Tag Archives: advice

Help Yourself: Resources For A Healthier Entrep

The background issue in running your own business is that it can take over the rest of your life, and even affect your way of looking at the world. Customer fulfillment, logistics, marketing, publicity….the calculating mindset  needed to juggle all those things  focuses on what gets the most bang for the buck.

When that kind of hyper-focus slowly spills over to the rest of your life, some things drift to the periphery and languish on the sidelines. They don’t seem urgent, they’re not a problem for now, and you got more pressing things to attend to, right? Right. And so you go on.

That is, until the niggling signs surface. Having a touch more irritability. Being a  little bit more snappish. But of course, who wouldn’t be, if they woke up with back pain. And maybe achy fingers, too. And the tired eyes? Well, that’s just part of the job, right? And if you want to sleep in on the weekends to recover, your friends and family will understand. You’re tired. You’re not up to seeing them right now.

And so, part of what suffers can be your health and your relationships. Part of that can be the rest of the life you’re living right now. Look at the entire picture, and not just the specific sections that take up your time. We’re talking about taking a 360-degree look-around here — something we need to do every once in a while to recognize our bearings and truly take note of where we are in our lives.
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How To Make A Self-Care Program To Combat Stress

Stress is epidemic, and science has already supported what millions have experienced for themselves under stress. Stress can make people sick, and it can kill.  From hypertension to heart attacks, from frayed tempers  to burn out, from fuzzy concentration to gnawing back-pain, stress can overload us physically, mentally and emotionally.

Stress is an inescapable part of life, but we don’t have to live helpless before it. There are definitely factors outside of our control when it comes to living with stress, so that just means we can focus on what we can do in order to  help ourselves. No one can afford to be ignorant when it comes to self-care about dealing with their stress. When we take accountability at a personal level, we decide for ourselves what no one else can or will, and that action by itself is of great help in getting our strength back.

Knowledge is power, and  we need to be more aware of what situations can contribute to stress, and how stress creeps up in and makes us ill. We can use that knowledge to prevent that from happening and be able to take care of our selves when it does.

Stress can come from feeling we have no control, comfort, or choice. By learning about stress, and applying that  awareness to action,  we take control and open up more choices for ourselves to address  the cause and relieve the pressure, creating better situations for ourselves. Continue reading How To Make A Self-Care Program To Combat Stress

Screen Out Stress: Block Out The Pings

Do you remember reading about the Pavlovian response?  It’s named after the scientist who essentially conditioned his dogs to salivate on demand.

Ivan Pavlov’s  experiment went like this: He made a sound before mealtimes to signify that the food was coming, and when it did, his dogs salivated. When they became accustomed to the sound that signified the food was coming, he kept the experiment going with the sound, but not the actual meals, and his dogs continued with the learned response. Sound equals food, so they salivated.

From that kind of reward association, we can now get an idea of how we get trained to our own reward situations. From that, you can get a  glimpse of how we can get conditioned to act in certain situations, even without a ‘reward’ at the end.

What we are exposed to, we can get used to.  When we get ‘rewarded’ for doing things a certain way, we get habituated — again, conditioned — to responding that certain way. Expectations are set and we grow into responding quickly.

When you are use to the speed of response given by today’s technology, you can get habituated to responding immediately. Pings, pop-up messages, signals… when these register on your radar, you are alerted.

What happens when you are alerted continuously though, is that your brain can become overworked trying to sort out and prioritize all those incoming demands for your attention.

We can set certain rules and filters in email, of course. That’s what they’re there for.  We can set up voice mail as well. But these strategies are external, and don’t really touch on the internal and mental toll it takes to recognize, prioritize and respond to all these demands on our time.

  • Haven’t you ever felt a sinking feeling in your stomach when you see the total number of unread emails in your inbox and the priority folders in it? Or see the number of messages blinking for attention  on your answering machine?

When you are habituated to compulsive update checking or responding, your brain’s internal alert systems are overworked. Focus is affected because the stimulus –pings, dings, pop-ups, rings— can keep coming and while you consciously try to keep you mind on the thing in front of you, your brain can’t help but keep registering the pings on your radar.

You pay for it: In split focus, or frayed concentration, in spilled energy mopping up after each ping, and a sinking feeling you’re not really attending to the important things  in your days and in your life, since you’re basically on-call, all the time, for all the things coming in. Continue reading Screen Out Stress: Block Out The Pings

How To Save Money On Your Computer

The first step into this discussion is thorny: Do you want a new computer, or do you need a new computer?

The second step sets the limits to the discussion: How much money do you have for it?

Your answers define what comes next: 1) what are your options = wide range of possibilities 2) what are your needs = narrower range of options.

