Working Remotely? Time to Change Up your Home Office

Working remotely from home has some huge benefits: your coworkers never know if you are wearing pajama pants, there’s no long commute drive to and from work each day, and nobody (besides your family!) cares that you are blasting your music or podcasts throughout your workday.

If you are new to remote working, it may feel like you got shoved into it, and once you set up your VPN and your laptop, you may not have thought much about the space that you occupy for about 8 hours a day. If you are spending that much time in one spot though, you might as well make the most of it! Let’s dig into some ways that you can change your office surroundings, even if your home office happens to be your dining room table.

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1. Have a clean backdrop for any video conferencing. While it’s fun to look at everyone’s backgrounds with pictures of pets and kids, and try to guess which books on the bookshelf behind them they’ve cracked open to read recently, it’s distracting. The space behind you should be relatively boring so that you can keep a good work-life balance: something that can be hard to come by when you’re finding yourself working from home. Below are some tips to help keep distractions behind you to a minimum:

  • Remove any personalized items including framed photos that your webcam may show.
  • Take down any wall hangings that include quotes on them.
  • If you have a large bookcase, aim to have the books be out of focus. (You can do this on some upscale webcams.)
  • If you can’t easily blur out the background of your home office, opt for a simple backdrop, either by pinning a bed sheet behind you, or purchasing a simple background. (Zoom, for example, even has free backgrounds to blur out your actual room.)

2. Add some music! Instead of playing music from your laptop speakers, which, let’s be honest, probably aren’t great, consider investing in a real speaker to place beside your desk, or even in that bookshelf behind you that you’re trying hide. The KEF LS50 is a mini bookshelf speaker, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space, but does offer a lot better audio quality than any built-in computer speakers. After all, you can listen to your podcasts all day without anyone judging you. (Just don’t get mad if your productivity decreases a little.)

3. While you may be used to the fluorescent lights of many corporate offices, you don’t have to deal with that at home. In fact, you can choose to have different hued lights depending on the time of day. Add a welcoming lamp on your desk, or floor lamp beside you, and use a bulb that can switch from bright blue-based light in the morning to red-based or warmer tones in the afternoon. There are several bulb options on the market right now that allow you to switch hues, including the very popular Philips brand. Warmer toned lights in the afternoon help your body understand that the sun is getting lower in the sky, and has been linked to improving your ability to sleep.

4. The last thing you want to do when you see your home office it feels like it doesn’t represent you, or fit with the rest of the house. Although it’s advisable to keep your immediate background devoid of personalized things, you can add a cozy blanket to throw on your lap as you work, a fun rug to add color, and desk accessories or even a vase of fresh flowers from the garden. You may be working, you are doing it from the comfort of your home. If you’re craving a creative office space, check out these options. Searching for more inspiration to inspire productivity? Architecture Digest has an amazing selection that can help motivate you to get down to business.

5. Consider purchasing a standing desk. If you’re going to be working at home for the foreseeable future, it might be time to purchase a standing-sitting desk. People who have sitting jobs have an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, so if you can switch out some of your sitting with standing, you’ll reduce these risks. You’ll want to find an adjustable one so that you can stand or sit depending on your mood; make sure you also have a supportive rug where you stand, since standing on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time will end up hurting your feet.

Working from home might be a little strange for those of you who have spent years physically interacting with your coworkers, but it certainly does offer more freedom to your surroundings.

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5 Countries With The Best Educational Systems

When it comes to education, you should only look out for the best with respect to what you can afford. While every country does its best to offer a system that will be of value to its citizens’ future, some seem to be ahead of others. So, whether it’s deciding whether or not to go back to school or looking for one for your kids, here is a list of countries with the best educational systems.

1. United Kingdom

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From arts to business, the UK’s educational system is ranked one of the best because of its wide range of topics. This world-class system dates back to historical times and has gained popularity all over the world. While the UK government is responsible for running England’s educational system, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are managed by their respective governments. Nevertheless, the knowledge imparted is unmatched, and you’ll get your money’s worth.

2. Canada

Apart from its beautiful scenery and booming economy, one more reason for moving to Canada is its impressive educational system. The country makes the cut not only because of the quality but also the equality of the education offered. The bilingual nature of their system also makes it somewhat flexible for people from other countries. Apart from that, the structure and content are geared towards students’ improvement. Canada is also the preferred choice, especially for higher learning.

3. Singapore

The education system in Singapore is one of the best because of the advancement and unique development of the content and structure. The knowledge imparted, especially in the Universities, is designed to prepare the student for the work environment. This means that the likelihood of struggling to get a job is lowered. The setting in which students earn is also state-of-the-art, and that is why foreign students look to this country for their education.

4. Netherlands

This is one of those countries with an old education system dating back to the 1800s. Their system is also unique, in that, their university criteria are divided into two sectors. There are the research-oriented universities which focus on both theoretical and research-based disciplines like arts and science. After completing such a university, students can further conduct independent research and pursue a Ph.D. The other sector is higher professional education or higher learning and professional training, which prepares students for particular professional careers. The subjects of focus are practical and applied science for students with a specific profession in mind.

