hypertension are two good examples of health problems caused by poor dietary choices. They also happen to be the two most common causes of eye problems.

To preserve your eyesight, try making better lifestyle and nutrition choices. You can start by adding the following foods to your diet:

  • Beta-Carotene– One serving per day helps your eyes absorb light energy and adjust to different light levels

Sources: Carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potato, pumpkin, and butternut squash

  • Zeaxanthin and Lutein– One serving every other day prevents macular degeneration and cataracts

Sources: Eggs, spinach, broccoli, corn, and kale

  • Zinc– Two servings a week improve liver function to protect against macular degeneration

Sources: Beef, poultry, oysters, and beans

  • Omega-3 fatty acids– Two servings a week reduce inflammation to protect against macular degeneration and dry eye

Sources: Tuna, mackerel, salmon, trout, and anchovies

  • Vitamin C– One serving daily prevents cataracts

Sources: Tomatoes, oranges, and red peppers

  • Resveratrol– Reasonable consumption can prevent problems with blood flow in the eyes

Sources: Red wine, peanuts, and blueberries

See Also: 7 Foods That Can Improve Your Eyesight

In Summary

Your eye health should never be taken lightly.

In addition to improving your diet, making lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and getting more exercise can help improve and preserve your eyesight in the long run. Remember to rest your eyes and see your eye doctor regularly to make sure problems are detected early.

To learn more about preventing eye diseases and lifestyle-related blindness, check out this infographic.

what is 20/20 Infographic

The post Revisiting What You Need To Know About Eye Health appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Best Tactics to Improve Your Self-Control

How do you improve your self-control?

For most of us, this is a work in progress. Self-control, at its most basic, is the ability to control our emotions and actions. Having the ability to do this effectively has been tied to being successful in all areas of life. It allows us to achieve goals and accomplish tasks that may seem daunting or even impossible.

For example, self-control in the financial arena can help you make wise buying or investing decisions. You may deny yourself frivolous items, opting instead to save that extra dollar or two for more worthy choices. As a result, you are more likely to find yourself feeling secure in your finances and creating the life you desire.

Self-control in relationships is also important. Everyone has found themselves feeling strong emotions, both positive and negative, in a course of a relationship. If we are not able to control how and when we express these feelings, we can destroy a relationship needlessly.

Remember:

Just because you think it does not mean you need to say it.

With self-control, you create a grace period to determine whether what you are feeling is really something that is worth saying.

So, what do you need to do to improve your self-control and set yourself up for success?

Check out these 6 tactics.

Set a goal

Setting a goal is one of the best first steps toward improving self-control. With a goal in mind, you can determine which actions are needed in order to achieve it and which could be detrimental. This may mean that you have to control certain desires and emotions along the way.

Take getting in shape, for example. In order to change your shape in any fashion, you have to make a number of choices. Many of those choices require a great deal of self-control. It would be far more pleasurable to eat a doughnut than a carrot stick. But, if you want to get closer to your goal, you have to control that impulse to indulge in a sugary treat.

See Also: 4 Powerful Ways To Stay Motivated And Reach Your Goals Through Tough Times

Understand the ‘Why’

five whys

If you know why you are doing something, you are far more likely to work hard to achieve it. If you are a person who is prone to emotional outbursts, understanding why you need to work toward controlling them will motivate you to focus on that control.

Knowing that an unchecked emotional outburst can hurt someone you love unnecessarily, jeopardize your position at work, or cause people to lose respect for you can be a strong motivator. This is WHY you need to exercise control over the impulse to speak before you think.

Change your environment

If the things that test your control are always in front of you, consider modifying your environment. This is not a sign of weakness but, rather a sign of control and strength. When you proactively alter your access to temptation, you are helping yourself and practicing control at the same time.

A smoker who is trying to quit knows to get rid of cigarettes. However, if he really wants to be successful, he may also want to make changes to the places or people he spends time with. This change of environment not only improves personal control but also strengthens one’s ability to control the other aspects of life as well.

Keep a journal

If you are working on something continually, it can be hard to see your daily progress. If you jot down the time you said no to the doughnut, held your tongue or chose not to spend that $10, you will be better able to see your track record of success.

And success breeds success. If you can see what you have already achieved, you are more likely to push further.

See Also: Writing Therapy: How It Can Make Your Life Easier

Meditate

practice meditation

Meditation is a form of self-control. You are forcing yourself to quiet your mind and focus. This simple act can be far more challenging than it seems.

Finding time to stop, be still and explore your own thoughts requires a certain amount of discipline and self-control.

Exercise

Studies show that the simple act of routinely moving your body and raising your heart rate will help improve your focus and clarity. The act of physically exhausting yourself can give rise to mental calm and it requires you to actively control the impulse to stop and sit.

Mastering self-control can be difficult. Many of us work toward this every day in different ways. More important than any tip you can be given, however, is the personal knowledge that you have the ability to do whatever you set your mind to. After all, the only behavior you can truly control is your own.

The post 6 Best Tactics to Improve Your Self-Control appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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What Every Bossy Person Should Really Know

Are you in the habit of bossing or ordering the people in your life around?

You know, instead of asking them to do something and having them consent and agree to do it, you give them commands which you expect will be followed immediately and without protest?

“Do this.”

“Do that.”

“Don’t do that.”

If you do, have you ever considered how it affects other people?

Have you ever stopped to question how they’re really responding to your commands inside their heads? Have you ever wondered what they truly think of you?

Most people will just comply when they’re ordered around, especially if it’s from someone who has some authority over them- like a parent, boss or significant other.

Before moving forward, let me ask you another question:

Are you the type of person who wants to win the respect of the people you interact and deal with?

Because I can guarantee you that if you boss and order people around, you’re working against yourself and you’re actually losing their respect. In fact, there’s a good chance they secretly despise you for it.

Of course, they’ll never show it to your face. They’ll just complain and gripe about you behind your back. They’ll revel in their contempt and resentment for you with others who feel the same way. They will criticize you and make jokes at your expense whenever you’re not around.

These are things you’ll probably never see, but I can guarantee you that they’re happening.

The Problem With Bossy People

We all hate being told what to do. We like to be in control of our lives and be able to make our own decisions.

When others make decisions for us and “force” us to comply, we try our best to look extremely well on the surface. What we feel inside, however, is a very different story. As we carry out the tasks, we generate resentment and even anger towards bossy people.

Now, ask yourself this question.

What’s more important to you:

Having certain tasks you delegate carried out or establishing and retaining the respect of others?

I reckon they’re both important, but here’s the thing:

When you order others around, you may successfully get the task accomplished, but you lose their respect. They will not willingly follow you. Though they may carry out the order, they will do it begrudgingly and they’ll look at you with disdain.

See Also: 3 Easy Ways To Stay Positive When Dealing With A Difficult Boss

Is there a better way?

Certainly, there’s a way for you to delegate tasks and have them carried out without jeopardizing the respect people have for you.

It revolves around the issue of consent.

When we boss people around by giving them orders, we strip away their consent to carry out the activity. They feel that they have to do it because they have no other option.

So, what you want to do is have them carry out the task while taking their consent into consideration. You should aim to have the task accomplished without undermining their dignity and pride in the process.

How do you do that?

There are two great ways. Let’s check them out.

Ask people to do what you want

be a good boss

Don’t boss or order people to do it. You ask them.

The simple phrase you need to remember is this:

“Would you…”.

Then, insert your wish. For example:

“Would you take out the trash?”

“Would you wash the dishes?”

With this approach, you can show respect for other people’s free will. You can let them retain their sense of dignity and you won’t make them feel like servants or slaves. More importantly, you don’t come up as an all-powerful master.

People who realize that you’re respecting their power to make their own decisions will be more willing to carry out your tasks. They will do it happily and with respect for you for not abusing your authority.

Make your wishes known to people

nice boss

The phrase to remember is this:

“I’d like you to…”.

Then, insert the activity. For example:

“I’d like you to clean up your mess.”

“I want you to help me out with some cleaning.”

Same as with the first approach, this won’t make you look like you’re forcing them to sacrifice their dignity and sense of self-respect by bending to the wishes of a “master”. Instead, this can get your tasks completed while maintaining the respect of everyone around you.

If you want to be a great leader, you need to know how to appeal to the consent of your followers. You shouldn’t force them to comply with your wishes just because of your position.

See Also: 7 Awesome Things that Very Inspiring Bosses Do

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5 Simple Ways to Pay Off College Debt Faster

If you have a massive debt on your student loans, you’re not alone. Many people do.

The standard repayment period for student loan debt is 10 years. That means you will be spending a chunk of your monthly income to repay your student loans for a decade.

If you apply for a program based on your income, it is possible to be approved for a lower monthly amount and a longer loan term. An income-based program can help you if you’re finding it a challenge to make minimum monthly payments. Take note that it can make your monthly payments longer.

For many people, the 10-year repayment period is a long exercise in denial. Paying their monthly student loans means they may not be able to save for a house, buy a new car or take a nice vacation. We only have so much disposable income and if college debt repayment is part of your monthly budget, it can effectively eliminate most of your spending money. You’ll have a hard time gaining financial freedom.

One solution is to repay your college debt more quickly. Once you no longer have debts to repay, you’ll have money to pay for other things. It can become the seedbed for your first house, raising a family, buying a new car or traveling to Europe.

How can you pay college debt off more quickly? Here are five simple steps to consider.

Pay More Than the Monthly Minimum

This is probably the best way to pay off student loans faster.

You can pay off your student loan debt quicker than 10 years by raising the amount you pay every month. Any extra amount you can pay goes toward the principal, not the interest. Lowering the principal will decrease the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan.

If you can pay $75 per month more on a $10,000 student loan with a 7 percent interest rate, for example, you can save almost $700 over the loan’s life.

Some loans do charge a penalty for prepayment, so be sure to check with your lender. It’s also a good idea to double-check that any amount above the minimum will go toward the principal. Most loans do, but you want to avoid surprises by knowing what your lender’s policies are.

Re-Evaluate Your Repayment Methods if You Have Multiple Sources of Debt

Many people simply pay whatever minimum is owed on every debt they have, whether it’s a credit card, car loan or student loan. However, there are methods to manage your debt so your overall burden is removed more quickly.

The first method is called stacking or laddering. In stacking, you sit down with every debt you have, read the paperwork, and find out what the interest rate is. Then, you prioritize the debt with the highest interest rate. The higher the rate is, of course, the more money you are paying both every month and over the loan’s life. The idea behind stacking is to reduce the debt costing you the most the fastest. It ends up costing you less.

Say you have a Visa credit card with $600 at 12%, a department store credit card with $300 at 11% and a student loan of $10,000 at 7%. If you have $20 extra per month, you’d put it toward the credit card. Once you are free of credit card debt, you then put the $20 extra toward the student loan.

The second method is called snowballing. With this, you place any extra money toward the debt with the lowest dollar amount, ignoring the interest rates. In the example given above, you’d pay your extra $20 for the $300 department store card. Once fully paid, you can add the $20 to your Visa card repayment.

The idea behind snowballing is that you can pay off smaller amounts of debt more quickly and that it provides psychological impetus to keep going.

Get a Higher-Paying Job or a Raise

One of the best ways to pay any debt faster is to increase the amount of money you earn. The more money you have coming in, the more easily you can utilize the first two methods.

One of the best ways to get a job with a higher salary is to find a high-paying career with low-cost degrees. You can be trained as a medical biller or electrician, for example, at a relatively low cost and be paid more in your first job out.

student loans

Any raise you receive in your current job can be used to raise the amount of your student loan payment. If you don’t want to put all of your raise toward a student loan payment, just allot a portion of it.

Consolidate and Refinance Your Loans

If you have student loan debts from several different providers, you may be able to pay less per month if you consolidate the loans. You need to apply for loan consolidation and a repayment plan.

If your student loans have a high-interest rate, apply for a loan consolidation with a lower interest rate. The best sources for refinancing and consolidation are often nontraditional lenders with digital platforms, such as Sofi, rather than banks. You will have to have an excellent credit score to qualify.

sofi student loan

Use Any Windfalls to Pay Down Student Debt

A windfall is any money you weren’t expecting. An aunt dies and leaves you money in her will. You get an unexpectedly high tax return. Your company gives out bonuses.

