Dumb Little Man

7 Winter Foot Problems and Tips for Keeping Them At Bay

With winter just around the corner, most of us are already dreaming of long days spent on the slopes followed by leisurely evenings by the fireplace. Even if you aren’t planning to head off for a skiing or snowboarding weekend, there’s no denying the charm of watching snowflakes drift down from the sky while you’re toasty warm indoors!

Except, winter isn’t all cheer and joy. It brings its own fair share of trouble, especially for the feet. Practically everyone suffers some foot problem when the mercury drops, whether it’s a simple case of dry skin, or severe and painful chilblains, stiffness and even foot infections.

Why Are Foot Problems So Common In Winter?

Generally, we tend to take better care of our feet in summer because we’re walking around in open sandals or flip flops most of the time. When the weather gets colder, though, we slap on those heavy boots and forget all about how our feet look and feel. Out of sight, out of mind.

The trouble is, cold and dry weather aggravates your skin, and feet take the brunt of this change because they’re furthest from your core. They get less blood and oxygen than the rest of your body, and have no oil glands to keep skin moisturized. The skin on your feet is generally more prone to dryness, since it can only rely on sweat glands for moisture.

With dry skin and circulation problems come a host of foot-related issues such as inflammation, stiffness and neuropathy, which become even worse in cold weather. Wearing wet boots or the same pair of socks all day also raises the risk of infections such as Athlete’s foot and toenail fungus, unless you’re wearing antimicrobial copper socks.

Let’s look at common cold-weather foot complaints, as well as some of the most effective tips for relieving aches, boosting skin health and caring for your feet in winter.

Top 7 Foot Conditions People Face in Winter

foot problems during winter

Diabetics and the elderly usually suffer from foot issues in winter, but some complaints are common across all age groups and demographics. These include:

1. Dry Feet

Symptoms of dry feet include red, itchy, rough, flaky or peeling skin, as well as rashes, cracks and fissures. Dry feet may not seem like a serious problem, but leaving them untreated can cause numerous complications, including difficulty with movement or walking, pain, chronic burning or itching, and skin conditions such as psoriasis or dermatitis.

2. Chilblains

These itchy, red and swollen spots are a common complaint among people with circulation problems. They happen when your feet are exposed to sudden changes from cold to warm temperatures, which doesn’t allow blood vessels in the skin time to react. Chilblains usually show up on toes, and scratching them may cause cracks or ulcers.

3. Raynaud’s Phenomenon

This disorder of the blood vessels is very common in colder temperatures. The tightening of small blood vessels reduces blood and oxygen circulation in your extremities, leading to blisters, pain, discolored skin and even chilblains. The symptoms of Raynaud’s usually get worse when the temperature changes or drops suddenly.

4. Blisters

Friction from new or ill-fitting shoes often leads to blister development, even in summer. However, these irritating “bubbles” can also happen with comfortable footwear in winter, since you’re constantly wearing shoes and socks that rub against your skin. It’s also difficult to keep them from popping as a result of friction when you’re trying to stay warm!

5. Fungal/Bacterial Infections

When feet are enclosed in tight shoes or thick socks all day, they tend to get warm and sweaty. This creates the perfect environment for bacterial and fungal growth, especially between the toes and under toenails. If you’re heading to the gym instead of outdoors for exercise, you can also pick up germs from dirty floors.

6. Pinched Nerves/Neuromas

The nerve between your third and fourth toe can thicken due to excessive pressure from tight-fitting footwear, etc. It is usually treated with plenty of rest, foot elevation, ice packs, anti-inflammatory medication and a metatarsal pad placed beneath the ball of the foot. However, it also may require surgery or steroid injections in severe cases.

7. Bunions

Some people have a hereditary tendency to develop bunions, but these can also occur as a result of wearing shoes that are too tight, pointy or otherwise ill-fitting. Without proper care and padded footwear, bunions can become more severe and may even require surgical treatment. Chilblains are more common near bunions and calluses too.

Top 7 Tips for Preventing Winter Foot Problems

winter foot problems solutions

While regular foot care should be a part of your daily routine throughout the year, it’s even more important during the colder months. Here are 7 simple and effective ways to keep your feet healthy and prevent foot problems this winter:

1. Avoid sitting or standing too long

Long periods of sitting or standing are no good for your feet, and not only because they cause foot and ankle pain. Remaining in the same position for too long cuts off circulation to your legs and feet, which can lead to aches and pains, tired feet and legs, stiffness in the joints, edema or swelling in ankles and feet, as well as varicose veins and spider veins.

2. Wear copper compression socks

Wearing socks in winter is a good way to provide your feet with additional protection and warmth. Many people use compression wear to boost circulation in their legs, and copper compression socks are your best bet. In addition to graduated compression that enhances blood flow and keeps feet warm, copper infused compression socks also fight infection – and odor-causing bacteria, fungi and viruses, wick away extra sweat and boost skin health.

3. Keep your feet well-moisturized

Most winter foot problems occur due to dry skin, so it’s important to moisturize your feet regularly. After you bathe, shower or wash your feet, dry them thoroughly with a clean towel and use a thick, oil-based moisturizer to lock in moisture and keep the skin from drying out. Avoid using too much, or using harsh or scented products that can cause itching or inflammation, and don’t apply moisturizer between your toes.

4. Make sure you stay hydrated

We tend to drink less water in winter when we aren’t sweating in the heat. However, not drinking enough water is one of the main culprits behind skin dryness, in addition to numerous other health issues. Keep yourself well-hydrated by drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water every day, as well as clear soups or green tea, etc. Eating plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, and foods with omega-3s can also help skin hydration.

5. Don’t wear ill-fitting footwear

Always wear shoes that are comfortable, well-fitting and let your feet breathe, so your skin is not being rubbed raw when you walk around. Avoid footwear styles with a narrow or pointy front, which compresses your toes and increases the pressure on your feet while also reducing circulation. When you’re buying winter boots, try to find a pair that’s roomier than normal and you can wear thick socks without cutting off circulation.

6. Don’t rub or scratch your feet

If your feet and legs feel itchy, avoid scratching or rubbing them. This will only make the inflammation worse, and increase the risk of secondary infection by allowing dirt and germs to enter broken skin. Keep your skin moisturized and use an anti-itching lotion or ointment if necessary. Make sure to trim your toenails regularly after a bath or shower, since they can also damage your skin if they’re too long or sharp.

7. Try home remedies for problems

There are many ways to improve skin health at home, and even get relief from common foot problems. E.g., scrubbing your feet with a pumice stone after soaking them in warm water and Epsom salts can help relieve calluses and corns, while soaking them in water and baking soda can alleviate itchiness. Get a doctor’s opinion before trying any home remedies if you have serious skin conditions or other health issues such as diabetes.

Winter isn’t easy on your feet, but you can reduce the chances or severity of a problem with the right care. Make sure to get a checkup if you face serious or chronic issues, since timely treatment can keep them from getting worse!

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Fun Activities That Involve Your Children and Pets Together

Life isn’t easy, more so if you are a double parent (meaning you have kids as well as pets to take care of). It can get a lot hectic to balance and spend equal amounts of time with both of them. But fortunately, for all you multi-parents out there, there are ways to spend time with both your kids and pets and still have time to yourselves. That’s correct! There are numerous fun activities that can help you to involve both your human baby and furry buddy. They will not only have a great time, but you will too. So without stretching any further, let us dive straight into the list of activities.

Fun Activities For Children And Pets

We have come up with as many as five fun activities for your child and pet to enjoy. And we are pretty sure, at least one, if not all, will excite them both.

Fun Activities Involving Your Dog

pet activities for kids and dogs

Below are three fun activities you can perform with your child and canine buddy.

Fun Activity #1: Hide & Seek

The age-old game that we all have played in our childhood days can be brought to life once again. To play this game, hide your dog inside the house while your child finds a suitable spot outside to hide. Then release your four-legged pal and ask him to sniff his way out to find your child. This game can be played all year round, including the hot summer season as well.

Fun Activity #2: Dodging Obstacles

Make use of the scrappy old cardboard boxes and use them as obstacles. Place them haphazardly and tell your kid to dodge them all and reach the other end. While he performs the task, let your dog follow him behind in doing the same. Reward them both with tasty treats after their good performances.

Fun Activity #3: New Trick To Teach

It’s always amazing to teach your dog a new trick or two. This time, instead of you being the teacher let your child take over. Tell him to teach your little canine friend a new trick. It may take a while, but it will be worth it, wouldn’t it?

Fun Activities Involving Your Cat

pet activities for kids and cats

Below are a couple of fun activities you can perform with your child and feline friend.

Fun Activity #1: Teaching Fetch

Dogs sure love to fetch, but did you know that even cats like it too? Well, find a suitable thing to throw (like a squished up piece of paper or a tennis ball). Tell your kid to throw the object in the opposite direction and then summon your kitty to go get it for you. It might take a while for your cat to master it, but it will sure be fun. Reward them both with treats after each session.

Fun Activity #2: Build A Cat Castle

Use cardboard boxes to build the “purrfect” castle for your cat. Trim the edges, cut holes, and paint it with beautiful colors. Let your kid help you while you’re at it. Once done, watch how your cat slides through the maze that you and your kid created.

Pro Tip: While all these activities are fun, they more or less require outdoor interaction. So before you step outside, make sure you have your pet on a flea and tick schedule. If not, visit PetCareClub for incredible offers on pet supplies. Have fun with your pet and child!

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12 Frequently Asked Questions About Student Loan Debts

For millions of Americans, student loan debts are something that is always in the back of their minds. They can be very complicated, and this can lead to a lot of questions. We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about student loan debt to give you the answers you seek in one place below.

What types of student loans are available for college expenses?

You can break student loans down into three broad categories. There may be Federal Pell Grants available, but you can borrow from the government if you don’t qualify. Your choices are Direct Stafford loans, Perkins loans, or PLUS loans. Direct Stafford loans come in Subsidized and Unsubsidized forms, Perkins loans are for students in great financial need, and PLUS loans are for a college student’s parents to apply for to help fund their education.

What is the FAFSA?

student loan debts fafsa

FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application determines whether you can get grants you don’t have to pay back. It’ll also determine your eligibility for student loans through one of the three programs we mentioned earlier. You have to report all of your income and your parent’s income on the application, and they assign grants and loan amounts based on need.

Can you invest your excess student loan funds?

According to Best Student Loans, it depends on the type of loan you get whether or not you can legally invest your student loan funds. If you have private student loans, there aren’t many restrictions attached to them. However, investing any excess funds from a subsidized federal government loan could require you to face legal action or pay subsidized interest on the amount you invested.

Is it possible to cancel your loans when you’re in school?

Yes. You can cancel your loans even after you signed the promissory note. You can cancel a Stafford Loan, Perkins Loan, or a PLUS Loan if you tell your school that you won’t accept the loan payment within 14 days of your school telling you the lender disbursed your loan. If it’s later, you can wait until the first day of the payment period and still cancel it. You can return the funds to the school and refuse them as well.

What repayment plans are available?

student loan repayment

If you want to make your payments more affordable, you have several repayment options available. Keep in mind that you will end up paying more in interest the longer you repay your loans. We listed the repayment options below.

  • Standard – You’ll pay a fixed amount every month for 10 years.
  • Extended – You’ll pay a fixed amount every month for 25 years.
  • Income-Based – You’ll pay a monthly payment amount capped at your income level and family size.
  • Graduated – You’ll pay smaller payments to start with, and they’ll gradually increase to standard payments over time.
  • Consolidation – You can consolidate your PLUS, Perkins, and Federal loans into a single loan with a fixed interest rate.

What is Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

Under this program, you’ll make 120 qualifying payments using a qualifying repayment plan. You also have to work full-time for a qualifying employer and submit proof that you stayed employed with them throughout the payment process. When you make it to the 120 payments under these conditions, the government will forgive whatever balance you have left. If you miss a single payment, it starts over. Also, the IRS can tax you on any balance the government forgives. You can find out more by clicking here.

How do you find out which type of government loan you have?

Student loan debts can easily blur together, and it can be challenging to find out which type of government loan you have. However, the National Student Loan Data System on Studentaid.gov will tell you who holds your loans with your contact information.

What happens if you can’t make your payments?

If you’re struggling to pay your student loans, you can apply for deferment or forbearance for one year at a time. If you defer your loans, it freezes everything for a year. Forbearance also freezes your payments, but your interest still adds to your balance each month. You should contact your loan servicer and see which one they suggest.

Can student loans get canceled?

There are a few circumstances where the government could cancel your student loans. They include the borrower’s death, permanent or total disability based on a condition you didn’t have when you took out the loans, the school closed while you were going or 90 days after you withdrew, and false certification. False certification is where the school signed your name on a promissory note without your knowledge.

Does declaring bankruptcy means the government discharges your loans?

Rarely. For this to happen, the bankruptcy court has to believe that keeping your student loans would cause undue hardship. This is very rare, and you could still have loans in default after you declare bankruptcy.

What is loan rehabilitation?

Once you default on a student loan, the lender will give you one chance to rehabilitate it. You’ll have to make nine consecutive monthly payments that are affordable and reasonable to you. Once you do, the lender will put your loan back in good standing and remove it from the default status.

When do you start paying back your student loan debts?

You’ll start to repay your student loans after you drop below half time status or finish your schooling. Perkins loans have a nine-month grace period before you have to pay, and Stafford loans have a six-month grace period. Your loan lender will send you monthly payment notifications when your grace period ends. For PLUS loans, you start repaying it 60 days after the disbursement date, even if you’re in school. You must make each payment in full by the due date. The only exceptions are if you made a deal with the lender or signed up for forbearance or deferment.

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3 Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety Before Going to Sleep

Having a lot of stress and anxiety is harmful for anyone during the day. Having a whirlwind of negative thoughts when you lay down to sleep is even worse! These anxious thoughts make it so difficult to get the sleep that your body and mind desperately need. My past experiences with living in unsafe neighborhoods and moving multiple times after eviction, have caused me to have negative and anxious thoughts every time I lay down to sleep.
After working on reducing my own anxiety for many years, I have found these three strategies help me fall asleep when I am having anxiety before bed.

Take a warm bath or warm shower

calming my anxiety at night

It is ideal to take a warm bath, but not all of us have a bath tub. I surely have had apartments that do not have the option to soak your stress away. A warm shower would do the trick as well. The warm water helps you relieve tension in your muscles and leaves you feeling fresh.

Set yourself up to relax by making the environment calm and peaceful. Create dim lighting with candles or a lamp. The bright lights of a bathroom can be overwhelming and prevent you from truly taking time to rest. Reduce the noise and turn off your phone. It becomes too distracting when my phone keeps ringing or notifying me about emails and social media. Allow yourself during this time to disconnect from those distractions and, let’s be honest, worries.

Also, add some bubble bath, a bath bomb, or epsom salts for an aromatic bath experience. For a relaxing shower, use a fragrant soap or body wash. Take your pick from the variety of products that are meant to promote stress relief and good sleep.

Laugh

Find a way to add humor to your evening plans. Laughing has a similar effect as exercising. They both increase the flow of oxygen in your body and release endorphins to help your mind feel more relaxed. An activity that helps make me laugh is to watch a funny sitcom or one of my favorite stand-up comedy specials.

Another way to laugh is to call up a relative or good friend and remind them of a funny memory you two shared. It is so helpful to share a laugh with someone else. For instance, there are many memories from school years that my brother and I love to chat about.

If you prefer a non-screen option and do not want to pick up the phone, then dust off an old photo album and remind yourself of happy memories. Pay attention to the scenery and people in the pictures, trying to remember how you felt at that time. The hairstyles and fashion of your past will likely help you reminisce and laugh out loud.

Make a gratitude list

calm my anxiety at night

As you lay in bed, say the names of people and things you are grateful for out loud. It is helpful to close your eyes and visualize the faces of the people you are thankful for.

Imagine them feeling happy and fulfilled. Once you start with one person, it causes a waterfall effect and keeps going. You will find that it is easy to imagine many more people in your life that have been helpful to you.

Allow yourself to focus on these people and extend the list as far as you can go. Remember that all of these people and things that you are grateful for are real and true. Some of your anxious thoughts are not true but are actually worries about the unclear future. When stating this gratitude list out loud, you might notice that you start to smile and your anxious energy melts away.

In closing, those negative thoughts that come up at night might be for a good reason. However, anxious thoughts do not get to control how much you sleep. My sleeping patterns were impacted by worries and made me more tired and less focused at school and work. Reducing anxiety before bedtime can improve your sleep and increase your energy during the day. By releasing muscle tension, laughing, and reminding yourself of who you are thankful for, you can reduce your anxiety and enjoy your sleep just like I do!

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

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

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

Employ the “tell me more” technique

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

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

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

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

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

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

Model how to communicate and disagree professionally

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

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

Have a go-to phrase that changes the subject

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

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

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

disagree with someone at work

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

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

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

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Tools to Help Your Employees Work from Home

Working from home has become the new normal, but it’s something that not all businesses and individuals can immediately jump into. There are things to consider, such as new technology and employees used to working on site.

The transition can take time if your company is not prepared for it. Sometimes, situations like this cause confusion and uncertainty among the workforce. However, technology is always one step ahead, so there’s no need to worry.

There are numerous tools available online, both free and paid. These make the process more convenient for you and your employees.

Whatever it is you need, there’s almost always a tool available for it, like video conferencing tools, audio tools, productivity tools, and even project management templates.

Choosing one from the many is challenging, so it’s vital first to find out your choices. Here are some tools to help your employees make working from home more comfortable.

Tools for Productivity

productivity tools for remote work

One of the things businesses worry about when working from home is employees’ productivity, and several tools can help with this.

● Google Online Suite

If your employees use Microsoft Office for many of their tasks, Google Online Suite is what your business needs. It’s Office’s online version, and it has Google Drive, Forms, Sheets, Calendar, Docs, Hangouts (now Google Meet), Slides, and Gmail. It has everything your employees need to be productive.

Google Online suite also makes it easy for teams to communicate, share, and collaborate.

● Trello

Teams tend to achieve more when using a collaborative task management tool like Trello. With its easy-to-use dashboard, monitoring your employees and their progress is simple. There’s an editorial calendar that shows what all the tasks teams are working on – writing, designing, editing, and publishing.

● ProofHub

ProofHub allows you and your teams to work together in one central place. Its main difference from some of the other project management tools is that you and your employees can also communicate and collaborate with clients.

Communication Tools

Most work from home tools have communication components, but using a tool intended solely for communication is essential. Here are some choices to consider.

● Skype

There are now numerous communication tools available online, but Skype is still popular and used by many businesses. It’s highly functional and equipped with a variety of features that help make communication convenient between teams and individuals.

Aside from chat and video conference functions, Skype also works efficiently for online interviews and meetings. Sending photos, videos, and files are likewise easy.

● Intercom

Intercom is another online messaging tool for you and your employees. It’s not as popular as Skype, but it’s just as useful. It’s not only for communications; it’s also an app for customer acquisition. Your employees get to answer clients’ queries, work on email campaigns, and perform various functions.

Video Conferencing

video conference tools for remote work

Video conferencing tools are different from chat or communication tools because they allow you to perform tasks you usually do when you’re in a meeting or conference with your employees. Here are some choices to consider.

● Zoom

Zoom is probably the most-used video conferencing tool nowadays. It’s simple to use and comes with features that make an online call look like it’s happening inside the conference room.

There are two ways to use Zoom – for free with no time limit but with only 100 participants, or paid with unlimited time and up to 1,000 individuals. It has tons of features like scheduling calls/conferences, text chat, recording conferences, and sending individual private messages.

Zoom also allows users to share their screens, either a part of it or the whole screen.

Even if you or your employees have internet connection problems, Zoom will keep working, albeit at a reduced quality.

Zoom is compatible with iOS, Android, macOS, Web, and Windows devices.

● Google Meet

The best reason for using Google Meet is your free access to and use of Google apps such as Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Classroom, Slides, and Gmail. Likewise, you can schedule video conferences ahead of time and mark them on Google Calendar.

Google Meet is available for free or for a fee. Some of its most exciting features include live stream support, real-time captions, 250 participants at once, call recording and mic muting. It’s also easy to share your screen whether you want the participants to see your entire desktop, one window, or a tab.

Social Media Management

Social media plays a significant role in ensuring business success. There are several tools to choose from.

● Hootsuite

Hootsuite is probably the most popular among all social media management tools. Its features include content management, filtering social conversations, analytics, and reports. It works with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and most social media networks. Hootsuite is also easy to understand and use.

● Buffer

Buffer is an intuitive social media management tool used by reputable businesses, individuals, agencies, and brands. It’s perfect for collaboration, engagement, publishing, and analytics.

