life gets busy, networking is one of the first things to go. Make the most of
your time by networking smarter; these four simple steps deliver results
without eating up big chunks of time.
Think, Then Dial: Before you pick up the phone for a
networking call, develop a clear objective for your conversation. Be ready to
let your network know your specific ask. Do you want to brainstorm? Or get an
introduction? Do you have a company in mind where you'd like to work? Or are
you looking for a chance to join a board or speak on a panel? The better the road
map you present, the easier it is for someone to help.
Listen Actively: Smart listeners walk away with a wealth of
tips from every conversation. Ask your colleague what they've been doing; what companies
they think are hot. Actively engaging,
and really listening to your network, should provide plenty of valuable
information to shape your job hunt or networking.
Go Pro: Amp up your networking by soliciting introductions to headhunters and recruiting
agencies. If a friend or colleague recently changed jobs, ask them if they
worked with a headhunter or career coach. Once you have a roster of headhunters
on your speed-dial, reach out to them every six months, even if you aren't
job-hunting. They might very well be looking for a candidate for your dream
Running List: Keep a
running list of 5 to 10 target companies where you'd like to work. Whenever you
have a networking call or lunch, see if your contact knows anyone at these
dream companies. If they don't, do they know anyone who knows someone? Keep
looking for a way into your dream gig, eventually you'll find it.
clock-watchers know every minute counts. When it comes to saving time, no tip is
too wacky or weird.
Sock Sense: Tired of sorting socks for your family? Missing
sock syndrome wastes valuable time. Say good-bye to missing socks (and wasted
time) by safety-pinning socks together before
they get tossed into the wash.
Meal Makeover: Dinner food preps can be time-consuming. Skip dinner in favor of a major midday meal
and use your evening hours to nibble fruit, cheese and crackers while spending
time on leisure pursuits or exercise. While you're at it, skip cooking for your
next soiree. Go potluck or even prepared; no one will care if your side dish is
from the deli counter as long as it tastes good. So long, from scratch!
Beauty Station: Put an end to the morning, "where's the
sunblock/hairbrush/lipstick," scramble by housing all your beauty needs in a
basket. Keep it by the front door mirror for last minute primping on your way
out the door.
Water Works: Cut your plant watering
time by as much as half by adding Osmocote, a slow-release fertilizer, which feeds
plants with each watering, and Soil Moist, a water-retaining polymer. Also, top your
pots with hardwood much; it holds moisture in and creates a finished look.
5. Desk Job: No time to work out during your busy workday? Get a treadmill
desk that lets you log laps while working on your
computer. Yep, it's possible to clock exercise hours while working.
6. Liquid Diet: Put your
shower on a liquid diet, using liquid soap (or glycerin bar soap) to cut
hard-to-clean soap scum. The binders in traditional bar
soaps cause soap scum which often leads to clogged drains.
7. Less Mess: Fight
microwave mess by lining the bottom of your microwave with 10 or so paper towels to protect the turntable. Cleaning
up is as simple as taking the top paper towel off after each use.
It: Skip buying and
watering houseplants and cut flowers by purchasing silk plants. A vase full of
silk stems blooms all year round and best of all, only needs a periodic vacuum
from time to time.
Lashes: Tired of
the morning mascara routine? Wish you could skip the even more time-consuming
nightly cleaning? Dye your lashes for
lasting color, no clean up required!
Free: Skip watching
TV live, by taping your shows, you can fast-forward through commercials and
shave your viewing time.
colorful blooms have long served as inspiration for artists. Now, this spring a
crop of apps puts creativity at your fingertips... literally. With a quick swipe
of your finger or double-click of the mouse, artists, illustrators and other
creative types, can fashion wonderful works with a smartphone or iPad.
down our favorite new app for artists is the Ampad Shot
Note App. The free, user-friendly app lets artists digitize and
share all drawings made on an Ampad Shot Note sketch
pad. Artists simply draw, doodle or sketch to their hearts
content. Once done, you snap a quick picture of the
Ampad Shot Note paper using the Ampad Shot Note App and save and tag the file.
Voila! The images are digitized, taking you from handmade to handheld.
Sharing your work has never been so easy; send your images to
multiple recipients via email or upload to Evernote, DropBox or Twitter. You
can even save it to your camera roll and send it as a message.