Again, any money applied to the principal reduces the amount of interest you’ll have to pay. That, in turn, lowers the amount you pay over the life of the loan. So, putting all or some of your windfall money toward student loan debt will help you pay it off more quickly.

These five methods are proven strategies for paying off your college debt faster. The faster you pay it off, the more you can spend on other things and save money for the future.

What’s the best way to pay off student loans for you?

The post 5 Simple Ways to Pay Off College Debt Faster appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Top Destinations In Europe for a Long Weekend on a Budget

Romantic break for two? Long weekend with the guys?

Europe offers so many different and interesting destinations. Whether you want to embrace your inner foodie in France, run with the bulls in Spain or traverse Italian city canals, there is something for everyone in Europe.

For those on a budget, long weekend trips can mean exciting experiences. You can get away for a few days, explore a new destination, and save more money than you would if you go on a longer holiday.

Looking to make your break as affordable as possible?

Try avoiding the main European hubs and venture a little off the beaten path. There are so many hidden gems in Europe and by choosing the right destination and going on a long weekend, getting a break doesn’t have to break the bank.

Here are the top destinations in Europe you should definitely add to your list:

For Foodies

Lyon, France

vieux lyon
Via thousandwonders

If you are looking for an alternative to the gastronomic glamour of Paris, try Lyon. Nestled in the Rhone Alps region, Lyon is hailed as the gastronomic capital of France. One of France’s oldest cities, its roots go back to the Roman period.

The city’s old town, Vieux Lyon, is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can meander through quaint passageways, cobbled streets, and stunning old world architecture. Foodies can try one of the charming ‘bouchon lyonnaises’ that serve traditional lyonnaise fare.

Take note that Paris can be notoriously overpriced, so if you are looking for the perfect base to explore the French culture and cuisine a bit deeper, then Lyon is the perfect budget destination for you.

For Culture Lovers

Toledo, Spain

toledo spain
Via toledosistercities

Just over an hour from Madrid, Toledo is a cultural center in Spain. With its ancient hills and medieval architecture, the historic city is a lively hub for history buffs and travelers. There, they can experience the buzz of the old European culture without the drama or fanfare of Spain’s capital city.

Visit the 13th Century Toledo cathedral in the center of town or the Moorish Bisagra Gate and the Sol Gate, which opens up into the old quarter. Visiting Toledo is like taking a step back in time. You’ll get an unforgettable experience to soak up distinctly Spanish culture here.

Moreover, the savings one can get when traveling to this top destination make it perfect for visitors on a budget. You can save over 66% on a weekend trip when staying in Toledo over Madrid. Fees typically include accommodation, a meal, drinks, and ground transport into the city.

For Trips with Friends

Vilnius, Lithuania

vilnius lithuania
Via cctv

For the more adventurous travelers, Vilnius is the perfect destination. It offers a little more action alongside history and culture. The walkable capital city is nestled in the heart of Lithuania and is becoming one of the more increasingly popular destinations for city breaks in Europe.

Vilnius houses the oldest medieval town in central and eastern Europe and is popular for its stunning baroque architecture. Visit the Palace of the Grand Dukes in Lithuania or the gripping Museum of Genocide victims, housed at the former headquarters of the KGB.

You can expect a little more lightness and fun in the evening as the continental town is one of the cheapest destinations for food and drink in Europe. This makes it a spirited town with a burgeoning nightlife scene, perfect for those stag-dos and weekend trips with friends.

For Romantics

Klosterneuburg, Austria

klosterneuburg austria romance

Getting away for the weekend with the one you love should never be off of your list. You can impress your partner with a romantic holiday to Austria. Although Vienna is known to be expensive, it doesn’t make Austria off limits for budget travelers.

Nearby city Klosterneuburg is only 12 miles away from the Austrian capital and has a whole lot to offer travelers who want to experience the Viennese culture without its price tag.

For starters, you can visit the huge castle built by Salian Emperor Henry IV that sits near the Danube river. You can also go see the Klosterneuburg Monastery, which is home to one of the oldest vineyards in Austria.

With such a short travel time, you can fly into the capital and find an elegant and romantic bed and breakfast out of the tourist trap, saving money on accommodation and food. This way, you get to experience the best of both worlds.

See Also: Top 10 Cheap European Car Hire Destinations

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6 Reasons Why You Should Not Drink Salt Water

More than half of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, but most of it has a very high salt content. This makes it unsuitable for human consumption. If you are wondering why, here are 6 good reasons that will discourage you from drinking salt water.

Your body will get dehydrated

drink water

The human kidneys are only able to eliminate a small amount of salt from the body at a time through urine. In order to remove huge amounts of salt, the kidneys need to produce a lot of urine to flush the salts out.

Essentially, when you drink salt water, your body will require even more water to dilute and eliminate all of it. In the end, you will just get more dehydrated from urinating too much.

See Also: Top 5 Tips On How To Stay Hydrated

Your cells will shrink

The human cells are made up of semi-permeable membranes that allow water to move in and out of them freely.

When you drink salt water, you increase the concentration of sodium outside of your cells. So, to bring back balance, water moves from the cells to the external space and this causes the cells to shrink.

When cells shrink too much, they become unable to perform their tasks and this leads to health problems.

Your blood pressure will increase

increased blood pressure

When you have excess salt in your body, the amount of sodium in your blood circulation increases. This attracts more fluid, which increases the strain and pressure in your blood vessels.

As you get more dehydrated from your body trying to flush out as much sodium as possible, your vital organs suffer and this can lead to organ failure. If not managed properly, this condition will be followed by a comma and eventually death.

You overwork the kidneys

Your kidneys play a huge role in excreting salt and water that the body does not need.

When there’s a high concentration of salt in the body, your kidneys will have to work extra hard to maintain balance. An overworked kidney can fail anytime and this can lead to further health complications.

A scaly and dry appearance

Salt water has a way of messing up with the skin by making it dry, flaky and ashy. This happens when skin cells lose water due to dehydration. You’ll see this start on the lips before moving to other parts of your body.

Frequent cramps

Another common problem that you will get when you drink salt water is cramps. It can happen when sodium builds up in the extracellular space of the cells. The high concentration of sodium outside the cells causes water to move outside.

Cells that form muscles will start to shrink and you can end up with muscle cramps. With time, your joints will become weaker, too. Eventually, this could hinder your ability to move.

Salt water animals are able to survive in such a saline environment since their cells are different from those found in humans. Their cells act like osmotic conformers, which means that their cells have the same salinity as their environment. An intake of salt wouldn’t cause a disruption in their physiological equilibrium.

Other animals, like fish, usually have specialized cells which cope with osmosis. They excrete excess salts, which allows the fish to consume salt water without any problem.

See Also: There Are Huge Health Benefits of Drinking Water But How Much Should You Really Drink?

There are many negative effects of drinking salt water. Therefore, make sure to filter your water before drinking it. You can invest in whole house filters or portable ones, which you can easily take with you when you go camping or hiking.

The post 6 Reasons Why You Should Not Drink Salt Water appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Why Having A Website Is Important For Freelancers

In this day and time, it is often unthinkable for businesses and professionals to not have some sort of online presence. With over 3 billion people being connected on the web according to Google, it is essential to be visible to as many people as possible. Even for freelancers and entrepreneurs, cultivating your digital presence on all fronts is very important!

Here are 5 reasons why you need to build your own website.

Personal branding

freelancer website

When you think that there are about 3 billion people connected to the web, you realize that it is important to stand out from the crowd and differentiate yourself from others. This is where you can focus on your personal branding.

Think about what will make you different from other freelancers. What can you show to your potential clients that will make them want to work with you? What will make other people think of you when they need a service or product?

Having a website is perfect for your personal branding. Not only does it allow you to demonstrate what you can offer, but it also helps you to make your business or product more popular. Having an eye-catching website can give you an edge over your competitors.

See Also: 10 Proven Ways To Build Your Personal Branding in 2018

Credibility

As a freelancer, you would know that gaining trust from your clients is very valuable. Although there are a number of great freelance platforms out there, such as Upwork or Freelancer, having a website will allow you to reach out to clients that aren’t on those platforms.

With a website, you have more liberty and room to showcase your projects. You’ll have more freedom in introducing yourself and strengthening your online presence.

You can ask your clients to give you reviews which you can publish on your website. This will help you establish credibility. When other potential clients see what others think of you, it can give them more reasons to contact you.

Professional

Not only does a website make you more credible in the eyes of your future clients, but it will give you a professional boost. Having a website demonstrates that you took the time and worked hard to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Don’t hesitate to demonstrate your knowledge by sharing your ideas and thoughts on your website. Show your potential clients what you are capable of and that you are active. If you make yourself look approachable and reachable, you will most likely gain more contacts.

Visibility

freelancer blog

A website serves as the face of your business. Rather than letting your clients do the guesswork in how well you can do your projects, direct them to your website to give them a clearer idea.

Remember, even if you have a good visibility on social platforms, it doesn’t mean that all of your potential clients will find you there. When you have a website, it acts as another means of contact. You can consider it like a business card.

Make sure that your website is visually attractive, readable and includes the most important information about you. Include your experiences, specialties, recommendations and portfolio.

If you are not an expert in website building, there are a number of great website builders that can help you at very little costs. For example, you can check out Heek. It’s a little robot that will help you build your own website through chat.

See Also: 7 Life-Enhancing Reasons To Start A Blog

Online base

It is important to be a part of freelance networks and communities to expand your reach and have a good audience base. Focusing on only your social presence will not help you create a solid community base.

Having your own personal website will allow potential clients and visitors to contact you directly. You will be able to develop your own client base outside of platforms, which could be very useful if the sites that you are on ceases to run.

And finally, why not think big?

A website can help you build a business rather than just freelance for others! If you take some time to start a website or blog, you will be able to open up doors to other opportunities.

 

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4 Types Of Stress At Work And How To Deal With Them

“More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Work is meaningful and essential. Work is a part of life. It’s utilizing our talents in order to get something in return. It is a give-and-take process that benefits both parties for the betterment of society.

Through work, you get to feed yourself and your family, pay the bills and get to buy your wants and needs. It is a comfort to the people who have it because it is the answer to their needs.

Unfortunately, not all jobs fit everyone. Some are unfortunate to land a job they dislike while others simply fall out of love from their jobs. This makes it harder for them to work efficiently.

The Common Factor That Makes People Hate Their Jobs

There are a lot of factors that make people hate their jobs.

For some people, it’s the imbalance in their work and personal life. For others, it’s the overwhelming workload and the toxic people they need to work with. The list can get long but one thing is present in all these factors- stress.

Stress is the body’s natural response to pressure or danger around you. It produces hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, that activates the ‘flight-or-fight’ response of your body. Every day, we encounter stress. However, too much stress can have negative effects on your health.

Here are the common types of stress at work and how to manage them.

Time Stress

time stress

This is the most common type of stress at work. You usually experience this when you think there’s not enough time for you to finish a task. Panic sets in and you struggle to finish as many things as you can. You rush until you get burned out, do all of them half-way or, worse, not get any work done at all.

How To Manage Time Stress

When facing time stress, it is important to manage your time and get your priorities straight. Filter your tasks so you can easily see which ones you need to do first. You can use the Eisenhower matrix for this.

Here’s how:

Do First. Tasks in this category should be your first priority. Anything that is placed here should be done as soon as you’re able and not later than the day after tomorrow.

Schedule. This could be important tasks but are not so urgent. These kinds of tasks are either important scheduled meetings or an article with a set deadline.

Delegate. Tasks in this section are not important but still urgent. It could be a follow-up call to a client or a request for your presence for a presentation. These can be transferable to people you can trust, though.

Don’t do. Tasks in this category are neither important nor urgent. You can either do it when you have nothing else to do or not do it at all.

You can use this method if you like prioritizing things the traditional way. However, with today’s technology, you can use apps like Evernote and Toggl to boost your productivity and manage your ideas and time easily.

Anticipatory Stress

anticipatory stress

This stress is associated with the feeling of anticipating the future a little too much. You anticipate so much that uncertainties of what could happen in the future overwhelm you.

Here’s How To Deal With Anticipatory Stress

Be Positive. The best way to deal with anticipatory stress is to not let fear get the best of you. Positive visualization of outcomes helps by cutting off the negative stream of thinking. Meditation and calming yourself down can also help you from stressing yourself out.

