You Are Free to Live Your Life the Way You Want To – Or Are You?

You Are Free to Live Your Life the Way You Want To ... except when you are sick
Photo by CC user erix on Flickr

The funny thing is that ‘freedom’ is one of those words that is relative to what you are talking about and what one person considers to be ‘free’ the next person may see as being anything but. In this country there is an old saying that “I can do whatever I want. I am free and 21.” Well, that really isn’t the case and never has been, really – unless of course you don’t ever accept the consequences for what you have done or are about to do. This is one of the reasons why we require so many people to study the Master of Public Health program. With too few people really paying attention to the ramifications of what they are doing, there is always some public health crisis to be dealt with. So are you free? Here is some food for thought.

Communicable Diseases

Whenever the latest scare of a pandemic hits there are too few people who take it upon themselves to stay home when they come down with flu-like symptoms. The only way to stop the spread of contagions effectively is to keep them at home – the sufferer and the contagion that is! Imagine you, as a person studying for your degree in public health. If you took conventional classes and attended the college campus, then you’d need to stay home if you came down with what appeared to be the flu so you didn’t pass it around campus.

However, since you are probably studying a Master of Public Health online program, you wouldn’t have this concern. The point is, those who are sick with something that is communicable should consider what the next person would do if they came down with the illness. Babies and old people could die. Yes, you are free to choose whether or not to stay home but are those people free from your ill-placed decision to take your germs in public? Not so much.

HIV and STDs

Then, what about HIV and STDs of all kinds? In the 60s it was all about ‘Free Love’ and sleeping with whoever struck your fancy. Well, times probably haven’t changed much but is that ‘free love’ really free? Having sexual relations with multiple partners puts everyone at greater risk for these potentially fatal diseases and so in reality, you may not be as free as you thought you were.

Teen Pregnancy

Teen pregnancies seem to be slowing down to some extent but they are still a consequence of failing to act responsibly. While kids have more liberty in their lives than at any time in the past, they are not free from the consequences of unprotected sex. Yes, they may be free to run around town and in that respect, free to choose whether or not to have sex, but what happens if the girl becomes pregnant? She may be free to abort the baby but is she free from any kind of consequence at all? It’s a terrible decision for anyone to face so all that ‘freedom’ isn’t really free, is it? There is always a price to pay.

No matter where you stand on the ethics of these very real public health issues, you have to admit that there are always consequences for everything you do. Simply by asserting your freedom to act in a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean you are free from the consequences of your behavior. So again, the question – you are free to live your life the way you want to but does this mean you are really free? You decide.

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Four Tips that Will Help You to Settle Into Your New Office

Settle Into Your New Office in London with these tips
Photo by CC user cgpgrey on Flickr and http://www.cgpgrey.com/

So, after all the legal and contractual hoops and hurdles, you’ve finally got your new lease and you’ve finally, actually, for real, moved into your new City of London office space. You’re really pleased with the deal you got, as well as the facilities, the amazing transport links and the quality of the coffee machine!

However, moving your business into a new office isn’t so far removed (geddit?) from moving house. Let’s face it, you spend upwards of eight hours a day there, five or six days a week, so it’s kind of like a home. You miss the creaky third stair, the friendly people in the newsagent next door… It’s a big deal to up sticks and start somewhere new and you can feel a bit disorientated for a while.

To help you with this feeling, here are four tips that will help you settle into your new office in no time.

Take some of your personal items with you to the new place

Moving office doesn’t mean a complete change of identity – you’re not going into a witness protection scheme! If there were some personal effects that you used a lot in the old place – a kettle, a set of mugs, a print or even some old furniture – take them with you if possible. You might find that the landlord of your old office is willing to sell or give you your old desk or chair. Don’t try to recreate your old place, though – you moved for a reason, even if it wasn’t your choice – you have to move on a bit. It’s a balancing act.