5. The United States Of America

The US cannot be left out of the list with its world-renowned and prestigious universities and colleges. The main advantage of their education system is how it prepares the students for employment. There is also a lot of opportunity after completing a US university that benefits career growth and development.
To summarize, different countries have different approaches in the way they educate their students. Therefore, it is not a bad idea to consider the educational system of a country before investing resources into learning something from there.

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Three Ways To Live Below Your Means

Living below your means can seem impossible sometimes, especially if you are already struggling to make ends meet, but spending more than what you can afford regularly will eventually lead to financial ruin if you aren’t careful.

If you are fed up with continually trying to keep up with your monthly credit card bills, increasing debt, and lack of financial breathing space, use these three tips to help you start your journey to improve your finances by living below your means.

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Stick to your budget

To successfully live below your means, you need to have a budget in place; otherwise, you will keep overspending. A budget is vital to ensure success and will give you an accurate picture of your monthly cash flow. Once you can see the whole picture, you can then focus on your weak spots and areas for improvement to help you save as much money as possible and get out of debt. Doing this will help you to identify habits that you need to change and where you are wasting your money. Make sure to do a new budget at the beginning of every month, either in a dedicated planner or an Excel spreadsheet, and aim to stick to it. Just leave a little bit of wiggle room for those last-minute surprises that life inevitably throws at us from time to time. Remember that your budget is very individual and will differ from everyone else’s, the most important thing is that it works for you. If you find that realistically your budget doesn’t work in the first month, then that’s also fine – you can always go back and tweak it, but having a budget, even if not perfect straight away, will stop you from mindlessly spending money allowing you to save more.

Make more money

If you have budgeted as much as possible, and find that you are still struggling and feeling deprived, then it might be time to start thinking of ways to increase your income. Easier said than done? Of course. But there are also many money-making opportunities out there if you are willing to look around and work hard enough. In an era where just about everyone has a side hustle, there are plenty of part-time, freelance jobs that you can easily do in your spare time on evenings and weekends, and many from the comfort of your own home. The trick is to simply get started, keep persevering, and take every opportunity you can. If you don’t want to work for someone else, why not start your own business on the side instead and look into starting your own blog or promoting your skills and becoming a freelancer? This will help you to save more and live below your means a little easier, meaning that you are more likely to stick to this new way of living.

Don’t spend more just because you earn more

Should you be successful in finding ways of making an extra income, then congratulations! Just make sure that you don’t fall victim to the vicious cycle of spending more now that you are earning more. It might be tempting to go after lusted-over purchases now that you have some extra money, but remember what your overall goal is. Instead of using your extra income on mindless spending, start using it to pay off current debts and add to your savings. Regardless of how much you earn, if you elevate your lifestyle every time you get a pay rise, you will never gain control over your finances, and you’ll always be living in debt. If you are struggling with severe debts and don’t know how to deal with them, reaching out for professional help from specialists such as gaining a DTSS Membership is a great first step to finally gain control over your finances. Living below your means is challenging, yes, but think about why you’ve boosted your income, all of the progress you’ve made in the first place and the financial freedom that you are ultimately trying to achieve.

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Spending More Time At Home? The Changes To Make When You’re Sick Of The Same Four Walls!

We’re all spending a bit more time at home at the moment, and if you’re new to remote working, or having to use a home office, you’re probably getting a bit sick of seeing the same four walls over and over again! Don’t worry, you’re not alone; we’re all going a bit crazy with cabin fever, and it’s time to do something about this.

You’re going to want to make some changes to the interior design of your home, as well as the way it works. You’ve probably never noticed these kinds of little issues before, like how those wallpapers clash or how there’s not enough room on that bookshelf, simply because you haven’t been exposed to your own home this much before!

So, without further ado, let’s make sure you know what to change in your home, and how to go about making a change for the better. It’s all about giving yourself a bit more to work with, a bit more to look at, and making yourself feel a bit more comfortable when you’re stuck inside your own house.

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Switch Out Harsh Lighting

The lighting in your home is there for a reason, of course. It’s there to ensure it never gets too dark, and you can enjoy your alone or family time with enough light to eat, drink, and be a bit merry.

But the thing is, the lighting in your home might be a bit too harsh, especially if you’re a fan of overhead lamps. If you walk into a room and just flip the light switch on without really thinking about it, there’s a good chance you’re not doing your eyes or your mood any favors. And seeing as you’ve spent a lot more time at home recently, there’s a good chance you’re starting to become a bit over sensitive to the bulb that’s hanging over your head!

Which means it’s time to switch those harsh light tones and overhead lamps with something a little more soft and intimate, especially in your bedroom. Something that won’t hurt your eyes, and will just give your surroundings a soft glow, but still with strong enough light to read or work by.