Be Prepared. Face the unknown and tackle it head on by visualizing both the best and worst case scenario. If you think that something is going to go bad in the near future, be prepared and formulate back-up plans that you can use.

Be Brave. Anticipatory stress is mostly caused by the thought of failure. In order to combat failure, prepare yourself by visualizing possible obstacles in your path. Take those obstacles as challenges and see failure as a chance to learn and grow.

Situational Stress

situational stress

Situational stress happens when everything starts to go out of your control. It appears suddenly and you will have no clue on what to do. It is the time when you think that everything is going smoothly but suddenly, in a blink of an eye, everything goes downhill.

It could be a time when conflict suddenly erupted near you and you are caught in the middle of it. Or it could be the time where your boss suddenly mocked you in front of many co-workers.

Getting Over Situational Stress

Everyone reacts to situational stress differently. You can act out based on your behavior or on how your automatic response work in specific situations. In a sudden eruption of conflict, you either join the conflict or back away.

Be Self-Aware. The most important point is to be self-aware in whatever you will be doing. Being aware of yourself, your actions and with everything around you, will help you think of a solution despite the stress you are under.

Be Calm. Keep hold of your cool and use your head instead of your temper or emotions. Keeping calm lets you assess the situation before doing something that can negatively affect you, your reputation or your job.

Be Patient. Be patient by hearing each side of the conflict before deciding how to solve it. Meet them halfway in order to come up with a peaceful end to it. If you are dealing with situational stress with your boss, hear him out before reacting.

Encounter Stress

encounter stress

This stress involves the feeling of being overwhelmed by meeting new or too many people. All of us can be overwhelmed by a lot of people, whether we are introverts or extroverts.

It might be because you don’t like them or they don’t like you, but you have to interact with them. It might also mean that it’s the first time you’ll meet them and you worry about how they will react or how they will perceive you.

Handling Your Encounter Stress

Practice People Skills. In order to be able to manage a lot of people well, practice or even perfect your people skills. Be confident with interacting with them, so that you can take control of the situation. You’ll be calmer knowing that you can handle any problem that can arise.

Be Emphatic. Empathy is understanding another person from their point of view. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes will make you understand them deeper and feel what they are feeling without judging them. It’ll avoid possible conflict and strengthen relationship bonds at the same time.

Breathe. Whenever stressed, it is important to breathe. Deep breathing has the ability to reduce stress in the body. This signals the brain to calm down and the brain sends the message all over the body.

Other Stress Management Techniques

Write. Studies show that writing about your feelings or anything that makes you happy reduces stress. Take time, relax and write anything you can think of.

See Also: Writing Therapy: How It Can Make Your Life Easier

It is very important for you to be able to take care of your well-being in order to continue doing what you love and sharing what you can do to everyone. Equipping yourself with a healthy body, engaging mind and a positive attitude will make you go a long, long way.

See Also: 4 Ways To Reduce Stress Inside and Outside of Work

 

The post 4 Types Of Stress At Work And How To Deal With Them appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How to Increase Business Efficiency In Print Marketing

When all businesses are moving online and making it their prime source of business, print marketing gets left behind. People have been putting too much effort on technology that sales and marketing in this niche have been ignored for long.

But, let me ask you this: Don’t you think it’s time to reconsider print marketing? After all, it’s still one of the best businesses around.

Technology is very important for any online business but your business growth starts with your customers. If you do not have customers, how are you going to run the business? A web to print solution’s success depends entirely on customers. Here customers are of two types- a) your existing customers and b) customers you wish to acquire.

To target both these customers, you need a planned marketing move or strategy. Think of this as a “new service” you wish to market. You could pitch the features to your staff first and then your customers to see what they have to say about your “new services”.

Here are a few web-to-print solutions marketing tips you can use to make your business more efficient.

Using Target Marketing Strategy

When you plan a marketing strategy, you also plan whom you are going to target. You need to define your audience in advance in order to achieve the best results. Using target marketing gives you a clear picture as to whom you should target and how.

Most web-to-print solutions marketing strategies fail because they are not sure who to target and they end up pitching to the wrong group. This wastes both money and time.

Once you have defined your audience, you need to know what you want to pitch to them. Not all customers will want every service or product you sell, so you’ll have to do research to find out what interests them the most. The way you segment your customers will allow you to market your products in the best possible way.

After that, you need to set your business goals. They need to be realistic for you and your team. Like keeping a track of the first order in the system, this will keep your team on their toes to get their first order in the system.

Marketing success is way different from technical success. Here’s how:

With technical success, it means you have successfully implemented the system. If your marketing strategy is a success, then it means you and your business is growing.

Using Branding as a Marketing Strategy

brand marketing

Every business has a name, so choose one that can easily make you and your business more popular. A smarter way to choose a name is to pick something from your internal projects.

This is called Branding. It’s a type of marketing strategy that will let people know about your business and what it can do for them.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness

Don’t Sell Without a Story of Your Business

How you started, when you started and what made you start your business is very important. What you sell and what you do not sell are things that are necessary for your sales and marketing team, too.

As much as possible, never let your sales team go out without a story because they might end up making one of theirs and this can get you in trouble. A story is a good way to market your business and the services it provides.

In addition to that, you also need a plan on how you can tell the story. You need to say it in a way that matches the demands of your target customers. Therefore, you need to play a clever and smarter game here. You need to do branding in a way that you tell them how your solution is going to benefit them. Never tell them what features your business have. Instead, tell them how those features are going to help them.

Like most customers, I would not be bothered to know about you or your business. My prime concern will be how your solution will benefit me. That has to be your focus when you are creating a brand.

Know Your Customer

You should know your customers before they know you. You have to identify their needs and understand the solutions they are looking for. Apart from that, you also have to know when they’ll need you and you must have offers ready by that time.

Using Social Media as Marketing Strategy

social media marketing

A third of the world uses social networks regularly. Hence, it is one of the best marketing tools around. This is why most marketers are expanding their business widely using social media.

Why should you focus on Social media marketing? The stats below will give you a clearer picture.

See Also: The 5 Internet Marketing Trends That Will Dominate in 2017

Some Facts

  • Around 72% of people who use Facebook are adults.
  • 74% of people use Facebook for professional use.
  • Facebook has the most engaged users with 70% daily log.
  • 59% of Instagram users are on the platform daily, including 35% who visit several times a day.
  • In the past two years, people who use LinkedIn has increased 21%.
  • Instagram has 500 million monthly active users.

In the print industry, the same ideas follow. You can target group of people from different regions and different age. You can attract customers by creating attractive ads on these social media platforms.

Your marketing move is very important. You need to decide how and what has to be your next move to achieve your customers’ goal.

Conclusion

Print Industry is huge and when you take web-to-print solution, then you need to have a proper marketing strategy in place so that you can collect more customers. Your prime goal needs to match the customers’ demands.

Promoting something you know the customer has been looking for will fetch you results that are more positive. Hence, keep your target audience in mind, use branding and sell solutions or features while keeping in mind what your customers want. This will be a great success for your print business.

The post How to Increase Business Efficiency In Print Marketing appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Turning Sixty: Top Things To Do In Retirement

Very soon, you’ll be celebrating your sixtieth birthday and that means you’ll be looking at your retirement, too. It’s natural to feel jittery about it as one question keeps popping into your mind: Now what?

It’s not that everyone over sixty goes through the same dilemma of finding new pastures. Some people keep working because they either need money or they just don’t want to get out of what they have become conditioned to. Well, in any case, if sixty is just not a number for you, it’s time to rev up your passion and pursue your hobbies like never before.

Before you enter your twilight years, you have every reason and opportunity to make your life rocking more than ever. By this age, you have lived most of your life, worked hard for your family and achieved success in ways that you know more than others do. Isn’t now the time you do something for yourself?

Here are the top things to do in retirement that can make your life more engaging and exciting:

Define your passion and purpose

This is going to be a new chapter of your life, so just sit back and ponder what has been missing in your life so far. What have you always been curious about?

Defining your purpose here means thinking about how you are going to spend your time in fruitful pursuits. It is the time to reassess your life and revisit your personal purposes that you couldn’t accomplish before. Now is the time to revisit the things that you always felt very strongly about.

Think young and spend time with your family and friends

Thinking young at this time simply means being energetic and enjoying the time you now have in your hands. Fun and enjoyment is a lifelong process and getting past sixty doesn’t mean that your attitude should be old and obsolete.

It’s time to have fun with your family and friends by talking and meeting with them more often. You can organize small parties and invite your friends to have sweet discussions and little toasts. This is the perfect time to give your friends an exotic bottle of wine or get them their favorite box of cigar. It is also the time to create sweet memories with your grandchildren.

Continue your hobbies

retirement hobbies

Following one’s hobbies is the biggest stress buster at any stage in life. So, continue what your favorite pastimes were even before your retirement. Be it gardening, traveling, reading, singing, dancing or playing golf. You always need to follow your hobbies to keep you fit and enthusiastic.

But, more importantly, your main focus should be doing the things that you enjoy the most. Pursuing your hobbies with heart and soul can give a completely new meaning to your life. So, get ready to make that push.

Volunteer your expertise

It’s time to use your expertise for a philanthropic cause in our society. Maybe your local library, school or pantry need your skills? Perhaps your local hospital and nursing home need an extra hand?

This might not sound like one of the most interesting things to do in retirement but volunteering your expertise will enable you to give back to the society what you learned as a professional.

See Also: Retirement Activities that are Financially Viable 

Develop new interests

retirement activity

There must be something itching inside you. These could be the activities that you were never able to do before or any untapped talent you have. Getting to know people with diverse interests will help you in that. Consider your retirement as a golden opportunity for you to try something new. It can be learning a new language or traveling to a place where you have never been but always craved to go to.

See Also: 10 Amazing Business Ideas For Stay-At-Home Retirees

Final Thoughts

The age of sixty is not the end of your days. It is, in fact, a new beginning where you can do the things that you were never able to do due to obvious obligations. It’s a new freedom and new purpose that will shape your life for the better.

 

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Top 10 Cheap European Car Hire Destinations

If you’re planning a European getaway sometime soon, you need to start considering arranging a cheap car hire for your trip. It will give you the freedom to explore, save you time on your trip and you won’t have to worry about your own car being stolen or damaged.

But, as you’ve no doubt discovered, car hires can sometimes prove to be a confusing process. Some cities are more suited to be explored in a car than others and that will depend on what time of the year you are traveling. There are, however, some staple cities across Europe that always offer an enjoyable holiday and hidden gems to discover by car on a budget.

Here are the top ten wallet-friendly European car hire destinations – plus some top tips on saving money while you’re there.

ROME

the colosseum rome

Total Cost: £178.09 | Car Hire Cost: £10.21

Three places to go: You must visit the historical masterpieces while you are here. Great choices include the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Vatican.

Money-saving tip: Entry to lots of Rome’s museums is free on the first Sunday of each month.

BARCELONA

Total Cost: £176.26 | Car Hire Cost: £10.86

Three places to go: The architectural delights of Antoni Gaudí (you’ll see his work all over the city), unparalleled views from Montjuïc mountain and Raval, Barcelona’s literary quarter, are some of the places you shouldn’t miss here.

Money-saving tip: Avoid the overly-touristy areas and explore a side street. You’ll find quality food at good prices.

PISA

tower of pisa italy

Total Cost: £165.18 | Car Hire Cost: £10.32

Three places to go: Head to the world’s most famous architectural mistake, the Leaning Tower, the beautiful Duomo (cathedral) and enjoy some quality natural gelato at Gelateria De’ Coltelli.

Money-saving tip: Book your trip to the tower online. You’ll be able to skip the lengthy queues.

MADRID

gran vía madrid

Total Cost: £157.16 | Car Hire Cost: £9.14

Three places to go: Enjoy cheap tapas from street vendors, visit the expansive 19th-century park Buen Retiro and take a stroll along the Gran Vía, Madrid’s main thoroughfare.

Money-saving tip: Save money on food, gifts and lots more by taking a trip to one of Madrid’s flea markets. El Rastro and Rave are two of the most popular.

LISBON

Torre de Belém

Total Cost: £150.58 | Car Hire Cost: £15.28

Three places to go: Don’t forget to visit Torre de Belém (Lisbon’s Gothic tower and a UNESCO world heritage site), Ler Devagar (the city’s cultural centre) and São Jorge Castle (11th-century castle with an archaeological museum).

