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3 Ways to Enrich Your Teen’s Extracurriculars

So, you know it’s important to provide enriching educational opportunities for your kids, but you’re not sure how to do that with teens without infringing on the development of their personal identity? Here are some great ideas to enrich your teen’s extracurricular experiences that will carry over into essential life skills.

Improve Talents

Most of the time, your teen will already have an idea of what excites them about a potential extracurricular activity. If your teen loves music, you might want to consider singing opportunities for teenagers that will help them find a group of likeminded teens to make lasting friendships. Doing something they love within a group that makes them feel accepted and appreciated is an essential part of building self-worth that they will need to be confident and successful in other aspects of life

Learn Something

Education isn’t reserved just for the school year. Sign your teen up for summer camps or workshops that they find interesting to keep their love of learning flourishing. If you can find community resources that will provide them opportunities to choose what subjects they want to learn about, you will be able to foster a continuously improving educational outlook that will give them memories to look back on throughout life. Whether you can afford a summer space camp or you just take your teen to a local event they showed interest in, showing that you are paying attention to their interests will pay real dividends in your relationship. Who knows? You might even learn something yourself.

Get Moving

Another factor in your teen’s overall well-being is their physical health. Though not everyone wants to be a star athlete, providing activities that reinforce physical health can be a great way to enrich your teen’s life. Whether it’s an organized sport like volleyball or basketball or a more personal activity such as running or yoga, letting your teen try out different physical activities helps them to set healthy habits that will help them later in adulthood. Gaining skills in a sport and improving appreciation for their body can also help boost their self-confidence as well as their mental health.

Overall, there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to provide enriching educational experiences for your teens. Whatever you do, your teens will appreciate the effort you’re making if you’re willing to accept that your child’s interests and talents may be different than your own, and that’s okay.

4 Tips to Help You Become Debt-Free

Whether you have a large amount of debt or an amount that’s fairly manageable on a monthly basis, becoming debt-free isn’t a simple process. Many people find it difficult to alter their habits, but if you want to live a debt-free lifestyle, you might have to change the way you spend and save money. Fortunately, these tips will help you start working your way to a debt-free life.

Consolidate Large Amounts of Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt typically carries a higher interest rate than installment loans, mortgages, lines of credit, and auto loans. So paying off credit card debt first, helps you save money in the long run. Also, when you consolidate debts, you only pay one monthly payment instead of several. This can help you lower your monthly expenses.

If you have large amounts of credit card debt, though, you might want to consider taking out a personal installment loan to consolidate it. Basically, you would use the funds you receive from the loan to pay off your credit cards. This bundles all of the credit card debt together into one loan with one monthly payment.

To find an installment loan, discuss your options with your bank or credit union. You can also explore online loans for bad credit if your less-than-perfect credit history disqualifies you for a traditional bank-funded loan. Or, you can also try to fix your credit score quickly so you qualify for a loan from your preferred financial institution.

Pay Off Debts From Smallest to Largest

The fact is, it’s easier to stick with a plan when you have some sort of instant gratification. That’s why you should begin eliminating your debt by paying off accounts starting with those that have the smallest balances and working your way up to those with the largest. Dave Ramsey calls this process the Debt Snowball method. Also, he encourages his students to include all non-mortgage debt in their plan including:

  • Credit card debt
  • Car loans
  • Home equity loans
  • Personal loans
  • Payday loans
  • Student loans
  • Medical bills

Remember, while you’re focusing on paying off your debts, you have to maintain your minimum monthly payments on all other accounts and household bills. You don’t want to default on your monthly bills to pay off one of your accounts.

Cut Your Monthly Expenses

You can’t become debt-free if you’re constantly spending excessive amounts of money on things you don’t need. While you’re paying off your debts, you should only be spending money on necessities — and you should those expenses as much as possible too.

To limit your monthly expenses you should consider:

  • Reduce or eliminate your cable bill
  • Switching your cell phone to a lower monthly plan
  • Clipping coupons and shopping sales to cut costs on household necessities and food
  • Reduce or eliminate subscription services and club memberships
  • Raise the deductibles on your insurance policies

Find Ways to Make More Money

If you don’t want to cut your monthly expenses — or can’t — you need to find a way to increase your income. Fortunately, the gig economy makes this fairly easy to do. In addition to taking on a part-time job, you could:

  • Become an Uber or Lyft driver
  • Deliver food for DoorDash or UberEats
  • Offer services on a freelance basis — writing, editing, and graphic design are all good options
  • Offer childcare services in your home on weekends
  • Sell items you don’t use on eBay or Amazon

Remember, any task you do well can become a service you offer to others. For example, if you don’t work on weekends, you could spend every Saturday doing landscaping work for neighbors, friends, and family members to earn some extra cash. So consider cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and running errands for extra money when you aren’t at work.

