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Achieving a Better Family and Work Balance Makes for Better Job Performance Are you constantly working after hours and weekends at the office? Are beginning to forget what your family even looks like? Many people find themselves in this predicament. Work seems to get more and more demanding with every passing day, and to stay on top of your game at work, you feel like you need to put in long hours. The flipside to this is that of course when you are at the office, you are away from home ? away from family dinners, play time and your kids? sporting events or school plays. You may feel like your hands are tied ? that no matter how much you want to be more involved with your family life, you have to keep working as hard as ever to make sure your family is provided for in the long run. The truth is, however, that you may be doing yourself a disservice on both fronts. Studies have shown time and again that well rested workers with well balanced lives are more productive in the time they do spend working. In the end, the best way to be a stand out worker at the office is to be fully involved and present in your family live. But wait, you say, ?I?m working practically around the clock now, and everything still isn?t getting done.? However, maybe the problem isn?t that you aren?t working hard enough. Maybe the problem instead is that you aren?t working smart enough. Think about the way you spend you working day. Are you taking on more responsibility than you need to, instead of delegating tasks to others? Are you spending a lot of time chatting in the break room when you run for a cup of coffee? Are you procrastinating so that big projects require you to work all-nighters instead of spreading out the work? Keep a journal of all of your activities at work for a few days. You might be surprised to see how you are really spending your time and in what areas you could make improvements. Simply staying on task and delegating effectively could get you home in time for dinner. When you have done everything you can to make your work habits as productive as possible, it is time to turn to other ways to balance your work life and your family life. Rule number one is the hardest one for most people to follow you ? draw clear lines of distinction between work time and family time. Family time isn?t really family time if you are constantly on your cell phone making and receiving work calls or if you are on your laptop for the entire family vacation. When you?re working ? work. When you?re with your family ? concentrate on them. The time you spend actually taking a breather from work will recharge your batteries and make you a better worker when work time rolls around again. Next, you have to evaluate your priorities. Maybe working around the clock will help you make partner faster, but at what cost? Decide if seeing your daughter?s soccer game every week is more important to you than moving up the corporate ladder quickly, and make adjustments in your schedule appropriately. There is no right or wrong answer, but deciding where you priorities lie will make scheduling easier for you. With your priorities in mind, see what work options are available to you to help you meet them. If you want more time with the kids, see if your office offers flex time or part time hours to help you meet your family commitments. Last but not least, don?t feel guilty about taking time with your family. Not only is this time important to your family, you can rest assured that the time out from the office stress will make you more productive when you return to work.

Want a Favorite Product Free? Write the Manufacturer Are you ready to revel in all the freebies you can find? If you are a sucker for freebies, here are some easy tips for getting your hands on the best free samples out there. You will find that finding the right freebies is often as easy as picking up a pen or licking a stamp and putting it on an envelope. Should You Write Your Favorite Manufacturers to Receive Free Product Samples? Is there a special item or product that you love? Is there a shampoo you can't live without? Would you die if your favorite brand of toothpaste were discontinued? Fortunately, there are many ways to declare your allegiance to a specific brand or product, and get rewarded for it. If there is a product you simply cannot live without, go ahead and write the company. Write them a letter to let them know what a big fan you are. Companies appreciate positive customer feedback. Simply writing to your favorite company can get you on their free sample mailing list. In fact, go ahead and ask them for free samples. Most manufacturers and corporations are more than willing to oblige your request. Getting the Information You Need to Contact Your Favorite Manufacturer Where can you find the information you need in order to get free product samples? Luckily, finding this information is often quite simple. Most of the time, all you have to do is look at the back of the product label to find information. Always contact the customer service address. If no address is available or listed, call their toll-free customer service hotline. Ask the customer service rep about possible free samples. At the very least, you will probably be able to finagle a handful of valuable coupons to save money on your next buy. Getting Free Stuff From Your Favorite Manufacturers Online Did you know that there are plenty of places to get free samples and other freebies by checking online? The World Wide Web is a treasure trove of freebies. There are many websites that specialize in freebie offers. Think of these websites as the middleman to freebie paradise, as well as an easy way to save on stationary and stamps. What are some of these freebie sites? The freesite.com is a great site to find a variety of freebies, both virtual and beyond. To find the latest free stuff, turn to websites such as freeflys.com. This website's slogan is that "Cheap is good, but free is always better." Who can argue with that kind of logic. There are many other websites that can offer you a library of freebies. Here are some tips for sorting out the legitimate offers from the fake stuff. Don't Get Caught in a Freebie Scam Although there are plenty of great websites out there that offer real legitimate freebie offers, there are also many websites that prey on people seeking freebies. Here are some tips for filtering out the bad websites, and finding the best in legitimate freebie offers. First, do not accept freebies from websites that require too much personal information. Only give just enough information to get what you need. Avoid accepting freebies from websites that require you to sign up for a newsletter or email offers. These websites have been known to sell your email address to partners, thus causing your email inbox to become overwhelmed with offers and related spam. A good rule of thumb is that if you don't feel comfortable providing your personal data, you should not. Also, avoid websites that are too burdened with obtrusive pop-up or banner ads. Websites that rely too heavily on advertisements are more likely to sell your personal data.

