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Monday, March 31, 2014

Tech. Tips for Travelers

Travelling is rarely guaranteed to go smoothly, but there are at least a few travel headaches that can be kept at bay thanks to technology. If you know how to make use of it in the proper manner, technology can increase your likelihood of having a positive experience on your next vacation.

One good tip is to use tech to keep updated on your flight status. Flights are commonly disrupted due to one reason and another, and delays and cancellations et al can be tough to keep up with. Many airlines today however enable you to track your flight status via a website or app, so if you own a smartphone you can stay updated on what is happening with your flight no matter where you are. If an app is offered by your airline for this purpose, be sure to download it and ensure your smartphone has been fully charged before you set off to the airport.

Translation apps are another good idea if you are jetting off to foreign climes. Many translation apps on tablets and smartphones are free of charge, and also have voice recognition software, meaning that communicating with people who speak a different language has never been easier.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Protecting your Eyes from heavy Computer use

If you spend more than a couple of hours a day staring at the computer, you could be at risk for computer vision syndrome (sometimes called “Google eyes”). The result of prolonged computer use, symptoms usually include blurred vision, dry eyes, red, itchy, watery eyes, headaches, and even muscle spasms. Heed these tips for reducing eyestrain:

• Monitor placement. Experts recommend placing your computer monitor 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes. This cuts down the strain of looking too closely at a screen, which can result in blurred distance vision.

• Blinking. Research shows that people normally blink about 12 times per minute, but computer users blink only five times per minute. The longer you keep your eyes open, the more likely your corneas will dehydrate, burn, and ache. Blinking more ensures that you keep your eyes lubricated and clean of air particles.

• Lighting. Much of the eyestrain associated with computer use is caused by poor lighting and screen glare. To keep strain at bay, make sure your workspace is well lit. You can also use glare protectors over your monitor.

• Frequent breaks. Experts recommend that you take a break from computer work every 15 minutes. All it takes is a quick glance around the room to allow your eyes to focus on distant objects. Doing this will give the muscles in your eyes time to relax a bit.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cray Science Facts

An average cloud weighs about 216,000 pounds – making it as heavy as about two thirds of the weight of a blue whale. A dark storm cloud on the other hand weighs an average of around a hundred and five point eight million pounds – making it equal to the full weight of not one but three blue whales.

It sounds unbelievable, but the naked human eye can actually see up to 2.5 million light years away – or to put it another way, the Andromeda Galaxy, which is the farthest object that can be seen with plain sight in the sky above us.

Toads can sense earthquakes. Scientists are still unclear as to how they are able to do this, but the fact remains that three days prior to an earthquake striking L’Aquila in Italy back in 2009, an entire toad population decided to vacate their breeding grounds and head somewhere a little safer. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Creative? Seek out surprises to feed your creativity

The “Eureka” moment is often a surprise—you see something you never noticed before, or look at a situation in an entirely new way. “Planning for surprise” may sound like an oxymoron, but you can arrange to be caught off guard by new insights if you make an effort. Here’s how to cultivate a sense of never-ending surprise in your life:

• Pay attention to everything around you. As you go through your day, try to recognize when things are surprising—then focus your energy on exploring them. Notice why you perceive or experience something as being different. Explore the essence of the objects around you. Focus more intently on what you taste, read, and see. Adopt the attitude that you can learn something about whatever you see or experience. If you think you already know everything about the world, you won’t be able to enrich your life through observation and learning.

• Surprise someone every day. Say or do something new or different. Veer away from your routine. Talk about a movie or book you’ve never discussed. Voice your opinion about something you’ve kept quiet about before. Change your hairstyle or wear something that is out of the ordinary for you.

• Keep a journal of surprising events. Make a record of when you surprised others and when you yourself were surprised. This will make your experiences less fleeting. When you write these experiences and thoughts down, you prevent them from being lost in just a few hours when you can’t remember them, and eventually you may see a pattern you had not noticed before. From this you may find a path to explore that you hadn’t previously noticed. And you may encourage the flow of creativity in your life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Healthy Living

Tips That Are Easy To Forget
People are always on the lookout for tips and little strategies that can help them to get and stay healthy and there are plenty of such tips out there, some of which you may have already heard but forgotten about.

