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The famous theoretical physicist Michio Kaku claims that the operating power and speed of computers doubles every 18 months. Naturally, this means a technological advance in every area of our life and, of course, the World Wide Web, where innovations occur on a daily basis. What this means for you is that your website cannot stay the same forever and you should endeavour to update it regularly.

 

Match the Expectations

 

With the hectic development of technology, your users will expect you to do your best to keep up with the trends. Therefore, it may seem unprofessional to keep your website the same through the years while your competitors use more advanced technology and features. Also, bear in mind that smartphones, tablets and even smart watches are replacing the computers and laptops, so your website should be fully responsive on these devices. You don’t want to lose customers because they can’t find you with their Google Glasses, do you?

 

Keep Up With SEO

 

Updating your website, both in terms of content and technical aspects (code, new features, widgets and functions) will make you stand out from the rest and improve your rankings with the search engines. Of course, it can be difficult to tell exactly what the search engines want, but one thing is for certain, they like it when websites are regularly updated. Their small spiders regularly crawl around the web to check for changes on your website. In order to maximise your success, these changes should be carefully done – for example, if you are adding new content, it should be helpful and well-written. If you are making changes to your website, the code should contain no errors, otherwise the spiders may get confused.

 

Provide Important Updates

 

When it comes to your website, it is good strategy to imagine that you are a prospective customer and are visiting it for the first time. Does it contain all the information you need? Is the website user-friendly and easy to navigate? Make sure you can answer yes to these questions otherwise it’s back to the drawing board. If your business changes, don’t forget to update your website, as it is the first place someone is likely to check for more information. If you have changed your pricing or you offer new services (or no longer provide some of them), make sure this is on your website.

 

Make Sure It Works

While you are not required to use the latest website technology or features, you will need to ensure that your website still functions on all systems. Occasionally, it happens that certain devices, systems or browsers no longer support some types of content and if you do not upgrade to a new version of your CMS (Content Management System), or replace it, you risk being stuck with a non-working website. We all know how important it is for it to work so take care of the technical side of things before it is not too late.

 

Improve Your Business

 

Don’t forget that regularly updating your website will make life easier for both your visitors and yourself. Including new online payment options, booking systems, spam prevention tools and automatic verification/confirmation are only some of the features you could use to make it easier for you to run your business. Make sure you check regularly with your IT specialists for new innovations – they may well bring more sales and customers without much additional effort required.

 

Updating your website regularly is essential for maintaining a successful business, even if your main activities are not based online. With the help of regular updates, you can stay on top of the technological development, win the favour of the search engines and attract more visitors. Having said all this, don’t you think it’s time for an update?

 

 

We thought that it was time for a touch of humour and luckily we found this poem by Helen Silverwood of Personalised Poems.

If you are an entrepreneur you will relate to this.
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A Poem for Entrepreneurs.

I’m staring at the screen,
On this sunny day today;
Got to get my work done,
Before I rest or play!

My work is never done though,
I’m feeling tired and grey;
I need a break, I’ve had enough,
Though to live I need some pay!

But if I have a little break,
Perhaps 10 minutes per hour;
I find my productivity,
Really starting to flower!

It’s difficult to stop though,
When the target is the sky;
And when it’s your own business,
You’re bound to reach up high!

You want to make your fortune,
But it’s not worth killing yourself!
You need some sleep, you need some rest,
To ensure you keep your health!

If you enjoy what you’re doing,
Then you’re probably onto a winner;
But make sure you have a break when you can,
Even just for sleep or dinner!

 

iStock_000019063405SmallIf you have ever been tempted by volunteerism and pro-bono work, you may have considered doing it as an extracurricular activity – after working hours or during weekends and holidays. But what if someone told you that you can give away more than 50% of your regular work for free without any implications for your business except positive development and expansion? It may sound impossible, but the neo-philanthropist and entrepreneur Matthew Manos has something else to say about it.

About 6 years ago Matthew created his first company – verynice – and started developing the “double-half” methodology – a 50% pro-bono business model. With the help of more than 250 volunteers, verynice donates more than half of its work to not-for-profit organisations from all over the world, helping them save thousands of dollars. Over the past five years, verynice has donated work worth more than $1 million, which has been reinvested by the NFPs in their core activities and has made significant differences in the world.

In his recent article ‘Five Reasons to Give Half Your Work Away’, Matthew explains that following his business model will not affect your business in a negative way. According to him, adopting the “double-half” methodology will not only allow the NFPs you are working with to reinvest their funds for the achievement of their main goals (which he has achieved), it will also help you be part of the difference they make on a full-time basis – in contrast to other volunteer systems where people try to help in their free time. Moreover, Matthew claims that philanthropy is for everyone – not only the people who are already rich and have time to help.  By going pro-bono, you can actually prove that making a difference is not only reserved for a select group for people.

