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10 tips to resist tobacco cravings

Helping Quit Smoking

Tobacco cravings can wear you down when you’re trying to quit. Use these tips to reduce and resist cravings.

For most tobacco users, tobacco cravings or urges to smoke can be powerful. But you’re not at the mercy of these cravings.

When an urge to use tobacco strikes, remember that although it may be intense, it will probably pass within five to 10 minutes whether or not you smoke a cigarette or take a dip of chewing tobacco. Each time you resist a tobacco craving, you’re one step closer to stopping tobacco use for good.

Here are 10 ways to help you resist the urge to smoke or use tobacco when a tobacco craving strikes.

1. Try nicotine replacement therapy

Ask your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy. The options include:

  • Prescription nicotine in a nasal spray or inhaler
  • Over-the-counter nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges
  • Prescription non-nicotine stop-smoking medications such as bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix)

Short-acting nicotine replacement therapies — such as nicotine gum, lozenges, nasal sprays or inhalers — can help you overcome intense cravings. These short-acting therapies are generally safe to use in combination with long-acting nicotine patches or one of the non-nicotine medications.

Electronic cigarettes have had a lot of attention recently as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. However, more studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation and the long-term safety of these devices.

2. Avoid triggers

Urges for tobacco are likely to be strongest in the situations where you smoked or chewed tobacco most often, such as at parties or bars, or while feeling stressed or sipping coffee. Identify your trigger situations and have a plan in place to avoid them entirely or get through them without using tobacco.

Don’t set yourself up for a smoking relapse. If you usually smoked while you talked on the phone, for instance, keep a pen and paper nearby to occupy yourself with doodling rather than smoking.

3. Delay

If you feel like you’re going to give in to your tobacco craving, tell yourself that you must first wait 10 more minutes — and then do something to distract yourself for that period of time. Try going to a public, smoke-free zone. These simple tricks may be enough to derail your tobacco craving.

4. Chew on it

Give your mouth something to do to fight a tobacco craving. Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy, or munch on raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds — something crunchy and satisfying.

5. Don’t have ‘just one’

You might be tempted to have just one cigarette to satisfy a tobacco craving. But don’t fool yourself into believing that you can stop there. More often than not, having just one leads to another— and you may end up using tobacco again.

6. Get physical

Physical activity can help distract you from tobacco cravings and reduce their intensity. Even short burst of physical activity — such as running up and down the stairs a few times — can make a tobacco craving go away. Get out for a walk or jog.

If you’re stuck at home or the office, try squats, deep knee bends, pushups, running in place, or walking up and down a set of stairs. If physical activity doesn’t interest you, try prayer, needlework, woodwork or journaling. Or do chores for distraction, such as vacuuming or filing paperwork.

7. Practice relaxation techniques

Smoking may have been your way to deal with stress. Resisting a tobacco craving can itself be stressful. Take the edge off stress by practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, yoga, visualization, massage or listening to calming music.

8. Call for reinforcements

Touch base with a family member, friend or support group member for help in your effort to resist a tobacco craving. Chat on the phone, go for a walk together, share a few laughs, or get together to commiserate about your cravings. A free telephone quitline — 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) — provides support and counseling

9. Go online for support

Join an online stop-smoking program. Or read a quitter’s blog and post encouraging thoughts for someone else who might be struggling with tobacco cravings. Learn from how others have handled their tobacco cravings.

10. Remind yourself of the benefits

Write down or say out loud the reasons you want to stop smoking and resist tobacco cravings. These might include:

  • Feeling better
  • Getting healthier
  • Sparing your loved ones from secondhand smoke
  • Saving money

Remember, trying something to beat the urge is always better than doing nothing. And each time you resist a tobacco craving, you’re one step closer to being totally tobacco-free.

 

Blog Source: Mayoclinic.org | Quitting smoking: 10 ways to resist tobacco cravings

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Tips for choosing the best steel carports

Many people around the world use the steel carport to provide shelter to their truck or recreational vehicles that do not fit into their gas stations. Carports are also used in many garages around the world. Coming up with the best carport that suits your need is not an easy task as you might take. They are many companies that deal with the production of carports making your choosing process a bit hard. You should have the self-assembly carports that will help you come up with the best carports that will not only meet your needs but also cover your property well.

Things to consider before buying steel carports

Your building codes

Before, you got out to the market to buy the carport first to find out the local codes of your building and find out which is the best for your house. In many occasions, the jurisdictions might have some requirement that a carport must meet to be installed. If it happens that, you live in a private estate that delineates the quality of product to be used, then you should try to find the brand that suits all the conditions. I recommend that you choose the type and style that suits your landscape, structures and meets the federal code requirements.

Find out the grade and the gauge of the carport

The gauge and grade of a metal help one to determine the hardness of the steel carport and how good it is when subjected to adverse climatic conditions. You have to find out the correct brand that fit your areas climatic conditions for good results. For example, if you build a steel type on the ocean beach. Try to find out, if the carports site is made to stand the rust? If yes, I recommend that you ask the metal that resist corrosion at all cost. Before buying or giving out your cash to buy a carport try to ask to find out the material used to make that carport.

Coating

Before you decide which carport kit to take home, find the materials that make the coating. Some carports when exposed to some weathers they badly rust and might peel and chip, which will cost you a lot. Find the steel with some perfect coating with metal, which are highly impregnated into steel in his production process.

Find out the warrant that covers against peeling or chipping, and rusting. If it happens that the carport is unpainted, ask them about the corrosion-resistant type, and if painted ask about the procedure of impregnating of the color of your steel.

Installations and assembly

Carports come in part and mostly the assembling of the site. Make sure before buying you walk around and find out the company that provides an after sale costs like transport and installations. These will help to get the proper installation that will not only provide the perfect shade for your car but also will save you from the extra cost of hiring some people to do the work. Try to be smart and ask for quality, and remember the class makes the best choice.