Helping your employees transition to working from home is not a walk in the park, but using the right tools helps make the process easier. Spend some time studying which options are best for your business before settling for one or two (or more).

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3 Fail-Proof Approaches For Meeting Women (Even During A Pandemic)

I don’t know about you, but 2020 easily ranks #1 Strangest Year of My Life. Our attention spans inevitably get sucked up by news headlines and the constantly changing city and safety ordinances as a result of the pandemic’s infection rates. Even as I write this from Los Angeles, just today we’ve begun Shutdown 2.0, and I frankly cannot believe it. More businesses crippled by the current health emergency, and more uncertainty about how the economy will fare. Yet despite all that noise, despite the whiplash of changes this crazy year has presented… life goes on.

Yup, even in a pandemic, you’re hard-pressed to meet a guy who still doesn’t want a woman to become both his companion and lover. That never changes. But how do you meet women during or following a crisis of this magnitude? What’s the right way? Well, here are 3 approaches to try — and note: whenever you read this article, these approaches apply because they’re rooted in basic social truths, not fads.

Check the #1 most important thing (that all women have a radar for)

meet women during a pandemic

Hands down, if you do NOTHING else, make sure your intentions are clean and clear. Whether you’re online dating, meeting a girl six feet away at a restaurant, or passing her on a trail while wearing a mask, women innately possess a keen radar for men who are just after that one thing. So what should your intention be? Should it be to get that date? Her number? Nah. None of those, which obviously excludes sex… but stay with me.

Your intention needs to be to have non-threatening, friendly interaction with her. That’s it. Your first, second, third, etc. interactions with a girl should not be riddled with dating or sex vibes. She can sense that, and the girl who wants that isn’t the girl you want. Treat meeting women and dating as if you’re out just to have friendly conversations with new people. Don’t DM or talk to women like you’re a hound on a fox hunt. That’ll push her away, and likely, invite situations where you just get rejected. But if you make your intention just to meet women for the sake of meeting new people, you’ll eventually find someone with whom the communication and vibes work, and from there, you can gradually grow the interaction to one with chemistry.

Avoid men’s greatest fear by ditching these

Men obviously have many fears, but in the dating sphere, let’s be honest: no one enjoys rejection. Oh yes, rejection is the chokehold of dating; just one bad rejection from a hot girl can cut your confidence and recalibrate what you think you deserve from a relationship.

So how do we avoid rejection in dating? Ditch your expectations. Expectations are the trap of dating because by having expectations, you pigeonhole yourself into how the interaction, night, or date should go. By placing a “should” on any dating scenario, you automatically get sucked into your head, and worst of all — out of the environment. When your attention is not on and in the environment, you cannot experience the girl, or see clearly if she really is a good match for you.

Also, let’s be honest: you don’t know how the future will go when you start dating. You have no idea who you’ll hit it off with! I had no idea I would hit it off with the girl I am with, but in the beginning, we just kept hanging out, talking, and talking some more. My expectations with her were not to have sex, get serious, or build a future… but funny, that’s eventually (over time) what happened. When you have etched-in-stone expectations about how a conversation or date should go with a certain girl, you cut yourself off of what could be. And, when things don’t go exactly how you planned? You just end up feeling rejected… but you’re feeling rejected by your OWN ideas. Get that?

Stop creating expectations around dating, and just adhere to #1: adopt a clear intention just to meet people, hot or not.

Follow the flow and never use force

tips on how to meet women during a pandemic

I know that sounds like something a sailing instructor would tell you, but in dating, you want to keep the flow light. What do I mean? Don’t force interactions that aren’t easy, and that aren’t wanted. I’ve read advice from other guys stating that they called their girl every month for a year before they got a date. Maybe that works sometimes (in rare instances), but I’d liken that approach to forcing something that maybe should not be forced.

You want to meet a girl who adds to your life, and with whom life is better — not more work. So if you’re talking with a girl online or offline, and the conversation feels awkward, or maybe she’s just rude? Maintain good manners and keep it moving. Just because she’s hot doesn’t mean she’s worth pursuing. The right girl who evolves from a simple communication into a longer conversation into a hang-out, into a date, and so forth will ultimately be one with whom everything flows. I can’t think of any relationship or human interaction that results well from using force. Have you ever been screamed at? That’s force… and how did that work out for you? Probably not well.

Use flow. Give attention to interactions that run well with no drama, only good vibes.

Now, do you notice something?

I didn’t mention anything about using online dating apps or making sure you hit up the hottest clubs. That’s because the most effective dating and communication tactics work well anywhere — online or offline.

The truth is, achievement in any area of life starts with you, not to sound like a bumper sticker, but you need to check your motivation and goals when it comes to dating. So get your head right, and stack the odds in your favor. Meet many women just to be friendly and meet new people. Meeting new people is one of the joys of life!

And if you occasionally meet people who suck? No worries. Follow the flow, keep it moving, and remember: if you keep your positive attitude and keep your eye on the top of the mountain, you’ll eventually get where you want to go.

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5 Tips on Finding Compatible Partners on Dating Apps

Online dating has become the mainstream way to meet singles. Nowadays, it’s more common to meet couples who say that they met on an app than those who say they met at a bar.

During the age of social distancing, more and more singles are turning to dating apps to meet potential partners—especially those with video call features, such as Say Allo and Coffee Meets Bagel. Even as restrictions ease up, dating apps will still be a vital tool for meeting new people.

Dating apps have grown in popularity over the years. There are now 1,500 dating apps around the world that cater to people from all types of backgrounds and interests. According to Pew Research Center, dating app usage in the U.S. has been on the rise over the past few years. 30% of U.S. adults have at some point used a dating app, an 11% increase since 2013.

In addition to a surge in dating apps and an increase in usage, apps have become increasingly diversified. There are apps that cater to people from all walks of life with different tastes and personality types. There’s now a niche dating app that appeals to every type of person.

Whether you want to meet someone who shares your faith, or who is passionate about saving the environment or who loves dogs; or you’re an introvert who prefers intimate connections, you’re sure to meet someone who shares your interests and lifestyle preferences.

While dating apps have made it easier to meet a large pool of singles, it doesn’t mean they’ve made dating easier. The idea of sifting through a sea of romantic options is daunting and it leaves many people wondering if it will actually lead them to that one person who they can share a magical and lasting connection with.

Most experienced daters know that sharing common interests isn’t necessarily an indicator of personal compatibility. There are other deeper and significant aspects of compatibility that should be considered when looking for a stable and long-term connection such as, future vision, attitude towards family and financial planning.

Dating and relationship expert, Susan Winter, said in an interview with Say Allo, that dating can be a valuable learning process, provided we take the right approach. Winters said that by being strategic about our use of dating apps and gaining experience as we date more people, we’ll maximize our chances of finding our perfect match.

If you’re someone who feels overwhelmed by the seemingly endless options of potential partners available on dating apps or you’re having difficulty finding compatible matches, here are five tips you can use to find compatible matches and set yourself up for dating success.

Ask the right questions

In the beginning you want to keep things light and flirty, but if you want to take things to the next level you should be asking questions with substance. These are questions that allow you to get to know a person’s true character. Good dating questions help you scratch more than just the surface and reveal personality traits and interests to see if you’re a good match.

Make sure your profile reflects the real you

online dating tips for finding the right person

Your profile is set up to give a snapshot of who you are: your personality, what you’re into and possibly some hints of what being in a relationship with you would be like. This helps matches get what your vibe is and understand how you’re different from others. The more you reveal the real you, the more you filter out people who would not be a good match for you. Don’t be afraid to declare if you’re a geek at heart or if you’re a gym rat or a vegan. Fully own everything about you and know your value.

Spend more time on each profile

When using dating apps, there’s a tendency to mindlessly swipe through matches, but if you want to find compatible partners you have to spend more time on each profile, especially the ones that pique your interest. Look at photos and examine details such as outfit choices, locations, body language, locations, poses. Read each person bio and responses. What does it reveal about them? Are they playful, serious or cheeky? Are they career-driven or are they the life of the party type of person or a bookworm?

Use apps with the right features

The technology of dating apps has become increasingly sophisticated with filters that allow users to focus on personality traits, body types and values before they even meet in person. There are dating apps specifically designed to find compatible matches for long-term relationships. Compatibility indexes and reports such as the ones offered on Say Allo and eHarmony do all the work for you. They also provide an overview on initial compatibility centered on income, religion, education and more.

Use your gut instinct

dating tips

We’ve all heard a lot about those happy couples who said they “just knew” right away when they met someone special. That’s because they listened to their gut instinct—a powerful tool in dating. It’s that strange feeling you can’t quite put your finger on. It could be a voice in your head, butterflies in your tummy, and feelings of nervousness. It could be a knot in your stomach. Whatever it is, listen to it. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your judgement. But if you sense good vibes from the person, go ahead and swipe right.

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The Four Most Simple Mistakes That Renters Make All Too Often

There are over 100 million renters in the USA, meaning around a third of people in the country do not own the roof above their head.

That number is 74% higher compared to the 1960s and it’s a result of a variety of reasons, from the high cost of buying property to the freedom which many value of not being tied down. There are also various other factors such as economic recessions and personal circumstances that might dictate the decision to take the leap and become a homeowner.

Whatever the reason though, with so many Americans opting to rent, there are several things they should know. Firstly, it’s essential to understand your rights as a renter and next to avoid mistakes which can potentially cause big issues. Simply by being aware of these house renting tips, renters can avoid foregoing their rights or losing out on their hard-earned cash.

Avoid Renting a Property You Have Not Physically Seen

renter mistakes

It sounds obvious, but one should never rent a property that they haven’t seen. If this can be avoided, never sign for a property without viewing it!

There are many reasons why you may not be able to view a property before you sign an agreement. Perhaps there’s a need to move quickly, or you may be in a different city or country and need to move for work. There is some practical advice for how to deal with this, but be sure to do your due diligence and avoid making what could be a costly and upsetting error.

Even if you currently reside far away, if you are physically able to visit a property to view it before signing a rental contract, then there is no excuse for not doing so. Even if you find yourself in a rush to find a new residence, don’t rely solely on photographs or sales literature as this can often be misleading. Take a Skype tour, find someone you trust to view the property, and remember if the deal seems too good to be true then it probably is.

It’s not just important to view a property in person to check out the property. When visiting a potential rental, you get a clearer picture of the surroundings. During a visit it’s also a good idea to locate any amenities or transport hubs like trains or bus stops that are close by.

Document the Condition of the Property

Once you sign the contract and get the keys there are important steps that all renters should follow. For many of us, we want to make our rented property feel like our home as quickly as possible. However, before you put down that new rug, document the condition of the house /or apartment. Ideally this should be before you move in, or at least before unpacking your belongings.

Documenting can be tedious work depending upon the age of your rental. You should make notes of cracks, electrical problems, structural problems, or anything that just doesn’t look right. The slightest of problems should be noted, including small holes in walls where picture frames have been hung; no imperfection is too minor to note. If you document these problems them in an inventory, the landlord may fix these prior to moving in.

Pictures can help as visual proof to accompany any written documentation. Taking photographs beforehand is advantageous for when you move out. If you happen to have a dispute about deductions from your security deposit, you might need photographical evidence to support your case.

Documentation could save money down the line if you happen to identify a minor problem that could turn into a major problem.

It depends on the terms of the contract, but the burden of responsibility at the point of documentation is usually on the homeowner so long as it’s an issue noted in the walkthrough prior to moving in. Always discuss an inventory with landlords as it proves the state of the property when you move in, helping to avoid any disputes when you leave.

Consider taking out insurance

When buying a property, it’s almost unheard of that the homeowner won’t take out insurance. Yet so many renters do not even consider rental insurance.

A landlord, or the property owner, will have insurance to cover the property in case of fire, natural disasters, or other types of damage, but this insurance does not extend to cover the contents of the tenant. This could be a particularly expensive mistake if you are unfortunate enough to become victim to a fire or flood in your rented home.

When assessing the terms of renters’ insurance or if you should insure the contents of your home, consider the items of value and the cost to replace them should they become damaged. Some personal contents insurance policies also pay-out if you happen to fall victim to burglary. Take the time to carefully review the terms and conditions of potential insurance policies to see what’s covered.

Know Your Responsibilities

When moving into a new property, rented or not, it’s important to understand contractual responsibilities. In a proper contract, it should be clear when the renter is responsible for maintenance or when responsibility falls on the owner/property manager.

For example, gardens are always a bit of a grey area. Establish who is responsible for the upkeep of any external areas and get a clear idea of how often it will need to be tended to.

For larger, more complex maintenance cases there will be many responsibilities that lie with the owners. However, always ensure that it’s legally written in the contract that it is the owner’s responsibility to undertake major works and inspections. Details regarding the frequency of maintenance works and inspections should be clearly notated. Legally it can vary state-to-state, but as a tenant you should be aware of how often a fire safety inspection should take place. Other important areas of maintenance and inspection duties include security. Establish in writing whether it is up to the tenants as a collective (i.e. if you’re renting an apartment in a building) or the responsibility of the landlord or property owner.

In Summation

mistakes that renters make

Remember it’s your responsibility to know your rights. Ignorance of the law does not exempt you from responsibility. Legal precedence states that a person who is unknowing of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely due to being unaware. Do your homework and seek legal advice if needed, as there’s a plethora of free resources out there. Even if you pay for a legal consultation for a contract review, be rest assured that for tenants especially, knowledge is power!

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7 Easy To Spot Signs Your Relationship Has Problems

You would probably be surprised at the number of couples I work with where one or both partners feel their problems “Came out of nowhere” or “Happened overnight.” There are also those couples where one person doesn’t feel that anything’s really wrong and is just attending counseling to appease the other.

I can tell you with certainty that nothing causing problems in a relationship happened overnight or came out of nowhere, and if one partner thinks there are problems, then there really are and counseling is a good choice. Many couples go for too long with blinders on, ignoring the signs there are problems in the relationship. By the time the issues are too big to ignore they’re also often too big to be dealt with alone and require professional help.

If you want to keep your relationship strong, healthy, and happy, it’s much better to tackle issues as they arise and while they are still small. If you don’t, it’s like a snowball. Before you know it the small thing that may have been worked through with a thoughtful conversation or two is now tangled up in all the other issues it caused and requires counseling to sort out and fix the damage caused.

So, if you want to save yourself a lot of frustration, pain, and complications, there are some common signs to watch out for that can indicate you’re moving to shaky ground.

You’ve stopped talking and laughing together

relationship trouble sign

Communication is crucial to a happy relationship and not just the communication that allows you to work out problems. Couples need to be able to talk like friends and laugh together, even over silly, non-crucial things.

So much focus is given to the communication skills that relate to conflict resolution that we often forget that couples also need to be able to just chat, laugh, and enjoy each other. If you’ve noticed that you and your partner no longer do this regularly, consider it a warning sign there are problems looming and fix it.

You have secrets

Maybe they’re not big secrets and don’t seem like a big deal. You bought something and don’t want to deal with the conversation about spending, or you grabbed a drink with a friend after work and it doesn’t feel worth discussing. It’s not the specific thing that is a problem in most cases, it’s the fact that you purposely didn’t tell your partner.

Secrets, even the small, stupid ones, cause problems. And the little ones inevitably lead to bigger ones – don’t doubt me on this. I’m not suggesting that you each need to detail every little thing you’ve done every single day, but if you feel even slightly inclined to not tell your partner something then it’s a pretty sure bet you should.

You’re not completely sure you trust your partner

This doesn’t mean you have to suspect them of having an affair or leading a double life, but more likely that you have a nagging “curiosity” regarding certain things that seem odd or unclear about their behavior. Maybe it’s a, “I wonder who that text was from,” or “Is there more to the story that you’re not telling me?”

These minor cracks in trust are a problem even if they’re unfounded. Your partner (or you) may be doing nothing wrong, but the fact that one of you is concerned means that something needs to be done to fix the trust problem before it gets larger and potentially destroys your relationship.

Doing things together doesn’t interest you

If your reaction to, “Let’s go to dinner, movie, for a walk, bowling, etc.” is, “Meh, no thanks” it’s a problem. Just like you need to be able chat and laugh together, you also need to be able to do stuff together and enjoy each other’s company.

Arguments don’t ever get resolved, just ignored

If the end to an argument is, “Fine, whatever,” it hasn’t been resolved. Unresolved arguments are like tooth decay, they will eat away at your relationship and eventually cause a painful cavity. If, as a couple, you are finding it harder and harder to resolve your disagreements there’s a bigger problem and it’s time to fix things. This doesn’t get better without intervention, it gets worse.

The physical has fizzled

relationship troubles

The intensity of intimacy in a relationship will ebb and flow, that’s completely normal. But when the desire leaves entirely it’s a red flag. Intimacy is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship, it’s part of what keeps you bonded and satisfied with each other. So, if one or both of you seem to have lost interest entirely it’s time to figure out why and fix it.

You’ve stopped hearing each other

This is a big one and hard for some people to understand, but as a couple you need to really hear each other. Many times, one partner will say things like, “I tried to tell you,” or “I’ve said it over and over” and the other (often the man) will be oblivious. There is also an element of nonverbal communication that can be difficult for people to get, but is worth trying to understand. One partner may communicate through their actions how they’re feeling more than their words. While this isn’t an advisable way to communicate, if you’re worried that your relationship is starting to have problems, it’s worth paying attention to.

If any of these sound familiar it’s time to act. Doing so now can prevent larger problems and keep your relationship on solid footing. Know that encountering these issues in a long-term relationship is very common and doesn’t spell doom for the two of you, nor does it mean you have to go to counseling. Catching these things early may just mean you will be able to resolve them more quickly and happily than if you wait too long.

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5 Tips To Take Actions On If You Want To Leave A Legacy

At some point in our lives, we start thinking of how we’re living it so far; whether there are certain matters that require more of our attention and efforts. We begin reflecting on whether we’ve done our best to live a life we can be proud of – the kind of life that leaves a great legacy.

Most people don’t see resolutions as something that could change their lives, probably because they fade out quickly. They also happen to be short-term goals. In most cases of resolutions, you tend to fall by the wayside and go back to previous habits and enjoyable patterns.

Rather than thinking about resolutions, you should think about your legacy. It is the life you can look back with pride, something you would love to leave behind. How can this be accomplished? First, we get inspired. We all have a few personal role models, those with larger than life charm that have made a positive impact on our lives. We tend to get inspiration from those people whose journey we admire and respect. Then comes the work.

This article offers 5 tips you can take action on if you want to leave a great legacy behind.

Assess Yourself

tips on how to leave a legacy

Take quick thoughts about your past and pinpoint specific ways you intend to leave a legacy. Imagine what those who know you best would write about you once you’re gone. If you have got these things in mind, it will give you reasons to see what’s holding you back from being what you really what to be.

You Should Think Bigger

We didn’t just come to this life to eat, sleep, work, and die. We are all destined to be great. We were created with special talents to do something different and leave it better than it was found. The act of thinking beyond extraordinary is a key tip to leaving a legacy. You shouldn’t just think about what you can get for yourself, rather think of what you can come up with and belong to as well.

You Should Be Dedicated

You should be ready to think outside your comfort zone. In most cases, people never get past thinking concerning something. All they do is think rather than doing. Don’t just leave your ideas in your diaries, your thoughts; you should move your ideas into attested actions. However, you shouldn’t over-dedicate yourself to something, instead go for something small and go with it.

I’d advise you on taking relevant ideas which you’re enthusiastic about and make further findings on how you can get involved. Make sure you choose the action which you can take in-person and focus on the action that is kind of bigger outside of oneself.

You Should Have A Personal Role Model

leaving a legacy

It is very advisable that whenever you got the hang of things, you must relate and share your knowledge with someone else. Having a personal role model is quite important. They are people you can always rely on whenever you need help one way or the other. They should inspire you positively. A role model isn’t about making someone like you or creating someone in your image. Rather, a role model should be someone who allows other people to become the best versions of themselves.

You Should Be Consistent

At a point, our passions might change, which is fine. You should evolve yourself and try new things. You should not be scared to start something new, remain consistent until you reach your goals. Look for ways you can evolve yourself and even push your barriers.

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7 Tips for Building Relationship Equality

Relationship equality is one of the key ingredients to a healthy, happy life with your partner.

The meaning of relationship equality isn’t always simple to define. Many feel that a relationship should be 50/50, but the truth is relationships have ups and downs. Sometimes the needs of one partner may legitimately overshadow the other, such as extra support after a family member’s death.

So, what is relationship equality and how can you build it with your spouse?

Relationship equality is all about respect. Both partner’s feelings, boundaries, and physical body should be respected. There is no power/control dynamic.

When you have equality in your relationship it means that you and your spouse can live in harmony together and feel safe and secure.

Here are 7 relationship tips on how to build equality.