However, Matthew does not expect you to sacrifice your earnings and your business opportunities for the ‘greater good’. Instead, he explains that engaging in a pro-bono community and working with other volunteers and professionals will have a great impact on your business and on you as a human. One of the best things you are getting is numerous quality connections and acquaintances that are bound to prove useful at some point in the future. Besides, working on a volunteer project is likely to make you more innovative, creative and resourceful – qualities that you will find useful with your paid projects, too. And even more, the satisfaction of what you do is certain to invigorate you and make you feel inspired – and this is a reward not easily achievable in other ways.

If you want to learn more about the “double-half” methodology, visit Matthew’s website givehalf.co. There you will find more interesting information and resources, as well as the invaluable book ‘How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free’, which will explain the business model in more detail. In addition, it will answer some the most frequent questions about the operation of the methodology and what exactly is in it for you. Matthew claims that every business can find something in his model, and so far he has not been proven wrong. Make sure you check it out and discover how it can work for you.

Discussing all the details

Are you struggling to find a solution to an old or difficult problem? Has your wellspring of creativity run dry? Do you feel worn down, tired, or stuck in a rut?

Regardless of the reason why you are stuck, the ability to be innovative, to do something differently, is often the key to becoming unstuck and moving forward. While it’s easier said than done, we must get outside of the square of our old habits and preconceived notions to start thinking differently.

The following are a few tips to help you mentally switch gears and see things in a new light, so that you can find your inspiration, unique ideas and resolutions.

Take a break. If you’ve been spending hours poring over the data and can’t see a way through, don’t be afraid to take a break and walk away from your work for a few minutes and do something unrelated to the task. Sometimes, beginning to think differently is as simple as standing up and walking away for a few minutes.

Challenge your beliefs. Sometimes a situation may seem insolvable because we really don’t understand the issues as well as we believe. Often, if we sit down and think about what we believe that we know about an issue and its key players, and then challenge those beliefs, we will see areas where we formed beliefs based on incorrect or incomplete information. Whether it’s a person, a product, or even your own cultural bias, challenge your beliefs and be open to new possibilities.

Give your left brain a break and reconnect with your right brain. Many difficulties require an analytical, step-by-step, left brain approach to find a solution. Sometimes, however, an inspired, random, emotional right brain approach is needed. To tap the creativeness of your right brain, try taking a break and writing a poem, or drawing a picture that relates to the issue. Even the simple act of listening to music while you work can help you to relax and access your right brain’s creativity.

Flip things upside down and shake things up. Sometimes finding a solution is as simple as looking at the issue from a different perspective or shaking up the status quo. When you have a difficult problem and need to achieve more than one goal, try thinking about how you would proceed if the least important goals were suddenly the most important.

Whether your issue involves your team at work, or your family at home, you can come up with new ideas and solutions by shaking things up a bit and reassigning various tasks and chores to different people. Let them surprise you and one another with their creative approaches and fresh energy.

Of course, there are many ways to think outside of the square to come up with new ideas and solutions. Feel free to let us know in the comments section if you’ve ever tried any of our suggestions or if you have a few of your own that you’d like to share.

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I recently watched a TED Talk by Shawn Achor called “The Happy Secret to Better Work” but it could equally well have been called “The Happy Secret to Life.”

Apart from the fact that he’s a gifted storyteller, he caught my attention when he really got into the nitty gritty of his reasoning.

He says that “…it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”

He argues that our external world is not what makes us happy, otherwise once we have things shaped the way we like them, we would always be happy. Instead, we find things to make us unhappy – the weather, workloads, family demands. He tells us that 90% of our long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way our brains processes the world.

What he is saying is that if we look for the negative, that’s all we see and it colours everything else around us. If we look for the positive, it changes us for the better.

“…dopamine, which floods into your system when you’re positive, has two functions. Not only does it make you happier, it turns on all of the learning centers in your brain allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way.”

Shawn goes on to tell us that we can train our brains to look for the positives and that will open up a new and happier world for us. Watch the clip to find out how to do it.

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Although all people are different, there are some things that everyone on earth hates – Mondays, bills, taking out the trash, and, of course, getting up. Things get even worse when you need to get up for work and the whole thing gets twice more despicable if it is winter. Drowsing in the warm soft bed and knowing that you need to get out in the cold and go to work can be quite the demotivator, but you won’t have to worry about it if you read and follow our five ‘get up for work in the winter’ tricks below.