 

Blog Source: Open Door Inc | Tips on how to choose the best steel carports

 

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Improving Website Speed & Performance for Better User Experience

Internal Link SEO

The world moves fast. When the new version of the iPhone is launched, most of us rush to be the first to see and review it. When any breaking news hits the nation or the world, we glue to our TV screens to get the latest updates and the reporters rush to be the first to deliver the news. No wonder, people expect the same agility and speed while browsing the web. They have no patience, they want to experience the unhindered performance of the web so that they may calmly and quickly receive the information they are searching for. This is why websites with poor load speeds or inadequate performance have no place in the World Wide Web today.

The Importance of Website Speed & Performance –

As per a study was done by Akamai, more than the 50% of web users expect a site to load in less than 2 seconds and if it’s unable to load within 3 seconds, the users tend to switch on the next and don’t wait for the website to load. A more alarming statistic is that around 70% of users who are not satisfied with websites’ load time; they count on the other rivalry addresses.

It simply means, by having the poor website load time, you are not merely losing your current visitors and decreasing conversion rates but also running the risk of not getting new customers who visit your website on the referrals of other existing customers.

In the current fast-paced world, every second makes the difference. Your users expect your website to load fast and if not, they will not stick to your business. Keeping this crucial fact in mind, let’s take a look at some vital ways to increase website speed and performance.

Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Hosting your media files on CDN is one of the best ways to speed up your site. CDNs work by hosting your files on a big number of servers across the globe. For instance, if a user visits your website from Greece, they will download files from the server that is closest to them.

Not to mention, the speed of your website is greatly affected by the location of users, relative to your web server. The farther they are, the more data being transmitted has to travel. Having your content hosted on CDNs will help resolve this problem. A CDN might make your operating cost a little higher, but your website will surely be load in no time, no matter from which corner of the world the user is viewing your business. Don’t strain your nerves if you are not familiar with CDN, a reputed Website development company in India can help you in this regard.

Use GTMetrix –

GTMetrix is a web application that helps you analyze and optimize your website. The web developers in India offer a free version and paid plans for users who have one or multiple websites. These users can benefit from faster analysis, additional API access, hourly URL monitoring, more targeting options, and white-label PDF reports. At a glance, users can view a summary of their website’s performance.

Essentially, GTMetrix is Google’s solution to evaluate the speed and performance of websites for both desktop and mobile devices. This web application provides a score ranging from 0 to 100 and Google confirms that a score of 85 or higher indicates that a website is performing well. So, to get the clear idea of how fast the website loads under various circumstances and at different times of the day, use GTMetrix.

Use Pingdom –

Speed testing is an essential task for all website owners and it can be effectively done via using Pingdom. It is one of the best website monitoring and speed testing tools currently available. Use this testing tool to measure and monitor the load time of a Website. Pingdom might seem like a relatively easy testing tool to e used due to its ostensibly basic free speed test but once you get registered to it, a whole world of a multitude if features get available. To make the most of all the accessible features, take help of a professional website developer and enjoy the unmatched website’s speed and performance.

Minimize HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) Requests –

HTTP requests are counted whenever a browser fetches a page, picture or file from a web server. As per a recent study, these HTTP request may take up to 80% of a Webpage’s load time. It means that the more HTTP requests you need to load, the longer it will take your web page to go and retrieve them all, which will increase the load time of your website. So, you should minimize HTTP requests. But how will you reduce HTTP requests?  Simple, take help of professional website developers in India and they will do the job for you.

Use a Caching Plugin –

If you are using WordPress, one of the easiest and quickest ways to speed up your web page loading time is to install a caching plugin like WP Super Cache or WP Total Cache. However, if you are using WP Engine, you need not use caching plugin ass they have it built-in.

Compress Images and Optimize Their Size –

Images currently take around 60% of the average bytes loaded per page. So, remove any images of assets you think you don’t necessitate them. It will significantly improve the speed and performance of your web page.

If you have oodles of images on the page, you should learn about the optimal format for each image. There are typically three kinds of formats JPEG, GIF, and PNG. JPEG is considered the most suitable format for saving the images with smooth gradients and color tones whereas GIF or PNG are good for the images that have solid colors.

While images will still take up the majority of your HTTP requests, optimizing them will ultimately keep their sizes down and increase the overall performance of your website. If you are not sure which format would be right for your images, take help of professional website designers in India.

Deactivate Plugins you don’t use –

Plugins are one of the key reasons for slowing down the loading time of a WordPress-hosted site. So, delete plugins that are not essential or that are no longer in use. You can easily identify useless plugins that are harming your website’s performance by selectively disabling them and measuring server performance. If you are still not sure what plugins are useful to you and what not, get in contact with website developers in India.

Conclusion –

In this net savvy and fast-paced age, users will continue to demand a richer and richer online experience. A little attention to fasten your website loading speed will go a long way because every one-second delay in your website loading speed is all enough to lose a lead.

 

Blog Source: Media Search Group | How to Improve Website Speed & Performance for Better User Experience?

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A Preview of The NHL Conferences Finals 2019

Eastern Conference Final:  Bruins vs Hurricanes

The Eastern Conference Final pits what can be considered these years “Cinderella story” the Hurricanes, against a team most love to hate in the Bruins.  The Bruins are in their first conference final since 2013 while the Hurricanes are hoping to ride the wave to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2006 when Justin Williams tapped the puck into the empty net, sealing the Stanley Cup for the Hurricanes.