Buy some spanking new equipment and furniture

Chances are your new office might look a bit bare, despite your old mugs and prints. If you’re walking into a blank-looking, empty-feeling space every day, this isn’t going to help you feel settled. If you’ve got a bit of spare cash, buy some special “new office” items, like a new framed print, or a bright set of filing cabinets. A splash of colour will be welcoming and it’ll symbolise your bright new start.

Get to know the people who are sharing your new office building

One of the first things you should do once you’ve unpacked all your gubbins and plugged everything in is to go and knock on a few doors. Take some muffins or cakes and introduce yourself to your immediate neighbours. Some of them might be missing the old occupants of your office, so saying a friendly “Hi!” is a good way to build bridges. Not only that, but you could be making some important business contacts.

Get out and explore

You might have moved location as well as office space, so who knows what hidden treasures your new area has for you to uncover. There might be some brilliant delis, junk shops or a gym; who knows? Get out and do a recce or two and also explore the potential of your office space. It’s all good fun.

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How to save big on furnishing your home

You bought or rented a new home or apartment, have the keys in hand, smile ear to ear, and then you realize, you have way less of the essentials you need for your new place. Can opener…nope, toilet paper roll holder…nope, hand towels…..nope.

Moving into a new place is wildly expensive, so why not save a few green backs where you can? Groupon, the famous deal-a-day pioneer has entered the arena of online coupons, and they’re killing it. They have leveraged many of their partners from the deal-a-day realm and converted them to provide exclusive free coupons to the Groupon website visitors.

One such retailer who has some awesome coupons on the site is Bed Bath and Beyond. You can save on all your home related goods, and big time as well. Check them out today!

groupon coupons

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Your Pup Deserves the Best Care on the Market

There are a whole host of companies and products that market to dog owners. After all, owners love their pets and are generally willing to go to great lengths to ensure the health and comfort of their canine companions. However, when you as a pet owner are looking to make a purchase for the benefit of your dog, rather than simply searching for a fun or frivolous buy, you should consider doing a little bit of research first on how the company and their products can impact dog health.

There are many companies that seek to take advantage of an owner’s love for their animal and assume that the buyer will not think twice about purchasing an item to make their pet more comfortable. As such, they crank out cheaply made, one-size-fits-all products without a real understanding of the unique issues that certain breeds face and how they can be combatted through premium-grade materials and innovative design. image1

For example, if you own a big breed, you should know that sitting and sleeping on hard surfaces like the floor are likely to wear down their ball-and-socket joints. The friction from hardwood floor and the impact of its continued pressure means that bones rub together and create aches as the connective tissues get weaker. Sleeping night after night in such an awkward position can also contribute to the development of spinal complications later in life.Additionally, big dogs are difficult to provide resting room for on couches and beds simply because they take up so much space and are likely to be uncomfortable there anyway. The benefits of orthopedic dog beds stem mainly from the fact that they are made out of premium virgin memory foam that hugs your dog’s body as he or she sleeps and bounces back when unused, so that it never goes flat or becomes threadbare as regular mattress materials do.

Dog beds are the simplest solution to your issues as a dog owner. When you select this kind of product based on the actual needs of your household and the ability for premium quality to meet them, you have endless options. Canvas-covered, long-lasting durable beds come with removable covers and cushions that are machine washable, so cleaning all that fur off is easy. At Mammoth Outlet, the options for rectangular mats that fit into crates, plush circular beds that your dog can curl up in, and multiple sizes, colours, and designs are endless.

Plus, because all of these components are easy to clean and resistant to things like stains, water damage, and mildew when you buy from Mammoth, you’ll rest assured that after coming in from a long hard day of playing in the park, at the beach, or elsewhere, no strange smells or little critters will survive in the bed itself.
If there’s ever a real guarantee to be seen in a product, it comes in the shape of a vet recommendation and a lifetime warranty, so you can enjoy your dog’s satisfaction for years and years.