Trick No. 1 – Sleep!
And by ‘Sleep!’ we mean ‘sleep enough!’ If you go to bed earlier, your body will be able to relax and receive all the necessary energy that comes with the right amount of sleep. The best thing you can do is have a regime – go to bed at about the same time every night and try to get up at the same time every day. If your bedtime hour is early enough (8 hours of sleep would be great!), your body will get used to getting up early even in the winter.

Trick No. 2 – Drink!
Before you go to bed at night, drink a good amount of water so when it is time to get up, you will feel the need to use the toilet and won’t feel comfortable enough to sleep. When your alarm goes off in the morning, immediately drink some water to get your body processes going. Speaking of water, you can splash some on your face to chase off the remains of sleep. A good idea is to go straight in the shower (but don’t go back in bed with your gown afterwards, or you risk being late for work). If you are a coffee drinker, make sure to get your coffee as soon as possible after the alarm goes off. You can try using these new coffee machines that get the coffee ready for you – the smell of it drifting through the room along with the alarm clock ring will surely motivate you.

Trick No. 3 – Don’t look for excuses!
When you are sleepy, especially in the winter morning and before work, you will find thousands of reasons why you don’t have to get up. You may even convince yourself that you shouldn’t get up and it will be for the best to keep on sleeping. Just ignore this reasoning and get up when you hear the alarm clock. If, however, you reach the point of arguing with yourself, try to convince your drowsy self that you have important things to do that cannot wait!

Trick No.  4 – Use some additional motivation!
You will be able to get up for work in the winter more easily if there is something you are looking forward to. For example, 20 minutes in front of the TV or on Facebook, a chapter of your book, a donut on the way to work – anything that you enjoy doing will help you motivate yourself out of the bed. Think about it before you go to bed – this will make you look forward to doing it in the morning.

Trick No. 5 – Use a special mobile alarm app!
If the above 4 tips don’t help then you will just have to be more creative. Fortunately, there are a lot of apps for people who don’t feel like getting up (especially in the winter). For example, there is an alarm that requires you to take a picture of something while you are setting it – it can be the bathroom door knob, your shoe or something in the attic; when it goes off the next morning, you need to take the same picture again to switch it off. Another app asks you to solve puzzles or math problems, play chess, etc. – things that are sure to wake you up. Afterwards, it will be easier to get up, just remember that if you can’t perform the required action, you will have to stop the device in order to switch the alarm off. In other words, your significant other, the kids and the neighbours may get up and switch it off before you!

We recommend implementing these five ‘get up for work in the winter’ tricks as soon as possible so you can get back into a routine that will motivate you and benefit you both personally and professionally.

filing(from the clean desk of a former clutter hugger)

Has your brain been feeling foggy or confused lately? It could be due to the clutter on your desk and in your workspace. Recently I did a huge clear out in my workspace and it was amazing the impact it actually had on my ability to work.

Clutter ruins any chance that you will be productive or focussed. From tripping over things to being unable to find an important document, your work rate slows down and so does your thinking ability. Once my space was clear, I even felt as though there was more air to breathe. Incredible, but true.

Here are the steps I went through to clear my space.

1. Ditch what you don’t need or use.
When you’re busy, clutter has a way of sneakily building up around you while you’re not looking. Monday’s lovely, clean desk is lost by Friday afternoon. If you sort through the pile on your desk, you’ll find papers and items that you don’t need to keep or that you don’t use any more. Clear them out. Put them in the bin or give them away.

2. Toss what you don’t like.
This one is more about making your space look more inviting. If you hate the poster on the wall, take it down. If you don’t like the ugly, grey hole-punch, toss it. Replace them with things that you like the look and feel of. It’s your space, so personalise it.

3. File loose papers.
This is an obvious one but I hate filing, so I tend to leave things in a “must file one day” pile and they sit there while the pile gets bigger and bigger. I also used to have information on scraps of paper that floated off the desk, never to be found again. First I bought a big diary and learnt to write all those scraps of information into the book. I don’t lose them anymore. Next, I tackled the filing. It didn’t take as long to do as I thought it would. If you can set aside a specific time each week to file all your loose papers, it won’t take long and you will be amazed at the difference it makes. (Friday afternoon is a great time to do this!)

When you can walk into your office and see clear desk surface shining up at you, everything seems to be more manageable. You feel more in control and your brain doesn’t have to fight it’s way through the clutter to grab the information you need.

Go on. Try it.

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