Discussion interrupted.

One of the reasons why I secured an SSL certificate is to make sure that this blog will remain clean and secure for all its visitors. If you’ve read my post on being back to blogging after a few days of being offline, you’d know that this site was hacked and tagged as dangerous by Google. Which is a bad thing to happen to a site.

I managed to make it clean and I intend to make this site stay clean!

I closed the comment section of this blog. The reason? Antispam Bee is notifying me left and right about CSS hacks the plugin has been blocking ever since I put back this blog up. Instead of giving the hackers and bad bots any reason to infiltrate my blog again, I decided to close the comment section of this blog for the meantime. I don’t want to find myself in the same position as when my blog was tagged as carrying malicious apps.

If you want to reach me, you may do so via email at sashashing @ gmail.com

xoxo

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6 Ways Your Home Office Is Hurting Your Productivity

You work from home and this makes you the envy of your friends and family. They imagine that as they endure rain drenched streets thronging with bustling commuters, over crowded trains and buses or the quotidian agony of rush hour, you’re warm and cosy at home. They envisage you sipping coffee and watching daytime TV idly contemplating the prospect of maybe getting some work done and turn green at the gills with envy. Unfortunately, they view your situation through rose tinted glasses. They fail to realize that when you work from home, time is money and that your livelihood depends on your ability to wring every drop of productivity from your every waking hour. Unfortunately, even the hardest working and most organized of us can have trouble mastering the art of staying productive while working from home. Indeed, many of us unknowingly hinder our own progress by making ill informed choices in our home work space. While it’s a rookie error to think that you can be productive from your sofa or your bed, even those of us who take great pains to set up dedicated work spaces in our own homes can make unwitting mistakes that can hinder our productivity.

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Here are some ways in which your home office or workspace may actually be hurting your productivity rather than helping it. Here are some ways in which your working environment may have you at a disadvantage and what you can do about it.

It’s not isolated enough

The home is riddled with distractions that are like a magnet to the creatively frustrated mind or to those who are drawn to procrastination like a moth to the flame. If you’re not careful within a few hours you may have washed all the dishes from breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, made the beds, packed tomorrow’s lunches for the kids and rearranged your sock drawer into color order… But gotten staggeringly little work done. While it’s important that telecommuters don’t become hermits, it’s equally important that their workspace is insulated from the distractions of the home and all who live therein (it’s extremely hard to be productive while following the plot of the movie your partner’s watching in the next room or while your kids rack up body counts on Call of Duty). Your home office should be secluded from the rest of the home and soundproofed if possible. If you have a basement that’s currently only used to store a scant few possessions you’re letting a great opportunity pass you by. Check out www.HelitechOnline.com/waterproofing for advice on how to seal and waterproof your home to transform it from a dark and dank space into a fully functioning room. Even something as simple as a closed door can help you to maintain the necessary psychological barrier between living space and workspace that is necessary for productivity. It’s better still if your office space requires the climbing of a set of stairs to create a sense of transition that will allow you to subconsciously shift from home mode to work mode.

The temperature is wrong

Believe it or not, there is a temperature range for peak productivity. If you’re struggling to focus on your work but are unsure of why then it may be that the temperature is to blame. A 2006 study by Helsinki University of Technology found that workplace productivity peaks between 69.8 and 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (21-22 degrees Celsius). You may not think that the ambient temperature can have much effect on your productivity but in controlled conditions studies showed that typos fell by 44% in this temperature “sweet spot” and that employers saved 42 per worker, per hour in real terms.

The lighting is inadequate

As well as ambient temperature, lighting can also play a large part in productivity. When there is too little of it, productivity tends to suffer. In fact, a study by Phillips showed that raising light levels increased productivity by 8% and reduced accidents by 52%. Likewise, natural light is proven to be more conducive to productivity than its artificial counterpart. Even the colors you put on the walls of your home office can affect your productivity. Most home offices are decorated in neutral whites and grays but there’s evidence to suggest that a more colorful palette can increase alertness and productivity. Blues and greens can help to reduce stress levels while reds and oranges can engender cognitive stimulation.

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There are too many distractions

There’s a place for distraction (we’ll discuss that shortly) but it must be carefully managed and deferred to “break times” in which you allow your brain to take a rest. Your home office must have a strict delineation between work spaces and rest spaces and your work spaces should be completely free of any distractions. Thus, your work computer should be carefully calibrated to help you with your work. Install software to block your access to distracting websites and apps while keeping your phone or tablet in a nearby drawer for down time.