Make respect your no. 1 priority

Unfortunately, relationship equality isn’t a given in our day and age. But just because your relationship scales are tipping to one side doesn’t mean you can even things out. With willing hearts and a little bit of patience, you can build relationship equality.

Couples who respect one another put one another on an equal playing field. They do this by:

  • Communicating openly
  • Speaking kindly to one another
  • Freely giving support
  • Compromising
  • Listening without interrupting
  • Respecting boundaries

Relationships that lack respect are often toxic, so make building and maintaining respect toward your spouse one of your biggest relationship priorities.

Your needs should be equally important

There is no doubt that your needs are important, but so are your partner’s. There is nothing worse than going to a partner with a problem or concern and having your feelings shot down. Remember, healthy relationships are all about equality.

Never treat your spouse like their feelings and the issues they are going through are unimportant or play second fiddle to your own.

Toxic relationships indeed make it difficult for one partner to be assertive, but those in healthy relationships may have the same experience. One partner may be shy by nature, lack assertiveness, or simply hate making conflict. To accommodate this and equalize the playing field, work hard to make your partner feel comfortable and safe expressing their needs.

Get on the same page about sex

having equality in a relationship

Sex is a big deal in a marriage, so both partners must get on the same page about it. You want sex to be something you share, not just something you “do.”

Sex is not something that should be controlled by one partner, used as a way to guilt somebody or a tool to be used to win an argument or gain something.

Research shows that sexual communication equals greater relationship satisfaction for both men and women – so communication is going to be your best friend when it comes to all things sex.

Talk openly and honestly – and make it fun! Share your sexual likes, dislikes, triggers, preferences, and how often you’d like to be intimate together. It may be a little awkward to talk about it at first, but in the end, it will put positivity into your sex life.

Build a romantic friendship

Relationships are about more than just romance, they’re also about friendship.

Think about one of your closest friends. Likely, you both share interests or hobbies, you do fun things together like go to movies, have game nights, play sports, or go to events. Good friends build trust, loyalty, and can talk to each other about everything.

These are all fantastic qualities that shouldn’t be limited to your friends. You can boost equality in your love life by making your relationship about more than romance. Make it a true connection that requires you to think of your spouse as something more than sexual intimacy.

Make your relationship a partnership

Shallow dating is all about filling time. You fill time with your spouse by hanging out, being intimate, and exploring romance. But true equality comes from building a healthy relationship where you share your lives together.

When you don’t welcome your spouse in as your partner, you open yourself up to a “me first” attitude.

Couples can create a partnership by:

  • Getting to know each other’s friends and family
  • Talking about what’s going on in their lives
  • Consulting one another before making big decisions or purchases
  • Having an equal share in how your life is built
  • Helping one another out where you can

Spend quality time alone

equality in a relationship

Another way you can build relationship equality is by spending quality alone time with your spouse.

Spending time alone also shows your spouse that you value their company and their friendship. Instead of solely using your leisure time to be with friends or family, you choose to be with your partner. This gives you more of an opportunity to connect and strengthen the love and respect you share for one another.

Additionally, spending time together regularly (such as with a weekly date night) has been proven to reduce stress, boost relationship satisfaction, increase sexual encounters, and -for married couples – reduce the likelihood of divorce.

Support each other

In a happy relationship, one person’s desires do not overshadow the others. Showing partner support is integral to building relationship equality. Both spouses should support each other’s healthy dreams and goals; never undermining, belittling, or controlling them.

Another way you can show support to your spouse is by making your home life as stress-free as possible – showing love regularly, acknowledging problems, using kind words even when you disagree, showing nonsexual physical affection, and checking in emotionally on a regular basis.

If your relationship doesn’t feel equal, don’t worry. There are things you can do to fix it. First, make respect a priority in your love life.

Work hard to be partners, to listen and communicate, and to build a friendship. Scheduling time to be alone with yourself or your friends is also important since it helps you retain your individual identity. Good luck!

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8 Tips for a Compelling Business Presentation

Everyone has great ideas at some point—that’s not the biggest challenge. Success is all about showcasing your creativity in a way that amazes your audience. And how should you do that? By having a compelling presentation.

An amazing presentation will make you look professional and confident. Being careful with the smallest details will not go unnoticed and will probably make the audience trust you more easily. Taking time to perfect your presentation—which is both about your slides and your speech—will ensure your success, along with that amazing idea of yours.

There are a few opinions on what makes a presentation great, but some things are universal. You should pay attention to the design of your slides—keep it clean and attractive. Another important point is how you display your data. Don’t throw all the text you have on a few slides and be done. Exhibit your most important, strongest point and develop it in your pitch. And use powerful visuals—they don’t say that a picture equals a thousand words for nothing.

How to Make a Compelling Business Presentation

Be convinced about your idea

If you don’t believe in your idea, no one will. This means that you have to build your presentation to showcase your passion. Show your audience why your idea works and why they should care.

Having passion is a great way of showing how much you care. That this is not just another business idea, but something you have strong feelings about. Usually, the audience will pick up on your attitude. This greatly influences how much they will care about what you have to say.

Tell a story

People tend to show more interest in personal stories rather than listed facts. If your pitch originates from personal experience—use it to your advantage. Become a narrator, rather than a salesman, and see how your audience changes.

Having a story to tell makes you more human. Make people feel something about your idea by transposing them in your narrative. We’re hardwired to get involved emotionally in a good story. So use that to your advantage.

Use supporting materials

create a compelling presentation

Everyone will be more inclined to trust your data if you have supporting materials. Don’t be afraid to quote your authoritative sources. It only shows that you’ve done your research and you’re confident about it.

Most of the time, if someone puts effort into something, it shows. If you’re worried that quoting your sources will make your idea sound less original, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. All of us find inspiration in everything that is around us. What is important is what we do with that inspiration.

Memorable visuals and quotes

Maybe this one doesn’t sound important, but trust us, it can change everything. A well-placed quote or a striking image that supports your ideas is easy to remember for your audience. Inspire your audience to believe in what you present.

Visual content is also a way of influencing what your audience feels. Some images, for example, can be scientifically linked to feeling a certain emotion. So by using memorable visuals, you can technically show your public how they should feel about what you’re saying. Emotion can be a really great incentive if used well.

Questions and rhetorics

If you want your audience to pay attention, engage with them. Ask questions—even if they’re rhetorical—to stress what you want to say. If people agree with you, or if they find themselves having the same questions you have, then they will remember you. What is greater than a hooked audience? (See what we did there?)

Having an engaged public means that not only will they pay attention during your whole presentation, but they will also try to anticipate what you want to say. You can use that and try to surprise them. Thinking out of the box will only make people love your pitch even more.

Skip the jargon

More often than not, people won’t be familiar with your jargon. Technical terms or words that are hard to understand will make you lose the audience’s attention. Explain everything as if you were talking to a child – simple and without showing off your knowledge.

You can still showcase your knowledge but in a subtle manner. If you start throwing jargon in the public’s face, there’s a very small chance that they will be impressed. But if they feel like they actually learned something new—that they didn’t know they needed to know—then congratulations! You’ve definitely impressed some people.

Clean design

A simple design doesn’t have to be bland. Think out of the box! Try to be creative with your slides. Luckily for you, there’s plenty of free PowerPoint templates online ready to use. All you have to do is download them and start editing!

Try to match your template to the feel of your presentation. Sometimes it’s a good idea to be conventionally professional. But there are times when showing your human side can bring you more success. Think about what you’d like people to think about you and your idea, and act accordingly.

The 10-20-30 rule

creating a compelling presentation

This rule is simple but golden. You should have around 10 slides. Your presentation shouldn’t last more than 20 minutes. No font you used should be smaller than 30 points. The attention span of a person gets shorter and shorter every day. By following this rule, you won’t overdo and you have all the chances of having an engaged audience.

Maybe you won’t respect this rule word-by-word. But you should still be aware of what it brings to attention. It’s easy to make a 100-slide presentation when you have a lot to say. But it’s a bit harder to sum up everything in 10 slides while still touching all the points you need. However, the latter will help you have a more engaged audience and it will improve your presentation skills.

What to Take Away

There are many elements involved in a great presentation. But perhaps the hardest part is making it look like it took little or no effort. Like that’s how you arrange your ideas, naturally. A well-designed presentation will make you look professional and trustworthy.

Amazing presentations take you a long way. You need to have more than a great idea to convince anyone. Make your audience say “Why haven’t I thought of this before??” after your pitch. Impress them with your clean, minimalistic slide design. Back up your facts. Make yourself memorable with visual elements. But most importantly, try not to show off or overdo anything. Just be yourself, show your passion, and hook your audience!

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How To Have A Growth Mindset About Money

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

Money Troubles Abound

having growth mindset to your finances

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

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

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

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

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

Applying A Growth Mindset To Your Finances

how to have growth mindset to your finances

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

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

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

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

Growth Mindset
Source: Money Hacker

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9 Unselfish Tips of Self-Care To Try Out And See Instant Results

“I have the courage to be the happiest and healthiest version of myself.” – Madi Baulch

As we are living in an uncertain time right now, it is important to protect our energy and take care of our mental, spiritual, and emotional health.

It is very easy to be overwhelmed by everything that is happening around us, and that’s normal. We are humans with emotions.

But, what would it benefit to gain the whole world, but lose your soul? So, you need to consider your peace of mind, health, and your emotions and take care of yourself.

Today, we are going to talk about the unselfish act of self-care. The truth is, social media platforms like Instagram have taken the word “self-care” and make you believe that in order to take care of yourself you need to invest hundreds of dollars in the best skin care products, bath salts, and so on…

The word “self-care” has lost its true meaning. You do not need to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to take care of yourself.

So, what is self-care anyway? Why should you take care of yourself? How can you take care of yourself, and what benefits does it bring to your life?

How to take care of yourself mentally?

“Let your addiction for growth be stronger than your addiction for comfort.” – Unknown

Did you know that you have the power to create the life that you deserve?

The life we live in its entirety is composed of transitions. Being scared of such transitions is exactly what will make us hesitate to go for the greatest things that God has planned for us in the first place.

So my question to you is, how are you taking care of yourself mentally? What is it that you feed your mind with, do you have a growth or a fixed mindset?

Without further ado, I will go through 3 ways to take care of yourself and how this can bring instant results.

Here are 3 ways that you can take care of yourself mentally:

1. Stop worrying so much

not worrying

Yes, you read that right! One of the common things that take away our peace is worrying. I know this is easier said than done, but what benefit has worrying brought to your life? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

Exactly, so please do yourself a favor. Every time you want to worry, think about the lion king’s phrase: “Hakuna Matata” (no worries/trouble).

Instead of worrying, think about what you can do to make the situation better. And if you cannot do anything, just let it be! For after every rain there will come sunshine!

2. Let go of the fear that’s holding you back

Many times we decide to remain in the exact position because of fear or uncertainty, or just because of our comfort zones.

One of the bravest decisions I made this year was quitting my job. And even so, before sending my resignation letter the anxiety and fear definitely tried to hold me back.

I knew that this was the best decision for me in order to create the life that I want.
But because staying at that workplace was a huge part of my comfort zone, I was so afraid to take that decision.

I mean, who is crazy enough to resign from their job during the uncertainty the world is facing right now? Me!

Let my story encourage you to take that decision that you know you need to take to find internal peace.

Fear, in the long run, will only result in unhappiness, fatigue, hopelessness, and stress. You certainly do not want that for your life.

3. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of the world

One of the things that creates anxiety and stress is trying to fit in into the “cosmetic” world that we are living in.

Our society promotes the exact opposite of what is really beneficial to us.

If I hop right now to Instagram and search “#self-care”, I will get all these products that they recommend for self-care.

I mean, sure, those products are great, but does it really benefit me to consider that product self-care?

So, instead we have to be willing to be transformed by the way we think and see life.

If you think that you are a nobody, that is exactly what will happen to you, so focus your mind to see how much you are improving as a person and you will see how the magic will start to happen.

How can you take care of yourself emotionally?

“Taking care of myself doesn’t mean ‘me first.’ It means ‘me, too.”

Here are 5 ways to recognize that you’re not taking care of yourself emotionally:

  • You try to please everyone
  • You are full of resentment
  • You don’t cry enough
  • You prefer to go through your struggles alone
  • You don’t accept that you need healing

How can you work to be emotionally stable?

Here are 3 ways:

1. Laugh more

taking care of yourself

A joyful heart is good medicine.

I’m not telling you to go around and start laughing for no reason. But every time you get a chance to laugh, laugh. It’s the best medicine that can heal the heart!

Find things that will make you laugh and start wearing that beautiful smile of yours more.

2. Find healing and move forward

Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. In fact, the damage is there to remind you how strong you are.

But, it is important to accept that you’re hurting. It’s the only way to heal and move forward.

See every difficulty as a lesson that we need to learn and grow. Because now you’re stronger, wiser, and you made it!

3. You are not a superhero, it’s okay to talk to someone

Even for me, this was a hard thing to do. As a girl who is always thinking I can fix everything on myself, it is hard to sit down and talk about the things that were bothering me.

The benefits of expressing yourself to someone are:

  • You are conquering your fears and soothing your anxiety
  • You are relieving yourself from stress
  • You will find freedom
  • You will find peace in knowing that you are being understood

Holding onto things will not benefit you in the long run. Eventually, your emotional pain will manifest physically. You will find yourself struggling with health issues. And the reason being is because you’ve been holding too much inside.

How can you take care of yourself spiritually?

Self-care gives us time to recharge our batteries and rebuild strength for another day. It gives us a new perspective on anything we may face during the day.

Life is just better when we focus on ourselves in an unselfish way by practicing self-care. And as you know our lives are divided into three parts: flesh (body), soul, and spirit. And therefore when we are on the road to self-care it’s important to practice spiritual self-care as well.

Here are three ways to practice spiritual self-care:

1. Love others just as you love yourself

As the world continues to go by, love is slowly vanishing. People are becoming more egocentric and nobody really cares anymore. So it’s important to remain of character and offer your neighbor a helping hand when he needs it.

2. Pray and Meditate

To develop a good spiritual and balanced life, we need to pray. Prayer will change everything! Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Try to have an active prayer life. Dedicate 5 minutes each morning and you will start to see changes.

3. Read more

take care of yourself

Start by reading at least one personal development book per month. Reading will strengthen your brain. Knowledge will give you the power to know the difference between right and wrong. In the world that we are living today it’s important to do our own research to know where we stand as human beings.

3 books that I would like to recommend are:

  • Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
  • The Bible
  • You’re a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

Conclusion

It is very important to work on ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. How do we do this? By taking care of ourselves properly. Your peace of mind is very important. So, work on becoming the best version you can be.

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Discovering And Leveraging Your Key Strengths With These Few Simple Tips

Everybody has assets and qualities that help them in their everyday lives. We apply them both in our personal and professional lives. Most of us don’t bother to look at these assets or ponder the question of how we can articulate and expand them to advance our careers or to become better persons. In the following, I will demonstrate in a few simple steps how you can discover, grow, and leverage your strengths to achieve your personal or professional goals.

  1. How to discover your key strengths.
  2. Growing your assets.
  3. Situations where you can leverage your assets.
  4. Tactics that will help you discover your strengths.

How to discover your key strengths

find your strengths

You can discover your assets in various ways. Firstly, tackling difficult experiences will teach you valuable lessons about your strengths and weaknesses. How you react in these circumstances says a lot about your character. Look at a challenging situation as an opportunity for you learn more about yourself in terms of your assets and weaknesses.

Secondly, helping others who need help will teach you more about your assets. This can expose your weaknesses too. Showing your support requires empathy, compassion, and love. Even if the person you are trying to help is not willing to receive or accept the assistance, it does not mean that your effort to help is futile. Knowing when your help is wanted and when it is not helps you practice acceptance and intuition.

Lastly, meditation can be used to focus on the assets you possess and help you recognize how you demonstrate these qualities in your relationship with yourself and others. This is easier said than done. Becoming good at meditation can take years of practice. There are many apps and tutorials on Youtube that can help you get started.

Growing your assets

Once you have identified your assets and strengths, you can start to expand or grow these. For example, if your asset is empathy and compassion, you may want to explore in which areas those qualities can be put to use. Being very empathetic and compassionate is not really of much use unless you can apply it to your relationships. If you identify with these assets, you may want to explore roles within health care, psychiatry, or teaching. If your key strengths are that you are resilient, organized, and possess good communication skills, you might want to look at roles within sales.

Finding the areas where these qualities can be put to practice will not only give you a better idea what roles or positions are appropriate for you, it will also give you the knowledge to define goals that will help you in achieving happiness. Ultimately, we want to be happy about our life choices.

Furthermore, well-defined objectives will help you grow your assets. If your goals align with your strengths, it will make you more confident and content about your decisions. No matter where those decisions will lead you, they will give you an opportunity for growth and experience that will facilitate the development of your assets.

Situations where you can leverage your assets

finding your strengths

By discovering and developing your assets you will become a stronger candidate for that next job or promotion. Also, it makes you a better husband, wife, or parent. If you are applying for a job, study program, or position, it is an advantage to know your assets. For example, in a job interview, you probably will hear questions such as ‘What are some of your strengths and how would you apply those in the current position?’.

It would be hard to prepare for a job interview if you have no idea what your strengths are. Furthermore, if you choose to mention some assets that you think the employer will like and these are not genuinely your strongest qualities, you may come off as somewhat insincere and superficial. However, being honest about the areas where you are lacking and showing sincere interest in growing in the same areas will give the potential employer a positive impression of you and your willingness to learn.

In summary, being confident about your strengths and being willing to grow in areas where there is space for improvement are keys to your success.

Tactics that will help you discover your strengths

Start by writing down your strengths and assets. If you have a hard time identifying your strengths, try asking your colleagues and friends about your assets. Send this to 5-15 people in your network:

“I am working on an assignment in a career development course. One of the tasks is to ask a few people I know to name my strengths. Would you be so kind as to send me which strengths you think I possess?”

You’ll be surprised by their reaction. Be sure to include people that know you well and that have experience working with you. Don’t be afraid to send it to your previous employers, either. The worst-case scenario is that they will not reply.

I’ve done this myself. The results came as a nice surprise. My friends and colleagues said that I possess qualities such as an open and joyful personality, solution-focused and resourceful, diligent and curious, persistent, and steadfast.

Additionally, there are free assessment surveys you can complete online. One of these surveys is the VIA character strengths survey:

The results from my VIA survey is 24 different character strengths such as gratitude, creativity and love of learning. It was interesting to compare the results from the survey to the list of assets I received from my friends and colleagues. I have learned that people’s actual perception of me does not always align with my ideas of what others think of me.

Feel free to share the results from your own assessment and response from your contacts in the comment section below.

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The Secret To Learning Any Skill Insanely Fast

Some say your brain is your most powerful asset, so why not learn as much as you can? There are many benefits of being a jack of all trades, such as being able to adapt to unanticipated changes. For example, a lifelong learner will take a job loss, change in work responsibilities, and/or technological advances much easier than their underskilled counterparts. However, the benefits of lifelong learning extend far beyond being adaptable.

Today, seventy-three percent of American adults consider themselves to be lifelong learners, and eighty percent have pursued learning about an interest to make their lives fuller. Furthermore, eighty-seven percent of learners feel their new skills make them more well-rounded and capable. Overall, continuous learning can lead to personal improvements, gained confidence, and a new perspective in life. With so much to learn in such little time, what’s the most effective way to learn new skills?

Set a Goal & Break it Down: Pareto’s Principle

setting goals

Singapore’s National Institute of Education concludes that people who solely attempt to solve math problems don’t come up with the accurate answer; however, it is in this process that leads to the generation of ideas concerning the nature of practicable solutions. In summation, this leads to improved potential to solve kindred-natured problems in the future.

To achieve this, it’s best to set goals. Consider modeling your goals after Pareto’s Principle, saying that 20% of your efforts will lead to 80% of your desired results. Understanding your ultimate goal is the first and most important step toward learning anything. Knowing what you want will keep you on the road to progression, especially as challenges arise. To define your goal, ensure it’s concrete. Make a list and check off your completed tasks to build momentum.

After you’re aware of what you want, you’ll need to break it down to further understand the outcome of your goal. Start by doing some research into the skill you want to master without forgetting your original goal and overall purpose. Moreover, list down all the components involved in accomplishing the task, no matter how small these are. Thinking analytically from the get-go can help you in the long run.

Practice Makes Perfect – Use the DISS Method

learn a skill fast

The more comfortably we know something, the easier it is for our brains to do the work. Even further, mastering a skill leads to increased activity in the parts of our brain not involved in the performance. Each time we learn something new, our brain chemistry changes.