In playoffs defined by unpredictability, the Bruins have solidified their standing as one of the NHL’s elite teams in defeating the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets, both quite handily at the end of the day. The Hurricanes can and will challenge the Bruins with their style of aggressive play and speed, but on most nights they are going to be outmatched by a better team. Rask is playing extremely well while the Hurricanes reply on a less seasoned goaltender in Mrazek.  The Bruins mainline can’t be silenced forever, Boston has renewed passion and will ultimately serve as too much for the Hurricanes.

FANPICKS PREDICTION:  Boston in five

Western Conference Final:  Blues vs Sharks

This is a rematch of the 2016 Western Conference Final, which was won by the Sharks in six games. For both the Sharks and Blues it represented their best playoff runs of the 21st century, and ever since they just haven’t been able to live up to expectations.

Since 2000, the Sharks and Blues have the second- and sixth-most cumulative regular season points in the league, however, neither have a Stanley Cup to show for it.  This year may be as good a chance as any to put those demons to bed.

Injuries remain the concern for the Sharks top D-man Erik Karlsson.  He hasn’t scored a goal yet these playoffs, and while Karlsson brings that offensive dynamism, when he’s on the ice the Sharks are allowing more goals than they are scoring.

The Blues have been excellent on the forecheck and cycle throughout the playoffs, carrying the play and applying immense pressure in key moments.  This pressure will eventually be overwhelming for an already worn down Sharks defense and aging players such as Joe Thorton, Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, Justin Braun, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

 

Blog Source: FANPICKS | NHL Conferences Finals 2019 Preview

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How to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr’s Easyway

cigarette, smoke

Many people think Allen Carr’s Easyway is simply a series of tips on how to stop smoking to help smokers quit. It isn’t. It’s as if smokers are lost in a maze. They want to escape smoking but they don’t know the correct directions.

Allen Carr’s Easyway method provides a map of the maze and simple instructions to help any smoker get free. However, if you try to follow the instructions without first understanding the map, or you fail to follow all the instructions, you may never find the exit.

Once you’ve got it clearly into your mind that there are no advantages to smoking, then the instructions below will help you get free but if you are serious about stopping, we strongly recommend you attend your nearest Allen Carr centre or have an online seminar from the comfort of your own home:

 

1. Set your date and time to stop; you’re going to quit smoking naturally so carry on smoking as usual until then

Set your date and time to stop and carry on smoking as usual right up to that time – don’t try to cut down beforehand, that just makes cigarettes seem more precious rather than less so.

2. Look forward

Remember – you’re not giving up anything because cigarettes do absolutely nothing for you at all. They provide you with no genuine pleasure or crutch, they simply keep you addicted – a slave to nicotine. Get it clearly into your mind: you are losing nothing and you are making marvelous positive gains not only in health, energy, and money but also in confidence, self-respect, freedom and, most important of all, in the length and quality of your future life. You’re going to enjoy being a non-smoker right from the moment you put out your last cigarette.

3. Have a final cigarette; you’re going to give up smoking easily so make a solemn vow

Actually, there’s nothing to give up – you’re getting rid of something. Light your final cigarette and make a solemn vow that regardless of what highs or lows may befall you in future, you will never puff on another cigarette or take nicotine in any form again. This is one of the most important decisions you will ever make because the length and quality of your future life critically depend on it. What’s more, you know it’s the correct decision even as you make it. Having made what you know to be the correct decision never even begin to question or to doubt that decision.

4. Be cool about withdrawal; the physical withdrawal is very slight and passes quickly

Your body will continue to withdraw from nicotine for a few days but that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable or crave cigarettes. The physical withdrawal is very slight – there is no pain – and it passes quickly. What’s more, it’s what smokers suffer all their smoking lives. Non-smokers do not suffer it. You are a non-smoker and so you’ll soon be free of it forever.

If you associate a cigarette with a coffee, tea, drink or break, have your coffee, tea, drink or break and at that moment, instead of thinking: “I can’t have a cigarette now”, simply think: “Isn’t it great: I can enjoy this moment without having to choke myself to death”.

5. Socialise as normal; you won’t be craving a cigarette so there’s no need to avoid smokers

Do not try to avoid smoking situations or opt out of life. Go out and enjoy social occasions right from the start and do not envy smokers, pity them. Realise that they will be envying you because every single one of them will be wishing they could be like you: free from the whole filthy nightmare. No smoker wants to see their children start smoking which means they wish they hadn’t started themselves. Remember it’s not you who are being deprived but those poor smokers. They’re being deprived of their health, energy, money, peace of mind, confidence, courage, self-respect, and freedom. If you’re offered a cigarette, just say: “No thanks – I don’t smoke”, rather than start a long conversation about how long it has been since you stopped.

6. Think about it; don’t try to “not to think” about smoking – it doesn’t work

Don’t try to “not to think about” smoking – it doesn’t work. If I say: “Don’t think about a brick wall, what are you thinking about? Just make sure that whenever you are thinking about it, you’re not thinking: “I want a cigarette but I can’t have one” but instead: “Isn’t is marvellous: I don’t need to smoke anymore and I don’t want to smoke any more. Yippee, I’m a non-smoker!” Then you can think about it all you like and you’ll still be happy.

7. There’s no such thing as “just one” cigarette after you quit smoking

Never be fooled into thinking you can have the odd cigarette just to be sociable or just to get over a difficult moment. If you do, you’ll find yourself back in the trap in no time at all. Never think in terms of one cigarette, always think of the whole filthy lifetime’s chain. Remember: there is no such thing as just one cigarette.

8. Avoid Substitutes; patches, gums, nasal sprays and e-cigs just keep the addiction alive

Do not use any substitutes. They all make it more difficult to stop because they perpetuate the illusion that you’re making a sacrifice. Substitutes that contain nicotine such as e-cigarettes or so-called Nicotine Replacement Therapy; patches, gums, nasal sprays, and inhalators – are particularly unhelpful as they simply keep the addiction to nicotine alive. It’s like advising a heroin addict who’s smoking the drug off foil, to start injecting it instead.

