Displaying All Posts from March, 2011

5 Steps to Creating a Balanced Life

In today’s “hustle and bustle”world, it is getting more difficult to separate our professional lives from our personal time. People in this era (more than in any other time before) find themselves taking work home and spending late hours on their laptops. Most of these hard workers justify their misplaced time with their large salaries. However, they fail to see the costs of such a distorted work-life balance.

Family and friendships are negatively affected when you take the time that you once used to play with your family or hang out with your friends and repurpose it for work. The increased stress levels and lack of rest can have a terrible impact on your health and personal well-being. Here are some ways you can start working towards creating a more balanced life — and you can start them right away.

1. Create personal balance by deciding what is important to you.

Before it is possible to bring balance to your work and personal life, you need to make up your mind as far as your priorities are concerned. Is it your family or your work? If you are not able to immediately and honestly make this decision, you can try the following simple exercise. Try staying away from both aspects of your life continuously for at least a couple of days. Maybe you should go away for a few days all by yourself to make this easier. The thing that you miss more during that time is the area of your life that is most important to you. You should focus more of your attention on that area; the area of your life that is most important to you.

Your overall goals and purpose should reflect your priorities. You should be working towards something that will bring you satisfaction and joy. You should do what is important and meaningful. So take the time to figure out exactly what your priorities are.
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The 10 Pillars of an Awesome Team Event

Planning an awesome team event is a great way to create and enhance team spirit and boost morale.  An awesome team event is an opportunity for people to spend time together outside of the normal confines of work and get to know each other better. It is also an opportunity to unwind, strengthen relationships, which will have a positive effect on the team and their work when back in the workplace.

In order for a team event to stand out, you’ll need to take several things to make that happen — pillars, if you will. Here are the 10 pillars of an awesome team event

1. Plan

Decide on the goal of the event, how many people will be attending and what your budget restrictions are. You may want to ask for opinions about what event to hold, depending on the size of your company. What time of year will you hold the event? Knowing this will allow you to decide on suitable venues and activities. If the event includes getting muddy or sweaty, make sure you have places arranged for people to change or shower so that they feel comfortable later on (or when they travel home).

2. Include People

Put some thought into what kind of event you want to hold and how to include everyone as much as possible. For example, if the event includes lots of physical activity, is that going to exclude anyone? Make sure that you plan the event so that as many people can attend as possible (and don’t plan it just before an important deadline!). If you are arranging refreshments, ensure there are different choices of food and drink available. It is not always possible to include everyone, but showing that you have put some thought into accommodating as many people as possible will make a difference. You can show this in your choice of activity, when you hold the event and how you accommodate different people at the event.
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Review: Minus- Quickly and Productively Share Files Online

If you’ve got a huge number of photos to share, there are services like Flickr or Facebook Photos which help you upload, organize and create albums — then share them easily. But what if you want to quickly share a picture or two, and don’t want to go through all the steps involved in sharing photos through a full-fledged photo sharing tool? Similarly, what if you want to instantly share a document or video without wasting time? That’s where services like Minus come in handy.

Minus (or Min.us) is a super simple online file sharing tool that boasts a clutter-free interface and lets you share photos, music, documents and videos in seconds. Let’s check out how to use this service, and what features it offers. Click Here to Read Article …

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Why I Use a Leather Day Planner Instead of a Smartphone

When I meet another person who carries around a monthly planner that is made out of (gasp) paper I get positively giddy. Despite my most recent post on dumbphones, I’m not against technology. But when it comes to certain things (monthly planners included), I gravitate towards the tactile.

I have carried around a paper planner since college. For four years spanning the late 1990s and early 2000s, my every move was cataloged in that thing. When papers were due, my work schedule, important phone numbers, a list of books I wanted to read — among other things. My planner had pockets where I kept stamps, an address book, and a handy 6-inch ruler that I rarely used…but always appreciated.

My good friend Annie is the only other person I know who loves a paper planner the way I do. I knew we would be friends instantly when she pulled it out one day to check her schedule. We also love writing letters, receiving mail, and expensive stationery. Her thoughts on her planner are aligned with mine:

“It’s easy to use and it’s harder to misplace than a smaller, electronic device.”