Performing various activities can increase a synapse’s strength when we learn new skills, so repeated stimulation of two neurons simultaneously can create new links between them. After a new connection is developed, stimulating one will activate the other.

This can dramatically change your mind and attitude, allowing you to look beyond what you already know. It can also be argued that the more you learn, the better understanding you’ll have of the world. With that being said, go outside of your comfort zone and be ready for new opportunities.

Using the DISS Method can guide you into these new opportunities. Before approaching something, deconstruct the problem. Ask yourself: how can I break down what I need to know? Following this, choose a selection process. Ask yourself: which steps should I focus on first in order to achieve my most ideal outcome? Then, align your tasks in the smooth sequence. Ask yourself: in what order will it be easiest to learn these steps? Finally, weigh out the stakes in your situation. Ask yourself: what are the consequences if I am not able to complete my task?

From here on out, you should have a perfect understanding of what you want and how to get it. The only thing left to do is to practice. Some tips along the way are to focus solely on your task, and avoid distractions as much as possible. Furthermore, split practice time into concentrated periods, multiple times a day or week. Finally, visualize yourself accomplishing your goals.

The Value of Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning has led 64% of people to make new friends and connections, 58% to feel more involved in their community, and 43% to become more open to taking volunteer opportunities. Outside of this, lifelong learners have also noted personal improvements such as improved memory, fine-tuned emotional intelligence, and increased language skills. Many have even felt a boost in confidence as learning new things gives us a feeling of accomplishment, making you feel ready to take on challenges and new ventures.

Half feel underskilled and fear missing out on growth opportunities. The infographic below provides visual tips to learn any skill fast.Learn Any Skill Fast
Source: Fast Online Masters

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The Potential Dangers of a Cracked Phone Screen

In the early days of cellular phones when you drop your device, you could just bend down, pick it up, dust it off, and you are good to go. No damage, no nothing.

But today, when you drop your probably very expensive smartphone, which is, let’s be honest, a lifeline none of us can live without it, you are sure to find the shiny and sleek display shattered to million pieces. Yes, it might still work without a hitch but should you really keep on using a smartphone with a cracked screen? The answer is a hard ‘no’. You should either get the screen replaced or buy a new phone.

You might ask, why would I do that if it’s still working? Well, except for the obvious aesthetic reasons, there are some functional, productivity and even health-related issues that can occur when you use a damaged screen. Want to know what these are? Let’s get started.

Harmful Radiofrequency Radiation

According to the National Cancer Institute, smartphones release radiofrequency radiation which is a non-ionizing radiation from the smartphone’s antenna. When using your cracked phone screen, your body will absorb more of this radiation as the added layer of protection is essentially gone.

The IARC has stated that radiofrequency from cellphones are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Yes, nothing has been proven yet as The American Cancer Society further explains that more research must be done to firmly say that cell phone use poses no health risks to users. But better safe than sorry, right? So, by default, our trendy, innovative smartphones already pose the possibility of producing detrimental radiation. Hence, your cracked screen only increases its potential to do you harm.

Touch Screen Malfunction

smartphone with cracked screen

If your phone screen is shattered, it’s not going to get better over time, trust me. Fact is, the first thing that will worsen in terms of functionality is the touch screen sensitivity and accuracy of your phone. It may take longer for your display to respond to swipes and taps, or even worse, it will stop responding.

A cracked phone screen is also susceptible to sweat, finger oils, dust, debris that can now easily penetrate under your screen, damaging the phone even more through time.

Eye Strain

Nowadays smartphones come with sleek OLED displays that offer users a great viewing experience and an excellent touch screen accuracy. When your display cracks though, you can wish that great viewing experience farewell.

You ask why?

Well, the tiny fractures on your screen make it harder to read the information on your display. If you want to figure out what you are reading or watching, then you might find yourself straining. How do you know you are straining your eyes?

Check if your eyes are tired and itching and if they are watery or dry. Another sign is increased sensitivity to light and frequent headaches. For sure, no one wants to risk their health because of a cracked screen. Do you know how much a LASIK procedure is? You will be better off just changing that screen.

Splintered Fingers

With a cracked phone screen, you put your fingers (and your health) at risk from cuts when you try to swipe and glide your finger over the uneven and jagged surface. It’s only natural for you to get hurt as a result of your phone screen having serious cracks. Moreover, the blood from your finger can penetrate into the hairline fractures of the screen, promoting germs. Every time you pick up a call and the possibly infected display touches your face or ear, you risk breakouts and other unpleasant infections. An absolute no-no.

Conclusion

And there you have it. A phone with a cracked screen is not only bad-looking, but can also affect your productivity and overall well-being. Make sure to gear up your cell phone with necessary accessories such as protective cases and screen protectors to minimize the risk of damage to your newly acquired gadget. This seemingly minor yet essential step can save you money and protect your overall health in the long run. So, don’t settle for a damaged screen that can very much harm you. Instead, use precautionary measures to keep your precious investment looking new as the first day you got it.

Did you know the risks that come with using a broken smartphone screen? Share with your friends, get educated, and get covered in style!

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5 Ways To Increase Your Value In The Post-Pandemic Marketplace

Why you should increase your value

You need a competitive edge more than ever in today’s uncertain and overcrowded marketplace.

With the global economy inching towards a recession, organisations are laying off staff faster than you can say the word ‘sack.’ For example, in the UK, there were 600,000 fewer employees on payroll and 342,000 fewer jobs in May than in March. Freelancers are also feeling the pinch as contracts are being cancelled, payments delayed, or even withdrawn.

And the question on most people’s minds is: How do I survive in this economy?

In my 15+ years of experience as an employee and freelancer, I’ve found the key answer:

Create a demand for yourself.

This means that one of the most useful investments you can make is increasing your value to the marketplace.

Albert Einstein once said, “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” I’ve found out that success is a natural result of investing in and promoting your value.

Have you been applying for jobs without success? Are you eluded by promotion at work? Think about it for a second: you’re losing out to people who provide more value or are perceived as being more valuable by the organisation.

You earn money based on your value to the marketplace. And if you learn the habit of constantly investing in the value you bring to the marketplace, you’ll thrive in and out of season.

So here are five tips on how to increase your value in the marketplace right now:

Think of yourself as a problem-solver

You’re not paid because of your needs. You’re paid because you can solve an issue a business or customer is facing. The bigger the problems you can solve, the more successful and fulfilled you will become.

This is the thinking behind how I progressed from earning pennies from online surveys to raking in thousands a month as a freelancer.

Why is it important to think this way?

A problem-solver mindset helps you to easily spot opportunities to supply value at work and beyond work.

For example, I received a prestigious endorsement recently from the UK government because of my contributions to IT that have nothing to do with my day job.

Know your strengths and limitations

Extremely effective problem solvers have a powerful awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. We are successful to the degree we know our strengths and weaknesses.

For example, I won’t be caught dead in a role that requires significant time on the phone. Telephone-based roles are my kryptonite. I’d rather be cooped up in one corner with a PC, dead to the rest of the world, and churning out content for days.

I heard of a guy that just resigned from his well-paying job because he wasn’t having enough human contact (insert ‘double-take’ meme). Guess who probably shouldn’t touch remote working jobs with a barge pole in the future?

This shows how some people can chase a paycheck – not their strength and skills – and eventually run themselves down with frustration.

Put into action:

  • Know yourself better. There are various personality tests like the MBTI or Big Five that can help you learn about your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Constantly challenge yourself. How would you know if you don’t try hard?
  • Practice self-awareness.

Keep educating yourself

There’s always a shortage of talents with the skills organisations need. Someone once said: “The problem often isn’t a lack of employment; the problem is unemployable people.”

Do you know that only the top 2% of applicants are selected for interviews?

Get in the habit of always asking yourself: What skills do I need now to solve relevant issues in my career? When you solve relevant issues, you stay relevant.

For example, due to the pandemic, many organisations are making a lot of operational changes to survive. Change is usually a messy process and change management is a super-hot skill in demand right now. I have friends whose employers are currently fighting to keep because they used this tip.

Put into action:

  • Learn new skills. Certified skills from recognised course providers put you on the radar of potential recruiters.
  • Build expertise.
  • Stay up to date on trends in your industry.

Be super clear about what you bring to the table

increasing your value in the marketplace

Recruiters receive thousands of CVs each day. They often can’t spare more than a passing glance for some CVs. The questions that should always be at the fore of your mind are:

How do I distinguish myself above the noise in the marketplace? How can I be clear about the value I offer?

Clarity shows a candidate’s sense of confidence and ability to potential employers.

Put into action:

  • Format your CV to be clear and concise. A good CV writing service can help.
  • Ensure your CV, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile are updated with the same info.
  • Tailor your CV specifically to the roles you’re applying for.
  • Use an Applicant Tracking System to check how your CV measures up to a job description.
  • Ensure the job title on your CV matches the job title on the job you’re applying for.

Work with mentors

I can’t stress how important it is to have a mentor! A mentor is a person that supports your growth and development with practical wisdom, over an extended period. For example, I once had two job offers and my favourite offer paid more, was more in line with my career but required quite some travel. After discussing this with my mentor, I realised I would have to go with the less palatable option. But it’s a decision I’ve never regretted.

Put into action:

  • Look for mentors at your workplace.
  • Look for mentors online (social media, LinkedIn, etc).

I’m pretty sure some of you may know – and are already applying – some of these tips. Others might just be learning about them today. In either case, if you’re not experiencing the level of success you wish to, assess yourself by these tips and see how you measure up.

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The 7 Chakras – Types & Benefits

“Chakras” – if you’ve attended a yoga class, there’s a good chance you’ve heard it there. You might have even heard it in some movies or shows when they speak about the blockage or aligning of the chakras. Perhaps, someone has given you advice about working on a particular chakra. Regardless of how you were first introduced to chakras, hearing about it is a long way from knowing and understanding. Of course, you’re not the only one who may be new to this. In that case, let’s delve into the subject of chakras further.

The History Of Chakras

With the increasing popularity and awareness among the masses on yoga and philosophy, Chakras are now a familiar subject.

7 chakras mean

With its roots in the land of saints and yogis – India, chakras are a complex system of the ancient energy form. Initially, they found their mention in the Vedas (ancient holy manuscripts) several years ago.

The word ‘chakra’ denotes wheel. In Sanskrit, it is known as ‘cakra’ and it relates to the various points of energy within the body. They can be considered as the spinning disks that are the source of energy. The chakras are supposed to remain open and in alignment since they are the elements corresponding to the major organs in the body, bundles of nerves and those zones of the body that influence the physical and emotional health.

How Many Chakras Are There?

While there are some who talk about 114 chakras in number, running along your spine are 7 main ones and these chakras are the ones mostly referred to when they are mentioned.
Each of the seven chakras include a corresponding color, name, number, a particular zone of spine and focus on health.

Chakras (7 Main Energy Centres) – A Comprehensive Overview

Chakras can be called the energy centers found in the body. They are present alongside the spine within the astral body. They start from the bottom of the spine and go upwards, towards the crown part of the head.

As each chakra corresponds to the physical, emotional,spiritual, and psychological facets of the life form, it is so explained that any malfunction or blockage in these chakras may result in disorders that may be physical, emotional or psychological by nature. On the other hand, when there is a conscious awareness and these chakras are balanced, it is said to result in sound health and well-being of the individual. And so, asana practices aim towards the stimulation and balancing of these energies in the body.

The Seven Chakras – How To Balance And Stimulate Them

7 chakras meaning

Muladhara Chakra (Root Chakra)

Muladhara Chakra or root chakra is found at the bottom of the area of the spine. It is located at the base of the spine amid anus and genitals. The color radiated by this chakra is red and the element it characterizes is the earth. The emotions of self-sufficiency, ambition, stability and survival characterize it.

When there is an imbalance of this chakra, feelings of instability, lack of any ambition or purpose, insecurity and fear and frustration emerge. On the contrary, when this particular chakra is balanced, the individual feels balanced, stable, energetic, confident, strong and independent!

The postures that work to balance this chakra are: Mountain pose or Tadasana and Tree Pose or Vrkshasana.

Swadhishthana Chakra (Sacral Chakra)

Situated along the lower abdomen, the Swadishthana Chakra represents the second chakra. Orange is the color that it radiates, characterizing the element of water. This chakra features the fundamental needs of self-worth, creativity, desires and sexuality. An imbalance in this chakra results in lack of energy, dearth of creativity, emotionally explosive feelings and obsession with thoughts that are sexual.

However, a balanced Swadhishthana Chakra may yield positive feelings coupled with intuition, compassion and satisfaction. This chakra can be worked on by the practice of the balancing asanas such as Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) and Crow Pose (Kakasana)

Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra)

Seated above the area of navel, Manipura Chakra or Solar Plexus Chakra characterizes the element of fire and therefore, the color radiated by this chakra is yellow. The energy and emotions of aggression, anger and ego are the features in this chakra. When there is an imbalance in this chakra, the consequences reflect physically via liver problems, digestive issues or diabetes.

It can also have the emotional reflections in the form of depression, low or no self-esteem, perfectionism and anger. Balancing of this chakra brings about energy, focus and confidence in the individual who is seen to be more productive. One can work on this chakra through asanas such as Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), and Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana).

Anahata Chakra (Heart Chakra)

Anahata Chakra, or Heart Chakra, as so implied by the name itself, is situated in the region of the heart. It is represented by the color green and characterizes the element of air. This Chakra features the emotions such as compassion, love, passion, attachment and trust.

When there is an imbalance in this chakra, emotion-related problems such as anxiety, lack of trust, fear and jealousy, anger and so on emerge in the individual. A harmonizing of this chakra leads to feeling more optimistic, motivated,friendly, compassionate, caring and understanding. Some of the poses that help in balancing the Heart Chakra are Fish Pose (Matsyasana) and Half Bridge Pose (Ardha Setubandhasana)

Vishuddha Chakra (Throat Chakra)

This fifth Chakra is found on the base part of the throat. It is represented by the color bright blue and characterizes the element of space. The throat chakra features the ability to communicate, faith, expression and inspiration.

An imbalance in this chakra may lead to lack of expression of thoughts, weak feeling, quietness and timidity. The balance of this chakra results in positive expression of self, satisfaction and creativity. Poses such as Plough Pose (Halasana) and Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) stimulate the throat chakra.

Ajna Chakra (Third Eye Chakra)

Ajna Chakra (pronounciation – ‘Agya Chakra’) is situated amid the eyebrows. Represented by the color indigo blue, the chakra is element free. This chakra is applied often as a point of concentration or focus while practicing asanas. This is to enable greater awareness and concentration.

It has been mentioned that when one meditates on the Ajna Chakra, it lets one get rid of his past life karma while liberating him from it and provides intuitional know- how. Its characteristics include self-knowledge, understanding, intuition, insight and intelligence . An imbalance in this chakra may lead to problems of physical nature such as eye strain, blurry vision and headaches.

One might get feelings of ego or, in contrast, being non-assertive or apprehensive about success. The balancing of this chakra leads to freedom from the attachment to the materialistic aspects of the world and a fearless attitude towards death. The asana Headstand (Shirshasana) stimulates the third eye chakra.

Sahasrara Chakra (Crown Chakra)

Situated in the crown region of the head, the Sahasrara Chakra is the seventh chakra. This particular chakra also does not characterize any element and is represented by the color white and/ or violet. This chakra is considered the core of energy, dynamic thought, enlightenment and spirituality. It paves way for the cosmic consciousness and internal surge of wisdom. When not in balance, feelings of frustration, lack of joy and destructive thoughts might manifest. This chakra can be balanced through the practice of Headstand (Shirshasana).

Yoga and the Chakras

As per spiritual science and traditional Indian medicine, the physical body is not only composed of organs, muscles and bones. Rather, there are energy layers surrounding this physical body, which are interlinked metaphysical levels that generate the electromagnetic field of the body – the aura . It has been referred to as the “spiritual body,” “etheric body”, “light body,” or also called the “subtle body”.

Yoga For The Chakras

Each of the chakras utilize yoga as a basic means to balance themselves out as the alignment is created within the physical body through this art form. The subtle body can be rebalanced by practicing the asanas or postures which help to balance the physical body and stabilize it. The chakras are, thus, realigned and the behaviour can be regulated to cope with the outdated patterns, habits and beliefs.

A Fine Balance

The regular practice of yoga is an enjoyable journey that can lead you to the path that will align your chakras. It is yoga and meditation which can help in the balancing of the physical, mental and spiritual being within. Your energy centers will get purified, thereby fostering a sound health, well-being and happy life.

On a serious note, to learn more about chakras, how to perfect them and gain their invaluable insight, you can join a yoga school in India – the birthplace of yoga. There are conducting yoga teacher training programs that will enlighten you on this subject along with other essential aspects of yoga, while also letting you gain a rewarding career in the field of teaching yoga. So, create a life changing experience through a comprehensive yoga course and look forward to a life with positivity and enthusiasm.

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung

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Here’s How You Can Successfully Change To A Work-From-Home Career

Most companies have transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic. Employees embraced this move. However, the excitement was short-lived because working from home may seem fun, but it is not as simple as most people thought it would be.

Truth be told, working from home is challenging. It’s difficult to be productive when the television is staring at you, snacks are within reach, and family members are consistently hovering around your work station. You need more than willpower to reach your daily goals.

So, how do you transition smoothly into remote work and ensure maximum productivity? Well, that’s the mystery I would love to unravel in seven steps.

Step 1: Choose Your Work Space

home office ready

When you are working from home, you may be tempted to curl up and work from your favorite couch. Other times working from your bed may seem like the lifetime opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Trust me, these places are cozy and will give you the comfort you crave, but they are not ideal for office work.

It is important to create a designated working space, which isn’t the kitchen table or dining area. If you have a secluded corner in your living room or an extra room, you can set up your home office. Invest in a comfortable chair and a table. Imitating an office setup helps you rise to the occasion.

Make the space as comfortable and welcoming as possible. You want an environment you can warm up and enjoy. A comfortable space boosts your mood and enhances your productivity.

Step 2: Establish an Exercise Routine

When you are working in the office, your morning routine prepares your body and brain for work. While working from home, the schedule is different. You don’t have the privilege to do a simple exercise like walking to your car. In fact, you can end up indoors the whole day.

Thus, it is important to workout every morning before work to clear your mind and reinvigorate your body. You can go for a jog, skip rope, or find a workout routine on YouTube. Online CPT can be a sound option if you want to take your training to the next level.

Exercise fires up your energy, improves your mood, and keeps you motivated. It helps with physical and mental health. It’s a perfect way to start your day.

Step 3: Dress the Part

What makes working from home enticing is the fact you can wear absolutely anything. Right? I don’t think so. That’s the fantasy we all have when we hear working from home. However, to be productive, you need to dress up for your job just like you would when going to the office.

Dressing up prepares you for work. It changes your attitude and supercharges you for the tasks ahead. Looking professional while at home sends a message to everyone that it’s time for business. Do not distract.

Step 4: Stick to Office Working Hours

Given the distraction you may experience while working from home, it is important to have a specific start time and finish time. Your working hours should correspond to the office working hours. Create a work schedule that outlines your daily tasks. Stick to this daily routine to avoid procrastination and forgetting some tasks.

Plan all the tasks beforehand, such that you know exactly what to do when you sit on your desk. Focus on tackling demanding work when you are most productive. Relegate returning your calls and responding to emails to the afternoon.

Ensure you incorporate breaks in between work to relax your muscles and re-energize. It is also important to have a specific time to eat as you may get too absorbed into work and miss meals.

Step 5: Minimize Distraction

work from home distractions

This is the greatest challenge when working from home. The key is knowing what distracts you the most and coming up with measures to minimize it.

Social media is the main culprit. Disable your social media accounts when you are working. Make sure your phone is off or on silent. Otherwise, you’ll have unnecessary social breaks that reduce your concentration and, ultimately, your productivity.

Your pets, kids, and the TV can hinder you from reaching your daily goals. A separate room with a door can help you work with minimal disturbance.

Another culprit is the fridge. Have regular eating hours to avoid the random bites every time you step out of your office to freshen up.

Step 6: Commit to Specific Goals

Now, having a schedule is one thing, but committing to accomplish your goals is another. Unlike working in the office, where your supervisor may monitor your work, here you are your own boss; though your manager might check on you occasionally.

Some tasks may take longer than expected, but you must strive to have a concrete list of accomplished tasks at the end of the day. So, overestimate the duration it takes to accomplish your tasks.

Create your reminders and events in google calendar or your preferred app. This way, you’ll get notifications when it’s time to tackle the next task.

Step 7: Leverage Technology

Working from home can make you feel like you are separated from your team. The simplest way to break this physical barrier is by using technology. When working on team projects, Google Docs makes it easier for each team member to edit and comment on documents.