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Health Hacks to Improve Your Life This Year

Looking after your health and well-being is so important these days, and you have a lot of things you need to keep in mind that will help you with this. Try to make sure you come up with ideas that will allow you to make the best health decisions moving forward right now. There are plenty of options that play a role in this, and you need to get creative about what it takes to be healthier.

Your well-being is so important, and there are more opportunities than ever to improve things these days. Make sure you look at some of the best ways of achieving this, and there are a lot of factors that you need to make sure you get right. Here are some of the factors that you need to understand when it comes to improving and enhancing your health and fitness right now.

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Go on a Diet

Going on a diet is one of the best ways of being able to make the most of this right now. Try to come up with some rad new diet plan that is going to transform your calorie count and help you to lose weight. You need to think carefully about the sorts of things you are putting into your body, and this is something that plays a part in helping to improve your lifestyle. Try to make the most of this right now, and this is going to help you in the long run.

Look After Your Teeth

Your teeth play a big part in improving your health and well-being, and it is important to make sure you focus on doing as much as possible to get this right. There are a lot of things you can do to make your teeth stronger and healthier, and going to the dentist on a regular basis is one of the best ways of doing this. An emergency dental clinic is essential for any teeth related mishaps you might encounter, and you also need to make sure you keep your teeth as clean and healthy as possible.

Improve Your Mental Health

Mental health and well-being is so important, and you need to focus on this just as much as on your physical health. There are so many factors that play a role in helping you improve this, and you need to come up with plenty of ideas that can help you work on your mental health. Making this better is something you are going to need to get right as much as possible. Focus on making the right mental health decisions that are able to improve your livelihood in the process.

Do as much as you can to look after yourself and try to make the right decisions for the future. You have to try to understand the best ways of making your life better, and taking steps to try to work on this is so important. Think about some of the key ways you can improve your life and make yourself happier and healthier right now.

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Getting the Best out of a Moving Company

Moving is a hassle for everybody; it’s just a fact of life. Packing up an entire home or office space full of furniture and belongings, making sure everything is safe and secure, transporting it to a new location, unloading, then beginning the process of unpacking and arranging everything…it’s time consuming, stressful and sometimes even risky if you’re moving items that are fragile, old or very heavy. There’s a reason that moving is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life.

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For many of us, hiring a moving company or service is one way to eliminate some of that stress and make the entire process smoother. While it’s always going to be an anxiety-inducing experience – moving your life from one space to another – hiring an experienced and professional team to handle the hard stuff is definitely going to make it go easier. Hiring an experienced moving company is definitely a good investment, especially when you can easily compare removal services, and one that will ensure your move goes off without a hitch (pun intended), that your prized belongings are kept safe, and that everything is done on your schedule.

When hiring movers, there are some things you want to look for. For starters, you want a great point of contact who sits down with you and collects detailed information about your move – everything from when you need it done by, to your budget, to a detailed item-by-item list of your belongings, furniture and other important pieces. They’ll go through your house with you room by room, detailing everything you need moved and making note if you’ll also require packing assistance and/or materials. At the end of your consultation they’ll provide you with an estimated time frame and a quote, so you can make a decision if you’d like to hire the company. You have a right to know if the company you’re hiring can take care of your moving needs quickly, efficiently and affordably, so make sure they go over all these details with you and give you a specific time frame before you hire them.

Many moving companies like Two Men and a Truck also provide you with moving materials, packing materials and more, to make the entire process easier and keep you from having to hunt down and purchase costly moving supplies. They’ll also provide their own equipment, safety gear and the trucks needed to haul your items, big or small. Some moving companies even help you pack as an extra service, for those who are pressed for time or aren’t able to do it all on their own. Be sure to inquire about extra or additional services offered when you call your moving company.

Hiring movers is a worthy investment and one that will ensure that your move goes much easier than if you tried to do it on your own. Paying a group of friends in pizza is a cool way to save some cash, but it’s not exacty a safe or stress-free way to move. Spend the extra money on a moving company and you’ll be glad you did.

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Growing Marijuana Legally In The US

The legalization of using, purchasing, and growing marijuana has been spreading rather rapidly throughout the US as of late, but the push for legalization is not a straight or simple path. State laws, federal rules, and more local rulings can all make the legality of growing cannabis tricky to wrap your head around at first.

This infographic takes a closer look at how the legality of growing weed is determined from state to state. First, we break down what the federal laws say about growing marijuana across the whole state, but then we look into how each state interprets federal law. It’s the state’s interpretation that is enforced, though there may be some local ordinances that change even that to some degree.

When looking at the legality of growing cannabis in the US, we have to break it down into three categories that all states more or less fall under at this stage. These are the states in which is not legal to grow marijuana, states where is legal, and states where it is only legal to grow marijuana if you are a medical patient. The color-coded map helps break things down into easy-to-understand graphics.

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