You’d think we were in our late 70s — instead of our early 30s.
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RockMelt: A Surprisingly Productive Browser

RockMelt is a snazzy browser built on Chromium that’s made for social sharing. It’s also potentially the least productive thing ever. Well, at first glance at least. Turns out that you can use RockMelt to help boost your productivity.

Using RockMelt for Work

Have a job where you have to keep up on social media? Maybe you’re a freelancer and social media is an important part of your marketing strategy? Well, here’s RockMelt to the rescue.

RockMelt Easily Feeds and Follow Your Favorite Sites

Let’s say you’re a blogger and need to keep on top of news in your industry. You can easily add feeds and monitor industry related blogs in real-time, straight from your browser without opening another window.

Adding a feed involves 3 quick steps:

  1. Open a new tab and go to the site of the feed that you want to add.
  2. Open the “Add Feeds” Panel from the App Edge.
  3. Click on “Start” to add a feed.

From there, the feed shows up with an icon on the right-hand panel. You can click on it whenever you see that the site has updated and get a preview similar to what you would see in a feed reader. There’s also a handy “Share Icon” right next to the preview.
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Why You Should Keep a Mileage Log

Mileage logs are used in business to keep a track of distances travelled for work purposes. If your job involves a lot of driving, or if you have a company car, you will usually be asked to keep a detailed mileage log. Most companies pay a certain amount per mile or kilometre to cover fuel and wear and tear on your vehicle. If you are self-employed you will be able to claim deductions against your tax payments. While it will take some time to set up and even more time to be consistent in using it, it is crucial to keep a mileage log.

Keeping Track of Your Travel

Keep track of any travelling you do for work. Examples include:

  • travelling to and from client offices for meetings;
  • delivering goods and services;
  • using your vehicle for voluntary work.

It is important to keep track of miles or kilometres travelled. If you are self employed, you will be able to get tax relief on your travel costs. With rising fuel prices it is particularly useful to know how much you are spending on travel. You can then make informed choices about how you travel and even make alternative arrangements. Travel is not always necessary and you may look into alternative ways to meet or communicate with clients or colleagues, such as Skype or conference calls.
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Awesome Links #40: Tranquil Workspace, Digital Mindfulness, Opportunities

7 Ways to Create a More Tranquil Workspace
A pleasant and elegant workspace can go a long way in making you more productive at work. I really liked this Lifehack blog post on ways to create a calm workspace. I can relate to the “add some noise” suggestion. I myself sometimes find it very hard to work amidst pin-drop silence. A decent article overall.

What Running a Marathon Taught Me About Running a Business
This post by Sullen Hughes over at the FeelGooder blog talks about his experiences as a marathon runner and a business owner, and how the former occupation taught him to excel at the latter. He relates them pretty well; some valuable nuggets for those running a business.

A Simple Guide for a Mindful Digital Life
Bridging the gap between various online identities and focusing on the essential to get meaningful work done is what this post on the Zen Habits blog discusses. It’s a detailed article that also mentions some useful tools to streamline your digital presence and be more productive.
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The Netsetter: Are You Avoiding the Content Farm Stigma?

Last month, Google rolled out a change in its ranking algorithm that has come to be known as the “Farmer Update” — a reference to the so-called “content farms” that Google has put in the crosshairs. Not surprisingly, the algorithm change was more than a little controversial. Many observers pointed out collateral damage supposedly done to more legitimate sites, while other critics charged Google with allegedly singling out individual domains.

While I think the latter is a conspiracy theory, I do have access to the analytics of a number of large sites (200K to 1.5M pageviews per month), and the rankings drop in the sites that were hit hardest did seem to drop unilaterally, while the sites with minimal damage seemed to lose rankings on a page-by-page basis. How can you protect your site from being flagged as a content farm, regardless of whether or not it is? I don’t pretend to know Google’s algorithm, but I can offer some educated guesses.
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