You can manage and prioritize your tasks using project management applications such as Trello. Have team discussions on Slack, where you can give instant feedback. Modern technology has made it easier to conduct office meetings and to connect with colleagues in real-time.

Bonus Tip

Transition to working from home needs commitment and motivation. You can easily adjust to the home atmosphere when you have a strategy in place. Your productivity shouldn’t change because you are working in the house. The comfort of being close to your family should push you to reach your potential. Remember to take care of yourself to maintain your productivity continuously. Lastly, take time to go out and interact with other people.

The post Here’s How You Can Successfully Change To A Work-From-Home Career appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Become An Inspiration To Others: 4 Essential Qualities

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

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

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

So, what does it take to inspire others?

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

Authenticity: The Secret of Lasting Inspiration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Empathy: showing genuine interest inspires trust

empathy qualities of an inspirational person

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

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

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

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

So, be fully present – listen and be attentive.

Vulnerability: It Can Be Painful, But Inspiring

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

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

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

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

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

Boldness: Ordinary But Inspirational Acts of Courage

qualities of an inspirational person boldness

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

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

Is this courage? Yes, both physical and moral.

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

So, what’s the source of such courage?

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

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

Inspired? Now It’s Your Turn

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

  • Authenticity
  • Empathy
  • Vulnerability
  • Boldness

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

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

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

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Harnessing The Power Of Sleep

Sleep is an important part of our lives. We are supposed to be spending a third of our lives asleep, but not everyone is making that happen. Lack of sleep can result in a lot of different problems, including an increased risk in type II diabetes, heart disease, mental health issues, as well as a decreased immune system. It’s a stressful time right now, and more people than ever are having trouble catching the appropriate amount of Zzzs. How can we overcome stress and ensure we are getting the rest our bodies and minds need?

The Importance Of Sleep On Health

benefits of sleep

Six in ten of the leading causes of death in the United States have been linked to a lack of sleep. Most people know they are supposed to get eight hours of sleep a night, but only a few actually do. Some people fool themselves into believing they can get by on six hours of sleep or less. Others are so busy with life and work, particularly those who have multiple jobs, that they aren’t able to make the time they need to get adequate rest.

The result of not getting enough rest hinges on cortisol and melatonin levels. These are the hormones that regulate our sleep and wake cycles. When you first wake up in the morning your cortisol levels are higher and your melatonin levels are lower. You’ll have higher blood pressure and lower inflammation and you will feel awake and alert.

As the day wears on your melatonin levels rise and your cortisol levels drop, and right before your typical bedtime is one of the highest levels of melatonin you will have all day. Your blood pressure drops and your inflammation levels rise and you begin to feel drowsy and ready for bed.

During sleep your body is in a rest and repair state. Cytokines are released in order to regulate both innate and adaptive immunity. White blood cells accumulate and fight off the antigens trapped in your lymphatic system.

When people don’t get enough sleep, though, these normal functions aren’t taking place. Too little sleep causes cortisol to build, causing you to live in a perpetual state of stress, which wears down your immune system. This causes your inflammatory processes to kick into overdrive, which lowers cytokine production among other issues. Over time, too much cortisol can lead to increased problems with sleeplessness and daytime fatigue, issues with memory and focus, and decreased immunity.

How To Get Better Sleep Starting Tonight

power of sleep

Maintaining a routine is the most important thing when it comes to getting more and better sleep. Keep a regular schedule. Wake up at the same time every day, regardless of what day of the week it is. Go to bed at the same time every day for the same reason. This gives your body a chance to know what to expect so your hormones can do what they need to do. Keeping your body guessing disrupts your cortisol levels and melatonin levels, so your sleep and wake cycles won’t come naturally.

Manage light levels and other comfort factors in your bedroom. Use light blocking shades if you work during the night and sleep during the day or if there are any lights outside your bedroom window. Stop using screens and anything else that emits blue light at least an hour before bedtime. Try to keep the temperature in your room cool, use a white noise machine if there are any distracting noises, and ensure your bedding is clean and comfortable.

If you still can’t sleep:

  • Make sure you aren’t sabotaging yourself by taking naps during the day.
  • Take an honest look at your caffeine intake – are you getting too much or not cutting it off early enough in the day?
  • Don’t try to keep trying. Get up and read for a while and try again later.

If you are waking up frequently because of nightmares, you’re not alone. Increased stress has been shown to impact quality of sleep and lead to higher levels of negative content in dreams. Oftentimes, dreams during times of stress and trauma are more vivid and more memorable, which can make you feel as though you haven’t slept at all.

It’s time to harness the power of sleep. Learn more from the infographic below.

The Power of Sleep
Source: Online Mattress Review

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Taking Home Learning To The Next Level

Distance learning can be difficult for students all around the world. The abundance of distractions, atypical environment, and impersonal approach to education is hard to follow – a mere shock to students. It’s easy to let normal schedules slip when everyone is home, and technology frequently diverts our attention. However, this makes teachers and parents concerned their students will fall behind. Making learning fun could offer a solution.

It’s likely your student needs access to technology to engage in their online classes. However, most technology comes armed with a fleet of push-notifications – causing distractions amidst coursework. In fact, a study conducted in 2015 found that phone notifications was a major interference when it came to attention and productivity. It remained the case even when participants had no interaction with their device. Simply having technology around that is unnecessary to course content can be distracting.

make online learning fun

Reducing distractions

Luckily, you can limit these distractions. On Apple devices, you can use “screen time” to set time limits on specific apps and features. The similar options for Android devices is “focus mode,” which lets you block access to specific apps on a set schedule. On top of this, you can stop notifications altogether. Encourage your learner to turn on “do not disturb” mode during class. Additionally, suggest silencing notifications rather than simply putting them on vibrate. Vibrations can be as distracting as sounds.

Another way to minimize distractions for students is to build a class schedule around a type of activity rather than specific plans. For example, model out a day with alternating activities: some shared, some independent. Switching between quiet and active play can help avoid behavior problems and improve focus.

Smooth transitions

With that being said, you’ll also want to master the science of smooth transitions. Try giving warnings before a transition in coursework – and stick to them. More specifically, you have to make sure you have your kid’s attention, then provide instructions and say “go”.  This keeps your student engaged while switching tasks. Consider using a visual timer to set during these transitions. The Time Timer app can help your child understand how much time is left before switching gears.

Sleep well, learn well

You’ll also want to encourage sleep to reduce the amount of stress on your student. Having consistent sleep and wake times each day can help reduce cortisol – which is known as the stress hormone. Remember: you don’t have to keep your old schedule to have a consistent routine.

Getting more interactive

Furthermore, it’s also important for students to feel they’re in an educational environment. Allowing them to share and collaborate can help keep the same dynamic, improving their productivity and focus. Although in quarantine, students can schedule virtual sessions to help each other with schoolwork, or virtual playdates to catch up with friends. Video conferencing platforms can also help parents and teachers stay in touch to swap ideas on what works.

online learning

Technology in online education

Incorporating technology into education makes learning slightly more fun – music to every student’s ears. EdTech also makes learning more hands-on. Several libraries will allow you to get a card online if you don’t already have one.

This opens up the catalogue of selections by miles for students. Students can find free texts that are no longer copyrighted on Google Books and LibriVox, and loan their books on Amazon Kindle and Nook. Even more, many libraries will grant membership cards without local residency, or let you purchase a card for a small annual fee. If you add more library cards to your account, you can check out more items.

Apps for fun and learning

However, EdTech can make learning fun outside of English classes. Apps like Bedtime Math, Monopoly, and Yahtzee make learning easy – even if you’re not comfortable with math. Bedtime offers a daily math problem for children aged 3-9, including a short engaging story, and a problem based on your child’s age. The aforementioned family games help practice basic math skills. For an added challenge, use extra cards or dice to practice arithmetic as you play. Gaming can be very helpful in education. A 2018 study showed that when parents with high math-anxiety used Bedtime Math, children showed long-term improvement.

On the other hand, apps like iNaturalist and Google Sky can increase your child’s interest in science. iNaturalist provides recommendations and shares photos of plants and animals for the students to identify. Google Sky, meanwhile, lets you explore the solar system without a telescope. Similarly, Globe Observer tracks observations of clouds, land cover, and tree measurements. More interestingly, these apps are citizen science projects – which help scientists study nature on a larger scale.

The Takeaway

Based on a survey of California schools, nearly 9 in 10 parents are concerned their child could fall behind academically. Teachers are concerned 90% of their students will fall behind in Math, and 88% will fall behind in English. However, making learning fun can smoothen the transition to home learning. Check out the infographic below for visual tips on enhancing home learning for students.

Enhancing Home Learning
Source: Online Schools Report

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How To Let Go Of Things That Cause You Stress

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

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

Distancing

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

Be thankful

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

Focus more on yourself

focus on yourself

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

Focus on the present

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

Understand the situation

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

Don’t complicate issues

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

Eliminate the stress indicator

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

Make friends

letting go of stress

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

Move on

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

The takeaway

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

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Self-Development Tips for Every Entrepreneur

Anyone can start a business, but not everyone can succeed with it. That’s a fact that every aspiring entrepreneur should understand when planning to open and start their own company.

In fact, thousands of people have opened a business only to find it failing at the end. The truth is, success isn’t a sure-fire thing in business. You, as an entrepreneur, should be prepared to face some changes along the way and learn how to adapt to them.

When you run a business, you’re required to develop personality traits that will help you stay resilient through tough times. As you go through self-development, you’ll learn to become a better entrepreneur. The more you grow, the better your decisions will be and the higher your chances are of succeeding in your industry.

With that said, here are some self-development tips all entrepreneurs can use to ensure the success of their business:

Read Books

self development tips for entrepreneur

Books are the hub for learning – whether in school or real life. They exercise your mind which improves your focus, concentration, creativity, and expands your vocabulary. These attributes are important when running a business since you’ll be constantly speaking with and dealing with different people. Your creativity will also help you in creating solutions to problems, as well as increase your business’ profitability.

According to Rockefeller Habits, entrepreneurs should read at least 24 books in a year. Half of them should be business-related that deal with topics such as marketing strategies, finances, or anything related to a particular skill in an industry. The remaining 12 should focus more on personal development. This includes topics related to culture, politics, or anything along those lines.

Take a Break

Did you know that 50% of most business owners don’t take time off work, at all? Many may not even realize it, but even the most successful business owners need a vacation. Most entrepreneurs are too hesitant to take one because they fear their business would fall idle without them. This can lead to burning out or worse, you might lose your passion and give up on your business dreams, entirely.

Once your workday is at an end, step away from business emails or calls, unless it’s extremely urgent. Push pause, and try to forget about the stresses of running a business. As you may have heard, great ideas come from when you’re relaxed and doing nothing at all. Be sure to take a break sometimes. You’ll be surprised at how relaxing and renewing you will become.

Determine Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Entrepreneurs have their strengths and weaknesses. Many of them, however unintentionally, make the mistake of improving their weaknesses. With the number of resources available today, you can easily hire an employee and delegate tasks that you’re not an expert in, and begin to focus on doing the things you excel in.

For instance, if you’re not good at accounting, you can hire someone on a retainer basis to do your company’s numbers for you. This way, you won’t be left with the burden of doing something you’re not good at. Besides, it’s also not advisable to stretch yourself by trying to do everything yourself.

Learn or Improve a Skill

self development tips

Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from college. It goes on forever. This is especially true when it comes to running a business. Many business owners make it a top priority to brush up their skills or learn new ones relevant to their industry. Many find it helpful to enroll in courses relating to marketing, finance, or other areas of study that are relevant to their business.

If you don’t have the time to attend physical classes, you can always sign up for online classes. Many schools offer online classes that are specifically designed for people with day jobs or busy entrepreneurs.

Lead but Learn to Listen to Your People

When you run a business, you automatically become a leader. However, acting like a boss all the time will affect your relationship with your people. Sometimes, you also have to step down, listen, and learn from your employees. In doing so, there will be times when you get a measure of insight into how you’re doing as a leader. Even if you receive criticism, take it and learn from it while using it to create a better version of yourself.

Have a List of Things You Need to Improve On

Believe it or not, there’s an endless list of things you can do to develop yourself as an entrepreneur. You have to work on yourself continuously if you want to count yourself among the best in your industry.

If you discover something you need to improve, put it on your list and start working on the solution. Do it one by one, step by step so you won’t lose track of your goal.

Be a Better Entrepreneur and Lead Your Business to Success

Improving and developing certain characters is critical to the success of your business, regardless of the industry you’re in. If you are not constantly striving towards becoming a superior entrepreneur, you’ll miss out on many new business opportunities.

The self-development tips you have discovered in this article will help you develop your relationship with customers, suppliers, and even financing institutions, if and when you’re looking for extra financing.

Always remember, taking action is what will bring your business to success. Knowing what to improve will not ensure success. You need to actually take action and devote yourself to incorporating these improvements within yourself.

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7 Ways to Splurge Money Wisely

Yes, you read that right!

Splurging – a word so decadent that just the thought of it is followed by strong guilt.

When you are brought up in a middle class household, the money mindset you have picked up – whether consciously or unconsciously – forbids you to think of splurging.

You will be looked down upon, judged, frowned on and lectured if you even think of extravagance.

But that doesn’t have to be the case.

We all have our guilty pleasures – the ones where the cost doesn’t seem to matter. Comic books, shoes, clothes, perfumes, pens, alcohol, watches, knife set, desserts, markers, belts, purses, socks, jewelry, art, memorabilia – the list is endless.

If splurging is making you unhappy or guilty, you are probably doing it wrong. When done wisely, splurging improves our relationship with money. Intelligent splurging is all about being aware of what’s most important to you and your happiness.

For example – I never feel bad when I spend thousands on buying books. There is no guilt about spending money eating healthy or paying for a gym membership/personal trainer. Of course, there is a ceiling based on what I earn – because let’s be honest, if I cannot afford it, it will be followed by guilt.

Here are some ways you can splurge money wisely.

Instruments Of Your Trade

spending money wisely

One right way to splurge is on the tools you need for work. If buying two LED monitors helps you with your productivity, then don’t hold back. If you are going to be working from home, then it is better to invest in a good ergonomic chair and a 2-in-1 standing desk, to allow you the flexibility of standing and working. If you are an athlete, splurging wisely on tools of your trade will mean buying good equipment you need for the sport you are an athlete in.

More than once, I have regretted buying cheap earphones and pinching dollars on a laptop, only to regret it later. Not investing in a comfortable chair, when my work involved sitting and working proved more costly for my back.

Wherever you can, try and go for quality because these are tools you will use on a daily basis and probably even multiple times in a single day!

Necessities Of Your Life

Splurging on necessities that you can use in the long run saves you a lot of frustration and time. Buying a good pair of knives or proper machines to help you in the kitchen can be a huge time saver and enhance the taste of your food.

Similarly, investing in a good mattress is like investing in your quality of sleep. Good sleep, on most days, is the difference between a good or a bad day.

The stuff you consider a necessity is the stuff you use a lot and regularly so might as well buy a durable one which can stand the test of time.

Celebrating Milestones

Milestones are important. Celebrating adds a special zest which makes them memorable. And making them memorable often has a cost attached to it.

As the days pass by, you will not remember what it cost but you will surely remember the memories that the day brings, which makes splurging on them a very wise decision.

The ones you remember are the ones you celebrated, so splurge on those celebrations a bit without feeling guilty about it.

Health

I want you to look back to the times you were sick. How well did you perform? How much work were you able to get done? Let me guess – not much!

A healthy brain and a healthy body are your two most important assets. For you to go out and achieve your dreams, you need to have a brain that can think and a body which is healthy and free of diseases.

Sickness is inevitable but splurging on our health – gym memberships, personal training, diet, medical tests – will ensure we minimize such days. It will enable us to be in top shape when opportunity arrives at our door and, in the long run, will pay off manifolds.

Thoughtful Gifts

way of spending money wisely

I love this one because I have firsthand seen the effects of this! The delight on the face of the recipient is priceless and it gives both of us memories of a lifetime!

Research shows that an unexpected present or being surprised is a real booster for people. This is equivalent to you finding a thank you note left on your desk by some grateful colleague or you discovering some money in pockets of an old pair of pants!

More importantly, these are the moments and the stories people tell wherever they go.
One example of this – a friend I know loves using planners. I feel they are a waste of money. Yet, I ended up spending a considerable amount to buy her a planner she had been eyeing! And it’s been worth every penny!

Buying back time

You already know your time on this earth is limited so why not buy back some of it?

We all have our nagging task list – a leaky tap, a lawn which needs landscaping, roof full of dead leaves, an AC that needs to be serviced. How much of it can you really keep up with? Most of the time, it is not about the money but about your mental health. If money can help ease the stress by having someone take care of something for you, what is the harm?

If you can afford it, pay the extra couple of hundred dollars so you can take a direct flight and spend the night in your own bed. Paying someone to cook and clean in the house means you get a couple of hours in a day back – time which can be spent catching up with a loved one or strengthening existing relationships or just catching up on your nagging tasks – which let’s be honest – you wouldn’t otherwise have time for.

Not living like a CEO when you are a sandwich artist

To splurge wisely, you have to do it within your budget and frequently. As Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of GirlBoss says,

“You cannot live like a CEO if you are a sandwich artist!”

The key is modesty – doing it in limited quantity and under the umbrella of your income. Splurge small and frequently. You get to decide what it means to you.

The people who are happy with their mansions and luxury cars are the people who can actually afford them. Going into heavy debt to splurge is exactly how not to do it!

Even when you splurge on the stuff mentioned above, you have to do it keeping in mind your income. In college, I spent 4 years with a cheap netbook just because it is all I could afford. Until I got my first paycheck, I slept on an air mattress and when I finally bought one, it was a spring mattress for $80 because I still couldn’t afford a mattress costing thousands.

Splurge lavishly and cut ruthlessly.

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How You Can Help The Environment When Planning Your Next Holiday

By now, most of us will be aware that air pollution has dropped as a result of the pandemic. Imposed travel bans and reduced traffic means that the world is on track to see the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions. Despite this, there’s still a lot more to be done for us to avoid catastrophic global warming. You might find yourself thinking ‘what can I do?’, but rest assured, there are some easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint over summer.

Choose staycations instead of going abroad

If there’s one thing the drop in emissions over the last couple of months has shown us, it’s that flying abroad is harmful to the environment. Studies show that the average citizen exceeds climate change recommendations by a staggering 7.8 tonnes each year. Limiting international trips is a great way to lower our overall carbon footprint. Staycations are an excellent choice for environmentally-conscious holidaymakers looking to see their country in a new light and contribute to their local economy, too.

Buy local produce and sustainable products

eco friendly holidays buy local produce

Whether on a staycation or travelling abroad, choosing to buy locally produced food and drinks will reduce the overall carbon emissions from transporting ingredients across the world. It’s also best to limit your meat intake both at home and abroad as that requires a large amount of energy for production and impacts deforestation. Buying from local suppliers also encourages independent businesses who often produce a far lower carbon footprint than big brands.

Recycle and use renewable energy

Wherever you visit, make sure that you know what the local recycling options are and use them whenever you can. If you know that you’re staying somewhere with limited options, try to open and discard packaging before you set off and bring your own reusable drinking bottles and shopping bags. If you can, you should try and prioritize hotels with renewable energy sources and keep appliances off when they’re not in use.

Walk or cycle to and from attractions

do eco friendly holidays

Although it can be environmentally friendly to carpool or use electric taxis, it’s always best to walk or cycle to local attractions if you can. Keep an eye out for local bike hire services and be sure to walk with a friend if travelling late at night. If you do need to travel somewhere by public transport, try to choose a sustainable option and carry out a portion of the journey on foot. Some destinations should also offer electric vehicles to rent, which can be a good option for families.

Buy eco-friendly toiletries and clothing

Most people stock up on toiletries and clothing items in preparation for going away. If you can, try to choose eco-friendly alternatives to reduce your overall carbon footprint. For example, some sunscreens contain microbeads which don’t decompose and some shampoos are sold in non-recyclable plastic bottles. Try to buy recyclable products with eco-friendly ingredients and clothing items that you won’t throw away after wearing once.

Before you leave for your holiday, make sure that all appliances are turned off in your home to avoid your carbon footprint climbing up and only leave lights on if it’s essential for security. There may be a lot of planning involved but prioritizing the environment whenever you can is always the right thing to do.

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5 Retirement Planning Myths Busted (To Help You Plan Your Finances Better)

When it comes to financial myths related to retirement planning, there exists plenty. Thankfully, younger citizens are becoming more conscious by the day and are opening up to embracing less conventional financing options. However, even the most well-informed people can sometimes fall prey to some of the existing retirement planning myths. It’s high time we reboot our thinking process and break free from such shortsighted ideas today.