It takes time, dedication, and patience to pay off all of your debt so you can start living a debt-free lifestyle, but it can be done. Simply follow these tips and do your best to stay on top of your finances consistently.

Top 3 Customer Appreciation Tips for Small Business Owners

So, you’ve finally started that business you’ve been dreaming of, and you’re ready to tackle the big hurdle: customer appreciation. If you’re looking to inspire customer loyalty to capitalize on important customer relationships, here are three tips to help guide you.

Know Your Audience

The number one thing you need to do when looking for a loyal customer base is to know your audience. Remembering names and faces can go a long way, but remembering facts about that person or group of people that you interacted with can make an even bigger splash. For example, if you have a client who is an avid dog lover, consider bringing any assortment of dog gift baskets. Whatever you choose, let it be a reminder that you pay attention to the people behind the company for a more personal touch.

Follow the Golden Rule

As an entrepreneur, you probably know how it feels to be on the receiving end of shady customer service policies and pushy salespeople. The golden rule is simple: treat others how you want to be treated. If you find yourself getting annoyed at a company rep that drops by unannounced every week or sends weirdly stale boxes of chocolates once a year, that’s a pretty good sign to stay away from that method of acting towards your own clientele. Remember that the wrong kind of attention can get you blacklisted from your client and any potential referrals.

Make it Count

While marketing is certainly a way to get name recognition of your brand, your customers have already heard of you. What you want to do is make sure that they think of you positively when a need arises that you can fill. This means making sure your quality of work and customer service is top notch. It also means that when giving a customer appreciation gift, you make it meaningful. Functional gifts such as pens and pads of paper are more marketing tools than sincere gifts of appreciation, and your customers will see right through those tactics. Instead, make your gift count. Be creative, or at least make your gift relevant. For example, hand-delivering bagels with every sales call can be more meaningful than magnets or cheap office supplies. Doing what you can to have your company name remembered with fondness instead of annoyance can go a long way towards building the loyalty and friendship that can lead to your company’s success.

Exceed Expectations

When it comes to customer appreciation, the more your company exceeds expectations, the better. By familiarizing yourself with your clientele and allowing them to familiarize themselves with your company, you can do more than retain a customer, you can build lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.

Why Even the Smallest Pharmacy Needs Cutting-Edge Software

For any business to be competitive in the digital age, they need the best technology available to do their jobs. The medical industry is no exception, in fact, it is perhaps one of the most vital sectors to need cutting edge technology. When it comes to software for pharmacies, there are several practical applications that justify an investment in cutting-edge systems.

Point of Sale

Let’s start at the end. Like any other retail business, pharmacies have point of sale terminals with cash registers and credit card readers. Their goal is to process transactions quickly and be easy to use for employees. In addition, in a pharmaceutical setting, it’s important to be discreet with patients’ medical information and their prescriptions. A great point of sale system will take care of all of this for you.

Inventory

From pre-packaged medications and supplies from vendors to the raw materials needed to fill prescriptions, software for pharmacies helps keep track of the inventory you have on hand. Beyond keeping your business efficient, knowing if you do or do not have a medication or supply on hand can be crucial information for patients and doctors in an emergency.

Signature Capture

Many states require multiple signatures to release certain medications. In some cases, a patient needs to acknowledge that a pharmacist or pharmacist’s assistant has explained how to properly use medication. Secure signature capture hardware and software that allows patients to sign electronically via a stylus or their finger are very helpful in these matters. Using a trusted provider with secure systems and backup can make it easy to retrieve signatures and create and electronic paper trail, should the situation ever arise.

If you offer in-home or on-site delivery to residences, hospitals, or nursing homes, mobile signature capture devices are an invaluable piece of software for pharmacies. All the features of the in-store units still apply, with wireless transmission added to the equation.