Sketch Pad to iPad
iPads are more your thing, there are a host of creative apps to make your
tablet zing. Check out the round up in 10 Best iPad Art Apps for Painting and Sketching to unleash your inner Picasso. Digital
artists will love that most of the ten apps offer all the bells and whistles of pro painting programs, but with
interfaces designed for iPad users. The apps are simple to use, with intuitive
interfaces that belie the complexity of the art that can be produced with their
wide range of digital pencils, pens, markers, and airbrushes. Artists working
on the go will appreciate that many of the apps offer Dropbox integration and
the ability to import and export Photoshop-friendly files.
Beyond the Brush
Artists and art lovers looking for more than just a new painting or
drawing tool will want to read 15 Art Apps You Should be Using. Sure, the article does list the better painting and
drawing apps, but its best recommendations go beyond the brush. Read on to
learn about art related apps such as Art Authority, a database of high resolution images of some
of the world's most stunning art. The app also allows users to quickly and easily find cool art
exhibitions or museums near their location.
Spring ushered in not only daffodils
but warm weather fashion. Before plunking down your hard earned cash on sandals
and sundresses, savvy shoppers should enlist one of these bargain-hunting apps.
of Shop It To Me as your free personal online shopper. Tell it
your favorite brands and sizes and then it takes over. The app scours the Web
to find the items you love and sends you personalized e-mail alerts that
feature the latest markdowns, secret promotion codes, and VIP sale events.
This site aggregates clothing and accessories from more than 100
e-commerce sites (Asos, Bluefly, and Neiman Marcus among them). Fashionistas
can use filters such as "sale" or price points to hunt for bargains, or can
simply browse. If you spy a bargain you can't resist, the site forwards you to
an online retailer. The free app lets you define your needs ("black
sandals... ideally under $100") and then casts a wide net to see what's
Coupon Sherpa: Bargain hunting can be tiring. Let Coupon Sherpa handle the heavy lifting for you. The free app compiles
Internet coupons from a variety of stores into one convenient location; the
deals aren't limited to clothing either. The coupons are regularly updated and best
of all, the app is free. A real bargain!
Looking to get more organized? Jump on the
color-coding bandwagon for organizing ease, efficiency and some colorful fun.
Color-coding can be used to organize just about any area of your home or
office; read on for tips for harnessing the rainbow to make your life more
organized and efficient.
Fresh Take on Filing: Color-coded filing systems assign colored
labels to key letters, file names or categories. The highly visual system makes
it easy to quickly assess where a file belongs or to spot misfiled folders.
Experts agree that color-coding offers several benefits including: fast, easy
access to files; a reduced number of misfiled folders; decrease in negative
emotions associated with filing such as frustration, confusion and boredom. For
a color-coding filing how-to, click here.
Colorful Closets: Want an answer to the daily "what to wear?"
dilemma? Color-code your closet for easy decision-making. When you organize you
clothes by color, not only is it easier to find your clothing, you'll get a
happy charge every time you open the door and see a Crayola Crayon box of
options. Read How to Color Code Your
Wardrobe for tips.
Bright Bookshelves: Say so long to the Dewey Decimal system and elect to
sort your books by color. While alphabetizing works best for libraries, at home
you have more freedom, so consider expressing your inner artist by color-blocking
your bookshelves. Visual thinkers may find the color code helps them locate
books more effectively. Plus, it looks stunning; click here for examples.
Color-Coded Kids: Have a big household? Consider color-coding your kids
for easier organization. By assigning each child a color, and using it for
common household items such as towels, toothbrushes, and laundry baskets, busy
parents can tell at a glance who is keeping up with chores and who needs a
gentle reminder to return their items to their rightful spots. Check out How to Color Code Life with Kids for more helpful ideas.
Color-Code Email: Optimize your email productivity with color- coding.
Did you know that Gmail, Outlook and Lotus Notes let you apply color filters to
specific emails? You can assign a color to a specific sender (or topic) making
it easy to see at a glance what type of emails need your attention. Check out Color-Coding Emails for more helpful tips on color-coding
a bright, airy, organized space is solely the province of glossy shelter mags
or movie sets? Think again. A streamlined, clutter-free space can be yours with
five simple steps from the organizing pros.
Less is More: Nothing gives a space more
bang for the buck than a thorough purge. Clutter creates stress and detracts
from a space's aesthetic, so commit to a ruthless edit of your belongings and
watch your free space grow. Be honest; do you really need three spatulas and
two whisks? Ditto all those unused toys, neglected books and out-of-style
clothes? Edit, edit, edit; asking yourself three questions: Do I use it? Do I
need it? Do I love it? Anything that gets a "no" gets tossed, donated or sold.