You don’t have a think space

When you work from home, every work day is a marathon rather than a sprint. Trying to run a marathon is impossible if you come out of the gate sprinting and try to maintain that pace. Thus, your brain needs rest periods to recalibrate or you’ll waste valuable time and energy running on empty and getting frustrated. As such your home office should incorporate a “think space” to allow you to take your mind of work and just… think. This area should have comfortable seating, art and motivational posters, music and books. And, hey, if you want to take 5 minutes to play Candy Crush Saga, nobody’s going to judge you! Just make sure you’re back in “work mode” by the time you get back to your desk.

You lack plant power

Whether we’re “outdoorsy” in nature or not, we’re naturally predisposed to be happier and more productive when we’re in close proximity to nature. That’s why so many offices are decorated with lush plants. They’re more than just an aesthetic measure, they’re proven to increase productivity and job satisfaction by up to 15%. If your workspace is looking a little too spartan, it might benefit from the presence of any one of these oxygen giving plants which will thrive indoors and brighten up the room!

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Fit As a Fiddle Family: Staying Healthy Together

It’s often easier to commit to doing something if you do it as a family. You hold each other accountable, and you get to spend time together, which gives you more motivation. Plus, it’s difficult to encourage your kids to be healthy if you’re not setting a good example. Being healthy as a family helps you spend more time together and ensure your children have good habits that they can carry into adulthood. You might be a bit unsure about how your family can be healthy together, but there are lots of ways you can make some lifestyle changes that will help you all.

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Cook Together

Diet is an important part of staying healthy, and it’s a good idea to get your children into healthy eating habits early. As well as eating together, which allows you to have conversations and encourage your kids to try new things, cooking together is also a great idea. Children can be much more engaged with their food when they have played a part in making it. They might also be more willing to be adventurous if they get to try something that they made themselves. Kids can help out in lots of ways, as long as they’re safe.

Look for Family Health Plans

Visiting your doctor, dentist or other medical provider as a family is a good way to stay healthy together. You can book appointments for checkups at the same time and choose a service that you know will cater for all the family. At www.fenton-familydentistry.com, you can read about how they provide for everyone from young children to older adults. There might be some things you want to look for when you choose a medical service. For example, if you are a parent with a baby, how easy is it for you to take your baby to an appointment for you?

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Exercise Together

Getting active together is another way for families to stay healthy. We all like to relax in front of the TV sometimes, but getting outside and exercising is important. There are many fun things you can do together, from going for a walk or bike ride to swimming or a trip to the park. Even doing everyday activities can get everyone moving. Mowing the lawn, vacuuming or washing the car are all productive tasks and they ensure that everyone isn’t just sitting around, doing nothing. Find some family exercise ideas at www.eatright.org.

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Stay Mentally and Emotionally Healthy Too

Mental health is also extremely important for both adults and children. Families can help each other with their mental and emotional health by being open and compassionate. Talking about your feelings and your problems can help everyone feel better. You can find out how at http://kidshealth.org. Of course, parents should be careful about what they share with their children. While it’s ok to tell them what you are feeling sometimes, you should hold back from sharing adult problems with them. You might talk about how you both miss someone, but it’s not your child’s job to listen to your issues at work.

You can stay healthy as a family by working together. Support each other to make healthy choices for a happy lifestyle.

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How Your Computer Can Improve Your Writing Process

Now, if you have ambitions of becoming a writer, then you probably already know that, while getting the ideas together can be easy enough, putting them down in words can be a difficult process. Simply getting started can be intimidating! There’s nothing quite like a blank page, after all. However, if you’re reading this, then you do have a powerful tool at your disposal: your computer. If you can avoid looking at cat videos and scrolling through Facebook for a few minutes, you’ll find that it has everything you need to get the words flowing – and flowing nicely.

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Look at a New Keyboard

You might think that your mind is doing most of the word, but really, that title belongs to your hands. They’re the ones making the magic happen! As such, it’s crucial that they’re comfortable, free of pain, and able to type for hours on end. If you have a small laptop, then this won’t be possible; your hands will be too close together, and it won’t be long before you’re beginning to feel the strain. If this applies to you, then look at getting a better keyboard. A bigger, wireless keyboard, one that’s easier on the hands, might make all the difference.

Using Apps To Improve

There are some common problems that all writers face. These include things like avoiding distraction, and then knowing whether your writing is as good as you think it is. Thankfully, this is where apps can come to the rescue. You can use applications that’ll block everything but the written page, meaning if you’re tempted to browse the web for a while, you can’t! And then there are apps that’ll highlight the readability of your text, as well as any errors. Traditional word applications can only do so much; the apps are much more in depth.