Here are 5 retirement planning myths that we really need to abolish as fast as possible.

Myth 1: There’s plenty of time to start retirement planning later

retirement plan

One of the biggest mistakes that you can commit is to procrastinate retirement planning. When someone in their 20s starts their career as a fresher, low income makes them think that it’s not feasible to start investing in retirement planning just now.

Well, this is probably the biggest mistake in your financial planning. People tend to think that when they start earning more at a later stage of life, it will be easier to spare money for investing in retirement plans. But they tend to forget that as they grow older, so do their responsibilities and expenditure. In short, it doesn’t get easier to start saving at a later stage of life.

Another important factor to consider here is that the later you start investing in your retirement plans, the more monthly investment you need to reach your target. It is easier to save $1000/month for 35 years than to save $3000/month for 15 years (and don’t forget about the amount of interest you’ll gain for the extra 20 years of investment).

Myth 2: I’ll inherit a lot of money from my parents/relatives

You might have rich parents or close relatives, but that does not secure your future as much as you think.

Firstly, you do not know when you will be able to inherit. It’s pretty possible that you are in your late sixties and they are still thriving and enjoying the fruits of their lifelong labor well into their nineties. In that case, you will not get any immediate benefit from their wealth.

Secondly, when they are not around anymore and you do inherit their property, you can never be sure of the amount. If your parents have lived throughout their eighties and their nineties, it’s pretty much possible that they have spent the major portion of their wealth on themselves owing to their luxury lifestyle, charities and other responsibilities, or even their medical expenditure.

In short, until you get your hands on it, you can never know how much you are going to get from inheritance. In any case, it’s not very prudent to depend on it and abandon saving up for yourself.

Myth 3: My monthly expenditure will decrease

Contrary to popular belief, your monthly expenditure will not decrease as much as you think. Many people tend to think that they will only need 50%-60% of their current income after retirement. But, unfortunately, that’s not true. Rather, your income will stop but your expenditure will remain almost the same. Vacations with family, joining a club, and attending social events are some of the few things that will require plenty of money.

And unless you have a solid health insurance plan, the skyrocketing medical costs will take another big chunk of your savings.

Myth 4: I won’t live much longer after retirement

This was true once, but not anymore. In the past, human lifespan used to be only 70-75 years, but with the blessings of modern medical sciences, it has significantly improved. A person with a healthy and active lifestyle can expect to live well into their late eighties to the early nineties. So, you need solid financial planning for at least 20-25 years of your life after retirement.

Myth 5: My spouse will take care of it

retirement savings plan

Depending on your spouse for post-retirement financial planning is not the best idea in the world. We don’t want to sound too negative, but of course, there are practical factors to keep in mind.

Firstly, things can go wrong in your relationship and you might end up being divorced.

If we still overlook the chances of that happening and believe you are going to live together happily ever after, there are still factors to consider. Most retirement plans work in a way that, if your spouse only covers himself/herself in their retirement policy, it will yield better payoff. But if they are opting for joint benefits, they will have to pay a lot more premium and the payoff will be lesser.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have individual investments for your spouse and yourself rather than opting for joint plans.

So, now we’ve busted the 5 biggest myths around retirement planning. We hope you make better decisions after reading this.

The post 5 Retirement Planning Myths Busted (To Help You Plan Your Finances Better) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

LinkedIn Dos and Don’ts: LinkedIn’s Best Practices

LinkedIn is the largest online professional networking platform. It’s only wise to make use of it the right way. If someone is only using it as an online resume, then they are missing out on a lot of opportunities.

LinkedIn not only help to recruit people faster, but it also helps professionals increase their network faster. Some common mistakes can prevent LinkedIn users from utilizing LinkedIn’s benefits. Avoid these mistakes to avail its many advantages.

Creating a LinkedIn Profile and Disappearing

creating linkedin profile

One of the biggest mistakes for those who want to expand their network is not even using LinkedIn. Many users sign up for LinkedIn to have an online resume, and right after, they become inactive. Some users only visit their profile once a month or very occasionally.

If you’re barely active, it is likely to lose many opportunities to connect with industry leaders, recruiting agencies, and hiring managers.

By being active on LinkedIn and optimizing profile, you can attract more referrals, build stronger network, and get more opportunities.

Having a Bland Profile

Creating a profile is not enough. When optimizing LinkedIn profile, take opportunities to reveal your personal brand: skills, specialities, etc. Using the default headline given by LinkedIn and only listing your most recent position, title and company information will reduce the chances of your profile to appear in the LinkedIn search results. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile entails more of the basics, such as adding relevant keywords and coming up with an engrossing headline.

Also consider that when creating a LinkedIn profile, it should be visible. It is obvious that some details can be kept hidden from public, but it is not advisable to hide everything. This will defy the purpose of creating a profile in the first place. Motivating every LinkedIn and other users to be in your network before they visit your profile is an amazing idea to grow your network.

You want to help the recruiters to understand that you are the right candidate for them. That is why the Headline, Current Experience and Details, Summary, Past Experience, and Educational Qualification sections should be visible to the public. Otherwise, it is likely that hiring managers will move on to other LinkedIn candidates with more optimized profiles.

Sharing Posts/Photos that Aren’t Career-Related

using linkedin

LinkedIn, by first interpretation, is a social networking site. But it is quite different from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For these social networking sites, the primary focus is to connect with friends and socialize. In LinkedIn, the main goal is the same: to connect with social users – only the environment will be more professional.

Therefore, LinkedIn is not the site to share images of your food or pets. It is a network of business professionals who exist to keep up with industry trends and updates. Use LinkedIn to learn more about professional skills and grow your network.

Do not use your LinkedIn news feeds like other social network (Facebook or Twitter). LinkedIn is to attract more professional audience for your business. Its primary goal is to grow professionally. Therefore, business audience will not prefer to view images, videos, and posts that are not relevant to them.

Not Following LinkedIn Etiquette

Even though the objective is to make the most out of LinkedIn, it never means you should send invitations to everyone. By doing so, your account may get labelled as spam. Instead, only try to connect with LinkedIn users who will also mutually get advantages. A good rule of thumb is to send a connect request to the people who you already know or those who are more likely to accept it.

LinkedIn users should make some of the first connections with the family members, friends, and friends of family, previous and current co-workers, managers, classmates, and colleagues before sending to prospects and customers.

Sending invitations to everyone on LinkedIn and not keeping in mind mutual benefits will not help in adding value to your social or business network.

Another common LinkedIn etiquette is not to complain about your boss or a leader at your workplace. LinkedIn is not the place to comment on your workplace.

Thus, these are the simple yet common mistake that many LinkedIn users make. You may want to refrain from doing them to get the most value out of the LinkedIn platform. If LinkedIn is used properly, a user can open up a world of new opportunities.

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Be Free To Live Life On Your Terms And Master Fear

Everyone has their purpose in this world or they wouldn’t be here in the first place. Yet, why do so many live unfulfilled lives, are depressed, and lifeless? I’ll answer the question for you: fear.

Fear holds you back from leaving behind those things that hold you back. It keeps you in toxic relationships, unfulfilling jobs, and unhealthy habits. Only those who conquer their fear and overcome their shortcomings can achieve their destiny.

You will only be free if you live life on your terms. No other course of life will satisfy you. If you want to be happy, if you want to be satisfied, and if you wish to have an impact in this world, you’ve got to let go of fear.

Roadmap To Living Free

Like everything else in life, living free is a long process. It’s a way of life, and it takes dedication to achieve. However, there are some definite milestones to point out the way.

Know Yourself, Get Grounded

The first step of their journey to self-actualization begins with an honest and often painful examination of self. Whatever you believe about life, God, and the universe, the key lies in your own heart.

Once you know who you are, what you believe, and what you want out of life, then you have made a significant step. At this stage, you also consider your talents and passion. They define who you are, and will later light the way to the future.

Next, get yourself grounded in something firm. Life will inevitably knock you down, but if you are well-grounded, you can always get yourself up. Some people believe in themselves, others in family, and some in financial prosperity.

I always say that these things can and might fail at some point. If you can, put your faith in something high beyond the changing finite bounds of this world.

Assess Your Situation and Possible Options

live life on your term

The next step involves a calm and pragmatic examination of reality. Are you exercising your talents and passions? Are you earning enough? Are you happy in your work, relationship, or family?

More importantly, what tools do you have to go to the next stage? What do you need to acquire to grow? What are your options? These questions are vitally important because knowing your position allows you to plan for the future.

Plan and Set Up Milestones

Now that you have a clear picture of the past and present, set up the future. It is time to dream big and write down your goals. While you should have concrete plans for how you want to achieve them, always be open to new possibilities. The heart has a strange way of releasing keys to the future one at a time.

Team Up With Like-Minded People

Teamwork is a time-tested secret to success in everything. You are the average of your five closest people. You may have heard that if you want to walk fast, you go alone but if you walk together, you go far.

Having a team to work with makes you accountable, disciplined, and generally brings out the best in you. It also makes sure that when you fall, there will be someone to pick you up.

Write Down Your Fears and Face Them

list your fears

Fear is the biggest enemy of your goals.

To conquer fear, here are a few things you can do:

  • Wean yourself from television, social media, and mainstream entertainment. These tend to narrow your vision and deplete your confidence. Instead, read lots of great books.
  • Write down your fears and face them. Fear is often irrational, and it fades once you have it pinned down. For some people, fear is the result of some painful experience which takes a lot of courage to overcome. Either way, you can never move ahead until you slay the dragon of fear.
  • Surround yourself with positivity. Avoid negative people, media, and toxicity like your life depends on it. In a way, it does.
  • Have someone you can turn to. Sometimes, courage is admitting your fear out loud.

Do Something Selfless Every Day

Life is meaningless if you live it for yourself. Take time to serve God, serve humanity, serve your family, serve your friends, and the less fortunate in society. That is how you get fulfilled. And when you achieve your life goals, make sure it is about others. That is how you get fulfillment.

Final Thoughts

Living life on your own terms is about coming out of the shell you hide in. Face the truth instead of ignoring it, and then decide to follow your heart. Conquer your fear, and you will enjoy freedom and purpose like you never had before.

The post Be Free To Live Life On Your Terms And Master Fear appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Intermittent Fasting: The Fast-er Way To Better Health

What it is and why you should do it

Intermittent fasting is a way people schedule meal times. Kris Gunnars, BSc, describes it as an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. People do it for numerous reasons. People might participate in intermittent fasting to lose weight, eat better, or improve their health and overall quality of life.

Gunnars says fasting affects your body’s hormone levels, insulin levels, cellular repair processes, and gene expression. Some of intermittent fasting’s benefits include:

All these things can lead to improvements in other health aspects as well. For example, a reduction in cholesterol and blood sugar can cause overall better heart health.

We can lose weight through intermittent fasting because, when you don’t eat, insulin levels can go down and fat cells can release stored sugar to be used as energy.

In addition, intermittent fasting can be more convenient than other eating methods or diets. According to Dr. Jason Fung, MD, it can save you time and money. Fasting doesn’t cost anything. It may even have you buying less at the grocery store and you might also spend less time preparing meals.

Fasting versus calorie counting

intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is different from calorie counting because it focuses on limiting the amount of time you spend eating. Calorie counting doesn’t restrict the times you can eat, just how many calories you eat.

People often change what they eat when calorie counting, opting for healthier foods that are less in calories so they can eat more of it. For instance, a carrot might have 41.35 calories while a hamburger might have around 250 calories. You’d be able to eat around six carrots before reaching 250 calories as opposed to one single-patty burger.

In one study, people who practiced intermittent fasting lost the same amount of weight as those who restricted caloric intake. However, the study did suggest that fasting may not be as effective for women. Therefore, it may not be best for everyone. The important thing is you find what works for you and your lifestyle after all.

Moreover, intermittent fasting is considered to be more successful than calorie counting by some because it allows for beneficial hormonal changes more than calorie reduction. Constant intake of food prevents these beneficial changes from occurring, according to Fung. Not to mention the failure rate of calorie deficit diets is a whopping 98 percent!

Calorie counting does hold many benefits, like prolonging the nervous systems’ life-span and type 2 diabetes prevention. It may also may be a better option for certain individuals, but isn’t as flexible as intermittent fasting.

Usually managing what you eat when participating in intermittent fasting isn’t required but there are different intermittent fasting methods and types where it could be beneficial.

Though it isn’t required, there are better ways to break a fast than others. Your first meal after a fasting period can either amplify or hinder your results, according to Stephanie Eckelkamp.

Megan Ramos, director at the Intensive Dietary Management Program, says it is not a good idea to “binge on highly-processed, sugary, or high-carb foods” when breaking your fast because it can undo the effects of the previous fasting period. She suggests breaking a fast with a wholesome, low-carb, high-fat meal.

She also says that ending longer fasts are a little different and should be given more thought than you might give breaking a shorter fast. Short-term fasts (fasts under 24 hours) don’t make the same kind of changes in digestive functions that long-term fasts (fasts longer than 36 hours) achieve.

With long-term fasts, there is more possibility to experience symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating. This can occur due to decreased production of digestive enzymes. Eating better food when you break a fast can reduce such symptoms. Try to avoid eating any potentially problematic foods like nuts, seeds, raw vegetables, eggs, dairy, and alcohol.

Ways to fast

intermittent fasting better health

Wikipedia claims there are three methods of intermittent fasting. These include alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting, and daily time-restricted feeding. I am currently participating in daily time-restricted feeding myself. There are various versions of each.

Some popular ways are 16:8, 20:4, 24-hour fasts, 5:2 fast, 36-hour fasts, and extended fasting.

The 16:8 regiment is a plan where you fast for 16 hours a day and eat during the remaining 8 hours. It is a type of time-restricted feeding. It is relatively easy to follow if you start abstaining in the evening before you sleep for the night. Possible times you could then eat could be between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or noon to 8 p.m. It may take some experimenting to find out which time is the best fit for you.

The 5:2 method involves eating regularly for five days and fasting for two days. On the two fasting days, you are allowed to eat up to 500 calories though.

Alternate-day fasting is having fasting days with a calorie intake of 500 calories every other day.

Thirty-six-hour fasts are where you’d fast an entire day, starting after dinner of the previous day and ending the fast at breakfast the next.

There are also variations to these such as the OMAD diet, a 23-hour fast with an hour to eat one meal.

In general, it may be a good idea to try and eat a balanced diet that will keep you feeling fuller longer. Medical News Today advises eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains because they are rich in fiber, which contributes to satiety. Also, keep in mind that water and plain tea are usually allowed to consume during fasting periods, too.

Succeeding

Any diet can be hard but like any goal, there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. Be sure to set realistic goals. If you are a newcomer to intermittent fasting, don’t try a 20-hour fast to start — 12 hours would be more manageable.

Having a buddy can also help you achieve your fasting goals. Tell someone you are trying it out to stay accountable. And take it one step at a time. What are some smaller markers you can accomplish while practicing intermittent fasting? You could drink more water, go to sleep earlier, or avoid media and exposure to food.

All this can help your chances of success. Just remember to stay committed and remain consistent. Every worthwhile thing takes work to achieve so stick with it.

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Can You Save a Flooded Carpet

Carpets are a great way to give your home that warm and inviting feeling all year round. They are soft on your feet, they’re comfortable to sit on, and they do a great job of absorbing sounds and echoes, too.

However, even amongst all their cozy qualities, there is one drawback — they’re pretty tough to keep clean, especially when compared to wooden or laminate flooring. A spillage on a wooden floor is cleaned up in a jiffy, where a spillage on a carpet may need days of carpet treatment to lift out stubborn stains.

But what about when a sudden flood of water has submerged the carpet? Is it possible to save it from ruin, or is it best to throw it in the trash and find a new one?

The truth is that it largely depends on what type of floodwater you’re dealing with. If it’s clean water from a broken pipe or rainwater that hasn’t mixed with contaminants, you’ve got a good chance of saving it.

However, if your carpet is flooded with grey or blackwater from places like the toilet, washing machines, sewage, or even seawater, the only chance you’d have at salvaging it would be through professional help.

With that being said, let’s take a look at some top tips you can follow to save your flooded carpet.

Get Rid of the Water – ASAP

First things first, you need to get rid of the water as quickly as possible. The longer the carpet remains flooded, the less chance you have of saving it.

If you want to go the DIY route, open up all the windows and doors in your home to help the carpet dry out. Air filters are great for trapping unwanted particles in the air that show up around dirty water.

However, if you’re dealing with a more substantial flood, it’s highly recommended that you seek the assistance of flood restoration experts as soon as possible. Yes, this may cost more than doing it alone, but you will have a much higher chance of saving your carpet, and you don’t have to do all the legwork yourself.

Speed up the drying process with fans

speed up drying process

You need to circulate the air around your home as fast as possible, so the carpet has ample opportunity to dry out. Any sort of fan you can get your hands on will help, but if you have an HVAC system with air filters, then you’re in luck. This will speed up the drying process substantially and will filter out the contaminants from the air in the process.

Dry the room out with a dehumidifier

As the name suggests, dehumidifiers are an excellent weapon in battling moisture and humidity in the air. If you can get your hands on one, place it as close to your flooded carpet as possible. Also, keep it running at full capacity for at least 24 hours. If you don’t have a dedicated dehumidifier, your air conditioning unit will work, too.

Steam clean carpet and flooring

Once your carpet seems like it’s dry, it’s time to give it a deep clean. First, start with the vacuum cleaner to pick up all of the dirt, dust, and grime that’s leftover from the flooding. Depending on the type of floodwater you’re dealing with, you may have a lot more cleanup job than others.

Whatever the case, ensure that you pick up as much of the grime and bacteria as you possibly can. The reason why most carpets need to be thrown out after a flood is due to the mold and mildew that grows on it as a result.

To minimize the risk of mold growth, you should steam clean your carpet. This is a more thorough method of eliminating the underlying bacteria that causes mold growth.

Sanitize the room

cleaning the floor after a flood

Your carpet isn’t the only thing that’s susceptible to picking up mold and mildew after a flood. Take the time to clean the baseboards and walls surrounding the flooded area. You can buy specific cleaning products; however, simple household cleaning products such as bleach, soap, or even vinegar will do the trick.

Bonus tip: Check your furniture too

When a room gets flooded, it’s easy to focus your attention on the carpet while neglecting any nearby furniture. Any tables, sofas, or chairs that have been affected must be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly. If it’s been wet for too long, it will likely attract mold and mildew, which will cause it to smell pretty bad in a short time.

Conclusion

Experiencing a flood in your home is a distressing experience, to say the least. To minimize the damages to your property and the cost incurred, it’s important that you act fast. Dry your flooded carpet as soon as possible. Use an air filter or your home HVAC system, if possible.

In extreme cases where the flooding is substantial, it’s better to seek the help of professionals to give you the best chance of saving your carpet.

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Beat The Competition: Self Discipline For Business Success

How would you describe the business landscape in today’s time?

Would you describe it as competitive? Ruthless? Cutthroat, aggressive, or maybe a dog-eat-dog world? Well, all of the above are accurate discussions of how the business world truly is. Indeed a world full of ambition, it is still a world where simple hard work won’t be enough to guarantee success.

Once it was easy to prosper with your business ventures, simply some common sense, a good balance between spending and saving, and the thirst for success. Today it is not that easy. Just like you, there are a hundred thousand young minds out there, with their own ideas and a thirst for success. And competing with all of them is not going to be easy.

Why So Competitive? A Quick Analysis Of The Business World Competition

According to statistics — only 40% of new businesses become profitable after a certain point. And if you are thinking that you can easily make it into that 40% club, then you’re not only ambitious but also a tad bit arrogant.

The truth is that everyone out there is thinking the same. But after a certain point, they are all going to be losing money. No matter how client-specific services you have, or how much of a good businessman you are, it is going to be very hard for you to beat the business world competition.

This increasing competition can be the result of the increase in internet usage and the rise of smart device users. People today have a bigger pool of resources they can dive into and find the one solution that works for them. They are willing to conduct hours of research just to find the perfect match of a solution for them. This can be problematic for your business.

One of the main reasons why businesses might fail can be the lack of self-discipline among business owners. And no, when we say self-discipline, we don’t mean military-style discipline that requires you to wake up at 6 am every morning. We mean the kind of discipline that drives positive growth and success, and sadly enough, in this “live fast die young” world, businessmen are lacking in it.

The rise of big corporations resulted in a very limited amount of space in the market for startups. If you want to take that space for yourself, then you have to find some kind of strength and self-discipline in yourself. And if you are still wondering what kind of self-discipline I’m talking about, you should check out the list below!