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Give Yourself Credit for Being a Smart Business Owner

What does it take to be a smart business owner in 2016? More importantly, are you one of those smart business owners?

Running a company these days takes myriad of skills and traits.

For starters, you have to be a people person. If you’re not, you stand a good chance of not being in business for the long run.

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Secondly, you have to be an intelligent person.

No, a Harvard law degree is not exactly necessary, but you have to have an eye for managing finances, overseeing people (your employees of course), knowing when to go full-steam into an advertising or marketing campaign and when to cut back or pass altogether.

That said one of your other important tasks in successfully running a business is making the right deals with vendors.

From those who protect your computer system to those selling you merchant service accounts and more, make sure you align yourself with companies that not only have proven successful in their own right, but have your best interests in mind.

So, can you give yourself credit for being a smart business owner?

Increase Customer Base with Sound Decisions

So that you can increase your customer base (and hopefully your revenue stream), remember a couple of pointers moving forward:

  • Payment options – You will find the going rough if you do not do what is best for your customer base as far as payment options. Yes, some business owners stand by cash-only payments, but they are growing less and less by the year. Many business owners realize that not only is the credit card option necessary, but so too is the mobile option. Allowing customers to pay via their mobile apps is becoming more and more popular by the year. One of the big decisions you have already faced or will in the near future is finding a reputable merchant services company. That is a key piece of the puzzle, especially given how millions of consumers still rely on the plastic buy and rent goods and services. If you have been slow to accepting credit card payments with your business, give that a serious reconsideration moving forward. With the right merchant services company working with you, the sky is oftentimes the limit as to how much revenue you can bring in, especially if you have been a cash-only business up to this point and time;
  • Service matters – Without a solid customer service effort day after day, your business probably won’t stand a chance against competitors. Yes, offering customers the right payment options and allowing them to buy and rent on-the-go is crucial, but your customer service initiatives can never be taken for granted. Make sure you remind your employees time and time again that the customer should always be given the benefit of the doubt that is without treating any of your workers with disrespect. Also look for ways to make the customer experience even better for them on a regular basis. For example, customers who have been with you for a while now should stand out from the crowd, so treat them with a little extra care. From rewards programs to pre-sales that are not open to the public until your top buyers have had first crack, there are multiple ways for you to reward those loyal customers. If you have been a business owner for years now, you’ve likely made a career out of giving consumers what they want. Always ask yourself, what can I do more of to make my customers keep coming back over and over again? When you have the right answers, the rest will typically fall into place.

Smart business owners are those men and women who lose a little bit of sleep at night. Why is that?

They are the individuals always looking for ways to move their businesses forward, ways that not all others running companies are quick to think of.

Put the time and effort into determining how you can be one of those smart business owners if you are not one already.

Over time, you will to find that many of the traits needed to be a smart business owner all boil down to good old-fashioned commonsense.

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Top Three Useful Accessories for Smartphones

The smartphone market is packed full of accessories, from cases covered in diamantes, to fans that plug into your phone so that you can have your hair blowing in the wind for a selfie. With so many gimmicks out there, we thought today’s post should be on some of the most useful accessories on the market. Some are simple, some you won’t expect – enjoy!

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Screen protectors

These days, screen protectors are becoming far more sophisticated than simply being scratch-resistant (although that’s still as important as ever). For one thing, a lot of people worry that others can read important bank details or other personal information off their phone when stood next to them in the street.

It sounds like the 3M Privacy Screen Protector is for you; you’ll see everything crystal clear, while those around you will only see a darkened screen. Or how about a glare protector for people with sensitive eyes who find it difficult to read their phone in bright sunlight?

Battery-Powered case

How many times have you been out and about, whether it’s a shopping day or an important business meeting, and your phone dies? It happens all too often, but hopefully not for much longer, as you’ll be able to fall back on the Mophie juice pack air charging case.

It’s thin, lightweight and will take you straight back to 100% battery power at the flip of a switch. You don’t need to worry about any sound issues either; there are forward-facing speaker ports for top audio quality, so you can just treat it like any other case!