9. Ditch your cigarettes; you are already a non-smoker the moment you put out your final cigarette

Do not keep cigarettes on you or anywhere else in case of an emergency. If you do, it means you’re doubting your decision. Non-smokers do not need cigarettes. You are already a non-smoker the moment you put out your final cigarette. In fact, one of the many joys of being free is not having to worry about having cigarettes and a light on you, of ending that slavery.

10. Enjoy your freedom; live a smoke-free life and be on your guard not to fall back into the trap

Life will soon go back to normal as a non-smoker but be on your guard not to fall back into the trap. If your brain ever starts playing tricks on you by thinking “Just one cigarette”, remember there is no such thing, so the question you need to ask yourself is not: “Shall I have a cigarette now” but “Do I want to become a smoker again, all day, every day sticking those things into my mouth, setting light to them, never being allowed to stop?” The answer “No”. Why not? “Because I didn’t like being a smoker – that’s why I decided to become a non-smoker”. That way those moments can become pleasurable as you congratulate yourself that you’re free and that way you can enjoy remaining a non-smoker for the rest of your life.

 

Blog Source: Allen Carr’s Easyway | Top 10 Tips on How to Stop Smoking

 

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4 Reminders for Self Storage of Couches

One of the most common household items, couches, can be found in living rooms across the country and around the world. In a variety of shapes, styles, and sizes, these pieces can really pull together a room.

No matter how long you may need to store your couch, keep the following quick tips in mind to protect and preserve.

1. CLEAN AND PREP FOR SHORT OR LONG-TERM STORAGE

The first step will be to get your couch ready for storage, and this means giving it a proper clean. Regardless of its term in storage, a clean start improves the likelihood that your couch will preserve itself well against threats of mold, mildew, and wear and tear.

When caring for any piece of furniture, pay attention to a material type and adjust your cleaning technique appropriately. Incorrect cleaning methods can ruin the look and feel of your item indefinitely, so it’s important to get it right.

Once you’ve identified the material type, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Leather: Dust and clean with soap and water. Should you find existing stains already on the piece, cleanse further with a mix of water and white vinegar.

  • Cotton: Dust and clean with water and bleach-free detergent. Spot clean hard-to-tackle areas further with a mix of water and white vinegar.

  • Linen: Find a cleanser that notes specific use for linens, and be sure to consult your couch’s care tag. This will give you your best chance at treating it right.

  • Wool: Read the label attached to your couch for care instructions. Wool is commonly cleaned with water, solvent or a combination of the two.

  • Silk: Be extra careful with this material, as it’s easy to leave unintentional marks. Test possible cleaning options on small areas to be sure desired results occur. Clean with cold water and mild detergent solution, or consider consulting a professional.

  • After cleaning, cover with a secure, yet breathable, furniture cover.

2. INVEST IN FURNITURE SLIDERS, AND MOVE WITH EASE

If the thought of moving a couch yourself is enough to pick up the phone and call a mover, consider furniture sliders.

Trust us, these things are like magic!

Simply slide them under couch legs and push. They allow heavy pieces to glide.

3. GIVE IT ROOM TO BREATHE IN STORAGE

Within your unit, store your couch the same as you would in your home. Keep it free from debris, and avoid propping it upright. Layering with boxes or standing a couch up in a fashion it is not used to can put undue stress and strain on it.

Instead, give it air, and the space to be on its own.

4. CONTROL CLIMATE CONDITIONS

Material types can wear, discolor or gain unwelcome residue in harsh conditions. Too much sun or moisture, in particular, can be hazardous when storing.

With this in mind, speak with your storage facility manager about climate-controlled storage options. These units allow you to set the conditions your couch needs to maintain its preferred color and style.

Blog Source: Security Self Storage | Couch Considerations: 4 Reminders for Self Storage

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Tips for Finding an Apartment for Rent

Here at Rentberry, it’s a part of our daily routine to work with different types of properties as well as people renting different types of properties. In light of this, we know all the ins and outs of renting apartments, condos, duplexes, you name it, and we are ready to share our knowledge with you. So today our focus is on tips that will come in handy if you’re planning to rent an apartment.

Set Your Budget and Stick to It

If wasting time is not your idea of fun (and we assume it is not), then setting a budget is what you need to do first thing. The benefits of having your budget set are numerous, but the biggest one is that you immediately narrow your search down, which will save you time and effort on the way. If it gives you hard times deciding which part of your income should go for paying rent, remember that it’s suggested for renters to have a gross income that is at least three times the cost of their lease.

Research Your Chosen Apartment Complexes

One of the smartest things you can do before renting an apartment in a certain apartment complex is Google it and see if there are any complaints or reviews from current residents. If there are some problems with the building, chances are good the agent or property manager won’t tell it to you (but Google surely will). When there’s something serious going on with an apartment complex (let’s say, it has problems with electricity or water pressure), you should learn about it before signing your lease.

Find Out How Much Storage Space is Available

Raise your hand if you also think that there’s never enough storage space in your home. No matter how big your new place seems at first glance, soon enough it turns out you need extra space to store your winter clothes or books you’ve already finished reading. If that sounds familiar, make sure to inspect your prospective apartment on the amount of storage space. Unlike single-family houses or duplexes, apartments don’t usually have a hall or extra closets.

Clarify the Parking Situation

Even if you noticed a parking lot while attending an open house, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have access to it as a renter. In nearly all the cases, parking space near apartment buildings is limited. So if you’re a car owner, you’d better ask your prospective landlord about parking policy right away. Being informed never hurts, agree?