Self Discipline: The Key To Business Success

The growth of your business depends on your personal self as much as it does on the market. Having no sense of discipline in individual life can lead to an ultimate business disaster. So, what kind of personal discipline do you need to make it into the world of business?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn and go for a run. The kind of personal discipline we are talking about sustains personal growth and positivity. With this, you’ll feel the positive effects of the business in your personal life as well. Here are a few personal disciplines that are going to help you on your way to business success despite the cutthroat competition.

Think Outside The Box

self discipline

The first thought in everyone’s mind when starting a corporation is what the majority is doing.

We look at our contenders, how they are solving the client problems, and try to imitate them, but only in a better way. But THIS is not the secret to success.

We have discussed how clients today have a larger pool of resources to pick their solution provider from. During this research period, they would basically compare you along with all the other competitors out there and decide whether investing in your solution is going to be worth it. In order to be successful, you have to break this chain of comparison.

To be unique is one of the most common thoughts today, and yet it is incredibly useful. To be truly successful, not only do you need to think outside the box, but you also have to reinvent the box completely. The key here is to come up with a solution that makes all the other available solutions in the market completely obsolete. When you do THAT, you’ll know that you have started on the path of business success.

Be Patient — Things Take Time

In this world of instant gratification, patience is truly a virtue, especially when you are looking to succeed in the business world.

Let’s try to understand this with an example — both Joe and Dan started a software development company around the same time. After a while, they both made the same investment decisions to increase the annual revenue amount. The investment decision, however, was not effective immediately. While Joe lost his patience and scratched the investment idea fast, because it was not giving him results, Dan stayed patient and stuck with his decision, which ultimately brought him more revenue than he was expecting. In the end, Joe’s business failed, while Dan’s business flourished.

You see the problem with Joe’s decision, right?

The truth is that when controlling a business, you have to be patient with the decisions you take. The world of business is not a food delivery app where your results will be ready after 30 minutes of making decisions. Good business decisions take their time to come to fruition. And that’s why if you’re a business owner, and feel impatient when a business decision is not working out, you have to give it time. After all, all good things come to those who wait!

Plan, Plan, Plan, And Then Plan Some More

Whether you are spontaneous or a planner in your personal life, it doesn’t matter. When it comes to your business, you need to make sure that you know the value of planning ahead of time.

Sure, all the variables that affect the success of your business can not be controlled. But having a plan for all of these variables and their fluctuations can prove to be more than useful.

Let’s think of the present situation, shall we? The global pandemic situation has definitely affected the entire world and businesses around it. Now there are some businesses that planned ahead and already had a remote work from home policy in place. As soon as the self-isolation/quarantine measures started in effect, these companies executed their plan. And now they are working smoothly from home, without any hitches and slowdown in their productivity levels.

Now, what happened to the companies and businesses that didn’t have any plans in place? Well, they had to scramble around and try to make sense of the situation before making a plan, which means delayed action.

Having a plan in place helps you to make the right decision at the right time, which means there won’t be any kind of slowdown in your business growth. Planning and executing the plan at the right time will help you to prepare for anything.

Be The Master Of Your Own Thoughts

We all have around 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts every day. All these thoughts in our head can seriously impact the success of the business venture.

For this reason, controlling the thoughts in our mind is more important than we think it is. Being able to capture all the thoughts and ideas and turning them into action is important to achieve success in the competitive market.

Controlling and channeling the thoughts in our mind is one of the most important self-discipline we can use to achieve business success. Without it, we won’t be able to conduct any kind of business decision with the much-needed clarity.

Leave Some Room To Breathe

Calling oneself a workaholic may seem trendy, but in reality, being a workaholic is actually more harmful to you and your business than you think.

Working for hours might seem like the best way of beating the competitive market. But at the end of the day, it affects both individual and business life. Too much work stresses us and makes us question if all this is worth it.

Not to mention, the long work hours will affect your personal life as well, which in turn will affect your business. So, do yourself a favor and leave yourself some room to take a break.

See Also: 5 Effective Tips To Maintain A Healthy Work-Life Balance

Stay Healthy For Success

self discipline is success

We have all grown up hearing the phrase “health is wealth”. As children, it sounded silly, but as adults and business owners, this phrase seems too real.

Being healthy is definitely key to success. If you are sick and bedridden for days because you did not take care of your body, then you will be nowhere near being successful. Hence, fostering good and healthy habits, along with a positive mindset is crucial for your business success.

The tough competition of the business world demands business owners to be at the prime of their health. They have to keep up with healthy and happy habits that lead to better success for your business venture.

See Also: The 11 Most Important Rules For Healthy Eating

Believe In Self Sufficiency

For a business to be really successful, you have to ensure that it is self-sufficient.

It is important for the organizations to have the right kind of investments, that is true, but the more outside investment you have, the less of control you have on your business. That’s why today’s startup methodologies such as Lean startup and Bootstrapping are becoming popular. With these methodologies, startup owners can start with as small an amount of investment as needed, and then eventually grow their companies from the revenue earned.

These methods are not spoofs, but the real deal. Developing a self-sufficient business that does not need any other investment to run itself is the key to beating the competitive market. If you’re still skeptical, then read up on the benefits of bootstrapping your organization.

So What’s The Last Thought?

The matter of self-discipline has always been portrayed as something we HAVE to practice, not something we need to in order to succeed. However, with a little bit of personal and professional discipline and, along with positive and practical thinking, we have better chances of really succeeding in the competitive market landscape!

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7 Benefits Of Using Google Ads

Is Google Ads right for your business? Is it worth the investment? These are the questions you have to ask yourself before you approach any new strategy, particularly paid online advertising. You only have so much money to dedicate to marketing, which means you need to make strategic, smart moves about how you utilize that budget.

In order to evaluate the impact that Google Ads will have on your business and marketing strategy, it’s important to discuss the benefits of using this PPC advertising platform. Then, you can make an informed decision about whether the investment of Google Ads makes sense for your company and budget.

Benefit #1: Increase Your Website Traffic

benefits of google ads

In the Digital Age, website traffic is a top priority. An increasing number of companies conduct some or even all of their business online. Thus, mustering up traffic to your company website means increasing the number of potential business opportunities. More opportunities can lead to more sales and revenue!

The majority of your digital marketing strategies share the same end goal: to drive more traffic to your website. It’s why you link your website to almost every social media post you publish and why you’ve worked tirelessly to improve your organic search rankings. Visibility leads to website traffic.

Google Ads introduces another channel that can help produce this ultra valuable traffic to your website.

Benefit #2: Generate More Qualified Leads

Investing in Google Ads doesn’t just ramp up your website traffic. It creates more qualified leads. In this respect, the traffic created through Google Ads is often better than many of your other sources. That’s because ad traffic generally consists of more qualified leads.

It all has to do with customer intent and behaviors. Every message created by Google Ads has an “Ad” logo next to it, so users can clearly distinguish paid versus organic results. When a user makes the choice to click on an advertisement over an organic result, it’s an indication that they are incredibly interested in converting —and quickly.

For search ads, you can also target keywords that suggest a user that is ready to convert. This saves you time and resources waiting for leads to mature and work through your marketing funnel.

Benefit #3: Get Faster Results

The digital landscape changes so rapidly, yet many of the top marketing strategies take months to develop and mature enough to produce tangible results. Think about how long it takes to grow a following on your blog or social media accounts. Similarly, reaching the top of a search results page can also take months and months.

Google Ads users begin seeing results as soon as they launch their first PPC campaign. This also means that you can reach the top of those search results pages in a fraction of the time that organic strategies require.

Consumer behaviors can change in an instant. The immediate results of Google Ads is the right solution for meeting these frequent and important changes.

Benefit #4: Build A Buzz

Most marketers utilize Google Ads because of its ability to drive website traffic and produce conversions. Google Ads is also a potent platform when it comes to growing brand awareness and building buzz. Publishing display ads can put your brand and marketing materials in front of users across the Internet.

Brand awareness is vital for new companies in a competitive space and when launching a new product. If you need to get the word out to a lot of people in your target audience, Google Ads is also a great option.

This means that Google Ads is not only superb at closing ready-to-convert leads, but also stimulating a steady stream of new prospects. When you empower both ends of the marketing funnel, the results can be huge for your business!

Benefit #5: Drive Local, In-Store Traffic

Another common misconception regarding Google Ads is that it only benefits online businesses. After all, what good does website traffic do for a local business? However, many small businesses produce huge results through Google Ads by focusing on using PPC ads to generate in-store traffic.

Local PPC involves targeting location-specific searches and using geo-targeting to only showcase ads to audiences in a specific region. These ads are crafted to drive foot traffic to a store, office or restaurant, instead of website traffic.

With more users using their mobile devices to access the Internet and find local businesses, Google Ads is a great channel for companies that want to position themselves in front of these individuals.

Benefit #6: Experience Affordable And Scalable Costs

benefit of using google ads

Most digital marketing strategies are free on paper. For example, there is no cost for a business to create a Twitter or Facebook account and begin using it to market materials and connect with customers, just like there is no inherent expense when creating a blog post or building organic search rankings through SEO practices. These strategies just take time and effort.

Easily the biggest fear for new Google Ads users is the costs. Why pay for these ad messages when other facets of digital marketing are free? Marketers also worry that the costs can get out of hand if they aren’t careful.

In reality, the costs for Google Ads are low and completely within the marketer’s control. You can set a daily and monthly budget to ensure that you don’t suddenly have a huge marketing bill to pay. And, those costs can be scaled at any time. If you want to spend more or less, you just change your budget and Google makes the necessary changes to your account.

Benefit #7: Measurable ROI

There is actually an advantage to the direct costs of Google Ads that many marketers overlook. When you know exactly how much you’re spending on a given strategy, it’s extremely easy to measure that channel’s ROI. Google Ads even shows you your return on ad spend to make it incredibly easy to judge how successfully your budget was utilized.

For strategies that are free on paper, calculating ROI can be much harder. There is, of course, some type of investment involved to produce these strategies, even if it isn’t monetary. Writing a blog post or crafting a witty social media post takes time that could be spent elsewhere. Then, you have to track what sort of results these tactics produce. It’s messy.

The Google Ads dashboard is rich with metrics and data that share every detail about the performance of your ad messages and the results of your investment.

Conclusions

Your marketing strategy aims to facilitate the buyer’s journey through your pipeline. By supporting both ends of the funnel and encouraging multiple types of traffic to visit your business, the Google Ads platform is a no-brainer.

Editor’s Note: The above article reflects the views and opinions of the guest author.

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9 Essential Tips to Become a Successful Student Entrepreneur

We all want success in life. Some want academic success while others may want success in their business ventures or marriage life. But in general, we can say that all of us desire to be successful in whatever endeavor we are putting our time and efforts into.

For so many years, we have been taught that success requires a lot of hard work but you might be surprised to know that most of the successful entrepreneurs nowadays like Vishen Lakhiani, the founder and CEO of Mindvalley, calls it a huge lie.

Lakhiani, together with other phenomenal individuals like Jim Kwik, Jay Shetty, Marisa Peer and Emily Fletcher, to name a few, are constantly shaping our society in a more positive way by teaching people to awaken their consciousness. This then allows us to be able to unleash the fullest potential of our mind, body, and spirit.

The story of success of the power couple Jon and Missy Butcher may even inspire you to be successful in your marriage life, career, and in life in general.

Becoming a successful student entrepreneur

The first lesson of success that Bill Gates, CEO and founder of Microsoft taught us is to “start as early as possible”. He was only 13 years old when he started working with computers. He taught us that starting a business venture at an early stage in life helps us become molded to it.

Not only that starting early with your business venture gives you the opportunity to become successful sooner than most people of your age, but it also lessens your chances of giving up since younger generations tend to be more enthusiastic and driven towards achieving their goals than most adults.

Education may be the cure to ignorance but certainly, achieving a degree cannot guarantee your wish of financial freedom to be fulfilled. Most of us daydream about having a beautiful house of our own, a car, a business, and a luxurious lifestyle. We are silently praying for the day to come that we, too, can savor the extravagant lifestyles of the business tycoons we are looking up to. But have we asked ourselves, “Are we putting in the efforts to make our dreams come true?”

Getting inspirations from success stories of student entrepreneurs

Coming on top of our list is Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder and CEO. He was only a college student when he and his friend/roommate Dustin Moscovitz created Facebook, which has since instantly stormed the internet with the surge of users from all over the world.

Another inspiring story of a successful student entrepreneur is Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian. They are the founders of Reddit — the leading digital bulletin board platform for entertainment and news sharing. Though they have faced several rejections before getting their big break, still, they were able to pull it through. In 2006, Reddit was bought by Condé Nast for about $20 million.

There are so many other inspiring stories out there that can motivate you and give you enough courage to put up your own business and be a successful student entrepreneur, too.

Let your passion burn. Believe in yourself. This article will guide you through your future success. Read on to learn more about the nine essential tips to become a successful student entrepreneur.

Identifying what to prioritize

The first step in your journey to a successful path in business is brainstorming ideas about possible business opportunities. Make a list of the different business ideas you have, then rank them based on the importance of each idea to you. In choosing the best business idea from your list, make sure to choose what your heart really desires. It’ll be easier for you to work on your business if your passion aligns with it.

Once you have decided which business idea you want to venture into, you would also need to learn how to find a balance between your business and your studies.

Choose the course that will compliment your business idea

It would be a huge help for your business if you have enough knowledge about the in and out of it. It would be even better if you can start learning more about your business by choosing the course that complements it. For instance, you want to venture into a computer-related business, you might want to take computer programming or any computer-related courses.

We all know that having a firm foundation or having learned the basic knowledge about your business is very important, which is why you need to carefully choose your course.

Be resourceful

A true entrepreneur is someone who can make use of whatever resources that are available in his/her immediate environment. Part of your tuition fee as a college student includes copy and printing services, access to WiFi and other online resources, use of library materials, and other resources. You can utilize these resources to start and even escalate your business.

It is quite understandable that you may not have enough money to be used as capital for your own business, which is why it is essential that you learn how to be resourceful and use these indispensable tools at your advantage while they’re still free!

Build up your connections

be a student entrepreneur

The success of your business often depends on the quality of the connections you build with people. Doing business does not only evolve with you having a good connection with your customers, but you also have to build rapport with your business partners and other people. As a student entrepreneur, your first customers are your classmates, teachers, and friends. You can make them buy your products or try your services if you have a good relationship with them.

Be inquisitive

A businessman knows how to ask the right questions to help him know what is good and what is bad for his business. It is also the most effective way to gather brilliant ideas on how you can make your business even better. A wise businessman also knows how to accept suggestions and ideas from other people.

Look for some funding options

College offers various scholarships and financial assistance. You can apply for loans, federal grants, scholarships, and fellowships. You can also look for specific funding options for student entrepreneurs from government livelihood programs. This will not only help you put up your business but also helps you establish connections to prospective investors and business partners. You can even take advantage of reaching out to a large and unique school community in which you can promote your products or the services you offer. This might even give you an opportunity to create a crowdsourcing event on your school campus.

Organize your schedule

to be a student entrepreneur

This is to reinforce the first item on this list. Once you know what to prioritize, creating a schedule that works for you will be a lot easier. In organizing your schedule, you must always remember to find a balance between your studies and managing your business. You can create a simple to-do list to help you achieve your goals more efficiently. Being systematic and organized can help you stay more focused and maximize your ability to manage your time and resources in both your studies and business.

Know your limitations and boundaries

It’s easy to say “yes” but oftentimes, saying “no” is better than making promises to your customers and not being able to satisfy it or deliver it on time. Remember that the art of satisfying your customers is promising them less but delivering more. It is also important that you are honest with your customers at all times because that’s what will make your business grow with integrity.

Learn from the experts

One of the best ways to expand your knowledge about your business is to learn from successful business entrepreneurs. Your teachers can also mentor you in some aspects of your business. It will also be helpful if you can get a chance to attend business expo and conferences where you can either endorse yourself or get endorsed by your mentor to prospect, investors, customers, or business partners.

Becoming a successful student entrepreneur is not as hard as you may think. Our current educational system even encourages and supports high school student entrepreneurs to develop their entrepreneurial skills at a very young age.

See Also: Entrepreneurship: A Better Career Choice For Generation Z?

Commissions on higher education even give away plaque of recognition and financial grants to best entrepreneur ideas for college students, which you can basically take advantage of. If you need help in writing a comprehensive business plan, you can ask help from professional writers from online essay writing services.

The post 9 Essential Tips to Become a Successful Student Entrepreneur appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How Not To Be A “Man”

Addressed to men, for the benefit of women.

If you are a male and are single/divorced/separated/married but available/in an open relationship/nursing a heartache/just a plain philanderer, there is more sex/companionship/romance out there than ever.

Tinder, bumble, grinder have made sure that even the most hopeless, out of shape, out of sorts and even out of mind men have a hope of getting laid/ find a companion. If you still haven’t, read on. If you are a woman who has had the misfortune of swiping the wrong kind of men, read on, in fact share it with men in your world and save other women from the future misadventures.

I will not be sugarcoating the scenario because I am sure if I do, the message will be lost. While you try to the turn the gender gap in your favor through dating apps, let me help you become a little more worthy for the most amazing thing on this planet, a woman. Here are a few things, which may help you behave yourself better than you are capable of; and thus enhance your chances of getting much needed feminine warmth in your life.

You are not cool

No matter how many packs you have tucked under the skin-tight tee (lose the tee to begin with especially if it has a logo of the brand which is bigger than your face) or how amazing the picture is, if you think you are cool, you just aren’t. Same goes to women, too, in case any are reading this.

If you think you are hot, you are only going to attract the specimen mentioned above. It may work wonderfully, but in case you need more than that, drop the “I am hot and I know it” vibe. Pack in a bit of surprise. Let her uncover those abs at the right time, much like all the other things you think you are good at. So, next time when you feel like flexing the biceps, don’t. Give an honest smile instead, you won’t regret it.

Open the damn door!

be an ideal man

There will be more women who would be willing to go back home with you (though not necessarily for the reasons you assume) if they felt they are with a man who knows how to treat women right. Basically, women want to know how good or bad a job your mom did with you and the best reflection of that is how you treat them.

Chivalry is often misunderstood. It is not just about opening doors and pulling chairs, it’s about genuinely respecting the presence of a woman. How? Start by listening. Try not to focus too much on the cleavage and the legs, listen! She is trying to give you the master key to her bedroom while you were not paying attention. You will get ample time to check her out, if, for once, you can keep your desperate self in check and just have a conversation.

Women are great at observing your tiniest movement, so it you think a fleeting glance on her tush would go unnoticed, you are wrong. She is watching every little move that you make. If your mom wasn’t kind to you while growing up or chivalry isn’t something that comes naturally to, Google the crap out of it, seek help, talk to a therapist and practice until you get good at it. Your dating world will change forever.

Size does matter

Both, of what you pack between your legs and between your ears. When I say it matters it doesn’t mean bigger is always better (well it is indeed better than small, in both cases). Good news is there is a right fit for both. You can’t give every girl you meet on earth a shattering orgasm or a laugh. But to some you are just the right fit.

What’s worse than not packing enough is trying hard. There is no better way to kill a great conversation or sex than trying too hard to be good at it. Relax, sit back, just do what you know and if you think you don’t know enough, learn from the right sources. Women are equally insecure in the dance of mating.

In fact, their list of insecurities is far longer than yours. That said, wait for the right fit. She is somewhere around the corner and when that happens you will feel like the best hung stand-up comedian in the world or in other words, just what she wanted in a man.

See Also: The Most Common Intimacy Issues In Relationships

Truth is sexy

Vulnerability in men is the new 6-pack. There was never a better time for a man to come across as insecure, vulnerable, and defective. While the entire “man” kind is trying hard to be alpha and scaring women away, be your real self. Be honest, truthful in your failures as a human being. It only makes you relatable. Know the difference between vulnerability, pitiful, and brooding – they are not the same. Look up their meanings online.

You want to come across as a regular flawed human being, not someone who has nothing to look forward to or deserves sympathy. While women love a project or work in progress, rarely anyone would want to associate with someone who is pitiful. Also, it is tiring to keep the “sorted” pretense going. No one is sorted and everyone knows that. The more sorted you try to appear the sooner you will wear them out. Accept your flaws and let them see the real you.

Quality over quantity any day!

to be an ideal man

Okay, I am going to save you a lot of money on dates, drives, dinners, etc., which you would spend courting women who are just not your sort but you still do it out of lack of action. Desperation is a real thing, I get it, but what is going to happen when you do get in bed with someone you aren’t really into is what I call “post climactic depression”.

Firstly, sex isn’t going to be good. Secondly, you wouldn’t want to be in that bed but won’t be able to get out that easily either. Thirdly, it will just make you doubt about your sexual skill set. Better option is wait it out, follow the things that I have already mentioned and wait for the right fit.