Communication with Physicians

Finally, different hospitals and clinics prefer different methods of communication from physicians and pharmacists. While they have been phased out of many businesses, fax machines are still preferred tools in many of these settings. There are software solutions that can combine fax technology with other methods of wired and wireless communication. For physicians that prefer email or text messaging (either automated or manually sent), software for pharmacies can make this easier too.

Pharmacies need to stay ahead of the technological curve. Cutting-edge software makes this painless for pharmacists and their staffs.

4 Ways to Create Your Perfect Home Office

With a rise in people choosing to work remotely, you might be considering ways to improve your home office. Whether you need a quiet place to make private phone calls or you need a space to focus on labor-intensive projects, putting your mark on a specific place in your home reserved especially for your work can help you to stay motivated and increase your productivity. Here are some tips to follow when designing the perfect office space for optimum functionality.

Motivational Art

One of the easiest ways to make an office space your own is by putting your personal touch on the decor. Framed quotes by inspirational role models can reinforce your drive to work hard, while meaningful mementos such as souvenirs from favorite trips or Hallmark figurines can be physical reminders of the reasons you have to make it through the workday.

Comfortable Seating

Not all office chairs are made the same. When designing a space meant for high focus and long hours, it’s important to invest in comfortable, appropriate seating. Feeling comfortable in the place where you work will prevent you from seeking respite in more distracting areas of the house, like a sofa or a bed, that will keep you from being as productive as possible.

Natural Lighting

There is nothing so refreshing in a workspace as natural lighting. Working in light that is too bright or too dim is not only disheartening but can lead to issues with eyesight later in life. Making sure that your workspace is well-lit for the work that you’re doing can help give a fresh look and feel to your workday.

Organizational Hacks

In order to truly make your home office an oasis from the rest of your home, possibly the most important aspect is the organization of your office space. If you know you’re going to need space to file papers, invest in a filing system that will actually work for you. If you’re more likely to have all of your work digitized, keep your work area decluttered to prevent distractions. Keeping your workspace clean and tidy, with easy-to-find office materials, will increase your productivity and your mood.

Putting your personal mark on your home office can help you to increase your motivation, productivity and overall enjoyment of working from home. However you decorate your home office, creating a space that isn’t too sterile can help you feel more at home in your home office, and give you the motivation you need to make working from home a success.

Deciding on a Company to Clean Your Carpet

It is very important that you take very good care of your carpet. This will allow it to last longer so you get more out of your investment. You should have it cleaned on a regular basis. You do not want your guests to be turned off because your carpet is filthy and has been neglected. Therefore, you should hire a company that has been cleaning carpets for a very long time. Running a vacuum over your carpets is good to do once a week. However, a professional carpet cleaner will have equipment and chemicals that you will not. It is worth the money you will pay to have it cleaned by pros. Here is what you should do when you need to find a company that does Austin carpet cleaning.

1. Get advice from people you know who had their carpet professionally cleaned.

It would be in your best interests to seek out some advice from the people you know. It should not be very hard for you to locate a few friends, family members, neighbors or work colleagues who have hired a professional carpet cleaning company. Ask these people about their experience. Did the company do a very good job? Are they happy with the way their carpet was cleaned? Did the company show up on time? Were they friendly during the visit? Did they charge a reasonable price? Did anything get damaged by the carpet cleaning company? Use all of this info to help you choose a company. Contact the companies that get good references from the people you speak to.

2. Make sure that the carpet cleaning company you hire is licensed and insured.

Two of the most important things that you need to look for when hiring a cleaning company are the operating license and proof of insurance. You should never simply assume that a company has both. The license is critical because it will provide you with proof that the company employees have received the proper training to operate the equipment they are using. Be sure that the license they show you is still valid. You also need to verify that they are operating with insurance coverage. This will cover the cost of repairing any damage that the company might cause to your home while they are operating. WOW Total Cleaning is an example of a company that is licensed and insured.

3. Take a look at the Better Business Bureau site.

The BBB has many carpet cleaning companies on their site. Their reviews of each company will allow you to find out which ones are considered to be the best. Be sure to only look at companies with A+ ratings.

Can Machine Learning Help Your Business?