Consider asking a trusted friend to help with the review to keep you honest. Click here for a
before and after shot to get you motivated.
Clever Storage: Keep your space feeling open
and airy by using clever storage to conceal clutter. Enlist multitasking
furniture such as trunks to serve as a coffee or side table, while holding
bedding or board games. You can also shop for ottomans or other upholstered
pieces such as benches and even sofas and chairs, which have hinged seats to
conceal needed storage. Or use a skirted table either bedside or beside a sofa
to conceal a basket with remotes, books, and other small items. This link
some wonderful storage options.
Shelf Life: Adopt the mantra "a place
for everything, and everything in its place" by adding enough shelving to your
home to neatly corral your belongings. While custom shelving is a fantastic
option for maximizing your particular space, even inexpensive units from Ikea
can do the trick. Simply measure your space, and buy as many units as will fit.
Use attractive baskets or bins to hide away smaller items and to present a
cohesive design. See here
and here for ideas.
Skirted Tables: Don't underestimate the
organizing power of a skirted table. Even if your aesthetic favors, streamlined
modern pieces, a simple, skirted table can provide a wealth of organizing
options. Here a skirted consoles table
holds decorative accessories while concealing a full bar. And this clever homeowner had a seamstress create a
skirt for her Ikea Expedit bookshelf, providing concealed storage for her TV
Careful Color Choices: Create a bright, airy feel
by organizing your home and décor with careful color choices. By sticking to a
cohesive palette, you can make your space seem bigger and brighter. Tone on
tone color allows furniture to recede into walls, creating the illusion of more
space. Click here for examples. This doesn't
mean you need to avoid color, just use it judiciously: see how these homeowners use bright pops of color for
organizing here and here.
Now that the iPad mini is old news, tech-savvy trend spotters are in
search of the next great thing to organize, entertain and generally make life
easier. Tech-out this trio of trends that will have you on the cutting edge of
High-Tech Bathrooms: One of the last frontiers for technology
in the home, the bathroom, is becoming increasingly high-tech. Bathrooms, once
considered merely functional spaces, are increasingly designed to offer
homeowners spa-like amenities. Now, high-tech products such as wireless scales
and waterproof electronics, lets users customize their bathroom experiences
like never before. Sync your scale with your Fitbit app to monitor your weight and fitness
routines. Wave your hands near your smart faucet; sensors turn the water on for you. Hey,
even singing in the shower goes state-of-the-art with the electronics featured
in Tech-Out Your Bathroom.
Beauty Apps: Makeup counters are so old school. Modern
beauties turn to apps to put their best face forward. Need help picking a
lipstick or a foundation color? Try MatchMaker by True Match http://bit.ly/JZC1un or Make Up Forever Pocket Studio. Can't get a dermatologist appointment to
deal with that zit? Check out PerSKINality for tips on getting blemish free by the
weekend. We also like OPI
Nail Art Studio and How to Do Your Own Cute Nails for tips on getting salon-worthy manis
LED Your Life: Okay, LED lights aren't exactly new
(they've been around since the 1960s) but they are booming in popularity like
never before. Witness Katy Perry's multihued, LED light dress worn to the recent Met Costume Ball; the
sparkling dress took 3,000 LED bulbs to create. For other eye-catching,
light-up fashion, check out We're
Obsessed: 10 Glowing Geek Chic Gowns. LED isn't just for celebrities, a slew
of bright products in equally cheerful price points put LED décor within
everyone's reach. Check out these colorful coasters and LED ice-cubes to put some bright in your bevy. Or unleash
your inner DIY-diva with the ingenious projects in Light It Up! 15 Awesome LED Projects.
Getting a healthy, delicious dinner
on the table each night is the Holy Grail of working parents. Our four simple
tips help answer the nightly "what's for dinner?" question.
Greatest Hits: Do yourself a favor and commit to a weeknight
rotation of four to six basic recipes that can be easily assembled and altered
for variety. Roast chicken is simple; dress it up with an array of sides. Ditto
grilled lean meats and fish. Chopped salads are also easy; just vary the
ingredients for a fresh take. Shop on Saturday, prep foods Sunday (chopping
veggies for the week or roasting a chicken for use in weeknight meals) and keep
a running grocery list during the week so you can fill pantry holes during next
Chefs: Turn meal-planning
over to your teens once a week. In My
Sons, The Sous-Chefs, NYT reporter Leslie Kaufman recounts how
with some prep work (i.e. providing basic kitchen training and guidance on
recipe selection) she was able to outsource two meals a week to her teen sons.