Keep the faith you will get laid, but in this case, “how” is more important than “how many”. If you don’t want to take my word for it, go ahead, swipe right on the next available profile and learn it the hard way. Needless to say, in the road of courtship all roads must lead to a bed. Nevertheless, the journey would be way more enjoyable if we men stop acting like what we have been told a “Man” is.

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How to Make Your Photos Look Retro

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

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

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

Use a Vintage Filter

make your photos look retro

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

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

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

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

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

See Also: How AI Makes You A Better Photographer

Give yourself some Light

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

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

Play with Saturation and Contrast

making your photos look retro

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

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

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

Go for Grain

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

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

Frame your photo with a Vignette

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

The post How to Make Your Photos Look Retro appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Effective Tips To Maintain A Healthy Work-Life Balance

According to a Harvard Business School survey, 94% of professionals reported working for at least 50 hours every week. This compounding stress at the workplace can make it difficult for you to leave your life to the fullest. The pressure of juggling the demands of personal life and career is overwhelming.

From having quality time with your friends to meet your deadlines at the office, you may have a lot on your plate already. You should be able to balance your work and personal life to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Here are the five effective ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance to let your mind be at peace.

Set your priorities right

Your career is important and so are your personal relationships and commitments. So, mapping out your priorities can help you dedicate adequate time to each of your priorities. From your daily exercises to professional work and some fun time with your friends, you can get everything done if you set your priorities right.

You can prioritise your time based on the following categories:

  • Urgent but not important
  • Important but not urgent
  • Urgent and important
  • Neither urgent nor important

At times, you may be tempted to leave work early and have dinner with your friends. But, you also need to complete a project that’s due the next day. Meeting your friends is important, but it isn’t as urgent as your projects. Think about it.

Let’s say your boss asked you to deliver a presentation within 24 hours. Ask her/him if it’s possible to extend the deadline. If the answer is positive, you can try skipping the task for a while and hang out with your friends stress-free.

Take out time for yourself

work life balance tips

Yes, you should love your career, your family, and friends. But, that shouldn’t stop you from loving yourself. Take out some time to take care of yourself at least every week. Your Thursday night is empty on the calendar. That doesn’t mean it is mandatory to go out just because your friends are going out. You can stay back home, read your favourite novel, and enjoy the smell of coffee.

Benefits of setting out time for yourself:

  • Boosts your overall immune system
  • Improves your self-compassion abilities
  • Makes you more productive at work
  • Helps you find out who you really are
  • Makes you a better caregiver

Remember, it is okay to turn down invitations and skip work once in a while so that you can have the time to yourself. Besides setting a specific time for yourself, you should eat healthy foods and get enough sleep every day. No career or friends are more important than your mental peace and health.

Figure out your strengths

Every individual has specific strengths and weaknesses. You can make the most of your strengths to get your professional tasks done hassle-free. For instance, I have always enjoyed doing presentations more than working on spreadsheets. So, I try to take up most tasks related to the presentations because I know I am quite good at that.

Benefits of knowing your value and strengths:

  • Helps you know and accept yourself
  • Keeps you motivated and energised
  • Releases the need to be good at everything
  • Saves time on having to re-learn a job or a skill
  • Lets you succeed and grow in your professional field

Let’s say you are a morning person. That means the best time for you to focus on your work would be in the morning. In that case, you should try to assign the complicated tasks to the mornings and get the easy ones done later. Thus, you will never have to stay for extra hours at your workplace. You don’t have to miss your deadlines as well.

Switch off your phone notifications after work

What’s the point of your social life if you have to respond to your boss’ emails even after work? Imagine sitting at a nice, cozy pub with your friends and spending most of the time on your phone. Does this count as ‘having fun?’ Technology has made our lives easier but you have to be constantly available even after work. So, there are times when you should turn off your phone and just enjoy the moment.

Four reasons to turn off your phone after work:

  • Scientific studies have shown that our brains are not capable of multitasking. When you work, make sure you only work. When you are with your friends, make sure you devote your entire time to your friends. Focusing on one thing at a time will help you become more productive.
  • When you stop responding to your professional emails, it conveys a sense of professionalism to your team. Eventually, they will end up valuing your time at and after work.
  • Your juniors will get better at making decisions, even in your absence. Your juniors must learn how to grow and make decisions. Being on the phone with them constantly won’t help them out.
  • Turning off your phone notifications will also help you relieve your stress. You can make the most of your moments and enjoy them fully. At the end of the day, you won’t have any regrets.

Let’s say you are at your kid’s soccer game. Instead of cheering for her, you end up spending the day on your phone working on a project. You need to stop reacting to the notifications that come from your work when you are enjoying a holiday. The more you respond to the notifications, the more prone you become to stress.

Make time for your family

work life balance tip for employees

Quality time with your family is enough to let all the stress related to your work go away. You don’t have to go out with your friends every day. It’s okay if you just want to come back home and have a nice warm bath. It will also help you take some time for your family, right? Have dinner with your parents and ask them about their day. Help your siblings with their homework and try to bond with them.

Why should you value your time even more after returning from work?

  • Brings you closer to your child or your parents. Family time makes us believe that there’s a life beyond our 9-5 jobs.
  • Helps you develop positive behaviours towards life. Stress is unavoidable at work. But, dealing with stress is way easier if you have frequent peaceful dinners with your family.
  • Boosts your self-confidence when you have valuable time with your family. It fosters healthy self-esteem and a positive self-concept.

If the work pressure doesn’t let you visit your home frequently, ask your boss to allow you to work from home for some time. Working from home not only boosts your productivity but also strengthens your bond with your family. Spending time with your family helps you relieve your stress and get through tough times with more ease.

Wrapping Up

Maintaining a perfect balance between work and your personal life is difficult, but not an impossible feat. Set your priorities right based on their urgencies. Spend time with your family and friends after work. Try out these tips and, hopefully, you’ll have a peaceful life ahead.

The post 5 Effective Tips To Maintain A Healthy Work-Life Balance appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Compelling Reasons To Use Compression Garments For Running

Weight loss, better sleep, strong bones – these are just some of the health benefits of running. But when it comes to such exercise, the clothes you wear can also impact its quality. Workout clothes are not made the same way so they can make or break your performance. For this reason, investing in a pair of high-quality compression tights is an excellent upgrade to your present running gear.

Compression tights are usually made of nylon and spandex and are designed to snugly hug your body and legs. These unique features offer several benefits for running. Here are some benefits that should convince you to add compression pants to your running arsenal.

Facilitate Muscle Recovery

benefits of compression pants for running

As in any sport or physical activity, it is important for you to recover quickly from your workout. Sore and aching muscles can interfere with your daily life. If your recovery rate takes too long, you may not be able to perform at optimal levels and make progress on your next run.

Aside from taking time to do warm-up stretches before starting your exercise, you can improve your muscle recovery by wearing compression leggings.

A study conducted by William Kramer, professor of kinesiology in the Neag School of Education, compared one group of women who wore compression garment for five days with another group, which did not wear any compression garment. The group wearing compression clothing was found to have better recovery of muscle strength and power. Furthermore, there was significantly less-perceived muscle soreness in the first group compared to the group not wearing compression garments.

Shield from the Elements

Serious runners don’t let something like the weather stop them from going for a run. For this reason, it is important to invest in good-quality running gear that will give you protection from all kinds of things, from inclement weather to insects.

Compression tights have an added feature of giving your legs an extra layer of protection. Scorching heat, cold winds, and thorny bushes can make your run uncomfortable and even dangerous. Wearing compression leggings gives you full coverage from these elements.

If it is particularly cold, make sure to wear compression tights that are designed for cold climates and with long underwear underneath them. Include other winter running gear, like a winter beanie and gloves to protect your head and hands from the cold.

Improve Circulation

benefit of compression clothing for running

Have you ever run while wearing ill-fitting workout pants or leggings in a fabric that is uncomfortably tight and thick? If you have, then you know how much it can interfere with your movement and general performance. You’ll suffer soreness and even chafing during and after the exercise.

Compression tights are designed to glide on your legs and body like a second skin. This design increases circulation in your legs, so it makes running easier and more comfortable. In addition to providing comfort, compression tights can improve your stamina and speed because it decreases energy expenditure. You focus more on your performance and progress and avoid getting distracted by pain caused by poor circulation.

Do note that some compression tights are made specifically for medical purposes. Take for example those that provide support to pregnant women or to people whose jobs involve standing for hours. These garments may help prevent disorders caused by poor circulation, like varicose veins.

Versatile Design

Different runners have different needs. For these various runs, you’ll need specific running gear to improve your performance. Whether you are into long marathons, short sprints, or recovery runs, there are compression pants that will meet your requirements and help you be at your best.

Some compression leggings are designed specifically for muscle support. This is important for long runs and for runners who are prone to aching and sore muscles. Compression pants with muscle support are also a smart choice if you are doing a recovery run.

There are also compression tights that feature more knee support if you have problematic knees. If you live in an area with particularly cold winters, go for thermal-compression pants, which are designed to keep you warm.

On the other hand, if you live in a humid and rainy location, you can pick compression pants that are lightweight and moisture-wicking, so they dry fast and don’t make you feel dehydrated and too hot while on the move.

Boost Movement

Speed is one of the things you want to improve on when you run, and wearing compression tights can help you constantly break your old record. You may have an ideal weather in mind when you run. Maybe you love running when it is only slightly sunny with no strong winds or rain, but you know you can’t control the weather. You still need to hit the pavement even when it’s cold and windy or even when it’s raining.

Compression tights can help you run faster even in these conditions because they are designed to glide smoothly and snugly on your legs. As a result, there’s less drag compared to wearing pants in a thicker and heavier fabric. Compression pants are also contoured so they reduce wind resistance and will not hamper your stride and movements.

The post 5 Compelling Reasons To Use Compression Garments For Running appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Why Virtual Events Make A Lot Of Sense

Are virtual events the future of events? Much of our lives has moved online, and going to a big event just doesn’t seem appealing anymore. Work travel is always difficult and it’s becoming more difficult. This means that all the huge events like continuing education seminars and conferences are going to be in trouble if they don’t adapt. Virtual conferences can be just as engaging, if not more engaging, than in-person conferences. So why isn’t everyone doing virtual conferences?

Big Conferences Can Be A Waste Of Time

big conference

Going to a big conference can be fun and exciting, but how much value are you really getting from it? Oftentimes, huge conferences and events draw exhibitors and vendors from many different related fields. While you may be there to learn about specific developments in your own field, you often have to sift through about 90% content and exhibits that are not relevant to you.

This leads to a lack of engagement in the events overall because people scan the booths or scan the lectures, don’t see much of anything that really applies to them, and then go to a museum instead after attending maybe one lecture. Not that it’s bad to take in the local sights when you are at a conference, but if you can’t get people to engage in the conference at all, what’s the point?

Large conferences can be a boon to many businesses. These types of events add $1 trillion in spending to the economy each year, including airfare, space rental, hotel stays, dining, transportation, and more. But with big economic impacts come big economic losses when things go wrong. Some people derive a great deal of value from such conferences, but there’s probably a better way to get engagement and more bang for your buck.

Going Virtual Isn’t What You Think

Virtual events have been around for a long time, but no one has really noticed until recently. They are more than just Zoom meetings with a thousand tiny heads, too. Virtual meetings and conferences can have all of the major parts of an in-person conference but can be done in a way that participants engage with each other online.

With virtual conferences, attendees can fill out a profile that will be used to match them with the content that is most relevant to them, as well as to the people who would be most valuable to their networks. Attendees can experience lectures, panels, and group discussions virtually, and do so without having to leave their homes and offices.

What’s more, 80% of those who attend virtual meetings and conferences say they are just as engaged, if not more engaged, than they have been in in-person meetings and conferences. While there are some things lost when you don’t attend in person, you can still derive a great deal of value from a virtual event with lots of benefits to boot.

Benefits Of Virtual Events

virtual events benefits

Think about how much it costs to go to a big summit or conference for work. There’s the price of the tickets, which can often be in the thousands of dollars. Then there’s the cost of travel, including airfare and ground transportation, which can also be more than a thousand dollars. Then you have lodging and meals, entertainment, and more. It can cost thousands of dollars to go to an in-person conference that might not even be totally relevant to your business.

Virtual conferences are significantly less costly than in-person conferences. The ticket prices are cheaper, but it’s also more affordable for the organizers to put together, so they can often spend more on talent like keynote speakers. Events can be more focused on one area of a field rather than being a catch-all to draw the biggest crowd.

On top of all these benefits, virtual conferences can legitimately claim a much smaller carbon footprint than large in-person gatherings because most people don’t have to travel to attend.

Are Virtual Conferences Here To Stay?

Now that we have easy access to all of the technology we need to make these virtual conferences a reality, more people are going to be choosing the ease and relevance of virtual events over the hassle of travel and the costs associated with in-person events. Learn more about the shift toward virtual events!

See Also: 5 Remote Collaboration Challenges and How to Overcome Them

The post Why Virtual Events Make A Lot Of Sense appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Design An SEO Friendly Website That Ranks Well

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

Find the right keywords

to design seo friendly website

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

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

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

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

Maintain one voice

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

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

Trust a professional

design seo friendly website

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

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

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

Use UX design

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

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

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

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

See Also: UI/UX Design for Users with Dyslexia

Conclusion

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

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

Tips to Creating an Effective Study Space

Are you not able to study at home due to a lot of distractions around?

Are you not able to focus just because of those uncomfortable sofas or less leg space? Or you are turned off by a cluttered study desk?

Well, you are not alone. Most students are troubled by the settings or environment at home as soon as they open their books.

Your focus does matter to make your study efficient. If you are bothered by those cluttered desks, frequent distractions, and noises, you cannot study well. To be able to concentrate on your studies is crucial especially before your important tests.

And studying well at home is even important if you have opted for online courses.

But that doesn’t mean all these troubles are obvious. Luckily, you can create a great study spot in your home. All you need to do is bring some changes.

Here’s how…

Create a Quiet and Distraction Free Study Spot

create study environment at home

First of all, choose a place away from distractions like traffic and noise. It is not easy to study in a room filled with all kinds of potential interruptions.

One study room might not be suitable for everyone due to different preferences. Some might like the room with light background music. Some might want it to be completely calm. Some might look for a small space like a cubicle. Whatever you want, make sure the space is free from distractions.

But not everyone has the luxury of a study room or an extra room at home.

So, you can study in your bedroom. You can also opt to create a space in the attic, basement or garage.

Make it Comfortable

It is challenging to study for extended hours at a time at an uncomfortable space. That’s why you need to find a comfortable place to avoid getting any back, wrist or other physical discomforts while you study. In fact, small discomforts can lead to critical health problems.

Choose a desk that comes up to between the ribcage and the waist when you sit at it and a chair that can be adjusted to the height of the desk. The chair should allow you to have your feet on the floor and not make you stoop your shoulders over your books or laptop.

If you are not comfortable with a desk or table, you can choose a comfy couch instead. Lap desk can also be useful.

The screen contrast should be comfortable to look at. A small desk lamp can be used to light your study area while a larger lamp or overhead light can be used for the rest of the space. Keep it well ventilated.

Keep it Well Organized

Imagine this scenario…

A cluttered study desk with the scattered mess of paper, books, pens, and other supplies around. To make it worse, there is also a huge pile of cups and snack wrappers. Would you like to study in such a space?

Most people certainly wouldn’t. It’s simple: A clean and well-organized space encourages you to study.

To achieve this, you can install some small shelves to store your books and other supplies. You can also keep your pens, pencils, and markers in the jar.

Clean your room at least once a week to maintain the neatness of your space.

Remove All Distractions

creating a study environment at home

Even a clean and well-organized study room won’t help you as long as there are distractions around.

Will you be able to focus on your studies with your phone constantly ringing? Or, there might be a PlayStation in the room that tempts you to take a break from studying.

According to one study, clutter can affect your concentration.

Place your smartphone far away from you so that you can’t be distracted by constant notifications and calls. There should be no TV and gaming consoles in the room. Ask people to give you privacy to study for some hours.

However, sometimes distractions strike you in waves. The temptation to watch TV and check your phone suddenly can be hard to resist. However, those urges are short-lived if you can resist them from the get-go. Here’s how to deal with those waves—close your eyes, take a deep breath for two seconds, and exhale it for also two seconds. If the urge still hits you, repeat it until you overcome it.

Make Your Study Space Look Nice

Not only should your study room be comfortable, but it should also be nice. Simply put, you need to create a space that you feel good being in. This will boost your motivation to study.

There are many ways to make your study space pleasant.

  • Candles and essential oil diffusers can scent up your space. Aesthetic lighting can create a great ambience in the room.
  • Many types of music can improve your focus, such as Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart.
  • Light plain shades are soothing, or you can add wallpaper to the study room for better ambiance.

However, don’t go overboard with decoration as it might lead to clutter and distractions.

Set a Schedule for Study

Frankly speaking, you need to create a strict study schedule to study efficiently. A study schedule lets you concentrate, as well as helps you determine how much longer you need to study. However, the schedule should be realistic and make sure you can stick to it.

However, studying for long hours can be exhausting and stressful. Therefore, make sure to take breaks. For example, you can study for 25 minutes, then go for a 5-10 minute break, then resume again for 25 minutes. You come back to study with a refreshed mind after taking breaks.

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

Bottom Line

Your study space plays an important role in your efficiency. It is not easy to study in a room that has a lot of distractions and is not comfortable as well. Therefore, you need to create some dedicated study spot where you can do some serious work. Having the ultimate focus can help you understand things better. This is especially true for online courses that require you to be more dedicated and focused. Overall, the benefits of getting your study space neat and organized are worth it.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts.

The post Tips to Creating an Effective Study Space appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Emergence of Telehealth in Wound Care

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

The Importance of Wound Care

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

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

Those Who Benefit From Wound Care The Most

wound care

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

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

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

The Expense of Wound Care

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

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

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

How Telehealth Helps

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

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

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

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

See Also: Saving Post-Acute Care For Future Generations

The Specialized Digital Platforms Telehealth Requires

wound care telehealth zoom

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

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

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

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

Wound Care Is Essential

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

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

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

The post The Emergence of Telehealth in Wound Care appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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

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

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

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

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

android app development

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

The Audience Reach

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

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

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

Revenue Generated

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

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

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

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

Timeframe and Budget of App Development

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

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

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

Flexibility of Customization

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

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

The Level of Security

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

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

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

See Also: 13 Security Tips for Your Android Phone

Android vs iOS: Summing Up

ios app development

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

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

Key Takeaways

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ransomware Attack: Everything You Need To Know To Stop It

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

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

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

What is Ransomware Attack?

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

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

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

Why is Ransomware So Effective?

ransomware attacks

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

Ransomware Targets Human Weaknesses

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

Lack of Strong Technological Defenses

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

Outdated Hardware and Software

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

How To Prevent Ransomware Attacks?

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

Strong, Reputable Endpoint Antivirus Security

ransomware attack security

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

Email Security, Inside and Outside the Gateway

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

Data Backup and Recovery

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

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

See Also: How Backup And Storage Led To Cybercrime

Don’t Let Ransomware Damage Your Organization

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

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

9 Frugal Tips for Families to Save Money

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

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

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

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

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

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

A treasure hunt

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

Spend some time in your garden and practice gardening

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

Go for a walk

frugal tips

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

Head to the Library

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

Visit local museums and theater

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

A movie afternoon

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

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

Learn something new

frugal tips for family

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

De-clutter

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

Go to the park

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

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

Start Your Coin Collection With These Rare Coins

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

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

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

Lincoln Cent

rare coins to collect lincoln cent 1909
Via usacoinbook.com

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

Ancient Coins

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

Peace Dollar

rare coins to collect peace dollar
Via wikipedia.org

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

Double die Lincoln cent

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

Three-Legged Buffalo

rare coins to collect three legged buffalo
Via coinweek.com

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

The Washington Quarter

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

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

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

10 Quick Link Building Tactics For Beginners

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

Link Building: A Quick Rundown

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

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

Tap into broken links and transform them into your own

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

Find broken links to your own pages and fix them

linkbuilding for beginners

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

Add a guest posting feature to your blog

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

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

Choose your network and connections properly

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

Find resource links and form your own spin to its contents

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

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

Take advantage of putting your links in social media content

doing linkbuilding

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

Make your content optimized for mobile

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

Reuse old data to create new and improved content

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

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

Add links to your content organically

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

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

Never buy a backlink from websites

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

Link Building: A Timeless Way to Build Connections

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

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

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

The post 10 Quick Link Building Tactics For Beginners appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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

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

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

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

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

nature teach us

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

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

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

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

what nature teach us

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

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

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

Thank you
Ridhi Panwar

The post To All Those Who Love Nature And The Ones Who Don’t appeared first on Dumb Little Man.