One such tip is setting a strict time for doing exercise, including any workout routines you may have. You need to work out the days and times you can fit these in, and then make sure that you stick to it. Exercise – and many other things – is far more likely to get done if you know precisely where and when you are going to do it.

Another good tip is to eat healthy snacks throughout the day such as fruits and nuts. Those who do not snack regularly are more likely to get hungry and then choose inappropriate and unhealthy foods to satisfy that hunger.

Eating breakfast every morning is vital to making certain that you do not end up becoming too hungry at lunchtime and as a result again making unhealthy choices or over-indulging.

Change Your Drink
The average American drinks as much as fifty gallons of soda and similar sweetened beverages per annum. A regular twenty ounce drink of cola contains around 17 teaspoons of sugar and such drinks are the single biggest source of extra sugar in the diet of Americans. The average adolescent in California effectively consumes thirty nine pounds worth of sugar from such drinks every year, with the risk of obesity jumping by sixty percent with every extra drink consumed by a child in a day.

To avoid this health trap, you need to take action. Water should be the first choice to drink when thirsty, and should also be ordered in preference to high calorie drinks when eating out. Apart from water, drink more fat-free or low-fat milk and less sweetened drinks. You can infuse water with flavor by adding lemons, berries, mint leaves, limes, cucumbers and other natural flavors. If you drink tea or coffee, have it unsweetened and if you cannot go without a sweetened drink, make it a small instead of a large.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tips to Ease Divorce Pain

The overall divorce rates in the United States have decreased over the course of the last few decades, but twenty five percent of marriages end before their tenth anniversary, and ten percent fail to make it five years. Adding to the drama is that many people fail to realize the financial impact that divorce will have on them, particularly in the case for women.

Everyone, including single people and those in happy marriages, needs to educate themselves on financial planning and assume a greater degree of responsibility in regards to their financial future. You should not rely on financial advisors exclusively and achieve some level of knowledge yourself so that you ask the right questions and correctly evaluate the answers when engaging with divorce attorneys as well as other professionals.

Going on an adult education course about investing, personal finances and taxes is a very good idea, and you will get unbiased and helpful advice on a variety of topics, including getting divorced. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Human Resources

Whether you’re thinking about starting an incentive program or making changes to the one already in place, you need to confirm that you’ll get the right results. Here’s how to analyze the impact of your current or future program:

• Objectives. Does the program support specific departmental or organizational goals? For example, will it increase profits or improve customer loyalty?

• Cost/benefit. Will this program be profitable? Benefits should outweigh its costs.

• Customer service. Will the program support or improve customers’ expectations for your organization’s products or services?

• Workforce. Does this program benefit all or most employees, or only a select few? Make sure every employee has an equal chance to participate in its rewards.

• Measurement. Can you establish objective criteria for determining whether goals are met and which workers qualify for rewards?

• Rewards. Will rewards be meaningful? Employees will quickly grow cynical if your incentives seem impersonal or cheap.

• Longevity. Are you and your organization willing to make a long-term commitment to this program, or is enthusiasm likely to wane?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Management Tips

Middle management can be a tough job and those in that position face challenges from both their subordinates and their superiors. The long term success of a middle manager often depends on their ability to adopt strategies and techniques that promote cooperation and collaboration.
Taking responsibility is very important. The establishment of clear responsibilities and roles makes sure that every person in a business is aware of exactly who is accountable for what, a technique that prevents confusion, misunderstanding and stress. The creation of clear business goals, comprehensive project plans and responsibility matrices directs the work and sets expectations. The most effective middle managers set high standards and lead by example. Middle managers also need to be willing to take the responsibility for the actions that result from his direct reports as his ability to lead is ultimately responsible for staff competency.

It is also important for middle managers to have the ability to build relationships. Developing skills in decision making, influencing and negotiation is crucial to being able to solve problems.

Beyond ‘Great job!’ Give praise that gets results
Everyone likes a pat on the back and a hearty “well done.” But making praise a truly effective motivational tool requires a little planning. Here are some pointers:

• Show some purpose. Making workers feel good about themselves is only a starting point. The purpose of workplace praise is to improve productivity and reinforce positive behavior. Keep that in mind as you hand out the compliments.

• Aim for a specific target. Don’t just offer clich├ęs or platitudes. For instance, if you’re pleased with how Conrad satisfied a complaining customer, don’t just say, “You handled that well.” Give some detail that tells him exactly what he did right: “You were wise to let the customer vent her anger and then offer good constructive solutions.”