The Tile

This is a truly genius invention for the smartphone era; a Tile is a small, card-looking device that can be attached to any object that you want to keep track of. It could be car keys, house keys or your spare pair of glasses! As long as you keep this handy, easy to use tracker with you, you’re all set to go.

Once you’ve attached it, simply download the companion app to see where your Tile is located. It’s water-resistant too in case you were wondering, and the battery lasts for a whole year. There’s even a handy addition to the app where you mark an item with a Tile attached as “Lost”, and other users around the world can help you find it!

At Geeksterlabs, we’re all about bringing you the best information, reviews and advice from the world of tech. With this in mind, it’s worth noting that the best thing you can do to protect your smartphone is to research. Look for the best places for repairs, the best software for security and the most common mishaps with your model.

For example, if you’re going away and you’re worried that your new smartphone might have an accident, it’s good to know that there’s an fixapplenow.com repair store in Pembroke Pines.

What did you think of these top three accessories? Do you think we’ve missed something important – if so, leave us a comment!

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Is a Long-term Lease or a Serviced Office Best for You?

A Serviced Office might be a solution that makes sense for your business at this point in its evolution
Photo by CC user jnyemb on Flickr

The time has come to leave the garage and find office space for you and your business. However, it’s not as simple as just finding a convenient location and signing on the dotted line. There are some considerations you need to make before you make your choice.

Are you a start-up?

There’s been a huge rise in the numbers of start-up businesses since the crash of 2008 and all these enterprises need a home! It might seem best to find somewhere secure and long term, but short-term offices may be best.

For a start, office space is expensive and hard to find and so can cost a lot. This, combined with the fact that start-ups may fail, makes a serviced office a better option. It’s much easier to pick up and leave that short-term office space in Brentford with a month’s notice than to get out of a five-year lease.

Additionally, serviced offices have all the utilities a small business will need included in the monthly fee – internet, phones, cleaner, business rates and insurance. It’s cheaper and easier for a young business to pay for these as a package, without even having to look for them!

Do you plan to expand?

If you hope to employ new people in the next 12 months or so, then you need a space in which you can expand and serviced offices can offer this. On the other hand, if you need to downsize, you can do that too, probably with just a month’s notice.

How many people do you have currently?

If you employ fewer than 10-15 people, it can be hard to find long-term premises that small, especially in London. A shared office is the ideal solution here, especially when you consider the utility packages.

How long do you want the office for?

If you’re confident that you can meet the five-year commitment, then you may be better off in a long-term lease. The business world is unpredictable right now, so flexibility is essential – you may need to move back to your garage or garden room and you certainly don’t want to have to buy your way out of a fiddly lease.

How quickly do you need it?

Setting up a conventional lease can take up to three months, whereas finding a suite or a room in a serviced office space can take anything from a few days to a week.

What’s your budget?

This is a big deal, and like most things, it’s not as simple as it seems.

Conventional office space is cheaper by the square foot, but there are many, many costs on top. There’s telecoms, furniture, buildings insurance, business rates, cleaners – all the things that are taken care of by a serviced office fee. There’s also the not inconsiderable cost of drawing up a lease agreement and the crippling costs of early vacation.

So a serviced office space will look more on paper, but this is because you’re looking at the price per desk.

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Confessions of a Solo Traveller!

The average Solo Traveller has much wisdom to impart to first timers...
Photo by CC user ktoine on Flickr

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring.

To the ones that arrive at it, travelling is contagious! Once you’ve made friends with your inner globe trotter, there’s no saying “No” to travel – which even includes discovering a lost structure in your own city! I have often seen people that don’t travel or travel less wonder what’s the fuel that keeps every traveller moving? There are great travel offers that tempt one to travel a little more now a days. We seem not to stop. At all. I say, it’s “Curiosity” – The curiosity to stretch the vision and discover what lies beyond that big old oak tree that is stationed at the backyard. Not many would be interested, but the traveller. I love travelling and exploring!