Keeping Your Sentences Safe

If getting started is bad, then think about how tough it’ll be if you have text that you’re happy with…but then it somehow gets lost! Thankfully, this doesn’t have to affect you, if you know what to do. To begin, keep all your important documents in cloud storage; if your laptop breaks, you’ll still have all your words backed up remotely. You’ll also want to know how to view clipboard history on Mac; this will mean that all the words you’ve copied and pasted (and that will be a lot when you’re writing) will be readily accessible. Thought you’d lost that golden, flowing sentence? Think again!

Getting Feedback

You might think you’ve written the greatest thing since Shakespeare, but how can you be so sure? By getting the feedback from others! There are plenty of online writing groups where you’ll be able to submit your work and get feedback. You don’t have to take everything on board, of course, but you might just discover something that really improves your writing.

Finally, if you’re struggling to find ideas for your next story, use the internet! There’s inspiration everywhere, so you never have to struggle with writer’s block.

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The Cleaning Hacks That Can Make Your Home A Better Place To Be

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When it comes to your home, you know that you need to keep it clean. It may even be something that you enjoy. Because there’s nothing quite like having a super clean and sparkly home. It just makes you feel so good. However, it is a hard job – and requires constant upkeep. This is something that can really stress you out. When you lead a busy lifestyle, it’s often hard to keep up with too. So, you’re going to want to make sure that you can come up with a few ideas that will not only make your home as gorgeous as you want it to be, but be easy to maintain too. Here are a few different approaches that you can use for that.

Do Things Your Way

First of all, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. This is your home, and you’re going to want to do things your way. Yes, it will be super helpful to you to have a schedule, but it should be your own cleaning schedule, not what works for someone else. Because your home may require more or less cleaning that someone else’s based on your lifestyle. So, by all means, create a cleaning schedule so that you’re able to stay on top of things, but find your own rhythm with it first.

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Be Kind

Next, you’re going to want to think about using the right products. With natural cleaning products, which you can browse Better Life to discover, you’re getting the job done but in a kind way. It’s easy to think they will be less effective, but they’re not. They’re just kinder to your health.

Focus On Storage

From here, you’re going to want to turn your attention to your storage solutions. Because when you want to make sure that your home stays clean, and that it’s easy to do it, you won’t want too much stuff out on display. This will give you more to clean. So with more storage and organization, your home will be clutter-free, easy to clean, and you’ll have peace of mind too.

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Cut Corners In A Clever Way

If you find that you’re always spending hours cleaning your home to your own standard, then you may find that you can reduce that. These ideas for cleaning your house fast allow you to cut corners, but in a clever way. That way, you’re being more efficient with your cleaning so that it doesn’t take hours, but still looks great.

Get Everyone Involved

As much as you may love being the Mom and taking the lead with everything, you can’t be expected to do it all yourself. If you are picking up after everyone, then what kind of lesson are you teaching your kids? That it’s okay to be waited on? That’s not cool. Everyone should pitch in. So it’s time to get your spouse and kids into shape. Because they can easily keep their rooms clean, help with the chores, and not make things harder for you!

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Cunning Curb Appeal Tricks To Make Your Home Shine

Whether you’re selling your home soon or just want your house to look prettier than that of your neighbours, you need to think about curb appeal. Curb appeal, as you’ve probably guessed, is all about how your home looks from the curb. There are various ways to step up your curb appeal game and make sure that your home looks absolutely stunning. For instance, you might want to think about sprucing up your garden, or you could focus on the windows of your home instead. Either of these options could make your home look terrific, but if you really want your home to shine, you should take this advice.

Add Some Lightning

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A lot of people think that exterior lighting should only be used for festive reasons and this is simply not true. You can use exterior lighting anytime you want to add a little more to your home, and there are a variety of ways to do this. For instance, you can add some spotlights to your garden and draw attention to unique features. Do you have a sculpture in your front yard? If so, a spotlight or two shining on it will ensure that it stands out as the centrepiece of your home design.

You can also think about adding some lights around the windows of your home. Remember, the windows are perhaps the most interesting part of your property’s exterior and as such are the feature that passers-by and neighbours will find their eyeliner drawn to. Adding some lighting around the window frame can make sure that your windows glow beautifully through the day and the night.

Create Texture

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You can make sure your home has texture and a unique look with siding. Home siding is a brilliant aesthetic choice, and it can even add value onto the property. This isn’t a job that you can complete yourself, but if you check out a site like https://jdhostetter.com, you will be able to find the service you need. They can make sure that your home looks incredible and allow you to create the exact exterior home design that you want. Not every homeowner will pay attention to siding, and that means that it can be a brilliant way to give you a unique aesthetic advantage.