Even tweens can help pitch in; have them assemble ingredients, defrost meats
and prepared foods, make a simple salad and set the table so you save time each
Prep Work: Who has time to plan in advance? You do that's who. Take
an hour each week to plan meals, grocery shop online and prep the basics (chopping,
roasting) over the weekend. An ounce of preparation
is worth a pound of take-out. You will be amazed at how small investments of
pre-planning yield delicious meals. For menu ideas read, Easy Weeknight Dinners.
Fake It: Who says dinner needs to be made from scratch? Savvy
weeknight chefs rely on pre-made and store-bought ingredients to get dinner
from to-do to done. Read Fake-It, Don't Make it: 25 Recipes to see how simple short-cuts can put dishes
like chicken tostadas and fish tacos on your dinner table quickly and easily.
Remember that awkward birds-and-the-bees chat with your
parents about a zillion years ago? Now, as your parents approach retirement,
it's time for another slightly uncomfortable talk: this time about finances and
legal paperwork. Even if your parents are still active and healthy, the day will
come when they need assistance. Make sure to prepare five key documents to protect
their finances and health. And if you have children of your own, do them a
favor by getting these documents for yourself.
needs a will, regardless of age and assets. Without a will, the courts will follow
state law to distribute your assets. A will makes clear how you wish your
personal effects to be distributed and helps avoid disagreements over the
estate after death.
Revocable Living Trust
If you die with only a will in place, the courts need to
undergo a process known as probate, a legal stamp of approval, which can cost
as much as five percent of an estate and take up to a year. Talk about
inheriting a legal tangle! Spare your heirs this process by setting up a
revocable living trust, which allows you to retain control over your estate
while making transfers to beneficiaries. Upon death, the trust protects the
estate from probate.
known as a medical or health directive, a living will allows your parent to
spell out what type of care your loved one wishes to receive if they become terminally
ill and incapacitated.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health-Care
Ask your parent to designate a trusted person with a
durable power of attorney to make healthcare decisions in case of
incapacitation. Make sure it has a HIPPA release that allows access to health
records and physicians.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
managing your loved one's bills possible with this document which allows you to
administer your loved one's financial affairs, pay their bills, dispose of
is Women's History Month and this March comes on the heels of the 50th
anniversary of the publication of what is widely considered a seminal work of
American feminism, Betty Friedan's "The Feminine
Mystique." Much has changed since Friedan first wrote
her book in the 1960's and much has not. To wit: the New York Times recently
ran a fascinating opinion piece titled, "Why Gender
Equality Stalled." Has gender equality stalled? Read the piece
and draw your own conclusions. But no matter your viewpoint, what is without
dispute is that women make up nearly half of the American workforce and are on
track to be an even larger percentage in coming years.
to the U.S. Department of Labor, women in the workforce in 2010:
Here's to the women
who make work work, both at home and in the workforce.
What would happen if you unexpectedly needed to take over your aging
parents' finances? With people living longer, adult children are increasingly
tasked with caring for aging parents. Are you prepared? If the answer is no, do
yourself a favor and get a handle on the paperwork before an emergency strikes.
This round-up of advice will help you, and your aging parents, navigate the
The Talk: The first step in providing
assistance is to get all parties to agree that help is needed. Open,
compassionate communication is essential. Speak candidly, but kindly, to your
parent about why you want to get involved in managing their finances or
paperwork either now or down the road. Listen actively and carefully to their
concerns so you can better assuage any fears. Make clear that you want to work
with them as partners. For more tips on discussing sensitive issues, read the
advice in How
to Talk with Elderly Parents about Tough Family Issues.
Must-Know Facts: Money talk is often considered
an impolite subject but in order to help your parents, candor is required. Plan
for a time when you aren't hurried or distracted to have a frank and thorough
conversation about your parents' finances. For starters, where do your parents
keep their financial records? Are they working with a financial planner? Do
they have a durable power of attorney to manage their finances should they
become incapacitated? Ask for a thorough inventory, or create one of your own,
that identifies crucial financial accounts, insurance and passwords or keys to
access online documents or safety deposit boxes. For more ideas of what you
need to know to be helpful, read 10 Things You Should Know About Your Parents' Finances.
Tax Man: Tax season means paperwork. Help
your parents greet the tax man with the advice in Your Aging Parents and Tax Season: A
Getting-Started Guide. The article has useful advice on determining whether or not your
parents even need to file (many seniors have income that falls below the IRS
threshold) and tips on how to claim your parent as a dependent.