Make Sure the Walls Are Not Too Thin

Living in an apartment means having neighbors that live leftward and rightward of you as well as above and below you. Under the circumstances, the question of noise gets critical. The majority of modern apartments have soundproof walls, but if the apartment building is relatively old, noise might be an issue. To find out if it is the case with your prospective home, try to schedule an open house during the early-morning hours. This is the time when people tend to be at home getting ready for work or school, which means you’ll get a chance to learn if adequate soundproofing is present.

Find Out If Utilities Are Included

Renting an apartment with all utilities included saves money and effort. When you don’t have to worry about extra money to cover electricity or Internet bills, managing your monthly budget becomes a lot easier. Ask your prospective landlord whether or not utilities are calculated as a part of your monthly rent and if they are not, don’t shy away from asking how much money you should be ready to pay for them.

Check Your Water Pressure

If you’ve never lived in high-rises before, you might not even know that weak water pressure can be a huge problem. There is nothing more annoying than not being able to take a shower at your home simply because there are too many people already taking a shower at their homes (sounds funny, but it’s not). To save your healthy nerves, check the water pressure and, ideally, talk to neighbors from the same or higher floor to find out if water pressure is strong enough.

Ask About Apartment Community Rules

Pretty much like in the case with condos and co-ops, apartment communities might have their own terms and rules. For instance, you might not be allowed to make changes to the outward appearance of your apartment or make car repairs on the territory around an apartment complex. To save yourself the trouble, check out if some of the apartment community rules are present and think whether or not you’ll be comfortable following them day in and day out.

Talk to Your Prospective Neighbors

That’s one of the best things you can do as a prospective renter, seriously. By simply talking to your possible neighbors you’ll kill two birds with one stone. Not only will you get the idea of what kind of people are going to live next door, but you will also get a chance to learn some unobvious problems and peculiarities associated with an apartment and building.

Negotiate the Terms and Prices

In nearly all cases, it’s possible to negotiate a better deal by simply talking to your prospective landlord. Especially, if you’re armed with relevant information like for how long the property has been vacant or which tiny problems about the apartment might result in a discount.

Identify Your Priorities for Amenities

As soon as you’ve decided on a neighborhood and your budget, it’s high time to define which amenities should absolutely be a part of your new home. To avoid confusion and hours of time wasted, it’s better for you to choose your top three amenities instead of trying to find a rental that will contain everything from fireplace and stainless still kitchen to hardwood floors and a rooftop pool. Choose three amenities that are your first priority and appreciate if your prospective apartment will feature more than that.

 

Check Locks, Windows, and Doors

What looks good doesn’t always work well. If you don’t want to end up realizing that your locks are broken or there’s no way to open a window in your bedroom, check every single thing in your prospective home. It might take some time, but it is absolutely worth it. After all, having good locks and properly working doors/windows is one of the best ways to protect your home from break-ins.

Searching and finding a perfect rental apartment requires some diligence and patience. Hopefully, the above-mentioned tips will help you avoid possible pitfalls and make your apartment hunting as seamless as possible. And no matter what, remember to have your objectives and goals in place. As long as you clearly understand what you need and how much money/time/energy you’re ready to spend in order to get it, you’ll surely end up securing the apartment of your dream.

 

Blog Source: Rentberry | Finding an Apartment for Rent: Tips for Potential Tenants

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Tips for Working At a Co-working Space

It is important for you to be aware of why you are at a coworking space and its benefits. Whether you’re aiming to be productive without a lot of socializing or trying to build a strong professional community or just want to be around other people in a productive environment, you need to design and have a personalized approach to your involvement in the community. Below is a list of tips based on our around that can help you get the most out of your coworking experience.

Put Yourself Out There
Take the initiative to introduce yourself to new members even if it’s straight out of your personality. Nothing beats making a good, friendly first impression to a fellow coworker. A hello! will go a long way, either it could land you the next collaboration, get your next client, spark the most inspirational conversation or simply create a new best friend.
A simple smile and ‘good morning’ when you enter the office could be the start of a great relationship. Knowing your co-workers helps build a stress-free environment leading to better work life and productive time! Take a break and invite your coworkers for lunch or for a coffee, bring food or sweets, a great way to know everybody pretty quick, especially if you are shy. I invite our new members to join me for tea at a ‘chai stall’ below Collab House.
A good strategy is to take a break with people in fields that are different from your own and see the ways your fields intersect. Grab lunch with someone in your field and talk openly about opportunities and issues in the industry. It’s great to have a few people to bounce ideas off and necessary to be willing to discuss your projects.?

Get Involved in the Community
If you’re not necessarily wanting to go out of your way to talk to others or make connections, at least make yourself and your business is known at community events so everyone’s aware of who you are and what you do! A great non-intrusive way to meet your fellow co-workers is to participate in events and social gatherings organized by your coworking space.
The first step is to participate. Most of the coworking spaces host events, workshops, guest talks, socials and happy hours, and special networking events to give members an opportunity to mingle; sharing upcoming projects, past setbacks, and current successes. A community invests so much of time and money for their members, by being a part of its members will get an opportunity to interact with the coworkers and get the best out of the events.

Socialize Not Just Network
The goal is not to talk to as many people as possible: one meaningful and interesting conversation is worth a thousand business cards. You don’t need to attend them all, if something is not of interest at all, you don’t need to make an appearance. Check your coworking space’s upcoming events calendar, stay updated and if something is remotely on your radar, check it out.

Take Initiative
Run a workshop in your area of expertise or organize a pub crawl, or host a table-tennis tournament or monthly community meeting. Speak to your community manager and get it organized. This is a great way to introduce yourself (or your company) and get to know your neighbors and possibly find a new client or gain a referral.

Don’t Sell
Don’t always look for the opportunities to sell. People who are simply trying to have a light conversation at water-cooler or kitchen are not necessarily interested in the hard sell and so very quickly people will start to avoid you.

Smart Talk
Don’t start up long conversations with people when they are not fully contributing to the discussion, most of the time they are just being nice to you. Always ask if they are up for a discussion.

Know Your Community Manager
Many coworking spaces have a community manager who is an invaluable resource. They will have a good knowledge of the people within the space, are informed about events, deal with any issues that arise and are keen to make their service as good as possible. Ask questions, give feedback and share your ideas and your projects! They will be glad to listen to you and to help to find a solution together or introduce you to people who can help you professionally. This will put you on top of their mind and can help refer coworkers who could benefit from your service.
By getting to know the community manager or a well-connected employee of the center, you’ll be poised to make the connections that may ultimately mean business for you.

Collaborate
It’s important to realize your limitations when you work for yourself. Helping each other is an integral part of coworking culture. If you’re a software developer, you’re not necessarily a designer, product manager, or marketer as well. When you work at a coworking space, people with those skills probably work right next to you and are just as interested in building something awesome as you are.
Invest in your community by taking a genuine interest in what they do. Ask questions. This provides both parties with an opportunity to learn one’s strengths and collaborate! Best coworking spaces have the ability where you can look across the room and ask someone for help with exactly what you need! In a true community coworking space, generosity and an underlying spirit of helpfulness are the heart of everything.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask
The great thing about coworking is they get to operate as real human spaces.
Talk to your coworkers, and talk to your hosts. Let them know what you are looking for: they will guide you through the infinite resources of their networks, knowledge, coworking and it will help you to integrate. Be as precise as possible when you ask for help.

Participate in the Online Community
Leverage your coworking community’s communication tool – WhatsApp group or Slack channel or a Facebook group for quick help with relevant asks (‘help I need a designer/UX person/content writer etc.’).

Juice the Offerings
Optimizing your coworking experience is really about putting the resources available to you to full use. Your coworking space may provide you with a number of obvious solutions to help you work your best, such as meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment for presentation use, and/or printing and copying solutions including complimentary items such as coffee, water, and snacks.?
What most of them miss look into is most of the coworking spaces have great discounts for other businesses nearby, events and conferences. For instance, we get a 15% discount at a local Pizza and Sandwich store, free deliveries and more. Sometimes if you ask nicely, you may also get complimentary tickets to various workshops and conferences happening across the city.

Be Organised and Disciplined
Without cubicles, you add more distractions to the mix. It is easy to start random conversations as people are usually friendly. Being organized and disciplined in your place not only helps you boost capacity but helps the coworkers to be productive as well. It is easy to get carried away as you are at a place where a lot will be happening around and it will easier to draw into it.

Set a Routine
The most important thing about being productive is that it can only be accomplished by setting a routine and being disciplined. Prepare a routine and be ardent about following it. Set timers for how long you’re going to work, and have intense focus and maintain breaks to keep your workday on track – take a walk or having a conversation. Be consistent and make a plan with a coworker friend to meet over a coffee every day at a certain time.
Use personal time management apps; they can play a crucial role in increasing productivity and keeps you on top of your time.

Invest In Decent Headphones
It can be hard to concentrate on your work when there are a bunch of interesting conversations happening around. Noise is the main complaint in open-plan offices. Whether it’s digital sounds like ringing phones or computer notifications, or it’s human sounds coughing or sneezing, the ambient sounds of coworking spaces can be distracting. It is easy to get pulled into random conversations with people sitting around you. Sometimes this can be extremely distracting and unproductive.

Headphones are the universal coworking sign that you don’t want to be disturbed. Headphones are a topmost recommendation for staying productive. If you can, invest in noise-canceling headphones.

Experiment with Different Spots Within The Space
One of the best parts of working in a shared space is your ability to choose your work environment. Many coworking spaces are designed with different “vibes” in mind–from communal tables and lounges to hidden corners and conference rooms.
Speak to the community manager or coworking team and try out which area makes you feel most comfortable. If you’re having a hard time concentrating at your desk, head over to a couch or communal table. There’s likely an area that will make you feel right at home.

 

Blog Source: Entrepreneur India | #15 Tips to Get the Most Out of Working At a Co-working Space

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Material Needed for Building Patio

Popular patio building materials run the gamut from poured concrete and pavers of recycled plastic to natural flagstone and bricks of fired clay.

Patios can make your outdoor space more enjoyable, increase your home’s value, and not so insignificantly, save you money on landscape maintenance costs. What type of patio is right for you? Any number of colors and patterns may be installed in a variety of materials. Pros and cons for a few of the most popular are discussed here.

FLAGSTONE

The color and characteristics of flagstone result from the natural process by which it forms, a slow and gradual accumulation of layers of sand, clay, mineral and organic sediments. The most common colors available are red, blue, and buff, with regional varieties like Arizona sandstone and Pennsylvania bluestone among the most popular.

Flagstone patios are unmistakable—and hard to resist if you favor the material’s earthy, timeless appearance. Irregularly shaped and sized, quarried flagstones are heavy and rather difficult to work with, especially for the inexperienced do-it-yourselfer. Since flagstone is subject to erosion and splitting, a successful flagstone patio design prioritizes adequate drainage.

Note: Different types of flagstone entail different maintenance requirements. Sandstone has a cooler temperature in summer, but it’s porous and prone to water damage. Bluestone is more durable but requires a sealer to maintain its coloring.

CLAY BRICK

A time-tested, enduringly popular patio building material is clay brick, which offers a distinguished aesthetic that complements both traditional and contemporary architecture.

Over time, bricks usually retain their rich, warm color, and due to their handy weight and size, installing them in a patio is DIY-friendly work. Mortar is not strictly necessary; bricks can be laid easily on a dry bed of sand.

Homeowners love brick’s versatility—myriad patterns are possible, from rectangular to round. Reclaimed brick, though typically more expensive, has grown in popularity owing to its “green” status and unique look.