Add Some Colour

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You might also want to think about adding colour to your home design. There are a few different ways to do this. But we suggest, you start by thinking about replacing your old front door. While the amount of work you can usually complete on the outside of your home is limited, you can change up the door, adding a royal red entrance to your property or even a sky blue.

Or, if you don’t want to make such a drastic change, you can think about adding some tropical plants to your home garden. These will look beautiful, and if you check out a site like https://www.thespruce.com, you’ll see that plenty of tropical plants can grown in a variety of environments.

Take this advice, and you’ll easily be able to make sure your home stands out and looks stunning.

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How To Get More Out Of Your Working Day

Some days you may not feel as productive as on others. However, that doesn’t always mean you can get less done. Getting less done often means doing more the next day, and it’s a vicious cycle that repeats itself and makes you lose your motivation for work. So, how can you get more out of your working day, no matter what? These points will help you:

Start The Day With A Morning Routine That You Love

You should always start the day with a morning routine that you love. If you get out of bed, have to get ready quickly, and barely have any time to yourself to think, then it’s no wonder you don’t feel motivated. By starting the day with a morning routine that you love, you should be able to feel good for the rest of the day and build up the positive momentum you need to keep going. How about getting out of bed early, meditating for 5 minutes, and then reading a personal development book for a while? Many people also find that some form of exercise helps them, whether that’s a quick run, a circuit, or some yoga poses. This helps to get the blood pumping and endorphins flowing. Chances are, if you exercise in the morning, you’ll feel good for the rest of the day.

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Keep Yourself Healthy

When you’re healthy, you feel better, and you get more done as a result. Make sure you’re eating foods that will nourish you and help you to stay awake. Eating junk food at any stage in the day often leads to a slump, and you won’t want to continue working. Know what’s good for you and what’s not. Taking your own lunch to work can be a good idea. It isn’t just about what you eat, though. It’s about keeping yourself healthy by exercising, and making sure you’re not putting yourself in situations that could hurt you. However, accidents and injuries may not always be your fault. In these cases, looking at a site like https://www.injurydisabilitylawyer.ca/toronto-disability-lawyer/ can tell you what to do. If you do end up injured, however it happens, keeping yourself as healthy as possible is the only way to get back to normal in the quickest way possible.

Use The Right Software And Apps

Software and apps can help you to collaborate with colleagues more effectively. You can keep important information all in one place, and figure out who’s doing what so there’s no crossed wires. They can almost eliminate the need for constant back and forth emails and meetings.

Have A Short To-Do List For The Day

To-do lists are great, but only if you’re being realistic with them. Write down only your top priority things, and anything else on top of those things becomes a bonus. If you write down too much and don’t get it all done, you’ll feel like you’ve failed even if you got your priorities taken care of.

Get more out of your working day by implementing these tips!

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Mistakes Or Not, These Financial Issues Can Be Crippling

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How did your finances get in such a dire state? I made a mistake! You cry out in the hope that admitting you made an error will solve the problem. But of course, it doesn’t, and that’s why you need to avoid making the mistakes in the first place. There are various errors in judgement that will end up costing you a fortune and will put your finances in a difficult, somewhat dicey position of recovery. So, what mistakes are we talking about here? We’re glad you asked because once you realise what these errors are you should be able to completely avoid them.

Blood In The Water

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Do you know where loan sharks get their name from? Sharks are attracted in the wild by blood in the water. Supposedly, they can smell it from miles away. The name is particularly apt for a loan shark because they too feast on someone who is in desperate need of help and support. The difference is of course that a shark doesn’t pretend to offer first aid whereas a loan shark does. They’ll tell you how much the loan could help you providing you with the support that they can see you desperately need. They’ll offer you reassuring words about how it’s completely affordable and even give you friendly tips about how to make sure you can pay it back.

The problem is that this is a business and for a loan shark, it’s actually better if you pay it back later. This rises the interest to the point where they get big bucks from you and a lot more than you previously borrowed. A lot of people falsely assume that those who borrow from loan sharks do so for silly reasons such as a family trip to Hawaii. However, that’s not true, and most instead do it so they can cover the expense that they didn’t see coming but that they do have to pay. Or, they simply use it to pay off the bills that were a little larger than normal monthly charges. It’s easy to slip into a trap like this and far more difficult to climb out.

Before you turn to a short-term loan company, do make sure that you have exhausted every other possible option. Even paying on a credit card may be better than spending money on a loan company because at least with a credit card, you’ll typically know what type of interest you’re looking at before it grows out of control.