Staying Computer Safe while Searching for Freebies on the Net Who doesn?t love the idea of getting something for nothing? Free stuff can bring a smile to anyone?s face, and the Internet is destination number one when you are looking for cash in on a few freebies. The downside of free stuff online is that if you aren?t careful, the free item could end up causing plenty of headaches and heartaches, not to mention a lot of cold, hard cash. If you want to score with free stuff online, make safety your number one priority by following these tips. First and foremost, treat your personal information like its cash. That might sound a little dramatic, but anyone who manages to steal your identity online is after one thing, and one thing only, your money and any addition money they can grab by cashing in on your credit. Protecting your name, address, credit card number, bank account number, phone number, social security number, and so on and so forth when you are registering for free offers is the first step to making sure you don?t get hustled when you?re just trying to enjoy a good freebie. That means that if you are asked for some personal information that you don?t feel comfortable handing out, let the freebie go. Likewise, make sure the site from which you are getting your free stuff has a privacy policy and that you know it, understand it, and can live with it. Speaking of that site that is handing out the free goods: just who are these people? If you were walking down the street and a shady looking person said they would give you a free DVD player if you followed them, chances are you would run the other way. Online, it is hard to tell the legitimate people from the people looking at you like a free lunch, but there are a few red flags you can look out for. Does the website look like it was thrown up in about 5 minutes, full of clip art and bad spelling? Is it hard to find information about where the website is registered, or where the business the website is supposedly promoting is registered? If the website purports to be affiliated with a certain brand you know, does it really look like it is, or does the logo look different/colors look off? If you can?t get a reasonable feel for who are dealing with online, don?t deal with them. Red flag number one? Asking for too much personal info should send you running. Another way to protect yourself is to build a virtual fortress around your computer. The net is filled with people who know how to walk right into your virtual home ? your computer ? and flip through everything you have on there, taking whatever they want. Many of these kinds of hackers draw you in by creating phony freebie websites. The way to keep them out is to keep your computer on lockdown. Make sure your firewall is stronger than you think it needs to be, and make sure it is always updated. Also, make sure you have antivirus software on the patrol for you and that you keep this software updated as well. Last but not least, keep those passwords in the vault, and make sure they are extra strong. No freebie website has any reason to ask you about the passwords for your accounts so don?t give them away ? and don?t give them to anyone else online for that matter. Also, if you?re using your birthday or child?s name as password, don?t. Sure, it isn?t as easy to remember, but your password should be a random word and contain a collection of numbers and symbols as well. This will give you the extra layer of protection to make sure your online house is in order when you cash in on the freebies.

Networking Ideas to Land a Job You Want Finding a new job is always a chore, especially if you are looking for your ideal job. While all jobs have pros and cons, finding employment that you enjoy or feel strongly about can greatly improve your job satisfaction. There are many ways to network and find the job you want. One of the biggest ways to make connections is to volunteer or find an internship. If you have not been able to land a permanent position in the career of your choice, apply for internships or offer your services for free. This is an ideal way to get your foot in the door and since the employer will already be familiar with you, it increases your chances of being hired when an opening arises. Meet people in the field you want to be in. If there are conferences or organizations that members who work in your desired field join, see about getting a membership or attending. Networking within your field of choice can build connections that blossom in the future. Take a lesser position at the company you want to work at. If you want to be a manager but are offered a customer service position, take the customer service position. Management roles are less stressful when you know what the company expects from you. Watch and learn the ins and outs of being a manager at that particular company. After you have some experience under your belt, apply for the next opening. Ask around. Most job openings are not posted anywhere. Finding openings is typically more about inquiring than finding posting. If you are eager to be a part of a company, e-mail your resume to the Human Resources department and see what type of hits you get. Stop by local companies and inquire in person and leave a copy of your resume if there are openings. Most employers are using the Internet to find new employees. Even if the position they are hiring for is not posted online, searching through posted portfolios is commonplace. The best way to get noticed is to have a concise portfolio that goes into detail about past work experience and your future career goals. Before you make it to an interview, the employer should already have a good idea about whom you are. Having a web presence is essential to job-hunting these days. Many employers are using e-mail and electronic submissions to screen employees. With that in mind, you need to be Internet savvy. Brush up on Internet skills, learning the tricks and trades of using the web as a way to seek out the best jobs. Purchase a domain and post your portfolio there. Be sure to show versatility, accomplishment and organization in your portfolio. Also if you choose to use social or networking sites represent yourself in a positive light. Be sure to keep your portfolio updated even when you are not actively looking for work. An interested employer could choose to contact you based on your updated portfolio. Be open to relocating. Search through Internet job postings for other states. Leaving your hometown might be difficult but the job of your dreams may be out there somewhere. Pack up and move to a more economically viable area and mingle with the populous. Make your employment intentions known without seeming desperate for a job. No matter what type of job you have been dreaming of, there are numerous ways to get that position. The key to pinning down, and getting the job you desire is to never give up. If you have been on the job hunt for two years without any success, do not give up.