Money-saving tip: The Lisboa Card gives you free entry to 28 museums, monuments and places of interest. It will also get you discounts on local services and shops.

MANCHESTER

manchester united stadium

Total Cost: £148.12 | Car Hire Cost: £7.87

Three places to go: Be sure to visit one or both of those world famous football stadiums, Manchester Art Gallery and John Rylands Library, a late-Victorian architectural wonder.

Money-saving tip: Free walking tours taking in the best of Manchester run every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Be sure not to miss them.

MALAGA

gibralfaro castle
Via travelguidemalaga

Total Cost: £131.96 | Car Hire Cost: £5.02

Three places to go: The Picasso Museum, Gibralfaro Castle and Tivoli World, a family-friendly theme park, should never be out of your list while you’re in Malaga.

Money-saving tip: Avoid the Costa del Sol’s toll roads by downloading a sat nav app that helps you steer clear of the hassles.

BIRMINGHAM

birmingham oratory
Via birminghamheritage

Total Cost: £130.39 | Car Hire Cost: £9.01

Three places to go: Visit the Bullring for shopping and Birmingham Oratory and St Paul’s Church for a taste of the city’s architectural past.

Money-saving tip: Download the Bullring’s PLUS app to get free parking at the retail center.

TENERIFE

la laguna tenerife
Via holaislascanarias

Total Cost: £129.29 | Car Hire Cost: £13.10

Three places to go: Take a cable car to the summit of Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain, visit La Laguna, the former capital of Tenerife and enjoy a couple of hours in Malpaís de Güímar, a natural park.

Money-saving tip: Many of Tenerife’s best museums are free to enter all day on Fridays and Saturday afternoons.

ALICANTE

santa barbara castle alicante
Via Expedia

Total Cost: £110.93 | Car Hire Cost: £7.83

Three places to go: Climb up to Santa Barbara Castle, browse the Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art and do some snorkeling on Tabarca Island, just off the coast of Alicante.

Money-saving tip: Mercado Central is Alicante’s most popular food market, offering cheap meat, vegetables, bread, dairy and sweets.

Now that you know where to go, how can you ensure you get a cheap car hire deal no matter where you go?

Here are some tips you can use:

  • Book early

As with most things, booking ahead can save you some serious cash. If next year’s holiday is booked and your dates are locked down in your diary, why wait to sort the car hire? Do it now while you’re thinking about it and save some money in the process.

  • Do you really need a luxury vehicle?

When booking a car hire, it can be tempting to take out a high-end vehicle and imagine yourself zooming around picturesque mountain roads in the latest high-performance car. Unfortunately, such vehicles are often more expensive than their rather more run-of-the-mill brothers and sisters.

Ask yourself if you really need something swish. When you’re on a holiday, what probably matters most is space. There should be enough for your stuff and for the people coming with you. Opting for a standard vehicle that suits your needs could be a much more affordable and practical option.

  • Understand the extras

Some car hire deals look cheap but once you look under the bonnet, they are actually a little more expensive. To avoid getting tricked, make sure you know exactly what your deal will cover before you book.

  • Get your arrival time right

Give your car rental provider an accurate idea of when you’ll be picking up the car. If your flight is delayed, your reservation could be cancellled, especially if it’s at a busy time. This is annoying but it could also incur additional costs. If you can get in touch with the car hire check-in desk to let them know you’re running late, do so.

  • Make sure any pre-existing damaged is logged

When you hire a car, you’ll usually get an inspection form before you drive away with it. This form will detail any damage that’s already on the car. If you spot some damage but it’s not on the form, make sure it gets logged immediately. Otherwise, you could end up paying for damage you didn’t cause. And, of course, make sure you take care of the car when you’re exploring the city.

Hiring a car can transform a holiday. Giving you the freedom of the open road, it allows you to get out and explore. Next time you choose a car hire, do your research, follow some top tips and you’ll be well on your way to bagging a great deal that won’t break the bank.

The post Top 10 Cheap European Car Hire Destinations appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How Not To Give Up When Your Head Tells You to Quit

Most people have to work hard in order to live their dreams. However, all we see and celebrate is their success because the hard work is usually not done in public. So, when you are struggling in the shadows, wondering why success is not coming fast enough, it’s easy to want to quit.

Don’t.

The successful people you admire are there because they resisted the temptation to quit.

Before looking at the tips below on how not to give up, let’s get one thing out of the way:

No one is suggesting that you stay in a dead-end career which takes you nowhere. If you’re quitting because there is a better opportunity, then, by all means, go ahead. The quitting that does not help is the one where you leave just because you’re not getting results instantly.

Every time you want to quit and take the easy way out, just tell yourself that success doesn’t come overnight.

Things Don’t Get Easy Just Because You Switch Places

There is a misconception that if you don’t like something, then you can switch places and things will get easier. This is a fantasy. If you quit without introspecting and looking deep inside yourself, you may actually be moving with the problem.

In the beginning, you will enjoy the instant gratification which comes with moving. However, as time goes on, you will realize that you’ve solved nothing. The same problems you thought you ran away from in the last situation will suddenly appear.

If you quit just because of the instant gratification you feel when you move into something new, you’re sacrificing your long-term goals. The reality of life is that wherever you go, you’ll always be faced with challenges. It’s better to work on the challenges of something you have already started, rather than quitting and starting on a new set of trials in a new goal.

See Also: 5 Barriers That You Need To Cross To Achieve Success This Year

See the Bigger Picture

not giving up

Every time you want to quit, tell yourself that if success were easy, everybody would be successful. Most people quit because they forget to draw the bigger picture when they start on a goal. Some have drawn the bigger picture, but forget it in the face of challenges.

Always remember that journeys leading to success are often long and grueling. Take the disappointments you meet along the way and if you fall, stand up, dust yourself off, and get moving.

One thing you will have to accept is that success comes at different times for different people. Admit that you’ll see people you know reaching their goals before you do.

While this can be difficult sometimes, you should always try to celebrate with them. Instead of seeing their success as highlighting your failures, take it as proof that achieving your goals is possible.

See Success as a Journey, Not a Destination

Success happens in incremental steps. It is a result of everyday small, smart choices. If you do this consistently and never quit when the going gets tough, you’ll start to see the results of your perseverance.

Making smart, small choices every day starts by taking big tasks and breaking them into smaller units. Working on smaller tasks will help you to see your progress. Take reading a large book, for example. Breaking it into chapters seems more doable than finishing the whole book right away.

You’ll also see incremental results if you are consistent. A good example here is your daily exercise routine. Consistently working on your fitness for twenty minutes every day is better than trying to do a two-hour workout once a week.

Successful people are patient. They understand that progress takes time. For example, if you decided to write a book, writing just two pages a day results in 60 pages a month. That makes over 300 pages in half a year. That’s a very long book by any standards.

successful people

No one has ever said that success is easy. If it were, everyone would be successful.

See Also: Stumble, Success, Stumble, Success – 11 Simple Steps to Improve Your Life

The post How Not To Give Up When Your Head Tells You to Quit appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Unhealthy Behaviors That Affect Your Mental Health

Bad mental health habits are behaviors that have a negative effect on the way we think and the way we feel about ourselves.

We often believe our mood and our mental health are solely dependent on external factors and we only have little ability to control them. We often wonder why we get so easily irritated, upset, sad, lethargic, and bored in life. As a solution, we try to improve our mood and cope with stress by engaging in unhealthy behaviors. This, unfortunately, makes our mood even worse.

Yes, our mood is affected by our brain chemistry. But, remember this:

Our brain chemistry is largely affected by our behaviors and habits in life. If we treat ourselves with care and know what makes us happy, we are going to have a more balanced brain chemistry.

Here are a few common bad mental health habits that are making you unhappy and unsatisfied with your life:

Bad Sleep Routine

bad sleep routine

Even if you get enough sleep, having a regular sleep routine matters a lot.

Going to bed early promotes more happiness and energy in life. Studies have shown that going to bed late may be linked to depression and poorer mental health in general. The reason could be that negative thoughts are more likely to appear in our mind at night.

So, by staying up late, you get more and more overwhelmed with worries and negative thoughts. Also, by being a ‘night owl’, you socialize less with people and may start to feel isolated over time. You’ll also be less productive and less energetic the next day.

See Also: Get Strong, Sleep, Repeat: The Importance Of Sleeping

Not Taking Time to Relax

Many of us live with a lot of stress and have a lot of thoughts going through our minds on a daily basis. We may have a stressful job or suffer from anxiety or other problems. Most of us may be hyperactive and constantly seeking new stimuli without realizing that they are making us feel worse.

Taking some time during the day to relax and be with yourself without distractions can significantly improve your mood and well-being.

Lack of Physical Activity

It is a well-known fact that physical activity is necessary in order to maintain a healthy body. But, exercise has huge benefits for your mind, too.

When you exercise, your blood flow improves and your body releases feel-good chemicals. You are also releasing the tension build-up from excessive stress and anxiety. Your muscles feel and work better.

Spending a Lot of Time with Toxic People

We all know people in our lives that just make us feel bad whenever we are interacting with them. They may put us down, undermine our success, not respect our boundaries, and find ways to ruin our mood when we are happiest.

If you are continually trying to change those people, you are just wasting your time and making yourself more miserable. So, try to avoid toxic people as much as possible.

See Also: 8 Types of Toxic Friends That Are Holding Your Happiness Hostage

Lack of Personal Goals

Goal-oriented behavior is what activates our reward system. This has a huge influence on our mood and happiness. If you don’t push yourself to achieve your goals, even small goals, you will not feel fulfilled and you are likely to seek unhealthy ways to activate your brain reward system.

Also, not focusing on achieving your goals leaves you feeling like you are stagnating in your life and that can easily trigger poor mood and depression.

Excessive Use of Technology

excessive use of technology

Most of us enjoy our computers, phones, social media and we naturally want to watch the news and see what is currently happening in the world. Even though those tools are great at making our lives and work easier, they can also be great tools for distraction.

They also promote inactivity and tend to be overly stimulating to your brain. Your brain doesn’t like too much stimulation and you may find it more difficult to relax and unwind after spending hours on social media.

Not Being in Touch with Your Emotions

Our emotions often feel too intense and too difficult to deal with, so we tend to suppress them. We distract ourselves with all kinds of unhealthy behaviors.

The problem with that is that we don’t get to process our emotions and face our real problems. We fail to find out through attention and awareness what truly makes us unhappy, anxious, angry or sad.

Poor Nutrition

Our nutrition affects everything in our body, including our brain chemistry. A deficiency in certain nutrients can cause imbalances in our system. Even if we don’t have any serious deficiencies, our eating habits can still affect our mental health. Overeating and not eating enough are both unhealthy behaviors that can affect our relationship with food and our overall mental health.

The post 7 Unhealthy Behaviors That Affect Your Mental Health appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Working From Home: Is it Worth it?

We’ve all fantasized about trading in our demanding office hours, gossiping coworkers, and overbearing bosses for a work from home gig. But, how do we get past the anxieties that come with the transition?

Nip those fears in the bud and get ready to pursue the career of your dreams with some of the information below.

Why is Working from Home So Great?

work at home

Working from home has several benefits besides the ability to make a living in your pajamas. You’ll find that trading in your traditional work can yield great benefits such as:

  • You’ll save money from commuting to work. You can reinvest the $50 you throw in your tank each week into something that you love. You can even use it to buy an equipment for your new home office.
  • Working from home can cut out your lunch expenses as well as a few inches off of your waistline. You’re more likely to prepare and eat healthy lunches if you aren’t heading to the food trucks parked across the street from your office.
  • You can say goodbye to the guilt that comes with having to reschedule outings with friends or missing your kid’s recital because you set your own hours. You’re able to start work whenever you like and put it away just in time to catch a yoga class and a chance to focus on you.

Sounds Perfect, Right?

Not so fast.

There are a lot of great things about working from home, but if you’re seriously considering making the switch, then you need to prepare for its drawbacks.

Check them out:

Discipline

Were you the first to quit a new instrument, dance class or sport after just a couple of days? Do you still allow your gym to take $20 out of your bank account each month despite the fact that you haven’t stepped inside of a gym since the last year?

Discipline is a key factor to successfully working from home.

Work/Life Balance

While working from home can definitely benefit those that seek control over how much work dominates their life, managing a solid work/life balance can be tough for true workaholics.