So when did I touch base with my inner voyageur? Back during my school days when I used to come back home alone! My school bus used to drop me to a nearby by juncture. From there to my house, it was a solo walk that I had. And on my way sometimes I would traverse to the narrow lanes of my locality and sit beside a rivulet. And on other times I would wander about in a temple shrine, tea stall and even an old English watch shop that was located in an extreme corner of a lane. In retrospect I realize, that was the time when I had made a secret pact with the Universe that someday I would travel alone.

On My Travelling Alone

Sometimes I see people coming up with an eyebrow raising reaction on the aspect of travelling alone! Most are scared or I should say inhibited to take that leap! But when you travel alone an entire new world opens up for you. I can say this with confidence today, because I have been on a solo tour to Istanbul and explored places like Marrakesh and Morocco. That first trip as a solo traveller was one to remember.

There’s no denying that I love to travel and experience new cultures! That’s the reason I chose Istanbul. The oriental world that throws images of “Arabian Nights” with its streets selling the Moroccan lamps, Turkish rugs and jewelleries and other accessories stirs the soul. I always felt that maybe walking into a vast ancient building or monument whilst travelling alone might make me feel really isolated and lonely. To my surprise it was quite the opposite. On my solo tour to Istanbul and Turkey as I walked into the great, grand hall of Hagia Sophia, I felt connected to the whole space around me. I recalled a quote by my favourite poet Rumi that says “Wherever you stand, be the soul of the place”. It was here in Hagia Sophia that I could feel the real essence of the line. The overwhelming ceiling and golden vault of this basilica, mosque and museum atop me made feel that I am not alone. I never was, even when I used to wander on the streets of my locality.

To travel alone means to travel with freedom! You seem to break free from your inner confinements of letting society judge you. Travelling gives perspective, pleasure and confidence to finally become the real version of who you are! It made me carefree and a wanderer – that’s what I am.

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Does Someone Else Know Your Identity Too?

Does Someone Else Know Your Identity? Some shadowy hacker might...
Photo by CC user YBS 999 on Wikimedia Commons

Your personal identity information (especially as it pertains to finances) should be one of your most closely guarded secrets, yes? Having said that, does someone else know your identity?

While most consumers take this question to heart, others are not quite as thoughtful. In fact, some prove to be downright careless.

In a day and age where identity theft can set you back for a number of years, avoiding it should always be a high priority.

Even though there are certain events you need to put in motion to best protect your identity, much of it centers on having the right identity theft protection in place. When you have that, you are already a step ahead of the criminals.

With that in mind, how will you go about making sure someone else (notably online criminals) does not know your identity?

Take a Stance Against Online Criminals

So that you can decrease the chances you will become a victim of identity theft, start out by making sure you have a reliable defense against these criminals.

That all starts by finding the best identity theft protection service out there, one that will have your back from the day you begin using the product.

Finding such a service can be a little tedious, but the time and effort you invest in doing just that will ultimately prove well worth it.

Whether you are swayed to go with LifeLock identity protection or another such provider, make sure you vet each and every company you consider.

For starters, look at how long they have been in business?

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with considering newer companies on the market, those having been around for a number of years tend to be a better bet. The experience, plus learning what does and does not work over time, typically adds up to a better result for the consumer when all is said and done.

Secondly, never underestimate the importance of customer service.

As great as a company’s product may be, it is an even better overall brand when its customer service is as good as can be.

Once you have a provider selected, you may have simple questions or possibly even run into a snafu or two at some point and time. This is why customer service can never be taken for granted.

One of the ways to better determine how stout a company’s customer service is will be by asking family members (outside your home), friends, even co-workers, about which I.D. protection service they opted to go with.

In today’s business world, most companies know that wasting the time of customers is a sure ticket to ultimately losing their business. Find that provider willing to go the extra mile for you without hesitation.