I’m Fine

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Arguably two of the most dangerous words in the English language and not just because they are often uttered moments before someone explodes in anger. To explain how these two words can impact your finances, we need to explore an example. Let’s say that you are involved in a car accident. Now, for many people, the first thing most people would do is either contact their lawyer or head to the doctor, particularly if the incident wasn’t their fault. However, some people don’t like to make a fuss, or they just don’t like these kind of jolts out of their daily schedule. And, if the insurance company is going to cover the cost of the car, there’s nothing to worry about right? After all, you feel fine apart from an aching in your back, but that’s nothing. That will surely go away in a couple of months right?

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Perhaps it does but then a year or two later it returns, worse than ever. Now, at this point, you might put two and two together, realising that the accident did cause a problem with your back. It is only then you decide to contact a lawyer. Firms like Lopez & Humphries PA see this all the time. The problem is that by this stage there’s not a lot they can do. A back injury could have been caused by a variety of incidents, and it’s very difficult to prove it was a result of the crash. Particularly, if you didn’t go and see a doctor. You see the problem? That’s why you should always contact both a legal rep and a doctor after an accident, typically in that order.

You might say, okay I’ve been injured, and it’s clearly long term but how is that going to impact my finances? Well, people suffering from serious long-term injuries often need more medical care which costs more money. On top of this, there’s the issue of debt. You may not realise this, but people with serious long-term injuries are far more likely to experience debt at some point in their life.

No Service History? No Sweat

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Finally, sometimes, a crippling blow to your finances can just be due to a bad financial investment, and that’s certainly true in the case of second-hand cars. If you speak to a financial expert, they will usually tell you that buying a brand new car is always a bad monetary move. The reason? Well, it’s the depreciation. After owning a car for just a couple of years, the price of the vehicle drops far below what you bought it for. The only exception to this rule is if you accidentally buy a car destined to be a classic. But then the car is only valuable if you keep it in good condition. This means it can’t be a runaround vehicle.

This might all be true, but if you buy a car second hand, you run the risk of purchasing a dud. A vehicle that will cost you a fortune over the years in repairs and other problems. Eventually, that vehicle becomes a financial nightmare that you just want to get rid of. You can’t think of course because then you’ll have no car at all.

That’s why you always need to consider a second-hand car purchase carefully. Check around and make sure that it hasn’t been damaged seriously and that there are no signs of severe problems. If in doubt, hire a guy from a repair shop to check it for you, and they’ll tell you whether it’s going to be a money pit.

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Health First, Business Second

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All entrepreneurs and freelancers have a reputation for being go-getters. They always give 110% no matter what the situation is like and how many obstacles they face. However, what if one of those obstacles were a health issue? Do you think that you would be able to continue giving maximum effort and energy to your business with failing health? Even if you were able to continue working at full speed, it probably wouldn’t do your overall health and well-being any good. So, even if you have your very own business to run, you still need to make sure that your health always comes first. Your mantra should be: health first, business second.

To help you follow that mantra, here are some pointers that all freelancers and entrepreneurs need to consider.

Never Miss Appointments For Work

Think there is something wrong with you and that you might be coming down with something? If so, book an appointment with your doctor and make sure you attend. There are many entrepreneurs out there who blame their busy lifestyles on hardly ever seeing their doctor. It’s really important that you do, though. Otherwise, a health risk, like the ones listed at medicinenet.com could develop and by the time you get it seen to, it could be too late.

Your Laptop Could Affect Your Health

Many entrepreneurs and freelancers are glued to their laptops. These handy machines help with admin tasks and are what they do most of their work on. But it is vital that you use yours correctly and take regular breaks as there are a few health issues associated with overuse. If you need to wear glasses, make sure you get some blue-light blocking ones from spektrumglasses.com so that you your sleep isn’t disrupted. You should also invest in some good-quality office furniture so that you don’t give yourself back problems by slouching over your laptop. It’s also necessary to be wary about repetitive strain injuries. Taking regular breaks should prevent this.

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Take Time To Rest And Destress

Lots of entrepreneurs are guilty of working too much, and this can cause to them suffering from stress-related health problems. To make sure that you aren’t troubled with stress and its related illness, such as high blood pressure, it’s critical that you take plenty of time away from the office to rest and chill out. Try not to work overtime too often so that you have your evenings to yourself and can forget about work.

Watch What You Eat

When we are very busy, it can be all too easy to get through the day on snacks or unhealthy convenience food. Eating all of this junk will be a bad idea for your health and weight. So, make sure you watch what you eat and get plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet. It’s also a good idea to try and squeeze some exercise into your daily routine so that you can maintain a healthy weight.

Repeat after me: health first, business second! That’s the best way to stay healthy at work.

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