If you don’t have a dedicated and closed off workspace, you’ll be constantly reminded of how there’s always work to be done. This could easily lead to burnout if you fail to set boundaries between work and your personal life.

See Also: Keep Calm and Don’t Stress: Recognizing and Preventing Job Burnout

Financial Instability

Unless you’re working for a larger company, most self-employed individuals or freelancers that work from home have to acknowledge that their funds will fluctuate. There could be times when you go an entire month without receiving a check and you’ll have to find a way to keep yourself afloat financially in the meantime.

What’s Right For Me?

work from home

It’ll take a lot of self-reflection to figure out if working from home might be ideal for you. Check to see if any of the situations below affect you.

You might flourish with working from home if:

  • You’re self-motivated and you don’t need a boss to stand over your shoulder to ensure that work is done.
  • You have six months’ worth of living expenses in your bank account, just in case you come upon hard times.
  • You don’t mind doing self-employment taxes or advertising.
  • You’re not dependent on a healthcare plan provided by your traditional employer.

You might fail at working from home if:

  • You’re not self-motivated. If you need a kick in the rear to help you get started on a project, you might be better off with a more traditional setup.
  • It would put you or your family in financial trouble.
  • You’re not very good at managing stress. It would only make you more stressed to have the extra responsibility on your plate.
  • You prefer structure set by an outside source.
  • You enjoy being able to wheel your chair over to the next cubicle to chat with your coworkers.

Tips for Making the Change

If you’re determined to work from home, you’re going to need help to manage the transition. Here are a few tips to keep you from giving up on your dream to work from home:

  • Make an effort to get out of the house and see your friends or loved ones 2-3 times a week. When you first start working from home, it can be tempting to just throw yourself into your work 24/7, so that you can make your dream come true. Unfortunately, working all the time can and will lead to burnout.
  • Stick to a morning schedule. You’ll be far more successful if you can create your own structure that you can amend at any time.
  • Take inventory of your pantry and fill it up with non-perishable goods in case you run into some financial trouble. Having five or six boxes of stovetop macaroni and cheese can be a lifesaver if you’re running low on cash.
  • Most importantly, perform extensive research on what you’d like to do! If you want to be a freelance writer, you’ll need to read up on all of the different niches and decide what best fits your skill level and financial needs. There’s also plenty of successful individuals that do freelance graphic design, data entry work, virtual assisting or call center work for a company that doesn’t mind if you work from home.

See Also: How to increase productivity while doing ‘Work from Home’?

Get Started!

If you think that you’re cut out for the challenges that come with working from home, start thinking of when and how you’ll begin your transition. If you plan well, you’ll be able to enjoy the rewards of working from home in no time!

The post Working From Home: Is it Worth it? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Using Zero Trust Network Segmentation To Protect Your Business From Hackers

Cyber security is a major concern no matter what size or type of business you have.

Despite how critical it is, a lot of people are still not doing enough to protect themselves. They don’t take information security seriously – until something bad happens.

Take security breaches for example. They can be costly, often putting small businesses out of business for a few months.

There are practices that could stave off most attacks. Unfortunately, since humans are the weakest link in the cyber security chain, breaches can happen no matter what type of preparation a company does.

To help reduce this risk, there’s a newer and safer model for cyber security. It’s called the Zero Trust model with network segmentation.

What Is Zero Trust?

business protection

In the old ways of cyber security, gaining access to a network was as simple as putting in your username and password. Once you’re in, you have access to everything.

Unfortunately, this model has some pretty obvious weaknesses. Hackers only need to gain access to your login data, which is easy to do through social engineering.

In the zero trust model, everyone is assumed to be a hacker.

Login info will get a person into the front door. Once he’s inside, he’ll find many more doors. This leaves fewer chances for hackers to exploit.

This model regularly checks activity logs, too. This is done in real time to detect any threats as quickly as possible.

Even the Department of Homeland Security recommends zero trust segmented networks. It suggests:

  • Design network segments based on need-to-know and zero trust principles
  • Ensure that sensitive information is segmented, even from other sensitive information
  • Layer security measures so each segment has its own requirements for access

See Also: Are There Benefits to Implementing Business Intelligence for Small Business?

How Much Do Data Breaches Cost?

According to Hackerpocalypse: A Cybercrime Revelation from Cybersecurity Ventures:
“Cybersecurity Ventures predicts global annual cyber crime costs will grow from $3 trillion in 2015 to $6 trillion annually by 2021, which includes damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, forensic investigation, restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems, and reputational harm.”

The cost of cleaning breached records varies by company and by industry.

Retail breaches are great examples. They are the most publicized type of breaches because they affect several consumers at once. Generally, they cost millions of dollars per incident to clean up. They also cost the retail outlet in lost sales and reputational damage.

Small data breaches can happen to small businesses, too. In such cases, breaches can cost tens of thousands of dollars to clean up. This can easily put a company out of business.

After all, how many small businesses have tens of thousands of dollars they aren’t using to put toward cleaning a data breach?

How To Implement Zero Trust Segmented Networks

zero trust implementation

Even if you don’t have a large corporation with an information security team and a network architecture specialist, there are still ways for you to protect your small business.

  • Software can automate some security needs
  • Next generation firewalls can provide greater security
  • BYOD and password hygiene policies can go a long way
  • Security consultants often specialize in working with small businesses to find Info Sec solutions
  • SaaS and NaaS providers can give your business the same level of security as large corporations

See Also: Wireless Network Hacking And How To Avoid Being Hacked

Don’t Let InfoSec Get Away From You

Doing something about your company’s information security before it’s too late is crucial if you want to stay in business. Hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities to exploit, so the time to act to make your network safer is now. You are the weakest link and hackers know that. Don’t let them destroy your businesses by not acting to protect it. Learn more about zero trust network segmentation from this infographic!

Source

The post Using Zero Trust Network Segmentation To Protect Your Business From Hackers appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How to Increase Your Productivity in a Coworking Space

Public coworking spaces and shared office spaces have become increasingly popular in the last decade. In fact, in over six years, the number of shared office spaces available has jumped from 1,130 to 13,800 — a leap of 12,670 spaces.

This popularity is due to the undeniable benefits of shared working spaces, especially for freelancers and independent contractors. Factors such as energy level, professional ambiance and mingling lend a hand to the success of this office style. However, like working anywhere, shared spaces have their own unique downsides. Sensory overload, random uncontrollable noise and self-management can decrease your work productivity.

Here are a few tips to making this public space work for you!

Invest in Headphones

coworking space productivity

Open work spaces come with a lot of noise. Even with the best efforts to keep quiet, keyboard strokes, coffee sips, small chatter, conference calls and more can quickly become a nuisance.

The solution? Headphones.

Using a personalized music playlist or listening to your favorite podcast is proven to be effective in enhancing your focus. However, make sure to cater to your work. If you’re writing, music is usually a better choice than a podcast as it provides too much word input. But, if you’re designing web platforms, a podcast you enjoy will keep your brain busy while you’re completing tedious tasks.

If music in your ear isn’t your jam (pun intended), consider complete silence with a high-quality pair of noise-canceling headphones. Covering up with a pair of these will block out the chitter chatter and clickety clicks, so you can focus on your workload in peace and quiet.

See Also: This Type Of Music Can Increase Your Productivity

Create Your ‘Office’

cowork space

Much like audio chaos, visual noise is worth reducing for increased productivity. Avoid having anything chaotic or messy within your sight to help maintain focus. Items like trash bins, cluttered tables, washroom hallways and even busy streets are distracting.

Try facing towards a view with simple, clean lines. It can be a garden window or a wall. It seems boring, but Zen tradition suggests this is a great way to stay on task. If possible, include daylight near your workspace. Increased light exposure is proven to improve sleep habits and therefore increase productivity.

Having a plant nearby can also relax the body and foster creativity. If the space doesn’t have plants, consider commuting with your own or bringing a few to leave in the space. Of course, make sure to talk to the owner of the workspace first to ensure that your greenery doesn’t get tossed out at the end of the day.

If your line of work involves a high level of creativity, you may choose to face the excitement head on and use it as your muse. The saying “to each his own” is appropriate for visual decluttering.

See Also: 7 Surprising Benefits of Coworking Spaces

Prioritize Your Time

Most people (64%) who use coworking spaces are better able to meet their deadlines. Time management plays a large role in their ability to do so. To become one of the 64%, it’s suggested that you mute all unimportant notifications. Little beeps for unimportant tasks will take your focus away from larger, more important jobs.

Next, studies show that in order to produce the highest quality of work in the shortest amount of time, people should work intensely for 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break.

The trick? Staying off of social media, text messaging and the like. Instead, use your break to take a refreshing walk or mingle within the office space. Not only will this help you refocus, but networking never hurts!

Scheduling your own hours is a huge perk that comes along with this style of working. However, if you aren’t disciplined with your time, it’s easy to start working in overdrive. Keeping set hours helps you stay on track, sets the pace for your day and for your potential clients and assures you do not overwork yourself.

One of the reasons shared working spaces are successful is the fact that they provide a structured space to work that is not home. Use this to your advantage and keep work and home time separate.

In addition to these three focus points, maintaining a work-life harmony and keeping procrastination tendencies under control are also important to increasing your productivity in a shared work environment. Once your space is perfected, you will reap the benefits of joining a coworking habitat, including an improved home life, a potential increase in income and added professional flexibility.

Share our awesome infographic on Tips For Getting Work Done.

 

The post How to Increase Your Productivity in a Coworking Space appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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The Surprising Success Strategy That Will Empower Your Next Steps

You’ve developed some goals- serious, life-changing goals. You’re feeling pretty bad-ass about the future. When you think about making these things happen, you feel exhilarated and energized.

But, perhaps, you are a little intimidated, too.

If that is the case, you could read another self-help book and listen to yet another podcast to get motivated. Or you could try something a bit different by time-traveling to the past to gain wisdom and plan your next move.

Dwelling in the past? Isn’t that super backward and negative?

The good news is that you can use the “how” of past success to move towards future success. Past success provides important clues about how you operate when you’re moving in a positive direction.

How do you usually overcome obstacles? How do you cope when things get rough?

Even if your previous achievements are very different from what you want to do next, they can still provide important clues as to how you can best tackle the next phase. Plus, it can be inspiring to remind yourself that you have and you can accomplish great things.

Here’s how you can do this amazing success strategy.

Write Down Past Successes

writing goals

Take a moment to revel in previous triumphs. Relive the glorious days and be shameless.

Write down all your earlier accomplishments, even the tiny ones you think don’t matter. Think about milestones completed, bad habits broken and times when you truly shone.

My personal example is quitting smoking. I used to smoke a packet of Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes a day, wasting brain power and dollars trying to get my next fix. I am proud to say that in 2005, I stopped smoking for good. I didn’t think I ever could do it, but it’s been twelve years!

See Also: Writing Therapy: How It Can Make Your Life Easier

Analyze How You Made Past Goals Successful

Get analytical and deconstruct these past achievements. What did you actually do to make those things happen? What did you have to not do to make things happen?

Be as specific as possible.

What did you tell yourself in order to meet the goal? How did you manage setbacks? What environment(s) helped you to become successful? Who inspired and supported you?

Also, if you are feeling brave, write down all the things that didn’t work.

For example, when I quit smoking, I found the following strategies helpful: reading books about the science of addiction, staying away from “triggering” scenarios and tracking daily progress. What didn’t work: feeling guilty and ashamed, nicotine gum, acupuncture and reading about ill-effects of smoking cigarettes. And watching those anti-smoking ads only made me want to smoke more (go figure!).

See Also: How to Set Personal SMART Goals To Succeed

Develop Strategies Based on Previous Successes To Accomplish Future Goals

thinking strategies

You now have a picture of what has worked for you in the past, so similar tactics are likely to work in the future. This is the premise of “Solutions-Focused Counseling”, a technique whereby you identify “the differences that make a difference”. You recognize what you have been doing right, rather than dwelling on seemingly insurmountable problems and obstacles.

With that in mind, write a list of strategies that will provide the best chance of future success. Here are some ideas:

  • Proximity: What environment(s) will help you thrive? What needs to change in your daily life?
  • Self-Talk: What phrases and stories do you need to tell yourself on a regular basis?
  • Tools and props: What types of gadgets, if any, will help you meet your goal? What apps/newsletters will keep you on track?
  • Support: Who will you ask to check on your progress? What will you require of your groups/social circles? How can family and friends best demonstrate their support?
  • Heroes: Who do you find inspiring? What lessons can you learn from their success?
  • Inspiration and motivation: What resources will keep you motivated during setbacks? What types of books, podcasts or CD’s seem to get you going on bad days?

By now, you will have a list of future goals, past achievements, past goal strategies that did and didn’t work and potential goal strategies for future success. You will also have a greater sense of what makes you tick and what things will make you more likely to be successful.

So, go start doing these things today!

The post The Surprising Success Strategy That Will Empower Your Next Steps appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Warmth or Competence: What Job Interviews Are Looking For

“Coolly competent, the interviewee enters. Her handshake is firm, her gaze unwavering. Her answers are curt and unvarnished. She’s confident. She can get the job done, no doubt about that. But is she a nice person?”

“Warmly incompetent, the interviewee enters. She smiles nervously, but warms to the interview quickly. She speaks in fits and starts, but always with a big smile. She’s a nice person. But can she get the job done?”

Coolly competent, or warmly incompetent?

job interview

According to research done by Amy Cuddy, first impressions are binary. “We look first at two characteristics: how lovable they are (their warmth, communion, or trustworthiness) and how fearsome they are (their strength, agency, or competence)”.

We do this to answer a rather important question: whether or not your new acquaintance is a threat. Threats aren’t so prevalent nowadays. You’re rather less likely to be slain by a marauding tribesman. But our hunter-gatherer brains haven’t caught up. So, when we assess a stranger, we’re looking for danger signs.

Consider the first interviewee. Reading the description, many of you may admire her. She’s certainly got ability. But her lack of warmth triggers the ‘danger’ alarm. The interviewer goes into ‘avoidance’ mode, trying to get away from the threat in front of them. Despite seeing their obvious competence, they begin to find reasons to dislike the interviewee. So, even though the interviewee can do the job well, they don’t get it.

Cuddy advocates the approach of the second interviewee. Being warm and lovable activates the listener’s ‘approach’ mode. They begin to feel kindly towards you and will ignore some of the mistakes you make. You’re more likely to get the job. And if you go on to demonstrate great competence, they will say ‘I knew it all along’.

We think of job interviews as all about demonstrating competence. But they’re not: it’s about demonstrating warmth. That’s why they’re a part of the process: to weed out candidates who might pose a threat to the office environment. But what if you feel that you don’t come across warmly enough?

See Also: 8 Interview Tips For Introverts

The importance of emotion

Here begins the deluge of standard-issue advice. Smile. Make eye contact. Shake their hand with both of yours. Sit with your hands a certain way. Keep your body language open.

The trouble with these pearls of wisdom is they don’t go deep enough. The real way to change from office ‘threat’ to office ‘asset’ is in the way you speak about your experiences.

A quick test. Imagine you’re speaking to someone about your day. If you’re alone, speak out loud. If you’re not, run the conversation through in your head. Talk through what you’ve been up to, what your plans are tonight, and what you’ve got on the docket for tomorrow.

Now consider two possibilities. In the first, you logically went through everything you needed to do. “I’m writing a blog in the morning, then taking the dog out, then going out to dinner in the evening.” It all made sense, and hung together like a list.

In the second, you emphasised the emotive parts of your day. “So I’m struggling at the moment to get a blog finished: you know how it is. Then I’m doing a little walk with Jasper. Oh, and we’re going out to this Persian place. They do really good meze.”

Notice the difference in the two stories. One is rich with detail, full of images that spring to your mind. It’s obvious that the speaker enjoys what they do, and remembers important details from their day. But the other is bland. It has the bare facts, but no details: nothing is important enough to remember.

Let’s test this with an interview question: “Tell us about yourself”.

Here, it’s tempting to start demonstrating competency. You might speak logically about where you went to school, what you did afterwards, and what you did after that. But remember, it’s all about warmth.

You can use the same logical structure, but fill it with detail. What did you enjoy most about school? What did you learn about yourself from where you worked afterwards? What was important, enjoyable, inspiring, or difficult about the experience you had? What did you learn?

It comes down to empathy. The ‘perfect’ job interview isn’t one where you read off your resume. It’s a communion. It’s an easy friendliness and emotional openness that proves two things: that you’re not a threat, and that you might just be something special.

How Do You Show Warmth?

job interview emotions

Competency is rather easy to demonstrate. You can reel off years of experience and academic qualifications. Warmth is harder. But there are some steps you can take to put you on the right path.

Reframe Your Experience

Anecdotes can be easily abused in interviews. Remember that time you made a discovery that saved the company? Consider how you might share that story in an interview. You might emphasize how important it was to the company and how much money it saved. Imagine the ideal reaction from your interviewer: ‘How conscientious you are! What an asset you are to that company. They must be terrified to lose you: what will happen now that they can’t leverage your competence?’

Try and find the warmth in your experiences. Tell the story of how you found the discovery. How did you feel when you found it? What dilemma did you face? Who did you tell? How did you feel afterwards? What did you learn? These questions invite the listener to consider your motives, instead of just seeing how great you are. They begin to understand you at a deeper level, and you start to build warmth.

See Also: Interview Tips: What Not To Say During Your Next Job Interview

Study Your Habits

It may be your brain that considers what to say, but it’s your body that says it. Sometimes, your body says things you don’t expect. You may feel deeply interested in the subject, but your body may be communicating disinterest. Get someone you trust to assess your speaking habits. Do you speak too quietly? Do you seem bored? Do you seem nervous?

Try to get the simple things right. Make eye contact. Keep your posture upright and your chest relaxed and open. Use energy when you speak to keep your listener interested. And while you’re there, focus on breathing to relax your body and calm your nerves. Tips on diaphragmatic breathing will be invaluable on that front.

Be Present

The trickiest thing about demonstrating competence is that it pulls you out of the moment. It sends you out of the interview room via memory lane. You begin to lose focus on the people opposite you. And as you lose focus, you begin speaking at them, not to them.

Every time you speak, your listeners are giving you crucial information. From their reactions, they might be indicating that they’ve heard what you’re saying before. They might be showing confusion or interest in something that you only explained minimally. They are guiding you.

Demonstrating competence can feel like reading off a list of things by rote, without regard for what people actually want to hear. Keep your focus on the person you’re speaking to. You’re speaking to them, so explain things that mean more to them. You’ll learn more about them, and they’ll learn more about you. And that’s how you make a connection.

 

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7 Cross-Border Dropshipping Tips Winners Use

Thinking of scaling or taking your dropshipping business overseas? Today is the best time to do that!

E-commerce’s global consumer base continues to expand exponentially and with this type of demand, supply must also rise.

BigCommerce reports that 96% of Americans shop online with 8% of millennials shopping daily. Studies show that more firms, including B2B companies, are now considering dropshipping. In 2011 alone, a Forrester report showed that dropshipping accounted for 34% of products sold on Amazon. That equates to $14.2 billion.

Increased consumer confidence, internet accessibility, multi/omnichannel options, technology, competition and innovation are some major drivers of this upbeat trend.

The Big Question

Is dropshipping for you?

Wisdom says if it is too good to be true, then it probably is. However, just like any business, dropshipping requires time and effort.

Dropshipping is an e-commerce order fulfillment model where a facilitator (dropshipper) receives orders from buyers (shoppers), passes it on to manufacturers or suppliers and delivers those orders direct to customers (D2C).

In other words, you order from a wholesaler or manufacturer only when your customers order from you. There’s no need for you to stock inventory. All you ever have to worry about is marketing and sales as your entire supply chain and logistics are handled for you.

Unfortunately, dropshipping isn’t for everyone. It could be for you if you love to work remotely and independently and if you hate:

  • Warehousing
  • Managing CRM/WMS/OMS
  • Buying and stocking inventory
  • Packaging
  • Printing labels
  • Shipping
  • Handling returns
  • Paper work

If you are looking for some inspiration, here are some of the top-rated dropshipping companies today:

  • Oberlo
  • SaleHoo
  • Worldwide Brands
  • Wholesale2B
  • Inventory Source
  • Vista Wholesale
  • Dropshipping Design
  • Doba
  • Drop Ship Access
  • Sunrise Wholesale
  • Megagoods
  • Dropship Direct

You could start a self-hosted dropshipping store. However, for someone who’s just starting out, you’ll be better off with platforms or companies that already have solutions that seamlessly integrate dropshipping with e-commerce like Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce etc. You can skip this tip if you have the men and means to build one from scratch.

Cross-Border Dropshipping

Cross-border dropshipping is basically you (dropshipper) dropshipping orders to customers beyond your borders. Take a look at the following model to understand the concept better.

Local vs Global Dropshipping

The following highlights some key differences between local and global dropshipping:

1 No customs duties, taxes, levies Custom duties, taxes, levies
2 Known regulated products Different from country to country
3 Single currency Multi-currency considerations
4 Monolingual Multilingual considerations
5 Single time zone Different time zones
6 Cheaper More expensive
7 Limited reach Unlimited opportunities

7 Tips For Better Cross-Border Dropshipping

Now that you know the differences, here are 7 tips to help you nail cross-border dropshipping:

Investigate Your Target Market

You need not become or hire a Sherlock Holmes. Simply look into existing research before you make the leap. Worth over $672 billion, China is the largest e-commerce market. However, issues like distance, customs procedures, government regulation and payment processing are major pain points for non-Chinese businesses.

Do your due diligence and risk assessment before commencing.

Know Your Target Customers

BigCommerce, in a recent report, similarly revealed that 43% of US shoppers shop while in bed. If this group form part or the core of your consumer base, you need to adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.

You need consumer behavior insight when dropshipping abroad.

Some key questions to ask include:

  • What are their age, gender, income level, location?
  • What hours do they shop online most?
  • Who are they?
  • What is their time zone?
  • Which social media or search engine do they frequently use?
  • What products sell more?
  • What device is mostly used?

Answers to these questions will help you streamline your dropshipping services for more efficiency.

Know International Trade Regulations

It is easy to cross the line with cross-border dropshipping if you are ignorant of relevant international trade laws. This is why you need to familiarize yourself with the current business laws before you actually start with your project.

Take, for example, Kenya.

Recently, Kenya banned the production, selling and use of plastic bags, targeting manufacturers and sellers first. This information can help you decide whether to expand into Kenya, considering your product packaging practice.

Follow the Leaders

Follow industry leaders in cross-border dropshipping and not leads. Most e-commerce marketers spend their ad-earned currency chasing and hoping to convert and keep leads. Instead of being like them, you should study dropshippers like Irwin Dominguez who went from zero to over $1 million in one year.

irwin dominguez dropshipping
Via zacjohnson

That’s the kind of guy you should follow and leads will follow you back soon. Follow their strategies on blogs, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and any other places where they hang out.

Optimize Your Dropshipping Website

It is critical to get your dropshipping website right. It is your major opportunity to attract, convince and convert leads.

Retail Dive reports that more than 65% of shoppers browse online before buying offline.

As they interact with your website, online shoppers form opinions about your business. They assess your site’s loading speed, landing pages, ease of navigation, design, UX, forms, product photography/description, and checkout to payment.

If you are unsure how to create one, you can hire freelancers to design one for you on a budget that won’t break the bank.

See Also: A Practical Guide to Hiring and Managing Freelancers

Offer Multilingual, Multi-Currency Support

Language is a core component of social identity and culture. Offering your services in languages local to your international audience is a great way to connect with them.

Currency conversion calculations is another pain point for many cross-border shoppers. E-commerce stores that support multi-currency payments take that stress off of shoppers. It allows them to pay in their local currency while you receive payments in your own currency.

Consider Marketplaces

dropshipping marketplace

Brand recognition and awareness take time to build. It is okay to sign up to popular marketplaces like Amazon or eBay when you are just starting out. They are platforms that support hundreds of thousands of stores. You can gain experience and share valuable insights from forums and community support such platforms provide.

See Also: The 5 Internet Marketing Trends That Will Dominate in 2017

As you cut your teeth and become more successful, you can start considering other options. If you’re on Shopify, apps like Oberlo can make dropshipping simpler by automating everything from product importation to order fulfillment.

What winning tips have you used in your dropshipping business?

 

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5 Steps to A Happy Beard

A happy, healthy and attractive beard is not just for the rich and famous. All men can have well-groomed facial hair with a little bit of effort and the right beard grooming tips.