• Be honest. Employees know when you’re faking it. Don’t offer praise unless you can do it sincerely. Passing out superficial praise can hurt your credibility instead of improving performance and morale.

• Find the right balance. Like anything else, praise loses its effectiveness if it’s overused. On the other hand, its power diminishes if it’s underused. Try to offer some sort of praise or positive feedback at least once a month. Give extra attention to new employees, those who seem to lack confidence, or team members testing the waters with new assignments. Otherwise, focus on those making an extra effort, accomplishing a difficult task, or exhibiting behavior you want others to emulate.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A few work tips for Introverts

Modern workplaces can make it very difficult for people who are naturally introverted to believe that they are going to be able to genuinely thrive in their work. For one thing, picking the right career in the first place is the biggest tip to achieving success at work. For introverts, this often means looking for a career that enables them to operate autonomously or in a less rowdy environment than some jobs. These jobs tend to be rather more cerebral in nature.
Workplaces that give set rules to each individual employee are generally better suited for workers who are introverted, who tend not to do well in workplaces where decision making, planning and brainstorming always has to be done in large, noisy groups. It is also essential for introverts to be able to structure their day in such a manner that they will be able to get away and make some time for themselves, allowing them to recharge and de-stress.
The key to coping with social commitments is to be selective and in control and not over-commit yourself. If they are allowed to, introverts can actually make better leaders than extroverts, due to their diligence, persistence and ability to focus.

What NOT to say to your boss (if you want to succeed)
Communication in the workplace is important, but that doesn’t mean you should tell your boss absolutely everything. Protect your job by resisting these potentially career-damaging admissions:

• “I’m in a bad mood today.” Even the most compassionate boss expects you to do your job consistently. If you’re able to come to work, do your best without griping to your manager about your low spirits.

• “Can you write that down?” Taking notes demonstrates your attention to detail and your commitment to doing a good job. But it’s your responsibility, not your supervisor’s.

• “I screwed up? Oh, well.” Everyone makes mistakes. Downplaying their seriousness makes you look amateurish and unconcerned with results. Take full responsibility for your errors instead of trying to trivialize them.

• “How do I do this?” Asking for help is one thing, but if you don’t seem to understand the basic functions of your job, your boss will lose trust in you. Don’t try to fake expertise you don’t have, but make the effort to find answers on your own first.

• “You didn’t tell me to do that.” Learn to anticipate your boss’s needs, and those of your organization. If you wait for a direct order before doing anything, your boss won’t feel you have the initiative and judgment needed to succeed.

• “I don’t have time for that.” If you’re legitimately overwhelmed, discuss your workload with your boss before it becomes a deadline issue. Otherwise, learn to manage your time effectively so you’re able to fulfill all your responsibilities.

• “That’s not my job.” The big no-no. Bosses never like to hear that an employee thinks a particular task is beneath him or her. Remember that you’re there to help the organization in any way you can, and don’t hide behind your job description to avoid work.

Keep your fingers on the right information
Ever feel inundated and overwhelmed by all the documents—paper and virtual—that you have to keep track of? To regain control, focus on these three questions:

• What do you have to keep? There are two types of documents: records and resources. Resources typically threaten to grow out of control, so apply the adage of “When in doubt, throw it out.”

• How long do you have to hold on to them? Try to schedule document purges at least once a year. But since many organizations have different requirements for keeping records, make sure you’re complying with them.

• Where and how should I keep them? Develop a filing system that works for you—and will be easy for others to use in your absence. The best filing systems are simple, flexible, and growth-oriented.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cheap tips for international students

A lot of international students have already experienced other parts of the world that some American students can only fantasize about in their wildest dreams. Semester breaks offer the ideal opportunity for international students to explore local areas and can do relatively inexpensively if they just follow a few simple tips.

One good tip is to travel on days that are less desirable. Putting your travel plans on hold until a later point in the student holidays can help save money, as can checking out the online options for travel booking to find cheaper alternatives.

It can also be a good idea to plan your travel around local events. To experience some unique events you may not even need to travel outside of state lines and you can also gain more discounts even on top of the student discounts that are offered by many destinations and transport companies. Your student ID can also get you cheap access to locations that are local to your school.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Over 50 Nutrition Tips for Men

Adults over the age of 50 have to practice healthy eating in order to gain benefits such as resistance to disease and illness, better management of chronic health issues, increased mental acuteness, faster recovery times and higher energy levels. Eating well can also help you stay emotionally balanced and have a positive attitude.