Machine learning has been a hot topic in IT discussion and news in recent years, but what it actually means for businesses and consumers is not always clear. Often, it seems like it’s merely the newest buzzword to grab investors’ attention, next in line after “the cloud”, “Internet of Things” and “blockchain”. It may be wise to not write it off just yet, though—understanding what machine learning is in theory and practice can highlight some valuable applications to your business.

What is Machine Learning?

Broadly, machine learning is the study and use of algorithms that allow computer systems to effectively perform a given task without explicit instructions. It’s often compared to artificial intelligence, but this can be misleading. An algorithm built on machine learning does not think in the same way that people do; rather, the algorithm is fed “training data” to generalize from. This allows for the construction of a model to apply to real-world data for prediction or pattern recognition. Training can come in various forms, including:

  • supervised training, where the data input has an expected output associated and the algorithm develops a generalized model;
  • unsupervised training, where groups of data are collated and analyzed for patterns;
  • reinforcement training, featuring a dynamic environment and a goal that software agents must pursue.

Business Applications for Machine Learning

Algorithms created by machine learning vary greatly from one task and training set to another, and the field is still rapidly developing. However, the theories at work are already finding practical use. Machine learning tools for businesses are often designed for forecasting market trends or projecting the results of marketing strategies. The massive data volume this can involve makes it a strong application for analysis backed by machine learning algorithms. To account for bias that may develop unexpectedly, top-grade machine learning tools may employ multiple algorithms to reduce potential variance caused by any one algorithm, permit regular monitoring by human analysts to catch emergent bias or make use of meta-learning algorithms that examine prior analysis for potential biases.

Complete Beginner’s Guide to Office Ergonomics: What Is It?

Did you know that backache is one of the biggest reasons businesses lose work hours?

After all, it accounts for more than 264 million workdays lost each year. That means about two full work days for each full-time employee working in the country.

If you want to avoid this and also increase your workplace productivity, you need to start practicing proper office ergonomics. It’s important to ensure your employees are comfortable since it prevents them from developing chronic pains.

Are you ready to learn some tips to optimize the ergonomics of your workstations? Read on and find out more:

What is Office Ergonomics? 

Ergonomics is the study that lets you design equipment that helps fit the human body. It takes all the human factors like height, weight, sight, and others. That way, it helps in preventing strain injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders from repetitive tasks.

This type of design often sees use in office products like desks, chairs, keyboards, and the like. With an ergonomic design, it’s beneficial since people will use these for long periods of time each day. That ensures they don’t develop chronic pain due to unnecessary strain.

How to Optimize Your Workspace for Ergonomics 

The first thing you need to do is to check on the work environment you’re trying to improve. Ask yourself the type of work done as well as the landscape appearance. The analysis will help achieve better office ergonomics.

With that, you can apply the right office ergonomic procedures. Here are some of the things you can do:

1. Choose the Right Chair 

Your office chair should give your employees the support they need for their spinal curves. It’s important that the chair is adjustable so they can rest their feet flat on the floor. If there is a footrest, it’s much better.

It’s also important to make sure that the thighs stay parallel to the floor. Aside from that, the chair should also have an adjustable set of armrests. That helps people rest their arms and keep their shoulders relaxed throughout their work hours.

2. Pick the Right Keyboard and Mouse

The mouse should always be within easy reach. It needs to be on the same surface as the keyboard. It’s important to encourage your workers to keep their wrists straight, their upper arms close to their body, and their hands slightly below their elbow level. It’s the proper posture needed when they’re trying to type or use the mouse.

Make sure that the keyboard shortcuts are there since it helps in reducing the usage of the mouse. Get a mouse that has adjustable sensitivity. It’s important since it will only need a light touch to use it.

Another good ergonomic practice is to alternate the hand using the mouse. It’s easy since you can just move it to the other side of the keyboard. To make it possible, you need to ensure there’s enough space.

3. Use the Proper Desk

The desk’s underside should always have enough leg space to bend your knees or swing your feet. If you can find adjustable desks, the better, especially if it’s a standing desk frame. If you can’t adjust it and it’s too low, use boards or blocks underneath the desk legs to raise its height.

Otherwise, you need to raise your seat to compensate. If it’s too high for your feet to reach the ground, make use of a footrest to maintain comfort. Use a wrist rest if the desk has a hard edge—pad the edge if possible.

Lastly, encourage your employees to avoid storing items under their desks.