You Must Be Responsible Too

With the right provider on your side monitoring your financial details, the rest pretty much all boils down to you.

Even with a solid identity theft monitoring provider backing you up that does not mean you are 100 percent immune from those wishing to do you harm, notably in terms of your finances.

Make sure you do not voluntarily give out any personal information, information that could easily come back to haunt you.

Just as you would not leave a credit card, your bank account number, your Social Security I.D. etc. sitting around in public places for the entire world to see, it is imperative you cover your tracks online too.

If you plan on traveling over the summer or at any point during the year, be careful when using computers in public places, places including hotels and libraries.

Since it is hard for you (or any traveler for that matter) to know with 100 percent certainty as to whether or not the server you are on is totally safe, err on the side of caution.

In the event you need to do any online banking or other personal financial matters while traveling, do them on your mobile device (assuming that is that it is already protected).

Keeping identity theft thieves and other online criminals with ill intent at bay can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be a losing proposition.

Just remember that there are services out there to assist you, services to keep someone else from knowing your identity.

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Where Will Your Career Take You?

Where Will Your Career Take You?
Photo by CC user geralt on Pixabay

Do you know where you career will take you?

Some individuals have just about everything laid out to a tee. Others, meantime, pretty much go with the flow, not knowing where they might be working a year or even six months from now.

No matter where you might fall in this mix, it is important to not overlook the importance of your career, especially in a day and age when jobs have become tougher to find for so many individuals.

That said focusing on where the job market in general is headed, which industries expect to continue to see growth in the coming years, and what strategies workers will have to employ to stay relevant are all important matters.

So, where will your career take you?

Educate Yourself Often

One of the ways to stay relevant in the job market now and in the future is of course education.

That education comes in two forms; the education you learn in the classroom and the education you get each and every day watching the world around you.

For the former, it is important to note what level of education you have up to this point and time, especially as it pertains to your current career.

Do you need more education to further yourself in your current industry? With added education, will it put you where you ultimately want to be? Lastly, do you have the available resources (time, effort, money etc.) to go back to school while still working?

When it comes to the education you can receive from watching the world around you, this can be just as important as any coursework you undertake.

For example, if you currently work in the healthcare industry, you know that technology is always changing how things are done in most instances. What is being used today to treat diseases, operate on patients, offer hope to those who likely did not have hope just a couple decades ago, these things are for the most part progressing.

With that in mind, how will your healthcare career be impacted now and in the years to come?

Whether you are looking at careers as a medical technician, surgeon, gis careers, working in mental health, you need to stay abreast of the changes going on around you. This is important whether you have been employed for many years in healthcare or are just beginning to get your feet wet.

Going Online for Education

If you decide at this point and time that you will require more hands-on education in the classroom, be it possibly a master’s degree, the options today for the most part are better than what was available even a decade or two ago.

Now, many in the healthcare industry can turn to online studies to better their skills and knowledge. By taking the required online courses for their healthcare specialty, they are able to be compliant with today’s medical needs.

In the event you are one of those individuals looking to do just that, here are a few tips for getting the process started:

  • Selection – First and foremost, making the right selection on a school and its coursework is crucial. While you may be limited in some of your options, don’t just settle. Make sure you ultimately get the added educational requirements you need;
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  • Timing – One of the key facets in this situation is properly managing your time, time that will likely be divided between work and going back to school. It can be overwhelming for some people, while others will take the ball and run with it. Make it known to family and friends (if you decide this is the route you are going to go) that they need to be respectful and understanding of your demanding schedule. In most cases, those closest to you while understand and be very supportive;
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  • Focus – Lastly, make sure you are clearly focused on improving your career outlook through more education (if needed) and becoming more of a leader in the workplace. It is easy for people to at times lose their focus, but that can of course prove to be quite detrimental. When you put all of your focus into achieving your goals, the results can be quite satisfying.
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