The nutritional requirements of men change as a result of natural ageing. Many people get sick, especially as they get older, due to making poor food choices, getting no exercise and smoking cigarettes but the good news is that many of these can be reversed providing you do so in time.

One good tip is to take B12 supplements. This vitamin is used to support healthy nerve and blood cells and to make DNA. B12 becomes more difficult to absorb from food as we age because of a decrease in stomach acid. B12 supplements are particularly recommended for vegans, due to most B12 being mainly found in meat and fish.

Vitamin D levels and our rate of calcium absorption tend to drop drastically after we reach the age of 40. Adding rich sources of calcium to your diet such as low-fat milk, yogurt, sardines, kale, broccoli and spinach is always a good idea.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Breakfast, Is it Really for Champions?

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. People who skip the morning meal tend to struggle more with weight problems, as well as low energy all day long.

Why? The hours between dinner and breakfast are usually the longest span between any of the meals in the day. While sleeping, the body still needs fuel to keep your body in working order. That fuel comes from glucose stored in the blood, liver, and muscles. By morning, the glucose is depleted.

“Breakfast skippers” can feel fine and full of energy in the first few hours after waking up, because the body and mind are refreshed after a night’s sleep. But that energy fades as the increasing demands of the day add stress to a body already running low on fuel. By lunchtime, even if you eat a healthful meal, regaining the energy that you would have had if you had eaten breakfast is close to impossible.

Remember: Mom was right. Be sure you and your family get a good breakfast every morning.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Telemarketing Tips

Getting sales leads can often be a difficult chore for a managed IT services firm, which is why many such companies tend to resort to having their operations outsourced to an expert third party in the telemarketing industry, thus relieving the hassle of targeting and reaching out to IT industry prospects.
IT buyers are not ordinary prospects; they can be demanding, busier than other prospects, and highly scrupulous, so it is not easy to go about impressing or swaying them. There are however a number of tips to help close a deal with an IT prospect, one of which is to break topics into smaller pieces. A busy manager is going to have an attention span of barely thirty seconds, so sub-topics need to broken into thirty second talks at most if you want to be able to emphasize to them why it is that your offer is the best they will get.

You also need to watch out for signs that your prospect is getting bored. There are verbal and non-verbal cues you need to pay attention to over the phone, such as coughs, interruptions and sighs. Gauge your customer’s interest carefully and work hard to get it back if you fear it is on the wane.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Importance of Brain Injury Prevention

Brain injury is a common problem with young children, but a problem that can be avoided with a few preventative measures from parents. Brain injuries can be caused by trampoline accidents when children land on their head or neck, sports injuries are another common area that can result in brain injury and brain injuries among the skateboarding community are also very common.

Many of these injuries can be prevented if parents to make sure their child wears a helmet anytime they are riding their bicycle, a skateboard or scooter and when skiing – water or snow. Avoiding pediatric brain injury can be done by making sure your baby or toddler is in the right car seat, booster seat or other appropriate child restraints for your child’s age, height and weight.

Getting your child or teenager to wear a helmet when it just isn’t “cool” can be a real challenge. One way to make it work is to show them the professional athletes who are wearing helmets doing the same activities your child loves to do – cycling, skateboarding and even skiing.

Even the smallest accident that involves a head injury can cause irreparable brain damage. Be sure to follow the same safety measures on a daily basis – no bicycling or skateboarding without a helmet and never go on a car ride without buckling up. Place infant seats, booster seats and other small child restraints in the back seat where they are safe from the air bags should they be deployed. Finally, lead by example. If you are on a family bike ride, be sure to wear your helmet and ever ride in the car without your seatbelts properly buckled. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

How to Deal with Extreme Cold

Cold weather can have a seriously adverse effect on our health, compromising a respiratory system that may already be in some distress and also causing frostbite and hypothermia. People who have lung problems can find extreme cold particularly troublesome, with higher virus levels causing illness and aggravating systems further, and cold air constricting airways.

The best prevention is staying indoors and out of the cold altogether, but the reality is that sometimes this is just not possible. Hypothermia can even be triggered inside by seemingly just mildly cool temperatures between 60 to 65 degrees. Thermostats should be set over 65 degrees and friends and neighbors should check on the elderly on a regular basis in order to make certain that their homes are heated to an adequate degree.