4. Pick the Right Monitor Position

The monitor should always be directly in front of your employees. Its average distance should be an arm’s length, with the screen top slightly below the eye level. The keyboard should be in front of the monitor for maximum ergonomic efficiency.

For employees wearing bifocals, the monitor should be a bit lower. The general rule is to lower it an additional 1-2 inches to make viewing more comfortable. Put the monitor in a place where the brightest light source is to the side.

5. Encourage the Right Work Posture

When you need to optimize the ergonomics of your workplace, you need your employees’ participation. Encourage everyone to stop slouching since it will put more pressure on the disks. It also strains your back’s vertebrae, making you more at risk for future chronic pain.

Tell your employees to make good use of their chairs’ lumbar support. They should avoid sitting in a posture that makes them place more body weight on one side more than on the other. The chair should always be as close as possible to the desk without leaning and reaching.

Your employees should also watch out for their head’s distance from the monitor. If their eyes are always too close to the monitor, they will suffer from eye strain. The proper distance should be at least an arm’s length.

6. Encourage Employees to Take Care of their Musculoskeletal System

There are a lot of ways for your employees to avoid getting chronic pain. Simple tips like drinking a lot of water, exercising on a regular basis, and taking a stretch break can help. This will decrease their chances of becoming fatigued while working, especially if they do their best to not sit for too long.

Optimize Your Office Ergonomics Today!

It’s important to organize your office items according to how frequent you use them. Put the most necessary items within arm’s reach at all times. Put away those that you don’t use that much to avoid making a clutter of your workplace and risking potential injuries.

With these office ergonomics tips, you can start making your office a healthier, more comfortable, and ergonomic setup. It will increase the comfort level within the office, increasing employee satisfaction.

Don’t stop here! We have more helpful guides. Discover more tips and tricks today!

 

Preventing Motorcycle Accidents

Believe it or not, a lot of motorcycle accidents could easily be avoided if motorcycle drivers were more aware of their responsibilities on the road. If you already have suffered as the result of a motorcycle accident you might want to contact a Miami motorcycle accident lawyer to help you with your case. A lot of accidents these days can be preventable and are the result of failing to follow one of the points below:

1. Not being visible enough to other drivers is probably number one reason so many motorcycle accidents happen these days. If you want to enjoy a ride on your motorbike, then at least wear some reflective clothing. If this is not something you want to do then at least put some reflective stickers on your motorbike to increase visibility on the road.

2. Trying to force your way on the road between other road users to get faster and closer to your destination. You are allowed to squeeze between other vehicles due to your size, but remember to be very cautious while doing so. Other road users might not be able to see you especially if you happen to be in their blind spots. Again, to increase your visibility when coming in contact with other road users you might want to wear some reflective clothing.

3. Not getting a proper licence. It depends on where you live, but here you don’t need to get a motorbike licence if you display learner plates on your vehicle. Some motorcycle riders do it for many years. There are many benefits of getting the licence, even if it means that you have to pass the motorcycle driving test. Knowing better the rules of the road will allow you to avoid road rage and of course road accidents, so it is definitely something worth looking into.

Prepare a Strategy to Declutter Your Home

If you have ever tried to declutter your home, you know that things might not go as smoothly as you might have expected it. There are many reasons this can happen, but careful planning is one of the key components into making sure that you will be finally getting the space in your house that you deserve. Here are some important planning components to ensure that this takes place and that you take your belongings to one of the storage units near me:

1. Visualize your goals and see your home as an organized and almost empty space where everything has its place. Try to think about for a moment how your house is going to look like and then act upon it.

2. Look forward, not back. There is no point thinking about all those things that caused this mess, because dwelling on the past is not going to make any difference in your life. Instead, look forward to everything you will be able to accomplish and have fun with it.

3. Don’t try to do everything at one go, but rather break down the project into smaller parts. This way you will not get discouraged, because cleaning is a difficult task and can sometimes take you many days to accomplish.

4. Don’t be a perfectionist. Your house doesn’t have to look perfect, because the houses of your family or friends are not perfect either. Decluttering can be a time consuming process, and it does not make sense to be stressing over it. Just do whatever you are able to do and be happy with the results. As long as you keep things regular and under control you are on the right track to achieving your goals. Also, give yourself plenty of time and don’t expect to do everything overnight. It took you a long time to create this mess, so it might also take you a lot of time to clean it.