Note: Though it may crack with wintertime freeze-thaw cycles, brick is otherwise durable, and individual damaged bricks are easily replaced.

PATIO PAVERS

Pavers come in forms as varied as natural stone, concrete, clay, and even recycled plastics. For patio installations, experts recommend either stone or concrete pavers, which, due to their higher density, may be expected to last longer and undergo less color fading than other paver types.

Concrete pavers, in particular, are a mainstay of patio building, beloved for their easy installation and the range of sizes, shapes, and colors in which they can be found. Inevitably, this manmade product lends itself to a less “natural” look, although some concrete pavers are manufactured to look like natural stone or clay brick.

Note: With the exception of interlocking designs, all pavers will spread over time. To maintain the shape of your patio, be sure to ring your paver installation with a border of pressure-treated lumber.

CONCRETE

Concrete patios are typically one of the least expensive to build. Assuming proper installation and maintenance, they are one of the most durable, too, though, like brick, concrete is subject to cracking with freeze-thaw cycles.

Since poured concrete follows any form, unlimited patio design options are possible. If your dream patio is one covered with glazed decorative tiles, a concrete slab is a way to go, as it will provide a solid, even base on which to add tiles in the future.

Note: Control stormwater runoff by devising the shape, depth, and slope of your poured concrete patio in such a way that adequate drainage is achieved.

GRAVEL

If you are looking for a patio material that may be installed quickly and easily, look no further than gravel. Usually, two types are available, river rock or crushed stone (in sizes ranging from a quarter-inch to one inch in diameter). When installing over landscaping fabric, gravel effectively deters weed growth, and compared to other materials, it offers excellent drainage.

At best, a gravel patio recalls English cottage-style gardens and Tuscan courtyards. At worst, a gravel patio is high-maintenance, plagued by stones that are difficult to keep level and in place. Some folks also complain that gravel is uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet, and other materials provide superior support for outdoor furniture.

Note: Round, pebble-like gravel stones are more likely to shift than angular, crushed gravel stones; in a high-traffic area like the patio, it may be wise to insist on the latter.

 

Blog Source: Bob Villa | Patio Materials 101

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Tips for Running an Effective Meeting

What is an effective meeting?

It’s important to distinguish between effective and efficient.

An efficient meeting starts promptly, stays on track due to good time management, includes a few people as possible, and achieves the stated objective. Job has done, right? Wrong. Efficiency is a superficial quality. It says nothing about whether the right people were in the room for the right reason, or whether the meeting generated any value for the business.

Efficiency is a superficial quality. It says nothing about whether you are effective.

An effective meeting brings a thoughtfully selected group of people together for a specific purpose, provides a forum for open discussion, and delivers a tangible result: a decision, a plan, a list of great ideas to pursue, a shared understanding of the work ahead. Not only that, but the result is then shared with others whose work may be affected.

Effective meetings have a clear purpose

Let’s face it: most of us have too many meetings on our calendars. And few things are a bigger waste of time than recurring meetings that no longer provide any value to attendees (or the business). It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing meetings like the one and only way to collaborate. That knee-jerk tendency is what gets us into trouble and what gives meetings a bad name.

Determine whether you really need a meeting

Some types of meetings are legit, others aren’t. Meetings should never be held for the sole purpose of sharing information. That’s what email, chat, and company intranets (e.g., Confluence) are forDepartment and company all-hands meetings are a notable exception. They provide a unique chance for people at all levels of the business to hear directly from executives and other leaders – and, if you include time for Q&A, vice-versa.

At the very least, a meeting should center on a discussion that will be more effective in real-time than asynchronously via emails or comment threads. Examples include team or project retrospectives, brainstorming, and 1-on-1 meetings between managers and their direct reports.

In the best case scenario, a meeting’s purpose is to make a decision or create something collaboratively. Project planning, mapping out customer journeys, setting goals, solving a problem, choosing X vs. Y… all these are situations where holding a meeting is probably the most effective way to get it done.

Choose meeting attendees who can make a unique contribution

Meetings are expensive, so be thoughtful about who you invite. To be sure, you want to invite the minimum number of people needed to achieve your goal. But you also want the group to bring diverse perspectives and knowledge, especially if the purpose of the meeting is to solve a tough problem or brainstorm. Sadly, there’s no magic formula for balancing cost against the potential for creativity. Use your best judgment.

Craft and share an agenda

Few things are more irksome than the person who sends a meeting invite with no indication whatsoever of what will happen in the meeting, and therefore, no clue as to why you’re being invited. Don’t be that person. Include your agenda in the invitation so people can determine whether they really need to be there and if not, decline the meeting or suggest someone else.

Your meeting agenda might have just one item. That’s fine! The point is to have an agenda that speaks to the result you want – e.g., “Brainstorm 10 or more ways we could reduce customer churn 10% by the end of the year”. If you can’t describe what you’ll be doing in actionable, results-oriented terms, that’s a sign holding the meeting would be a waste of time.

Effective meetings keep attendees engaged

It’s ok to start the meeting by setting the expectation that everyone is 100% focused on what’s going on in the room. Let the group know that if someone has work that is so pressing they’d be tempted to multi-task, they have permission to go do that work and catch up on what happened in the meeting later. They’ll produce better work, and you’ll have more engaged participants. Win-win.

Schedule for maximum engagement

In our age of globally-distributed companies, a bit of thought around timing goes a long way in maximizing your meeting’s effectiveness. As much as possible, avoid scheduling your meeting during someone else’s lunch hour, or at a time when they’d otherwise be reading their kids a bedtime story. When that can’t be avoided, at least check in with the people who’ll be inconvenienced to get their buy-in in advance. (Depending on your company culture, that might not be strictly necessary, but it’s always polite.)