Symptoms of hypothermia include drowsiness, slurred speech, slow heartbeat, the appearance of being in a coma or sometimes even dead, forgetfulness, a weak pulse and shallow breathing. Hypothermia should not be attempted to be treated at home. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Work/Life Balance for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs need to try and squeeze everything that they can out of any given day, but they still need to try and keep some semblance of balance. The good news is that achieving a work/life balance is possible for entrepreneurs providing they follow a few simple tips.

You need to prioritize the main three areas that are of the highest degree of importance to you and take the time to focus on them over the weekend and during the week. Make good use of your mobile phone too; you can take the dog for a walk and be sending emails at the same time, or send texts while relaxing on the beach. You do not have to sit at your desk all day, every day.

Entrepreneurs do not generally take long holidays, but fitting in the occasional long weekend can be a good method of balancing out your life. Be sure to have guidelines so that work does not overtake everything else; stay away from your computer and shut off your phone during dinner time and family time.

Make a positive impression every day at your workplace
Often the little things go a long way in impressing your boss and your co-workers. Here are a few habits to cultivate if you want to polish your image to a bright shine:

• Keep your desk neat. Cut back on the clutter. A clean workspace shows that you’re organized and have things under control.

• Be sincere and generous with compliments. Show appreciation to co-workers (and even your boss) for their good work.

• Do your homework before meetings. Know what’s on the agenda and be ready to discuss the topics being addressed.

• Return phone calls and emails promptly. It makes co-workers and customers feel valued.

• Be on time. Don’t make others wait for you, or wonder where you are. Show up for work, meetings, and other commitments promptly.

• Wash the dishes. If your organization has a group kitchen, share the duties of washing dishes, making coffee, cleaning up, and such.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Children and Sleep

It has been determined by many professionals that the three most important phases to healthy childhood development are: loving parents or caretakers, proper nutrition and adequate sleep. While sleep may not be as apparent as love, safety and nutrition, it is no less an important factor in proper childhood development.

Children and families in general are much busier today than they were in years past. With increased school and work responsibilities, after school activities, day care and all of the other pulls a family has to endure, naps are missed and sleep schedules overall are not being kept. Naps are being missed, bedtimes are pushed back to later and mornings are starting earlier to accommodate these busier schedules. It may not seem like a big deal to miss a nap or go to bed an hour or two later, but overtime this missed sleep does add up.

Sleep plays a very big role in whether or not children are alert, drowsy, calm or stressed – all of which can play a bigger role in their temperament, social behavior and learning. Healthy sleep – something we all require, but especially children includes:
·         The correct amount of sleep
·         Uninterrupted sleep
·         The right number of naps for the child’s age
·         A routine sleep schedule
If any of these are missed, sleep deprivation is inevitable
When our children benefit from the appropriate amount of healthy sleep, during wake times they will experience optimal alertness – a state which allows them to be more receptive, allowing them to easily interact and deal with their environment. A child who is optimally alert is bright-eyed, calm, pleasant, attentive and with wide eyes will take in all that is around them. A child who is less than optimally alert will have altered states of alertness and temperament.

In order for child to grow, thrive and develop properly, he or she must get the correct amount of sleep, it’s really just that simple. Each child is unique in their needs so learn what best suits your child by paying attention to their behavior with various amounts of sleep. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Choosing the right pet for your family

Adopting a pet is one of the kindest acts you can perform, but it is important to be honest about exactly what it is you are looking for in a pet. You also need to ask a few questions, such as how healthy the animal is, if it has a history with children if there are young children in your family, and if there is already a pet in your family, how it is likely to respond to the newcomer.

You also need to know if the pet is already housebroken, whether it has been neutered or spayed yet and whether there are any behavioral issues that will need to be taken into account. It is also a good idea to work out the budget you can afford to spend on a pet.

Almost every dog can be taught to become a wonderful family pet, and while some may need more effort and time to do so, if you have chosen carefully and prepared your home in the correct manner, you are much more likely to end up with a successful pairing. Almost every dog can be taught to become a wonderful family pet, and while some may need more effort and time to do so, if you have chosen carefully and prepared your home in the correct manner, you are much more likely to end up with a successful pairing.