Bill Paying: Keeping up with monthly bills is a big job. Let your parents
know you can help pitch in or take over the job entirely. Get started by
assessing their annual income and monthly expenses. Then, you can help your
parent write the checks, or if you have power of attorney, pay the bills
directly from their accounts. Keep in
mind that unless your parent is totally incapacitated, that it's still their
money and they should choose how and when to spend it. But keep an eye on credit
card statements and the bottom line; the elderly are often scammed by telemarketers
or are taken advantage of by friends, family or caregivers.
Helpful Tools: Taking on your parents' finances and paperwork in addition to
your own can seem daunting. We've rounded up some useful tools to keep all the trains
running on time. For the caregiver who prefers old-fashioned papers to digital,
The Senior Organizer is a handy workbook designed to
assist in gathering crucial personal, medical, legal and financial information.
For smartphone-savvy app lovers, elder-care website AgingCare.com http://bit.ly/49NVi has a useful article on apps to help
with all your elder care needs: 12 Handy Apps for Caregivers.
Hey groundhog, what early spring? Much of the East
Coast is still getting walloped by wintery weather: cold and flu season is
dragging on for the time-being. Read on for tips for dodging winter illnesses while
Rinse, Repeat: Your mother was right. Washing your hands
is the best source of defense against flu and cold germs. Make hand-washing a
regular habit when you first arrive at the office and throughout the day.
Lather up and scrub for at least 20 seconds-sing
the A, B, Cs in your head to gauge proper scrubbing time-and
you are good to go. In a pinch, use a hand sanitizer but make sure it contains
at least 60 percent alcohol for maximum effectiveness.
A good night's sleep is clinically proven to help ward off cold germs so log at
least seven, or better yet eight, hours of shut-eye on a regular basis. A
rested body is a healthier body.
Diet: Add bright berries and colorful veggies to your workday
diet to boost your immune system with powerful antioxidants. For more immune
boosting eats, read 10 Flu Fighting Foods. And maintain optimum energy levels all day long with the ideas from our past
post Healthy Office Eats. Yup, It's Possible.
Stress: Take steps to reduce stress which can undermine your
immune system. Add regular, moderate exercise to your daily routine and
consider relaxation techniques such as mediation or journaling. Even a brisk
15-minute walk midday can be enough to boost your energy levels and
reinvigorate your immune system. For other ideas, read Stress
Less: Seven Simple Ideas to Cut Stress.
Tea, Subtract Wine: Even moderate consumption of alcohol can
compromise immune response, so consider teetotaling during cold and flu season.
Instead, add green or herbal teas to your evening's routine for both their
antioxidant and relaxing properties.
Teen clutter seems to proliferate faster than a hot You-Tube
video goes viral. Stop the runaway mess before it engulfs your home (or your
teen's room) with a few simple steps.
Make your teen a partner in clutter control. Teens crave privacy
and self-determination so consider letting them have more leeway in deciding
how clean to keep their own rooms. For example, clutter may be off-limits in
the family room, but permitted within reason in their bedrooms. When you enlist
your teen as a partner, and respect their growing ability and need for
self-determination, you better the odds of harmonious cohabitation.
Determine your own clutter threshold for the household and lay
down clear ground rules. Examples might include a "no food" policy for bedrooms,
requiring a clear exit path between the bed and the door for safety reasons,
and a rule that if any bad smells come from a bedroom, it then needs a thorough
cleaning by the teen. If these conditions are all met, grit your teeth about
the piles of laundry and other annoyances.
Everything in its
Place: Take time to evaluate your teen's room to determine if
they have the needed tools for neatness. Do they have adequate storage? If not,
consider investing in inexpensive shelving such as Ikea's Expedit units which can easily hold files for school papers and baskets and
bins for corralling small items and clothing. Work with, not against your teen:
if they don't fold and store clothes neatly, buy bins to hold clothing piles and
install a rack of pegs or hooks to easily capture garments.
Less is More: If the room is overstuffed with toys and clothes, encourage a
purge. Donating or selling the unused items can net your teen some money and
creates a more manageable set of belongings. Maintain order by doing a big
purge at least twice a year. Good times for purging are after major gift events
such as Christmas or birthdays.
House Rules: While teens may have leeway in their rooms, parents have every
right to set conditions about how shared rooms are managed. Rather than nag
constantly, assign every family member a chore that keeps order in shared
rooms. And give family members a designated basket or bin to be kept in the
mudroom or family room. Odds and ends can be tossed in the bins during nightly
clean up and emptied on the weekends.
Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.