Even for co-located participants, timing can make a differenceOur capacity for creative thinking is the highest right after sleep, so schedule that brainstorming session first thing in the morning. By contrast, we solve problems best later in the day when our minds are a bit tired. Our focus relaxes, so we’re able to see more opportunities and connect more dots. Plus, we’re less likely to be distracted by a looming list of tasks for the day.

Close the lid

Unless you’re acting as the designated scribe, laptops should be closed and phones should be off the table. “Oh, but I can focus on the discussion and check my email at the same time,” some might say. Please allow me to call bullshit on that. Besides, for every person with a laptop open, there’s a person sitting next to them distracted by their typing or peeking to see if they’re actually just cruising Facebook. (There’s a 71% chance it’s Facebook.)

Make it remote-friendly

Even if everyone in the group has a desk in your office, set the meeting up to be accessible and valuable for people joining remotely. Because last-minute business travel and WFH days happen. Video conferencing is the closest thing to being there in person, and fortunately, there are loads of options available: from enterprise systems like BlueJeans and Zoom (both used by teams at Atlassian) to group video chat (may I suggest Stride? 😉).

You might even have the entire group join remotely from their desks. The team at Trellodoes this if even one person is remote. It puts everyone on a level playing field and encourages more balanced participationPlus, nobody likes being the giant head on the TV screen at the front of the room.

Effective meetings provide a safe space for divergent thinking

A bit of divergence goes a long way when you’re looking for creative ideas, puzzling through solutions to a problem, or exploring options. You don’t have to put a specific brainstorming exercise on the agenda, but you do have to make the group feel comfortable expressing non-conforming opinions or offering up off-the-wall ideas.

Build trust in the room

People need assurance that stepping outside the norm won’t be a career-ending move. Known as psychological safety, this is one of the leading indicators of a high-performing team. (And what is a group of people in a meeting, if not a temporary team?) As the meeting organizer and facilitator, you have a chance to lead by example and be the first to offer up a controversial perspective or idea.

You can also build trust by asking questions that prompt a deeper discussion, even when you think you know the answer. Questions like “Why do we think that’s true?” or “Can you expand on that?” or “How could we measure that?” demonstrate humility and curiosity on your part, which sets the tone for the rest of the group.

Be inclusive

If you’ve done a good job gathering a group with diverse knowledge and perspectives, everyone will be “the odd one out” in one way or another. The only introvert… the only person from Finance… the person who just started last week. Your job now is to take advantage of that diversity by making sure everyone is (and feels) heard.

Ask the new hire how things look from their still-fresh point of view. Draw out the introvert toward the end of a discussion by asking whether they see points the group hasn’t considered yet. Encourage the lone representative from Finance to share how the decision would affect her team.

Effective meetings produce real, sharable results

Ok statistics nerds, here are a few gems for you. 47% of workers complain that meetings are where productivity goes to die. Furthermore, workers consider roughly half of their meetings to be a waste of time, and 73% confess to sneaking in some real work during meetings. That’s unfortunate. If you’re doing meetings right, they are where “real work” gets done.

Focus relentlessly on results

You know the meeting’s purpose because you’ve thought it through. You crafted an agenda designed to achieve the goal. Now stay the course! Be mindful not to meander off-topic for too long or dive too deep into technical discussions. (Just how long is “too long” and how deep is “too deep” is up to you as meeting facilitator to decide.)

If the meeting centers on a decision, don’t let the group off the hook and settle for a “maybe”. Push for that decision or recommendation so people can start to take action as soon as they walk out of the room. You might not reach full agreement, but that’s ok. Effective teamwork means agreeing to trust each other enough to rally behind the decision once it’s been made. Consider using the DACI method to clarify each person’s role in the decision: driver, approver, contributor, or informed. (More on DACI in the Atlassian Team Playbook, including a silly video starring yours truly.)

Chances are, your meeting will generate some kind of artifact: a plan, a collection of ideas, a user journey, a list of follow-up items, etc. At Atlassian, we capture all that stuff as a page in Confluence (the wiki-flavored intranet tool we make) and share the page with everyone on the invite list and other relevant people. Sharing via email and Google Docs works fine, too.

Err on the side of sharing with more people than is strictly necessary. It’s really hard to keep track of exactly what everyone around you is up to, or how the outcome of your meeting will intersect with their work. Sharing broadly reduces the chance you’ll discover conflicts late in the game, and might even lead to an opportunity to join forces with a team doing complementary work.

Don’t waste energy worrying about trivial stuff

Be intentional about where you are and aren’t focusing on energy. For 99% of meetings, you can give yourself a break and skip worrying about…

  • Finding a meeting location outside the office
  • Bringing donuts or having lunch catered
  • Preparing a snazzy slide deck (death to all “consume information” meetings!)

Instead, focus your energy on the real ingredients that make for effective meetings: purpose, engagement, safety, and results. I’d even argue that starting and ending on time isn’t absolutely critical for success. What’s important is how you use the time you have – however long that is.

If the meeting isn’t effective, change it!

The fact that you’re still reading means you’re committed to running the most successful meetings possible. Yay! Turns out, though, you’re not the sole judge of whether the meeting was effective or not.

Thankfully, you can ask attendees for feedback with questions like these:

  • Did this meeting result in something of value to the business?
  • Did we have the right people in the room? If not, who should/be included in the future?
  • Were the meeting’s purpose and agenda clear?
  • Was it easy for you to contribute to the discussion?
  • (for recurring meetings) Are we holding this meeting on the right cadence? If not, how should we adjust?

Even if the meeting was a one-off, this feedback will help you plan even better meetings going forward. Keep an ongoing, open dialogue amongst the people you meet with most frequently, and emphasize progress over perfection. Continuous improvement for the win!

Blog Source: Atlassian Work Life | Running effective meetings: a guide for humans

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