If you’ve always wanted to grow beard that is free of beard dandruff, itching and other issues, here are five fast and cost-effective steps to implement.

Realistic Expectations

happy beard

The first thing to realize is that your beard will not necessarily look like another man’s beard. If you have unrealistic expectations from the beginning, you will set yourself up for disappointment no matter how nice your beard looks.

Just as in life, you have to be happy with what you have and stop looking at what others have. Contentment goes a long way in your perception of yourself. Your facial hair is unique to you and it might not grow as thick as another man’s, but it will look masculine and convey vitality.

When you look into a mirror, be happy with the new growth. If you are confident in yourself, others will feel that and will also like your beard.

Wash & Shampoo Your Beard

You’d be amazed at how many people forget to shampoo their facial hair when they shower.

Just the simple act of washing your beard whenever you take a shower will do wonders in removing any dirt or grime that is trapped there. Sometimes, facial hair gets tangled up if it is longer, so take the time to just clean and straighten everything out in the shower.

Washing your face regularly will help exfoliate the skin and open up your pores. This helps to increase beard growth, making it thicker and fuller over time.

A shampoo with a good scent is a great option. If you go for one with lime or aloe vera, it will do a good job of removing the dirt. Beard shampoos are available and you can compare ingredients to see what works for you.

Remember though, you don’t want to overdo it. Don’t wash your beard so often with shampoo that you dry it out. Moderation is best.

Resist the urge to scratch

Some guys scratch their beard so fiercely that they end up with inflammation, which makes the problem much worse.

While it might seem impossible, resist the urge to scratch it regularly. If you must, try gently scratching it with something soft. One great technique is to use your fingertips instead of your fingernails. This way, you avoid the harder end and make scratching gentler.

You can also try massaging your beard. It will help you get rid of the urge to itch while preventing damage to your beard and skin.

Use a nice oil

Controlling the itch that accompanies beard growth can be one of the most challenging aspects of growing a beard. A good beard oil can help you with this.

Immediately after washing, apply beard oil. It will help keep your beard soft, prevent excessive itching and keep it healthy. Beard oil helps to protect and moisturize your beard by conditioning it, keeping it hydrated and giving it a nice shine.

Comb your beard regularly

beard comb
Via beardoholic

Do you own a beard comb? If not, then get one as soon as possible. Beards grow in all directions and length they want, no matter how hard you try to direct them. They can end up looking rough and unkempt.

A beard comb has narrower teeth and will allow you to comb your facial hair more evenly. This helps your beard appear fuller and healthier. Combing also helps prevent tangles and split ends in addition to removing flakes (dandruff or beard-ruff) and reduce obvious patches.

Implement these five simple and easy steps today to have a happy, healthy beard that you’ll feel good about. Be patient with your beard.

At the end of the day, regardless of what you do, genes are an important factor in how your beard is going to turn out. If you take that into account from the beginning, you won’t expect too much and will be pleasantly surprised.

See Also: How To Grow Facial Hair Faster

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Sleek and Sexy: Five Facts About Owning An Awesome Sports Car

Most of us dream of owning a sleek, sexy and fast sports car. We see these amazing machines in movies, such as in Fast and the Furious, The Transporter and, most recently, Baby Driver.

With movies like these that show how outstanding and powerful these cars are, it’s no wonder why a lot of people want to own one. The sight of even seeing one makes a lot of people have goosebumps. As the driver inside the car revs the engine, its roar makes people shudder and look in awe.

Certainly a head turner in the streets, sports cars are also a unique status of wealth and power. Each car can be custom-made to fit the specifications of the owner. This fact is the reason why almost all of these cars cost a fortune.

However, for those who are financially secure and capable of buying a luxurious sports car, here are five facts you need to know first.

Expect Nothing Less

As an owner of a sports car, you shouldn’t expect less. The reason why these machines cost so much is that everything about it is made to be perfect for you. From the sexy look of the car, the excellent paint job, to the mechanical aspects and engine power, your car is equipped to please your every demand.

In addition to being customized, elite companies, such as Ford, Lamborghini and BMW, all have the capability to let other people know that you are worthy and capable of driving such an awe-inspiring machine.

Reality of Problems

Sadly, even if you’ve finally realized your dream of owning a sports car, reality will soon sink in. Owning a sports car requires tons of meticulous care, expensive repairs, and hefty taxes.

And if you’re a person who has a family, especially with teens, you’re going to have to accept the fact that they want a piece of your car. They’ll want to take it out for a spin, which could mean a bad thing for you and your dream car. Buying a sports car is difficult. Maintaining one is twice as hard.

Not for the Family Guy

cool factor

Most sports cars are only for two: one for the driver and one “riding shotgun”. You can’t cram in more people inside if you want a comfortable ride. Sports cars aren’t for family trips.

See Also: What Science Says About The Car You Drive

Retaining its Value

Another reason why sports cars cost too much is that of their resalable value.

A lot of car enthusiasts or collectors are on the lookout for second-hand sports cars because they know of the difficulties of maintaining one. Since they are properly cared for, second-hand sports cars can remain as good as a new one, but with much lower price tags.

Although a second-hand sports car is cheaper compared to a brand new sports car, its price is still attractive. Some second-hand cars can even cost higher than the original price once their reputation and rarity rise through time.

An example of this is a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta which sold for only $33,500. The car was held on by its owner for almost 49 years. After waiting, he finally sold it for a whopping $38,115,000. Now, that’s value through the years.

Cool Factor

awesome sports car

Your sports car can be an absolute head-turner. This is one reason why a lot of people do silly things when driving their sports cars.

No matter how tempting it is, don’t get caught up in the moment and do something that can damage your vehicle. Take pride in your purchase, but don’t do anything stupid that will jeopardize everything that you’ve worked for all your life.

See Also: How Your Car Can Affect Your Personal Branding

Takeaway

A lot of people think that the only hurdle in buying a luxury car is the absurdly high cost. However, when they do get to make that purchase, maintaining the car is twice as difficult. A lot of individuals will discover that going to any mechanic or to any other place that will take care of your car will charge extra.

Fortunately, owning a supercar isn’t just all about expensive maintenance. When you do get to own one, prepare yourself for the immense feeling of joy and pride when you drive it down the road. Flaunt your car responsibly and there will be no problems for you and your sports car.

 

The post Sleek and Sexy: Five Facts About Owning An Awesome Sports Car appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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You Need To Stop Telling Women Where To Breastfeed

Hardly a day goes by that you don’t see stories of women who get shamed in public for breastfeeding their babies. These stories often involve outrageous circumstances. For example, there are women who shop at lingerie stores who ask to feed their babies in the fitting rooms. Instead of being allowed, they are often redirected to an alley.

There’s also a hashtag trending on social media: #IPumpedHere. This hashtag highlights the degrading conditions in which women are forced to prepare meals for their babies upon returning to work.

In reality, however, women are allowed to feed their babies or pump almost everywhere in the United States. How is that possible? Read on.

The United States Is The Lowest Rated Developed Nation For Breastfeeding Policy

breastfeeding policy

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be breastfed for at least 12 months. The World Health Organization, on the other hand, recommends two years. For those who can’t and won’t breastfeed, formula milk makes a great and safe substitute but it’s not the best for growing babies.

There are many reasons why women in the United States make the decision not to breastfeed. One of those reasons is the negative reactions women who decide to breastfeed in public gets.

There are laws that protect a woman’s right to breastfeed her baby in public in 49 states. There are also laws at the federal level protecting a woman’s right to pump when she returns to work.

Unfortunately, these laws only cover women who work at businesses with more than 50 people and limited to one year after the birth of a child. Because of these and many other issues, only about half of babies in the United States are breastfed until six months of age.

Laws For Breastfeeding In The Workplace

When mothers return to work, they will often need to pump at least twice a day. This helps keep their milk supply up. Without pumping, their babies will not be able to get the amount of breast milk they need to be healthy and to grow. Preventing women from pumping can also lead to pain and discomfort.

Federal law requires that companies with 50 or more employees follow these guidelines for working mothers:

  • Provide adequate break time for pumping for up to one year after baby’s birth
  • Provide a space, other than a bathroom, for employees to pump with a locking door
  • Employers are not required to compensate employees for this time
  • Provide electricity and refrigeration for pumping and storage

Why Support Mothers In The Workplace?

mothers in the workplace

The biggest reason to support mothers in the workplace is that it is the right thing to do.

When women have options, they are going to be able to lead happier and more fulfilled lives. This, in turn, will lead to stronger families. In addition to that, keeping women engaged in the workforce longer allows them to grow faster in their careers instead of having to start over from the bottom every time they take a break to have a child or care for an aging parent.

Women do the majority of the unpaid caretaking and it can take a significant toll on their earning power in the long run. And if you still need more reasons to support women in the workforce, the United States won’t be able to compete in the global economy with other industrialized nations if we keep marginalizing the talent of women and forcing them off to the sidelines when they don’t always want to be there.

See Also: Helping Women Succeed In The Workplace

Breastfeeding Mothers, Know Your Rights

Knowing your rights and being vocal about exercising them is going to be important. Don’t be afraid to talk to your company about your needs because you might find that they are more willing than you think to accommodate you with a pumping room and break time.

If you are going to be breastfeeding in public, and you will be breastfeeding in public more than likely, be ready to confront and diffuse any uncomfortable situations. Remember that you have the right to breastfeed your baby and no one has the right to tell you not to.

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Solar Panels For Home: Do They Make A Great Investment?

The days when solar panels used to be a rare and exotic source of energy are gone. Their popularity is growing and a lot of people are now choosing it as their main source of electricity.

Before installing this system that is supposed to lower energy bills, people are usually curious about the average efficiency of solar panels and the price. If you are one of these people, you’re probably wondering if they are really profitable and how much you can save.

Here are some of the most important facts you should know about solar panels for home.

What is the price of solar panels?

solar panels for your home

The price of solar panels might be different depending on the state you live in as well as your desired size. The more panels you need, the higher the price tags become.

The average price for solar panels is about $4 per watt. A whole system can be as big as 5 kilowatts, which means it can cost you almost $19,000. That may seem too pricey, but it is worth it in the long run.

If you fear that this price won’t fit in your budget, there are ways for you to spend less on solar panels. Government incentives, for example, can reduce the cost of solar panels.

How to Spend Less on Solar Panels?

Federal investment tax credit is a way to make the price of solar panels lower. It can also save you some money on installation. Except for a national rebate, there are also regional discounts. If you add both, the price can be reduced significantly.

For example, if you have a house in Austin, Texas and want to install a large 7-kilowatt solar panel system, it would cost about $26,000. The city’s rebate will reduce $800 per kilowatt and you will save about $6,000. Thanks to the federal tax credit, you might be able to save an additional $6,000.

All in all, you’ll probably save more than $10,000 in total. So, before installation, consider checking the government incentives you can get in your city.

How Much Money Can You Save With Solar Panels?

The main reason to install solar panels is that it allows paying less for the electricity. How much exactly can you save?

Depending on the size of your system, you can save from $150 to $200 per month. The solar system pays for itself in a period of about 7 to 15 years. It is a good result considering the fact that it can serve you for 20 to 30 years.

The competition on the market of solar panels is growing, making them more affordable. If you also use the incentives and rebates, it becomes possible to install solar panels for less than $10,000.

Is It Worth Getting Solar Panels?

home solar panels

While making a decision about solar panel installment, it is important to think not only about the cost of the system, but also about the amount of sun in your area. Both direct and scattered sunlight is good for solar panels, but there still should be enough sunny days to feel the benefits.

Before installing a solar panel system, it might be a good idea to check a specialist’s opinion and find out if your state is suitable for solar energy usage. Another crucial factor is the location of the house and the roof.

Make sure it is possible to provide panels with good exposure. Check where the roof faces, the number of trees and presence of constructions that are situated around. In case the location is not satisfying, solar panels can also be installed on a garage roof or you can use a ground-mounted system.

Solar panels installment requires a lot of time but if you pay attention to all the details it might become a great investment.

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How to Study Better – Tips and Tricks from Famous People

Most young people dream of professional success and glorious careers. What they often neglect in that regard is the importance of good studying and self-development.

Some of the biggest authorities in all fields of work emphasize that consistency in learning is what made them so productive and outstanding.