 

Maybe in the past there have been times when it was easier and faster for you to use money to solve an issue. That was your choice then and it still is now. Of course, it’s still up to you to decide how to make the best use of your funds and get the best value out of your money. No one else will be as invested in the outcome as you, so if you don’t want to make time to think about your purchase, whatever happens, you deal with the consequence.

If you’ve been debating with yourself for a while now on whether to get a new computer or stay with what you’ve got and just go for upgrades, the discussions in the comments section of the following articles (all from The Simple Dollar) are fertile ground, showing an in-depth decision process of getting a new computer, or exploring other options to improve the performance of the equipment you already have. Whether you need a laptop or a desktop, there’s good advice on what factors to consider, and what you can do to make your computer future-resistant.{more}

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The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 4

To cap the series, here’s a wrap up of the most salient bits and pieces to The Savvy Thinker’s Guide: Laptops, Netbooks and Desktops.

Everything depends on the user. The computer is just a tool, the user decides what to do with it. Get what makes your life easier, but don’t let the decision-making process take it over. If you can’t narrow your must-have specs, try making a list of nice-to-haves, real-sweet-but-I-can-wait, and could-be betters. Work your way up from there.

Surface thinking about computers is about your fantasies. You fall in lust with the implicit power of the image, you pay a premium for that power, but will you use it to the best of its capacity? To get a computer that will serve you best you need to know what you need, and where you’ll use it, as well as how much you’re prepared to pay for it. (And how long you plan to hang onto it.)

New models and incremental performance improvements come down the manufacturing pipeline at a near predictable rate, if you listen to the manufactures and tech sites. A unit that reliably serves your purposes for the length of its expected lifespan is the key, anything beyond that is a bonus– and good maintenance skills. Continue reading The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 4

The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 3

Laptops have come a long way from those boxy, briefcase-sized prototypes you may have grown up with. And while there are still some work-horse models out there built for rugged use and hard-shocks, there are also the sleek, matte –ahem, airy-looking models… airy, geddit?– that are so thin you could slide them into a large manila folder and they could pass for a year-end accounting report.

So why a laptop?

  • You can carry it wherever you need to go. Period.
  • You’re used to a laptop.
  • You’re a mobile worker, and you need to have a computer that can go with you as a partner, not a side-kick.

At this point, laptops are just portable desk-tops with smaller monitors and a comparatively higher price tag. Student, mainstream, business and gaming, there’s a laptop for every need and and every budget ( there are outlets for refurbished ones too, just so you know.)
Continue reading The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 3

The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 2

Netbooks are like the tea-cup chihuahuas of the computing world. Mini-laptops, they’re designed to be light-weight (in the most literal sense) tools to help you connect to the Internet and accomplish lightweight (figuratively speaking) tasks like browsing, email, word processing and watching streaming video (Standard netbooks don’t come with optical disc drives for CDs/DVD’s, those things bring the weight up.) That’s it.

To emphasize and summarize: Don’t expect these little darlings to do what they’re not specced for. Netbooks are secondary computers, with limited capabilities that come locked in with the feather-weight status and the extreme portability. That’s why they’re called net-books. You connect to the internet, watch a few vids, and do light-duty computing. Period. They’re aides, not partners. At least for the moment.

Ahem. To continue: On the outside, there appears to be a lot of variation in netbook models: glossy covers vs. matte, sea-shell configuration, chiclet keyboards vs. traditional, etc. As a group, however, because of the common size and weight constraints they come with basic specs and similar hardware. Continue reading The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 2

The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops

So, it’s time to get another computer, and you asked around for the latest pointers. Your cubicle-neighbor at work touts the coolness of her netbook when she’s working on her novel during lunch breaks — you can type with one hand and hold your sandwich in the other, how neat is that? — while your best friend gleefully rubs your face in the awesome powers of his gaming laptop.

Meanwhile, your uncle clucks irritably at all the shiny toys that manufacturers come up with to boost sales, all the while praising the merits of his reliable desk top, the one he’s had for years. You know, the one so steady he’s only had to upgrade the monitor (and add some RAM, plus fiddle a bit with a more powerful CPU and motherboard, an extra hard disk…) to make watching movies and reading on-line easier. With so many options out there, there’s bound to be one for you.

Now, whether you’re a first time buyer or a seasoned online- electronic bargain hunter, it’s a cinch that you can access all the information you need on-line to make an informed choice about the best computers out there, but this article series isn’t about that access.

Well, not entirely, anyway.

This article is about thinking through the process of picking a computer to fit your needs. This way, you not only get to pick the best computer out there, but also the best computer for you. And if anyone else you know is having problems picking a new computer for themselves, you’re there to give your improved take on the whole thing. Hold up on the impulse buy, hang onto your credit card, and let’s just think things through. Continue reading The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops