Category: General

Jul 21 2012

Why You Should Create a Sitemap 1

Why You Should Create a Sitemap 1

A sitemap is often considered redundant in the process of building a website, and that is indeed the fact if you made a sitemap for the sake of having one.

By highlighting the importance of having a well constructed sitemap, you will be able to tailor your own sitemap to suit your own needs.

1) Navigation purposes

A sitemap literally acts as a map of your site. If your visitors browse your site and gets lost in amongst the thousands of pages on your site, they can always refer to your sitemap to see where they are, and navigate through your pages with the utmost ease.

2) Conveying your site’s theme

When your visitors load up your sitemap, they will get the gist of your site within a very short amount of time. There is no need to get the “big picture” of your site by reading through each page, and by doing that you will be saving your visitors’ time.

They will be able to click on the links they are interested in, and even better, they will see the wealth of content that you have, and hopefully want to return to learn more.

FURTHER READING:

44 Top Online Marketing Trends in 2013: How to Use Them to Increase Your Profits

SEO Success Secrets: How to Master Search Engine Optimization Techniques for Continuous Free Traffic to Your Website

How to Start Using Twitter as an Effective Marketing Tool for Your Business

How to Make Your Small Business Look Larger Even on a Budget

Information Marketing Success

Mastering Google’s Zero Moment of Truth in Your Online Marketing

Jul 18 2012

How to Store Small Items Safely in Your Home

The smallest items can often present the biggest dilemma when it comes to storage solutions. In many cases people simply toss all their tiny trinkets together into one plastic bag, a box, or a drawer. They might be safely together out of the way, but how can you find what you need in such a messy jumble?

Storing small things in a large container can cause even more storage problems than the one you are trying to solve.

The best approach to storing small items is to store them in a correspondingly sized bag or box. You can use empty ice trays or egg cartons to store trinkets such as charms, earrings and buttons. Since there are many compartments, you should be able to find what you are looking for almost immediately.

This is a particularly good solution if you have a lot of earrings. If possible, hook your earrings together in pairs and then place each pair in one of the cubes of the ice tray or egg carton. You can then place the tray or carton in a drawer and have all your earrings neatly at hand.

For storing beads and other small crafting accessories, try using small plastic storage bowls that are typically used for leftovers from supper. Buy the clear version so you can see exactly what’s in each bowl and make sure that the lid seals firmly to prevent any sudden bead explosions. These storage bowls are usually stackable, so you can store several bowls on top of each other in order to save space.

When you begin a project that requires some of your stored beads, simply use a small spoon or a leftover plastic cup from the top of a medicine bottle to take out what you need.

One of the best solutions for storing jewelry we have ever found is to use fishing tackle boxes. They have a range of sizes and compartments and so can help you separate out all your earrings, rings and other jewelry. The ones Evelyn uses come from Kmart and come in a range of colors. They are double-sided, with two hinged lids, and the lids are made of clear plastic. Just be sure to open the box on a flat surface and you will be able to keep all of your jewelry well-organized and easy to spot.

A tackle box will also work well for buttons, nails and screws and other small items you usually fond rattling around in the back of a drawer.

FURTHER READING:

How to Get Started as a Do-It-Yourself Mom

Jul 15 2012

Personalize Your Time Management Techniques

A lot has been written and produced on the topic of time management techniques that are tried and tested, but every person is different in terms of lifestyle and character. A great book or video on time management can be a great starting point for giving you new ideas, but it will only be helpful if you try to implement the ones that work best for you personally.

There is really no one-size-fits all when it comes to time management. A busy businessperson in a Fortune 100 company will need certain time management and organization skills that will be different from those of a small business owner or a freelancer working at home. The time management techniques of a person who works in a service industry with shifts will be different from someone with a flexible timetable or who owns their own business.

Learn about the general principles of time management and scheduling, but adopt the strategies you learn so that you become more productive throughout your day no matter what your personal circumstances and responsibilities.

If you are willing to be flexible and creative, you can manage your time efficiently with tools and other items that you will enjoy working with. Some people love a paper day planner, for example, while others prefer to use their phone or Outlook. Some people love a whiteboard, while others are finding inspiration using Pinterest.

The most effective type of time management system is one that you will use, and enjoy using. It should not become a full time job itself. It should also not make you feel even more overwhelmed or depressed. As one executive said to us, “I loved entering all my tasks onto my digital to do list, but got depressed at the very thought of how much work I had to do, and how I would cross off one item and need to add five more.”

As you go about working out a time management plan and to-do lists, you need to consider what your own specific goals and objectives are when it comes to your career and your daily life. Are the things filling up your day essential, or just time fillers. Does the work only have to be done by you, or could you outsource some of it to another worker?

Asking these questions will help you pare down your schedule and to-do list to the essentials. It will also help you meet more deadlines and create a better working environment for yourself, which will lead to a less stressed personal life as well.

Further Reading:

How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Transforming Stress Into Success: How to Minimize Stress and Maximize Success in Today’s Economy”

Successful Outsourcing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Jul 12 2012

7 TOP TIPS TO ORGANIZE YOUR HOME

1. Install hanging closets and cabinets. This maximizes over-the-head space.

2. Designate a “to do” corner where you can put everything you can’t take care of right away. This can include items you have to repair, finish or spend time looking over. Once you have repaired the item or completed it, put it back in its original spot. For example, if you have sewn new buttons on your husband’s shirt or glued the handle of your daughter’s favorite mug back on, put the shirts in the closet and the mug in the kitchen cabinet.

3. Use the space inside and outside the door.
In most cases, a hanging rack or hooks that go over the door can fit easily inside a closet to give you even more organizational space and flexibility. Hanging clothes racks and shoe racks can make the most of the space you have, and any unfilled shoe racks can be used to store other small items, including tools and even jewelry.

4. Install a corkboard in the main places in your house such as near any land lines you might have, near the refrigerator and in your home office. This will make it easy for you to pin urgent messages and reminders. You can also keep track of important items with a white board.

5. Segregate clothes by season, color and occasion.
You can divide up your clothes into seasonal wardrobes and rotate them in and out of your closet in order to have more room. You can hang clothes by color, occasion (work, play, formal), item (skirt, blouse), and then mix and match. Be sure to keep each item repaired, with all buttons and so on sewn back on if you lose them, and rotate all of the items in your closet so that you get the most use out of them. If you own anything you have not worn for a year, consider donating it or selling it.

If you have clothes in lots of different sizes, you need to be realistic about your weight gain and try to slim down but not starve yourself back into the clothes. You can use one of the smaller sizes as motivation to slim down. If you have lost weight but are still hanging on to the large sizes, donate them and promise you will never be that heavy again.

6. Buy air-free storage bags.
These bags are connected to a vacuum hose so that the clothing you put inside it is compressed and no air inside takes up precious space. It also looks neater in the closet rather than bulky bags. You can slip them under the beds as well, or even store them in the attic, basement or garage without having to worry about the clothes inside getting ruined.

7. Create your own closet from an unused alcove. You can get sliding or louver doors to make a closet out of a small, unused alcove. As long as it is deep enough to hold a clothes rack and the clothes can fit on the hangers, you can create a whole new closet for your room. You can also put up the door and use it for storage space for plastic bins and so on.

FURTHER READING:

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

The New Green Family Guide: A Beginner’s Guide to Going Green As a Family

Green Mother’s Guide: How to Raise a Child More Greenly and Naturally

How to Get Started as a Do-It-Yourself Mom

Jul 09 2012

7 More Top Tips for Time Management

1. Set a specific time during the day to organize yourself, looking over your to-do list, and taking care of filing and so on. Close the door or put a note up that says ‘do not disturb’. Allocating this time ensures focus and can help aid in completion of all your tasks.

2. If you are not really sure where your time goes, try logging your time for a certain period, such as a week, writing down what you do each half hour. What you gather can serve as your basis for deciding what changes you have to make to manage your time better.

3. Take heavy traffic as a given. Don’t use it as an excuse for being tardy. Leave early for work or an appointment rather than waste time, make excuses, and look unprofessional. Getting into work early each day can also help give you at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted time at work when no one else is there yet.

4. Among the items on your to-do list, determine which ones should be finished within the day and work on those tasks first. Move on to the less urgent tasks towards the end of the day.

5. Maintain your focus. Many people claim that they can multitask, but studies have shown that his is not the case. Try to work on each task or project end to end rather than skip back and forth between tasks.

6. Observe your work habits. If you often feel restless during work hours and unable to focus, try taking several short breaks throughout the day. You’ll feel more refreshed and eager to finish the tasks at hand than if you are feeling chained to the desk.

7. Deal with interruptions efficiently. If something is not in your schedule of priorities and there’s still a lot to do, then it shouldn’t be allowed to take up your time. If a colleague pops in to talk, ask them if they can come back when you are less busy and ask what the topic is about so that you can prepare anything they might require beforehand. If they are just going to hang out and talk sports, remember that time is money and suggest you meet after work for a drink or go to lunch at a certain time and/or on a certain day.

FURTHER READING:

How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

How to Work Smarter, Not Harder: 101 Strategies to Make the Most of Your Working Hours and Become More Efficient and Productive

How to Start Working as a Successful Freelancer

Jul 06 2012

7 TOP TIPS FOR A CLUTTER-FREE LIFE

1. Develop a passion for recycling.
Recycle bottles, plastic bags, paper and more. Know what things you no longer use can be made into new things. In case you can’t recycle the item any more, do not think twice: donate it or throw it away safely.

2. Losing keys all the time? Try putting them in the same place every time you come in, such as on a rack by the door, or in a tray or bowl. Keep a spare set or two around in case of emergencies. You can also get a key finder key ring. If you lose your keys, press the key finder and that will trigger a sound from the keyring so you can find them easily.

3. Remove junk from your trunk!
A full car costs more to run. Cut fuel costs and get rid of any items that are not essential. Declutter your car and it will be far easier to find things that you need, like your tools if you should ever end up with a flat tire or other unexpected situation.

As for your own trunk, even gaining a mere one pound of muscle can boost your metabolism and lead to greater weight loss. Clean out your car, vacuum and detail it, and you can keep fit at the same time., for no more junk in your trunk.

4. Spill-proof your paper clip and tacks container.
Put a magnet at the bottom of the container or at the lid. This works even for vinyl-coated paper clips and push pins. You can also buy one with a magnetized mouth that will stop spills.

5. Set a good example for the rest of the household.
If you have children, instill in them the importance of becoming organized by setting a good example. There is no use complaining about the way your home looks if you scatter things in every direction the minute you walk in the door, or can barely find things because you never put them back where you found them. Simple organizational tasks like putting dirty clothes into the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor, or hanging them up in the closet instead of draping things on the backs of chairs, can serve as a great example for your children to follow. It will also save you a lot of time getting ready for work each morning, so that you will be less stressed every morning as the whole family heads off to work and school.

6. Minimize you laundry time by using different hampers for your clothes. Use one for your light-colored clothes, another dark, and one for mixed colored clothes. You will still have to check through the white load just to be sure no one has put in a colored object that will run and ruin the whole load, but if everyone in the family sorts as they go along, it can save you a lot of time each laundry day.

You might also consider just doing a load of wash as soon as you see a full load has accumulated. Washing as you go will not only help your family keep clean, it will also free up your time at the weekends instead of allowing your precious days off being eaten up by chores.

7. Extend the storage capacity of your closets by adding attachments such as hooks and rods on the closet doors, where you can hang your belts, ties, scarves, ribbons and other accessories. You can get sturdy metal hanging hooks and use them on the inside and the outside of doors. Hanging shoe bags are another great way to get organized and save space.

FURTHER READING:

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Green Mother’s Guide: How to Raise a Child More Greenly and Naturally

The New Green Family Guide: A Beginner’s Guide to Going Green As a Family

Jul 03 2012

How to Reduce Stress through Effective Time Management

Talking about stress has become one of the new national pastimes. Even children are said to suffer from stress and the pressure to perform consistently well throughout a busy day. Everyone talks about multitasking as if it is some great virtue, when it often just means we are living in a perpetual state of distraction and anxiety as a result of so much to do, but little getting done because we lack focus.

Everyone seems to feel a day late and a dollar short, as the phrase goes, working as hard as s/he can just to try to keep up, but in many cases feeling like s/he is barely able to pay the bills due to the recession and increases in prices.

We work hard and still feel like we have not been able to give things our best. We also feel guilty about putting in longer and longer hours when we really just want to spend time with our families and have a day off to just relax.

The truth is, however, that a lot of this stress can be relieved though effective time management and learning how to work smarter, not harder. You may feel powerless in the face of a demanding boss, but are you really doing your best, or are you actually sabotaging yourself and thus triggering even more pressure and stress in your life?

There are a number of smart choices you can make to help get the vast number of things on your to-do list completed without driving yourself crazy in the process or getting even less sleep than you already are. Here are a few suggestions.

One of the simplest ways to reduce stress in your day is to prepare for each day the night before. This could be as basic as laying out your breakfast dishes before going to bed or as thorough as packing your briefcase, laying out your clothes, and showering before bedtime. Find out what works best for your schedule and then stick to it. You may be surprised at how smoothly your morning goes once you try this simple method.

If you then apply the time you save running around like a headless, stressed-out chicken each morning, you can then give yourself an easier commute.

Then you can get into the office earlier, and sit down at your desk in a less stressed and frazzled state of mind.

Once you get to your desk, you can read over the to-do list for the day that you prepared the day before, about 15 minutes before you left for the day. Check your list three times a day, morning, noon, and evening, about an hour before you plan to leave. Tea time can be a low-energy period of the day for many people, so wind down by looking over your list to make sure you have not missed anything important that needed to be done that day.

Then complete a few short tasks to end the day on a high note. Cross them off the list, and then create your prioritized to-do list for the next day. In this way, once you get into work the next morning, you can start tackling the list at once.

Getting in early might also mean more peace and quiet in order to get your tasks done more quickly without any distractions. It can also mean more preparation time for that big meeting or presentation.

Checking your list throughout the day, crossing off and adding new projects, can help keep the work flowing and lead to less stress and more productivity.

The habit of preparing in advance is also an excellent one to cultivate because it can carry over into the rest of your life as well. Taking the time to prepare for events in your children’s lives, such as a school play, parent-teacher meetings, holiday planning, and even family meals will pay off because you will find them all more simple, less stressful events.

Your final strategy is to eliminate time wasters. Sure, you got a good giggle watching that comedy show, but if there is no food in the fridge because you did not go shopping or you have no clean clothes because you forget to pick up the laundry, then that was a completely wasted half hour that you will not get back.

You will also want to avoid the little free time that you do have being eaten up in other ways. We have never figured out why families all decide to go grocery shopping together on a Saturday or Sunday when one parent could accomplish it in a fraction of the time on a Wednesday night after work. Having a household to-do list can also help you make the most of your time and live a better life that is more in balance.

Working to minimize wasted time can reap a host of benefits by finally freeing up time for rest and relaxation, and quality time with the people you care about.

FURTHER READING:

How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Transforming Stress Into Success: How to Minimize Stress and Maximize Success in Today’s Economy”

How to Get Started as a Do-It-Yourself Mom

Jun 30 2012

Organize Creatively to Eliminate Clutter

Productivity on both the personal and professional front depends on being organized at all times. A person with a cluttered office and crammed closets and cabinets will end up spending a great deal of his or her time shuffling about trying to find even the smallest item, eating up valuable time that they can ill-afford if they are working as a freelancer or outsourced hourly worker. In this case, time is money, so getting organized should be one of the first items that you tackle on your to do list.

One of the best ways to organize your office and become clutter free is to look at it from a creative standpoint. Try to make every item in your home office or living space attractive but functional at the same time.

For instance, if you are using a spare bedroom as your new home office, it might be worth it to removed the double bed and get one with a roll out trundle bed that will sleep two people or several children, plus have storage space in the drawers for bedding and other essentials. The rest of the time, the room can serve as your home office. A desk or workstation and filing cabinets on wheels can help you easily expand or contract your work space,

Look for furniture items that can help you stay organized and which make the most of the space that you do have. For example, if you live in a small apartment, you might consider creating a loft bed in order to put your home office underneath it. If you have two children who need to share a room, a bunk bed with a desk, chairs, shelves and drawers can make the most of the space so that everything can stay uncluttered.

Keep clutter to a minimum with clear storage drawers and bins that will help you spot what you need right away. If you do have to opt for color, choose bins with differently colored covers. Use color for your files as well, dividing up home and work files and perhaps even color coding important client files.

By being creative in terms of your organization and storage solutions, you can create a clutter-free work environment you will enjoy spending time in, which can lead to increased productivity and more profits.

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

How to Start Working as a Successful Freelancer

Successful Outsourcing: A Step-by-Step Guide