One of the best football players in history, Brazil-born Pele, cleverly noted: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

A vast majority of famous people are well aware of this fact and they nurture all sorts of daily habits to help them achieve their objectives.

A long time ago, Nelson Mandela stated: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

So, in this article, we will show you the best study tips of famous people you can use for your own success:

Daily routines which increase odds of success

What keeps you going and gives you the motive to study depends on your personality. However, the general goal is to secure a fruitful future through learning, making knowledge your personal capital for the future.

According to John F. Kennedy, the goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth. But, how do you improve knowledge and the results of your studying?

Some daily routines are common to many famous persons and we decided to present you our top 5 picks. Let’s take a closer look here.

Get up early

People often say that the early bird catches the worm.

If you get up early, you have more than enough time to plan the day, determine your short-term goals and schedule your activities. Doing so, you will enhance the quality of studying because the brain is always fresh after sleep.

It is not a surprise to discover that many famous persons get up very early. The list includes Apple CEO Tim Cook, the founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns.

All of these people know that they have to seize the day and use it only to complete important duties. Just like Tim Cook once said: “You can only do so many things great and you should cast aside everything else.”

Read a lot

reading habit

Reading is the essence of the learning process and some extremely successful individuals claim that it sets the cornerstone of their career achievements. Billionaire Warren Buffett, TV host Oprah Winfrey and extravagant scientist-businessman Elon Musk are some of those who strongly believe in the power of written works.

Allegedly, Buffett used to read as much as 600 pages each day in the early stages of his career while Musk claims that he literally learned how to build rockets from the books. Needless to say, this is an essential suggestion for all students, teachers and young business people.

See Also: 7 Reasons To Start Reading Books? Here’s why!

Work overtime

It’s a widely known fact that Mark Cuban, the owner of Dallas Mavericks, didn’t go on a vacation during the first 7 years of his private business. At the same time, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer used to triple her weekly working hours while she was a member of Google’s team. These people know that they cannot replace hard work with intelligence, talent or intuition.

Sometimes you just need to unplug and do what you have to do. Michael Jordan, the best basketball player of all time, knew this very well as he used to take thousands of jump-shots each week even in-between seasons.

His famous quote precisely describes the principle of hard work: “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it.”

Exercise regularly

exercise regularly

One of the most popular Latin phrases claims that a healthy mind is in a healthy body. This couldn’t be more accurate because training gives people physical and mental strengths to deal with the most difficult challenges. Young people should know this just like Hillary Clinton, Haruki Murakami and Richard Branson know it.

These and many other famous persons conduct regular daily exercises and never skip training sessions. They do all sorts of exercises to remain healthy and in a good shape. They do yoga, swimming, jogging, cardio training or weight lifting.

Body fitness is simply a prerequisite for professional success and that is why you should follow these examples and exercise regularly.

See Also: 19 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

Work gradually but steadily

Some people don’t want to nurture the “all or nothing” approach in their lives. Instead, they prefer incremental work processes in a long period of time. This is especially characteristic for famous writers like Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway or Stephen King. They all had a writing routine that kept them fruitful and productive.

For instance, Hemingway used to write for a few hours in the morning and then he would stop just to let the ideas flourish inside his head until the following day. On the other side, Twain and King used to set the minimum number of pages they ought to write each day and they would do it without exemptions.

The most important thing in this model is to force yourself to start again on a daily basis. Just like Twain used to say: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Conclusion

Success doesn’t come easy. It’s the product of dedication, talent, hard work and a lot of learning. Some of the most famous people in the world often emphasize how passion towards studying enabled them to become successful.

Through learning, you gain valuable knowledge and also create the habit to work consistently. These are the basic preconditions of success, so do your best to follow these 5 study tips and find out which one suits your character the most.

 

The post How to Study Better – Tips and Tricks from Famous People appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Free Business Productivity Apps To Help You Grow Your Small Business

Managing a business is easier said than done. When you run your own business, you need to give it all your time and attention. It’s a job that is both demanding and fulfilling.

Eventually, you’ll want to turn it into a business that can run without you. This, unfortunately, is the harder part.

The first obstacle you need to anticipate is manpower. For small businesses and start-up companies, it is usually the owner that does most of the work. To help you out, here are the top business productivity apps you can rely on for help.

1. TMetric

tmetric

This is a time tracking app that can help you manage projects and your team at the same time. It can track your team’s work activities which you can view in a simple timeline mode.

If you have remote employees or you’re not in the office most of the time, you can use this app to check on your team’s productivity. As the project leader, you’ll be able to view what sites your members visited or what apps they’ve used in a specific period of time.

Tmetric is completely free and can be integrated with other tools like Trello, Basecamp, Jira, Asana, and RedMine. Compared with other time tracking apps, this one is very user-friendly and does not require training to understand.

It’s a simple click-and-go app with powerful features at no cost.

See Also: Top 7 Ways to Improve Your Productivity 

2. MailChimp

mailchimp

For a business to grow, its mailing list should grow as well. It’s a great way to continuously generate leads and sales.

MailChimp is an easy and professional way to send emails to your subscribers. Its intuitive interface allows even the most non-techy users to make it work.

For small businesses, the free version is a good starting point. You can send up to 12,000 emails a month to a mailing list of up to 2,000 contacts.

MailChimp has a huge directory of integration. Popular platforms include WordPress, Shopify, and Magento.

3. Wave

waveapps

This app is pretty straightforward. It’s a free accounting software that covers invoicing, payroll, bills, and other factors that involve money. It’s specifically tailored for small businesses.

Wave gives business owners an easy and efficient way to manage books. If you want to handle accounting work yourself but don’t want to spend money for more advanced apps, this is a great solution.

You can securely link your banking accounts, send unlimited invoices, and pay as many bills as you want. It is a Canadian-based company with over 2.5 million users.

You can securely link your banking accounts, send unlimited invoices, and pay as many bills as you want. It is a Canadian-based company with over 2.5 million users.

4. Tasytt

tasytt-app

Welcoming a new team member can take a lot of work, particularly when it comes to orientation and training. This is a common experience and issue for most small businesses.

As a solution, you can try a tiny but powerful app called Tasytt. It streamlines your company’s training process so you know who’s reading what and for how long.

See Also: 8 Top Marketing Tips for Small Businesses 

In addition to onboarding new team members, it’s  a great tool for training existing team members without having to set up individual meetings, too. By creating ‘flows’, which are basically tasks made into a smaller set of activities, you can easily track your team’s progress and productivity.

BONUS: You can also consider this free automated timesheet template as an additional resource to help you track time across your teams and stay more productive.

 

The post 4 Free Business Productivity Apps To Help You Grow Your Small Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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10 Cooking Tips For Beginners To Help You Master The Kitchen

A recent survey showed that almost a third of the US population cannot cook. Decades of TV dinners and ready meals have left many of us unable to find our way around a kitchen. However, with some basic skills, you can find that cooking can be an enjoyable and healthy pastime.

Follow these cooking tips for beginners and easily become a master of the stove- even if you have never cooked before.

How to boil an egg

Let’s start with something simple- a perfectly boiled egg.

It’s great for a quick snack or as an add-on to your salad. It is one of the simplest things to cook — put on a tight lid if you know how.

Cooking an egg to the perfect level of hardness can seem like a mystery. The trick, however, is in the timing.

Put a pan on the stove with enough water to cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down the heat slightly to a simmer where the water bubbles gently. Add the eggs carefully and then start a timer. You need to leave them for 6 minutes if you want a runny egg yolk. Leave them for 8 minutes if you want the yolk to be set softly or 9 minutes if you want a hard boiled egg.

Cook a perfect steak

real men can cook

Similar to a perfect egg, cooking a perfect steak is a matter of timing. You need to heat a pan until it is smoking hot. Don’t put any oil in the pan. Instead, rub your steak with some oil then some salt and pepper.

Place your steak in the pan and leave it alone! Resist the temptation to move it about. Wait for a minute or so until it is ready to be turned. Depending on the thickness of the steak, you need to cook it for about 1½ minutes per side for rare, 2 minutes for medium rare and about 2½ for medium.

However, rather than just relying on time, here is an additional test. Pinch your thumb and first finger. If you feel the flesh between your thumb and finger, this is what a rare steak should feel like. When you touch your middle finger to your thumb, you will get the feel of medium rare and your ring finger will give you the feel of a medium cooked steak. You can use this as a way of telling if your steak is cooked perfectly every time.

Remember, allow your steak to rest for a few minutes before serving to allow it to reabsorb the juices and be totally delicious!

Handle a knife safely

Your kitchen can be a dangerous place. It’s filled with hot pans, sharp knives and more. Because of that, knowing how to handle a knife is vital. You also need to know how to select the correct knife for the job.

Your knife must be sharp! A blunt knife is more likely to slip and cut you. Treat your knives well and keep them razor sharp. Wash them by hand as your dishwasher will blunt the blades.

Remember that you always need to keep your fingers clear of the blade when cutting. Do this by curling your fingers so that the knife is guided by your knuckles and your fingertips are clear.

Speed is not essential. Practice will allow you to work faster and more accurately with your knife.

How to cook rice perfectly every time

Rice is a staple for many meals. However, wet or burnt rice will easily ruin a dish.

For perfect rice, you need to wash your rice until the water runs clear. Take a medium sized pan and put in about ½ a cup (90g) per person. Cover with water so that it’s about an inch above the rice and bring to a boil.

When it’s boiling, keep an eye on the rice as you are watching out for bubbling holes on the surface of the rice. As soon as you see this, put in a tight lid and switch off the heat. Leave the rice for 10 minutes and serve immediately.

Make a pasta sauce

man can cook

A tomato ragu is a simple pasta sauce which you can use to create a delicious and quick pasta dish, meatballs or some grilled chicken. It is a very versatile addition to many dishes.

Finely chop onion, carrot and celery and place them in a pan with a little olive oil. You want to gently heat this so that they soften without browning. Patience is everything here!

Add a tin of plum tomatoes, a sprinkle of basil, a bay leaf, salt, pepper and water. Mix well and simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer if you can. Make sure you stir it every so often and then serve with your favorite pasta or meat.

Become a BBQ master

Mastering a barbecue is a great skill and there is more to it than firing up the grill and hoping for the best.

Step one, preheat your grill. Placing meat on a cold grill will leave you with undercooked food. Heat the grill for ten minutes or so before you place your first items, ensuring it is searing hot.

Check if your meat is at room temperature. You should take it out of the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before you start cooking. You can use a meat thermometer. It may cost a few dollars, but it will save you from having burgers that are burnt on the outside, raw in the middle.

For ground beef, you need to ensure that you have an internal temperature of at least 160℉ to ensure that any bacteria is killed. There is nothing worse than being remembered for poisoning your guests!

Oil the grill using a brush so that nothing sticks. Use wood chips to add a smoky BBQ taste. You can wrap some corn on the cob in foil with butter to add to your steak and burgers.

Bluff your way with wine

There has never been a better time to enjoy a good wine. There is such a great selection available at affordable prices.

If you know nothing about wine, you should start by trying out a number of different wines. Many specialist shops will have taster sessions to help you understand wine better. While you are there, remember to jot down the names of the bottles you enjoyed.

Start with some classic wines, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Rioja. From there, build your selection as you try more new tastes.

Make life simple with batch cooking

We have all been there. We get home from work and want something to eat but we can’t be bothered to cook. So, we reach for a take-out menu.

If you keep on experiencing this issue, then the answer is batch cooking. It’s the art of creating additional portions when you cook meals. It is perfect for dishes like chili con carne, casseroles and soups. You can portion them off into plastic boxes and freeze them until you need them for quick dinners.

Remember to package the meals carefully. There should be no excess air in the packaging as this can cause freezer burn.

Make your own bread

Making bread is something that’s deeply satisfying, particularly if your home starts getting filled with the delicious scent of warm bread. It may not be something you want to do every day, but it’s a great thing to do on the weekends.

The recipes are pretty simple. Basically, you’ll need yeast, warm water and flour kneaded together.

Enjoy cooking

Probably the best tip for anyone who wants to get into cooking is to enjoy it. Look at your time in the kitchen not as a chore, but an opportunity to chill out after work or as a weekend activity. Put on some great music, grab a beer or a glass of wine and enjoy creating some great dishes!

The post 10 Cooking Tips For Beginners To Help You Master The Kitchen appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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